Relying as it does on those "treasures of time" bequeathed us by many centuries of history, literature, and art that make up the past of France, this book addresses the needs of advanced high school students. It is a comprehensive, multiple-approach textbook that provides an in-depth view of France, its culture, and its civilization. This is achieved by means of a systematic introduction to French history and literature. At the same time, the grammar that is reviewed and expanded upon in each Étape, or chapter, will serve to strengthen language skills.
The consistently positive attitude of the book toward learning encourages enjoyment of the French class. Trésors du temps is the perfect preparation for college and university classes.
The Spirit of the Book
Trésors du temps is divided into twelve Étapes (literally stages or phases) corresponding to the main periods of French history and civilization. An overview of milestone events of the past, both distant and recent, will provide students with a better understanding of the culture they have been exposed to in their previous French classes. We have focused on those events that have felt a lasting mark on today's consciousness and language. Everyone knows, for instance, that a "Napoleon complex" refers to the despotic demeanor of a short man attempting to compensate for his inferior stature, or that the "Joan of Arc complex" refers to a selfless heroine. And who hasn't heard the famous, if apocryphal, "Let them eat cake" of the doomed Marie Antoinette?
The educated person must know not only Napoleon and Joan of Arc, but also Vercingétorix; Charlemagne; the Crusades; the Renaissance and its castles; the Grand Siècle of classical splendor; the 18th century of exquisite elegance, the tragic outcome of which was the French Revolution; the 19th century, with Napoleon's conquests and eventual defeat, as well as the Industrial Revolution; and the 20th century, with its bloody World Wars and, finally, the achievement of a European Union. Such a person must also be familiar with the currents of thought that accompanied each period and propelled it into the next.
Literature is best appreciated in its historical context, as it conveys unique ways of life and thought reflected through the prism of each author's particular sensitivity. We have selected passages from the best-known authors, with a view toward featuring those that would be a greatest interest to students today.
Since language skills must be intensively honed, a grammar section -with explanations in French so the flow of language need not be interrupted- is part of each Étape. Grammar previously studied is reviewed, recapitulated, and expanded upon by the introduction of finer points of stylistics such as the indirect discourse, an indispensible tool for the discussion of literature.