Duke University Press

Recent reports from both Britain and the United States show a decline in French language classes. Richard Needham, trade minister of Britain, in May 1995 stated that schools in the United Kingdom did a disservice to Britain’s students by teaching French instead of Spanish, when growing business opportunities in Latin America called for training in the latter language. According to Needham, “French is a difficult language and it’s not a language of world business. Spanish is easier and it’s a gateway into French anyway.”1 A BBC study published three years later showed French language classes with a 5 percent lead over Spanish for adult education students, a decrease from the 18 percent lead a year earlier. The reason given for this was the jump in British tourism to Spain.2 Twenty-five years ago Spanish overtook French as the most popular second language taught in U.S. schools; university enrollment in French courses dropped about 38 percent between 1968 and 1990, while Spanish rose 46 percent. By 1990, according to the Modern Language Association, 534,000 U.S. college students were [End Page 625] studying Spanish, twice the number of those studying French. Gladys Lipton, president of the American Association of Teachers of French, reported a 25 percent decline in French studies at the U.S. university level between 1993 and 1998.3

These reports of a late-twentieth-century decline in the study of French raise the question of how to study the evolving value of one culture’s status in the eyes of another—in other words, the iconic value or iconicity of one culture as viewed by another. By focusing on the images of France presented in the Readers’ Guide to Periodical Literature, which describes itself as “a cumulative author-subject index to English language periodicals of general interest,” this essay measures the changing evaluation of France and French culture in the American popular press in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries.4 Increases or decreases of listings dealing with France, in proportion to the total number of articles in the Readers’ Guide series, offer an assessment of U.S. popular cultural interest in France. The article subjects in the Readers’ Guide listings further refine the picture of the shifting American perspectives, as measured in the popular press, on France.

U.S. evaluations of the importance of French culture relative to other cultures in the world declined from the fin de siècle years through the period covered by the Readers’ Guide to the present (1890–1997). The extension of the French and European railway networks and the advent of luxury steamships in the late nineteenth century, when France had few competitors for international tourism, elevated the image of French culture around the world and particularly in the United States, as reflected in the periodical literature listed in the Readers’ Guide. The same railway and steamship networks that helped highlight France on the cultural map, however, later undermined the French by making a growing number of cultural competitors increasingly accessible in the twentieth century. These conclusions are based on the data provided by the ten tables throughout this essay, based on tabulations from the Readers’ Guide and related evidence drawn from the articles listed therein, that express the shifting views of France and French culture measured by five-year periods. In each case, the last [End Page 626] cluster of figures covers the three-year period from 1995 through 1997, the most recent year for which figures are available. The tables address (1) “France” itself, (2) “Paris,” (3) “France, description and travel,” (4) “Tourist trade, France,” (5) “French language” and “French literature” combined, (6) “Philosophy, French,” (7) “Art, French” and “Painting, French” combined, (8) French cinema, which goes under different names during the period covered by the Readers’ Guide, (9) “Clothing industry, France,” and (10) “Cookery,” which later becomes “cooking, French.” These tables measure tourist interest in France and Paris (tables 2 and 4), track French letters (tables 5 and 6), and address the fine arts in France (tables 7 and 8). Others measure two additional vectors of interest in France: haute couture and gastronomy (tables 9 and 10).

Let us first look at the relative frequency of articles listed under “France” itself (table 1). Not surprisingly, the figures for each French-related count are very small percentages of the total number of entries. Overall, the Readers’ Guide listings for “France” show a decline in which the most recent ratio, for 1995–97, represents 25 percent of that of 1890–94. Most significant, although the 1900–1904 five-year ratio of 0.0033885 approaches it, none of the counts in the Readers’ Guide reaches the 0.0035553 for 1801–81, registered in Poole’s Index to Periodical Literature.5 The Poole’s figures, together with those shown in table 1, [End Page 627] highlight the fin de siècle period just as might be expected.6 The fin de siècle years were characterized by the extension of the French empire, increasingly accessible by steamship and by rail. The railway lines had been extended from Paris to Nice in 1864, with the subsequent development of the Côte d’Azur in the following years.7 The network of great train stations in Paris was completed with the construction of the Gare de Lyon between 1895 and 1902, timed to coincide with the Universal Exhibition of 1900.8 It was this era that witnessed the modernization, specifically the enhanced accessibility, of rural France, that in the words of Eugen Weber turned “peasants into Frenchmen.”9 The launching of the White Star liner the Oceanic in 1870 ushered in a new era of first-class travel across the Atlantic, and by 1890 steamships had reduced the time for the crossing to six days.10

Table 1.
Listings for “France” as a Percentage of the Total by Five-Year Periods, 1890–1997

The fin de siècle period, taken broadly from 1875 through 1905, highlighted a France that was at this time primarily railroad-driven, before the coming of the automobile. Relatively open frontiers encouraged industrial development. Russians, Scandinavians, and Germans, the latter from an increasingly prosperous new Reich, could visit Paris, which had little competition for the tourist, with no barriers across international frontiers. This was the height of the Deauville season. Trains, steamships, and postcards all helped produce a surge for France that is reflected in Readers’ Guide references to “Paris” and “France, description and travel.” Symbolically, the height of the “France” turn should have been the Eiffel Tower, the world’s reference to the France of the 1889 Paris Exposition and its foremost image abroad until about 1905. The 1890–99 Readers’ Guide carried a separate subclassification for “Eiffel Tower,” listing Minnie Buchanan Goodman’s 1890 article, “Americans on the Eiffel Tower.”11

