The 1950s and 1960s were a key moment in the development of postwar France. The period was one of rapid change, derived from post-World War II economic and social modernization; yet many traditional characteristics were retained. By analyzing the eruption of the new postwar world in the context of a France that was both modern and traditional, we can see how these worlds met and interacted, and how they set the scene for the turbulent 1960s and 70s. The examination of the development of mass culture in post-war France, undertaken in this volume, offers a valuable insight into the shifts that took place. By exploring stardom from the domain of cinema and other fields, represented here by famous figures such as Brigitte Bardot, Johnny Hallyday or Jean-Luc Godard, and less conventionally treated areas of enquiry (politics [de Gaulle], literary [Francoise Sagan], and intellectual culture [Levi-Strauss]), the reader is provided with a broad understanding of the mechanisms of popularity and success, and their cultural, social, and political roles.
The picture that emerges shows that many cultural articulations remained or became identifiably "French," in spite of the American mass-culture origins of these social, economic, and cultural transformations.
John Gaffney is Professor of French Government at Aston University. He is the author and editor of a dozen books on French and British politics and culture. Diana Holmes is Professor of French at the University of Leeds. She is the author of many books and articles on women writers in 19th and (mainly) 20th century France, including Colette (1991), French Women's Writing 1848-1996 (1998), Rachilde: Decadence, Gender and the Woman Writer (2001). In film studies, she has co-authored a book on the cinema of Francois Truffaut, and co-edits a major series on French Film Directors (Manchester University Press). She is currently at work on a study of female-authored romance in 20th century France, and working on gender in Hollywood and New Wave film in the 50s/60s.