France entered the twentieth century as a powerful European and colonial nation. In the course of the century, her role changed dramatically: in the first fifty years two World Wars and economic decline removed its status as a world power, whilst the immediate post-war era was marked by wars of independence in its colonies. Yet at the same time, in the second half of the century, France entered a period of unprecedented growth and social transformation. Throughout the century and into the new millennium France retained its former international reputation as a centre for cultural excellence and innovation and its culture, together with that of the Francophone world, reflected the increased richness and diversity of the period. This 2003 Companion explores this vibrant culture, and includes chapters on history, language, literature, thought, theatre, architecture, visual culture, film and music, and discuss the contributions of popular culture, Francophone culture, minorities and women.
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