The passing of the fin de siècle period also saw the meaningful end to expansion of the French empire. American cultural interest was transformed by the emergence of the United States as a world power [End Page 628] with the 1898 Spanish-American War and the westward extension of the American economic frontier to the Philippines. The expansion of the American railway network after 1869 opened the western United States to increased settlement and enhanced cultural interest, both of which were reinforced after the coming of Ford’s Model T automobile in 1909. For the era between the opening of the Eiffel Tower and the arrival of the Model T, the pattern of listings for France and its cultural associations in the Readers’ Guide series was higher than would be the case in subsequent years. Incidental to the general decline was the 1914 opening of the Panama Canal, which offered Europeans the prospect of reaching Asia without going through the Mediterranean. Significant declines for “France” in the Readers’ Guide series, of 43 percent from 1920–24 to 1925–29 and 63 percent from 1965–69 to 1970–74, were never reversed. Indeed, there is an average of 0.0028342 France as a percent of total for the years from 1890 through 1924, followed by a decline of roughly 35 percent to an average of 0.0018466 in from 1925 through 1969, and a further 78 percent decline to 0.0004083 from 1970 through 1997 (see table 1).12

The titles of the articles listed in the Readers’ Guide invariably reflect the era’s current events. During the peak years of 1900–1904, the article titles focused on French relations with England, which culminated in the 1904 Entente, and church-state relations within France, which led to the separation of 1905. An article in a 1901 issue of the Independent called the French the “Chinese of Europe,” with the “Chinese” intended as a metaphor for backward and indolent. In contrast, another listing, in the Fortnightly Review, saw a revival of France in 1902. During 1920–24, such titles as “France’s New Hour of Need” in the Literary Digest, “Ruin of Bourgeois France” in The Dial, and “You Americans Have All the Money” in Collier’s emphasized problems the French faced as they tried to rebuild after World War I. Large subcategories were devoted to “reconstruction.” The lower figures for the 1920s appear to reflect a decline in concern as the war-related problems receded.

From the second half of the 1920s through the first half of the 1960s, the figures for “France” hovered near 0.002 percent of the [End Page 629] total. The proportion of articles on France declined sharply during the 1970s. In 1900, France was one of the world’s great powers; it ceased to be after the 1956 Suez crisis. Although the French, especially under de Gaulle, had great power pretensions, they continued to prosper and exert influence largely through the Common Market and the protective environment of NATO more than on their own. An article in Time magazine in 1969, for example, was titled “French Face Mediocrity.” Two years later, Business Week ran an article called “France Bids to Be No. 1 in Europe.” Stanley Hoffmann’s book about France after the 1930s, published and reviewed in a 1974 New Republic listing, was titled Decline or Renewal? By the end of the “France” series in 1997, article titles reflected an interest in the newly developing French aerospace industry, and a growing section within the subcategory “history” addressed retrospective discussion of the World War II occupation and the Holocaust.

The “Paris” listings (table 2) show a pattern similar to that of “France”: a downward progression when comparing the end with the beginning of the series. There is an increase in the late 1950s and early 1960s, followed by a drop-off in the 1970s, continuing to the present. Goodman’s article “Americans on the Eiffel Tower,” previously mentioned, appeared in 1890. She noted that the tower held a great attraction to Americans and that “it is natural for us to be attracted by a structure that possesses so many American characteristics; for the tower, like Uncle Sam, has no more beauty than is consistent with usefulness. . . . A monument to the live present . . . it rises above ancient [End Page 630] prejudice, and strikes out into the blue empyrean like a Fourth of July oration.”13 The surge in the 1900–1904 “Paris” count was due in part to the many articles addressing the 1900 World’s Fair in Paris. An increase in articles during 1925–29 reflected the American interest in the Paris of Ernest Hemingway’s Moveable Feast.14 A secondary rise in 1950–64 was related to increased travel with the arrival of post–World War II prosperity, favorable exchange rates for Americans, and jumbo jets. The general pattern of the “Paris” count, however, is down.

Table 2.
Listings for “Paris” as a Percentage of the Total by Five-Year Periods, 1890–1997

Within the “France” series, a subcategory, “description and travel,” measures U.S. popular press interest in France as a tourist destination. This pattern (table 3) roughly parallels the larger “France” and “Paris” series. Once again, the general pattern is down, with the figures for the most recent period representing some 4 percent of the first five-year period.15 The nearly sevenfold increase in the “France, description and travel” entries from 1895–99 to 1900–1904, given the differences in the nineteenth-century version as opposed to the subsequent Readers’ Guides, may be less significant than the decline of nearly half from 1905–9 to 1910–14, followed by a loss of almost half again for 1915–19, the five-year period that included World War I. Modest [End Page 631] gains are shown in the 1925–29 and 1945–49 periods, both following wartime restrictions. The 1960–64 years also show a modest increase, reflecting similar trends in increased tourist interest as those seen in the “Paris” series. The overall decline in “description and travel” obviously does not reflect the numbers of Americans visiting France, which increased in the post–World War II years; rather, this reflects what might be called cutting-edge interest in the U.S. popular press.

Table 3.
Listings for “France, Description and Travel” as a Percentage of the Total by Five-Year Periods, 1890–1997

The articles listed under “France, description and travel” in the 1890s reflect the ability of the visitor to access the provinces outside Paris by the railways. The Living Age articles “Chateaux of the Loire” and “Canoe Voyages on a French River, the Dronne,” 1892 and 1894, respectively, are examples. “At Trouville,” published by Harper’s Weekly in 1890, reflected interest in the Normandy beaches. “Lightning Tour,” in Living Age in 1896, may have foretold the coming of the less leisurely paced visits of jet travelers of the later twentieth century.

By 1905–9, when the “description and travel” articles peaked, the discovery of France by automobile was catching the public interest. In 1905, World To-Day published two articles titled “Automobile Trip in France,” and the Atlantic Monthly ran a similar series during 1906–8. The châteaus of France were of interest as was the theme of “vagabonding,” or getting off the beaten track. Good Housekeeping published an article in 1909 called “Year in France: How Far Certain Incomes Will Go in That Country.” After a rise in articles during 1925–29 that parallels the “Paris” sequence, the “description and travel” listings declined under the impact of economic depression during the 1930s and World War II and the German occupation in the early 1940s. Not surprisingly, 1945–49 showed a rebound; the percentage figures more than doubled over the previous five years. The 1945–49 increase in tourism was reflected in the appearance of a new category, “tourist trade, France” (table 4), with numbers even smaller than those in “France, description and travel,” yet whose appearance helps fill in the tourism story. A 1949 listing from U.S. News and World Report was titled “U.S. Tourists Rush to France Again.” The sole listing for 1950–54 under “tourist trade, France” was a 1950 article in Newsweek, “From the Ritz to the Flea Market, the Tourists Again.” A moderate increase in “France, description and travel” for 1960–64 was followed by a decline of almost half to 1965–69 and, at the same time, increases of more than double from 1955–59 to 1960–64 and again to 1965–69 in the “tourist trade, France” series. The “tourist trade” listings reflected an awareness of problems on the horizon, as exemplified by articles such as “Lost Art of Civilized Touring” and “Worm Turns; Tourists Avoid Travel in France” in 1964 issues of Esquire and Newsweek, respectively. Newsweek [End Page 632] reported that Paris hotel receipts were down 15 percent in 1964 compared with the previous year. Between 1958 and 1964 the number of tourists visiting Spain had tripled, while visitors to France had increased only 20 percent. Those who visited France stayed an average of only two days.16 In 1965 the French put on a public campaign of amiability to attract American tourists.17 “Gaullism Empties Bistros: Slump in Tourism” was the title of a 1967 article in BusinessWeek, and the following year, concern was with the effects of the May 1968 disruptions.18 Both tourism-related series decline from 1975–79 to the present. The sole article under “tourist trade” for 1995–97 period is Adam Gopnik’s “Trouble at the Eiffel Tower,” which appeared in the New Yorker in 1997. Whereas Goodman had extolled “usefulness” in the form of the Eiffel Tower, Gopnik called the tower “a prime example of producerism, of métier-mania: a thing built by an engineer as a self-sufficient work whose only function is to stand there and be admired for having been engineered.” He concluded that Americans valued consumerism, the French what he called “producerism,” as an end in itself.19

Table 4.
Listings for “Tourist Trade, France” as a Percentage of the Total by Five-Year Periods, 1890–1997

Not surprisingly, the Readers’ Guide pattern for France as the [End Page 633] world’s standard of language conforms to the “France” and tourism models with an even steeper drop-off down almost to nothing at the end (table 5). The tabulation for the most recent three years is 2 percent that of 1890–94 and only slightly more than 1 percent that of 1900–1904. Once again, the Readers’ Guide peak occurs in the first decade of the twentieth century, with the secondary high shortly after World War I, when French replaced German in second place behind Latin as the most commonly studied foreign language by high school students.20

Table 5.
Listings for “French Language” as a Percentage of the Total by Five-Year Periods, 1890–1997

The entries for “French language” in the 1890s are subdivided under “dialects,” “dictionaries,” “etymology,” “foreign words and phrases,” “pronunciation,” “study and teaching,” and “terms and phrases.” One 1895 article asks, “Do Americans Need to Speak French?” (in Education), and Arena magazine suggested that the teaching of French might be more effective if Americans were the teachers.21 The “French literature” section was subdivided by centuries, with most of the entries covering the nineteenth, plus a cross-reference to Symbolists, who were just coming to be known on this side of the Atlantic. Articles under “French language” for 1900–1904 compared the development of French and Greek in American colleges and specifically suggested that French might be studied as a substitute for Latin.22 The [End Page 634] 1905–9 cluster under “French literature” focused on Sainte-Beuve, romanticism, symbolism, and what one article described as the “invasion” of French literature by women.23 A decline of one-third in the language and literature count from 1905–9 to 1910–14 was represented by an article titled “English As an International Language.” Indeed, the peak for American students studying foreign languages occurred in 1905. The first two decades of the twentieth century witnessed a steep decline in Latin studies and, disgraced as the language of the enemy during World War I, in German.24

The secondary peak for French language and literature in 1920–24 saw the publication of articles on Proust under “literature,” while the articles under language debated the value of Latin as a preparation for studying French, asked whether French should be studied in secondary schools, and suggested, in contrast to British Trade Minister Richard Needham’s view some sixty years later, that a knowledge of French might be useful for business.25 The reduction of French language listings from the late 1920s was reversed in the late 1950s and 1960s with interest in Jean-Paul Sartre and Albert Camus, but these authors appear more prominently in the philosophy sequence (table 6).26 A new group of writers, including Alain Robbe-Grillet, Samuel Beckett, and Jean Genêt, representing a new wave of ennui and shock, were the French works read in U.S. schools. The debate about the relevance of foreign language programs, however, continued in the early 1970s.27 “Franglais” had become an issue by 1972, though as Eugen Weber noted, it had been raised in France as early as 1856.28 [End Page 635] The sole entry under “French literature” during 1980–84 was devoted to the influence of Oliver Cromwell on French romantics.29 Articles on “French language” in the 1980s continued to focus, in the words of an observer of the Francophonie conference in Quebec, on a language “en crise.”30 Following the end of the Readers’ Guide tabulations, a sense of crisis for the French language continued when in 1999 the Académie Française outlawed the word Euroland, proposing instead that the eleven nations linked by monetary union should be called the zone euro. Euroland was seen as “too Anglo-Saxon” and too similar to the word Disneyland. According to former President Valéry Giscard d’Estaing, Euroland was “a horrible expression, an Anglo-Saxon expression of denigration.”31

Table 6.
Listings for “Philosophy, French” Raw Count by Five-Year Periods, 1890–1997

While the French “language” and “literature” categories declined, French philosophy listings had a small but important success, notably around existentialism and the names of Jacques Lacan, Jacques Derrida, and Michel Foucault. The figures for “philosophy, France” in the Readers’ Guide peak in the late 1970s with secondary highs in the late 1940s and the late 1990s, but they are so low that they only partially [End Page 636] balance the decline in language and literature. The numbers for “philosophy, France” are shown by raw count, rather than percentages of the total (see table 6). The classification first appeared in 1920–24, with one article devoted to the “new criticism” of Albert Thibaudet.32 A second article, in 1929, discussed Julien Benda. There were two articles in 1932: one on Henri Bergson and the other a “Letter from France” in the Saturday Review of Literature. The three articles in 1945–49 focused on existentialism, suggesting the presence of Sartre and Camus, and the three articles in 1965–69 included one on French thought in Latin America, a review of Arthur Hertzberg’s French Enlightenment and the Jews, and, in 1969, an article on Foucault.33 The proportion of French philosophy to the total Readers’ Guide count peaked in 1975–79, based on three articles on the anti-Marxist “new philosophes” in 1977 in addition to one on the “Orphans of ’68,” published in the National Review in 1979. The one article in 1985–89 dealt with the Enlightenment, and cross-references were listed to Foucault and Bernard-Henri Lévy. Finally, the 1995–97 cluster consisted of three 1997 articles devoted to France’s philosophy cafés with one, in World Press Review, titled “The Philosophy Fad.”34

People often associate France with the fine arts, which in the Readers’ Guide are often equated with painting. A composite of the categories “art, French” and “painting, French” shows another pattern of overall decline, in this case a falloff of 57 percent from 1890–95 to 1995–97, or of more than 82 percent from the 1900–1904 figure, the series high (table 7). The 1905–9 count represents a decline of one-third from the 1900–1904 total. Paralleling the patterns of “France” listings and those for language and literature, the 1920s saw an increase in the arts and painting figures. There was an increase of 55 percent in 1920–24 over its immediate five-year predecessor, followed by an even larger falloff, of 61 percent in 1925–29. After 1930 the count was more stable, with a slightly downward progression. The articles under “art, French” during the 1890s focused on French art of the Renaissance and romantic eras with attention to French art collections in England.35 The [End Page 637] “painting, French” listings were devoted toward more contemporary work, with one specifically addressing impressionism.36 Of the twenty-one articles for 1900–1904, the peak of this series, twenty were classified under art. Five of the twenty dealt with French art at the court of Berlin and another four addressed the Barbizon school, two of which focused on the Barbizon school in America. Two articles were devoted to French “primitives.” There was a cross-reference to Odilon Redon.37 The art listings for 1920–24, the second high in the series, focused more on U.S. collections of French art and included articles on cubism, industrial art, medailleurs, and weavers. Literary Digest ran an article in 1922 on the “French Instinct for Art,” followed by one the next year titled “Stagnation and Poverty in French Art.” Two articles during 1925–29 addressed French attempts to prevent their artworks from being removed from the country.38 An article in a 1930 issue of International Studio argued that the “Modern French School of the Eighties and Nineties Lacks Distinction.”39 By the early 1930s roughly half of the articles under painting related to exhibitions in North America. The story of the Readers’ Guide art and painting series reflects the rise [End Page 638] to prominence of museums in the art world. By the 1980s virtually all of the French art and painting listings referred to museum exhibitions.

Table 7.
Listings for “Art, French” plus “Painting, French” as a Percentage of the Total by Five-Year Periods, 1890–1997

As the Readers’ Guide series continues toward the present, it cross-references more of the French artists under their own names. Future researchers may wish to tabulate all of those individuals so cross-referenced, but it is doubtful that even these maintain the proportion for France in the face of the increasing pagination of the series. More important in assessing France’s status in the external world, however, is that the separation of the artists by name indicates a slackening of interest in France per se as an artistic or painterly destination. The count for the separate entry under “Picasso, Pablo” increases, but he is cross listed as a Spanish rather than a French painter. The only reference to Picasso in the entire French series is a 1990 New Republic essay called “Pic-ah-so,” which deals with Japanese interest in French art. In 1991 a subheading for “collectors and collecting” was added to the “painting, French” classification, and the four articles listed in this grouping all related to a Walter Annenberg donation to the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Two additional arts series identifying France show patterns that differ from the arts and painting models just described. Cinema (table 8) and haute couture (table 9) show variations on the theme of the decline in listings for France in the Readers’ Guide. The cinema series begins in 1900–1904 with a listing for “kinematographs,” which in 1905–9 was changed to “moving pictures” and in 1977 became “motion pictures” [End Page 639] (table 8 shows only the data for the subcategory “France,” which began in the 1925–29 period; hence the term kinematographs does not appear). The first entry for “moving pictures, France” referred to a 1929 article, “Why Paris Goes to the Movies,” published in the Literary Digest, and the rate of increase from the opening five-year period to the 1995–97 cluster is almost sixfold. By 1930–34 the articles showed concern with the impact of American film, evidenced in article titles that included “Paris Raps our Movie Methods” in Literary Digest, “France May Open Door to American Talkies” in BusinessWeek (published in 1931), and “American Movies in France” in Canadian Forum (1932). The year 1932 also saw the publication of an article on René Clair.40 Then came Jean Renoir, featured in an article in 1939.41

Table 8.
Listings for “Moving Pictures, France” (Changes to “Motion Pictures, France”) as a Percentage of the Total by Five-Year Periods, 1890–1997
Table 9.
Listings for “Clothing Industry, France” as a Percentage of the Total by Five-Year Periods, 1890–1997 (1895–99 Listing Is “Clothing Trade, France”)

The next large increase, a threefold one from 1945–49 to 1950–54, was accompanied by a postwar expectation of “Revival in France,” as expressed in a Newsweek article. The tribulations of French filmmakers and American films in France were featured in the articles of the early 1950s.42 A decline of one-third followed in 1955–59, after which the series reached its crest in 1960–64, clearly tied to “new wave,” the title of several of the articles during this time period, with two devoted to François Truffaut. The listings spoke of a cinematic renaissance in France, which caused “moral concern” in the words of [End Page 640] one U.S. magazine and was characterized by “refined depravity” in the words of another.43

Even the film world, where the numbers go up toward the end of the study, is problematic. The new wave was short-lived. By the second half of the 1960s there was a sense of the new wave ebbing as the articles on this theme dropped away.44 Themes for the listings for the early to mid-1970s included Roberto Rossellini, and two articles dealt with the film Les Chinois à Paris.45 A decline in the late 1970s witnessed some discussion of the film Chantons sous l’occupation, which deals with those who had lived well under the wartime German occupation.46 American films monopolized the westerns. War stories were problematic for French scriptwriters because of the defeats incurred during World War II, in Indochina, and in Algeria. Limitations presented by the Académie Française’s restrictions on French writers undoubtedly spilled into the world of cinema as well. By the early 1980s the listings addressed the “aging of the new wave” in 1981 and its legacy in 1984.47 The U.S. popular press continued to report on French cinema and interviewed Jean-Luc Goddard and Bertrand Tavernier. In 1989 an article in Mademoiselle asked, “Très Blasé: Why Aren’t French Films Any Fun Anymore?” A slight increase in 1995–97 included interviews with Goddard and Eric Rohmer. Significantly, under the classification “motion pictures, France” in 1996 there appeared a subclassification of “history,” under which the new wave was then discussed.48 Although 1995–97 saw an increase in the proportion of articles devoted to French cinema, four of a total of twelve articles, or one-third, addressed cinema in France as a historic rather than a cutting-edge interest.

A concern in France with perceptions of French cinema as passé may have been behind the 1999 release of the film Astérix et Obélix contre César, produced by Claude Berri and intended to break Hollywood’s domination in this area. The most expensive French film ever [End Page 641] produced, it symbolized Gallic resistance to ancient Rome as well as French resistance to Hollywood, and it featured film star Gérard Depardieu. In 1998, 70 percent of French movie ticket purchasers saw American films. According to the British Electronic Telegraph, “only three or four of last year’s 150-odd French films were watchable.”49 Astérix was panned in the French press, however. Le Monde’s reviewer called it “annoying” and “worrying,” adding that “no French cinema-goer worthy of the name can be unaware that this is a matter of the highest national importance.”50 The film was called “dull,” “lacklustre [sic],” “uninspiring,” long on flying elephants, computer-enhanced giant spiders and cloned Romans but short on charm or humor. “The criticism [according to the Telegraph] has a bitter, almost masochistic, tone: for months the French press has boosted the film, unseen, as the last best hope of French cinema in its losing battle against Hollywood domination. The sheer scale of the disappointment reflects the weight of patriotic expectations.”51

In addition to cinema, haute couture is another art that has identified modern France (see table 9). One might expect haute couture to be at the top of this list, but except for the expression à la mode, or the word mode, France’s dominance in fashion does not run very deep around the world. Today, the ready-to-wear industry is one of the most competitive and international, while the most interesting single fashion or trade shows occur throughout the world. A 1989 Newsweek report highlighted French influence, which, it said, had gone “global” in the fashion industry.52 The styles exhibited in the 1990s shows, however, are not particularly French.

The Readers’ Guide listings for haute couture in the twentieth century are found under “clothing industry” and, as in the other examples examined thus far, the numbers for the France subsection are very small. As couture begins with zero for the first five-year period, it shows an obvious increase overall from beginning to end. Its high point occurs in 1955–59. An entry appeared for “clothing trade, France,” under which there were two articles, one an excerpted version of the other, titled “English-Speaking Women and French Commerce,” in 1899.53 The 1895–99 total represented the second highest peak for the entire series. [End Page 642]

The return of the series in 1925–29, now under “clothing industry, France,” was marked by one article, “Overselling Paris,” in the Saturday Evening Post in 1926. The listings disappeared again in the early 1930s to reappear in the late 1930s with a doubling of interest during the 1940–44 German occupation, when the Germans were expected, following their victory over France, to take control of the couture industry.54 Although the numbers were small, the figures for the French clothing industry nearly doubled from 1945–49 to 1950–54 and more than doubled in the following five-year period. The bubble of the late 1950s through the early 1960s paralleled the cinema model and was accompanied with several articles that focused on Christian Dior, although an article in 1957 warned that profits from high fashion were low.55 Articles in 1959 and 1960, respectively, noted the disappearance of the small dressmakers of Paris and the problem of piracy in the fashion industry.56 Listings disappeared again in 1970–74, then returned in 1975–79 and scored a tertiary high in 1980–84 with articles on Chanel and Dior and one defining couture as “splendid craft.”57 By the late 1980s, lace was selling in Paris at $300 a yard and, as previously mentioned, French fashion was going “global.”58 The clothing series showed an increase of nearly 25 percent in 1990–94 and was followed by another increase, of roughly 15 percent, in 1995–97. Articles in the second half of the nineties focused on Paris behind the scenes and the “glorious tradition” of French couture.59

The couture peak in 1955–59, as in the case of the cinema crest in 1960–64, shows an emphasis on France that partially offsets the decline in the previous tables. The importance of Paris as a fashion center remains, but the globalization of the fashion industry, while reflecting French influence on one level, may at the same time lessen its hold on the rest of the world. The perfume industry, related to couture, appears [End Page 643] to remain French, but it may be noted that the Coco Chanel firm was established only in 1920. The golden age for French perfume exports may have been from the rise of Chanel just after World War I until the spread of synthetic perfumes in the 1960s and 1970s.

The last of the arts from which to draw a composite picture of the movement of France in the Readers’ Guide series is gastronomy, which shows an increase overall, as it begins the series with zero but in 1995–97 stood at a level lower than that of 1915–19 (table 10). The gastronomy series, found under “cookery, French,” underwent a name change in 1980 to “cooking, French.” This sequence rose dramatically during the late 1910s, when “French” was first listed as a subclassification under “cookery,” as well as in the 1950s and 1970s before experiencing declines in the early 1980s and in the 1990s.

Table 10.
Listings for “Cookery (to 1980), Cooking (beginning 1980), France” as a Percentage of the Total by Five-Year Periods, 1890–1997

Despite the increases in the twentieth century, the gastronomy series shows a long-term pattern of decline for France when measured by the American series projected back to England in the eighteenth century. If one takes the proportion of French entries in only the totals of the international cookery listings, as opposed to the totals for all the entries, as shown in other tables in this essay, the figures for French cookery in the eighteenth century, as measured in England’s Gentlemen’s Magazine, are 52 percent. The corresponding figures for the nineteenth-century Poole’s are 40 percent. French cookery as a proportion of the international listings held at an average 29.1 percent for the five-year periods from the appearance in the Readers’ Guide [End Page 644] of the French subcategory in 1915–19 through 1934–39, but then declined to an average 15 percent for the years from 1940 through 1994, as the American culinary world expanded into Chinese, Italian, and Mexican, to name just a few.60 While France’s percentage of the total number of entries in the Readers’ Guide expanded during the 1970s, the rest of the culinary world expanded at a rate that kept pace with or exceeded the French. In the long-term view, however, the French ratio in proportion to the rest of the international styles was already in decline at the beginning of the Readers’ Guide sequence. In other words, French gastronomy had fewer competitors for the attention of the Anglo-American cultural world the further back one goes toward the eighteenth century. The nineteenth- and twentieth-century French cookery pattern is supported by a count of restaurant names in Berlin. Taken at ten-year intervals from 1883 through 1913, French restaurant names averaged 7.48 percent of the total restaurants in Berlin. From 1923 through 1993 the corresponding average was 2.08 percent.61

Several developments in the nineteenth century underlay the international cultural valuation of French cuisine. The establishment by the Bordeaux Chamber of Commerce of the appellation contrôlée as a classification and rating system of place names for local wines for the 1855 Paris Exposition helped maintain the prestige of French gastronomy. In 1856, Urban Dubois published La Cuisine de tous les pays, the first French international cookbook. The late-nineteenth-century development of railways and steamships, together with international hotels, often associated with César Ritz and Auguste Escoffier, promoted French cuisine, as did spas at Vichy and Evian in France and at Baden Baden in Germany. Most of the tourist circuits adopted a semi-French service. French cooks, even if Armenian or Italian, traveled all over the world. The spread of electricity facilitated the storage of cheeses, the preparation of desserts, and the ability to chill wines. Pasteurization increased the safety of food consumption.

The Readers’ Guide listing for “cookery, French” as a subset under “cookery” began in 1915–19 with articles that focused on making [End Page 645] French recipes accessible to American housewives.62 Although this first five-year period covered the World War I years, the decision to subcategorize the cookery listings by nationality may have been made before the start of the war, as they appeared in the 1915–18 Readers’ Guide. In any event the subclassification decision preceded American entry into the war, suggesting a culinary model at variance with political history.

Reflecting the coming of the automobile during the 1925–29 rise in the series, the regions also began to appear in the titles of culinary articles with articles on Brittany in 1926.63 In 1937 the American writer M. F. K. Fisher looked nostalgically back to what she considered the golden age of great Paris restaurants in the time of Marie-Antoine Carême and Jean-Anthelm Brillat-Savarin in the early nineteenth century. She noted that only during World War I had the restaurants been as full as in the glory days of Carême and Brillat-Savarin.64 Fisher traveled by automobile to Burgundy, where she recounted her experience of an outstanding dinner served by “a young servant . . . almost frighteningly fanatical about food” at an old mill that had been bought by a Paris restaurateur.65

The end of World War II brought a doubling in the French cookery listings in 1945–49 and a quadrupling in 1950–54. In March 1946 a writer for the New York Times, satirizing wartime regulations on datelines, reported having discovered the world’s best restaurant, “somewhere south of the Loire.”66 A Life magazine article later in 1946 featured Curnonsky, “le prince des gastronomes,” who had done much to promote regional foods, and Dr. Edouard Pomiane, a professor of the physiology of digestion at the Institut Pasteur and a prolific cookbook author—both of whom predicted a renascence of French gastronomy.67 Not surprisingly, the steep increase in the 1950s and the [End Page 646] early 1960s corresponds to “Paris” and tourism listings, reflecting postwar economic recovery and increased tourism, including the presence of large numbers of U.S. service personnel and students and faculty in the junior year abroad.68 During the increase of 1950–54, articles were devoted to France as the land of Brillat-Savarin, study at the Paris Cordon Bleu school, tours of France following the Guide Michelin, and “Provence without Garlic,” among other subjects.69 The Alice B. Toklas cookbook was widely reviewed in 1954. The 1955–59 listings included “Best French Food Afloat: French Liner Liberté,” Elizabeth David’s “Alsatian Cooking,” and “Six Secret Paris Bistros.”70 An American vogue for crêpes suzettes was beginning to become passé, at least according to Craig Claibourne.71 The increase in the series continued into the 1960s, highlighted by the American popularization of French food by Julia Child.72

The years 1970–74 doubled the listings of the previous five years, a dramatic increase but less so than that for 1950–54. Attitudes toward garlic appear to have shifted, if the New York Times Magazine was to be believed. Of significance was the emergence of women chefs, documented in a McCalls article in 1971. A subsection of “cookery, French” called “terminology” listed an article that advised U.S. readers on “how to get and keep the upper hand with a French menu.”73 The reformation of the French culinary that came to be known as “nouvelle cuisine” was addressed in a literary discussion on the “simple” foods of Paul Bocuse by Waverly Root and George Lang in 1972.74 Nouvelle cuisine was directly addressed during 1975–79 by articles titled “French Cooking Is Dead—the New French Cooking Is Born” and “La nouvelle cuisine: Is It Truly New?” in 1975 and 1976, respectively.75 A 1979 [End Page 647] article in the New York Times Magazine returned to the theme of women chefs, whose roles were highlighted in the emergence of the nouvelle cuisine phenomenon in France.76

As with the new wave in cinema, the Readers’ Guide series reflects a short period of interest in nouvelle cuisine. A decrease of almost three-quarters in 1980–84 was followed by a smaller increase in 1985–89 and then by declines in the 1990s.77 By 1981, Newsweek asked whether nouvelle cuisine was already out of fashion.78 Four years later Mimi Sheraton suggested that “moderne” was “newer than nouvelle.”79 Several articles in the 1990s reflected this French decline (see table 10). In 1990, Gael Greene indirectly summarized the entire Readers’ Guide French series when she wrote that despite the enticements of Fauchon’s exotic fruit, Berthillon’s ice cream, Le Duc’s coquillage, Poilâne’s country bread, and the Ferme St.-Hubert’s cheeses, “the gourmand world has widened.”80 The following year, a Newsweek article embellished Greene’s point, arguing that “our love affair with French food is over, done in by new passion for our own chefs and ingredients.” In addition to the French evolving into the more native “California French,” the article cited the spread of the fast-food chain McDonald’s to suggest that the French culinary itself was changing.81

In a 1997 article that asked if there was a crisis in French cooking, Adam Gopnik wrote that the prix-fixe ordinaire of the Parisian corner bistro was passing and that the muse of cooking had migrated “across the ocean to a spot in Berkeley, with occasional trips to New York and, of all places, Great Britain.” He suggested that France might well be ceding her place to the Anglophone world.82 As in the cases of language and cinema, the French culinary continued to experience problems after the 1997 end of the Readers’ Guide tabulations. By 1999 even the select Michelin three-star restaurants in France were experiencing [End Page 648] financial problems. For the first time in the history of the Michelin ratings, in 1996 a three-star restaurant went bankrupt. The costs of running establishments that employed two people per diner, together with high French taxes, meant that even dinner bills of $500 a person were proving insufficient to meet costs. Three-star restaurateurs such as Paul Bocuse and Alain Ducasse found themselves needing to support their establishments through outside activities. According to André Daguin, owner of the Hôtel de France in Auch and president of the National Federation of French Hoteliers, four thousand restaurants go out of business each year in France and although two thousand new restaurants open, many of these are fast-food establishments. Didier Maillet, a promising young chef whose restaurant La Sologne had received favorable reviews in early 1999 in Paris, had previously worked in the United States and said he was considering opening a place in California.83

Reportedly, during the 1990s, a new American style of service, less formal than the French, had developed in fine restaurants in the United States. According to Karen MacNeil, a restaurant consultant and lecturer at the Napa, California, campus of the Culinary Institute of America, “American service is much better than European service right now. . . . When I go to Europe, I am shocked, except at the three-star restaurants, where it’s like an elegant ballet, at how much more professional the American waiters are.”84

The problems faced by French gastronomy at the close of the twentieth century reflect a Readers’ Guide series that, small though the numbers are, almost uniformly shows a decline for France as a presence in the American popular press. Only cinema and philosophy resist the general downward trend. French cinema was problematic, however, as was seen in the 1999 Astérix critiques. Although philosophy peaked in the late 1970s with a secondary high in the late 1990s, its extremely small numbers only minimally offset the other declines. Before the twentieth century, France had few rivals for cultural predominance; before the nineteenth century, even fewer. If statistical inventories in other languages and for earlier periods of French history analogous to those for the Readers’ Guide were available to determine a golden age of French iconicity in the world, even greater than the fin de siècle period, it might have been located in the early medieval era. Broadly speaking, in Charlemagne’s time, France comprised at least a third of [End Page 649] the meaningful cultural space in Europe (together with the Byzantine and Saracenic zones). Other possibilities for a golden age of French cultural iconicity include the era of Saint-Louis and the Crusades, as well as the period when Francis I sought to become Holy Roman Emperor, before the battle of Pavia. France also reached high points of cultural dominance in 1643 at the time of the battle of Rocroi, when the French defeated the Spanish and became the predominant political and cultural force on the continent, and during the eras of the Sun King and Napoleon. By this time, however, the cultural reference zone was also enlarged, so that France faced more competitors.

Clearly, a modern era of interest in France crested after the Third Republic was founded and the new steamships made travel possible during the fin de siècle. The Union postale universelle, established by the 1874 Berne Treaty, exclusively used French as its international working language until English was added in 1996.85 The transformation of Paris, including the installation of electric lights in 1877, and the arrival of increasing numbers of U.S. students, especially women, toward the end of the century contributed to what appears to have been a peak on the eve of the Readers’ Guide series.86 In 1900, Europe dominated the world and people did not travel very far; for Americans, London and Paris were the preferred destinations.

With its victory over Spain in 1898 the United States became a great power. Accordingly, the Readers’ Guide, a U.S. publication, reflected in the next twenty years a shift in power relations as the United States rose and France declined, dramatically manifested in the American intervention during World War I. The decline for France was uneven; there were periods of expansion, notably the “lost generation” tied to World War I and its aftermath. Americans during the 1920s were relatively wealthy and could travel, as the travel and gastronomy tabulations show (see tables 3 and 10). Emblematic of the 1920s interest in France was Charles Lindbergh’s flight to Paris. The Great Depression once more reduced France’s role, with exceptions such as the cinema of Renoir in the 1930s. With the coming of World War II and the German occupation of France, the travel and gastronomy articles declined and articles on political themes increased.

The return of prosperity in the 1950s accounted for increased tourism in France, reflected in the Readers’ Guide counts, which also showed the interest in couture and the cinematic new wave. After 1958, France was given a new birth in the Common Market. Although [End Page 650] the French took advantage of the Common Market to become economically more competitive, much of their distinctiveness was progressively diluted and transformed by closer association with their neighbors. This loss, a diminution in the luster of what has occasionally been called “l’exception française,” is reflected in the declining Readers’ Guide count.87 Symbolically, de Gaulle’s death in 1970 marked the closing of an era of French iconicity in America. The last wave appears to have corresponded to the gastronomy peak in the 1970s. Since then, study of the French language in the United States has declined. An Alta Vista search on the Internet in 1998 showed English with about 77 percent of the listings by language. Japanese was about 7 percent. German, followed by French and Spanish, were all pegged at between 2 and 3 percent. Adding the French minitel to these figures, it might not be unreasonable to estimate the French proportion at roughly 5 or 6 percent—in other words, similar in proportion to the Japanese.88

The decline of France as a cultural icon, at least as measured in the U.S. Readers’ Guide sequences, most dramatic in the years since the 1970s, is part of a long-term process dating back to when France was a great power and people sailed to it on ocean liners. In 1889 the Eiffel Tower was considered new and exciting, a wonder of the modern world. By 1900, however, France’s relative value was changing, a result of the emergence of new cultural competitors, not least of which was the United States. Ironically, it was French contributions to the modern world in many cultural spheres—most clearly in helping link the world by steamship and railway in the late nineteenth century—that set the stage for the decline recorded in the twentieth century. French influence in such arts as couture and gastronomy spread and diluted as the former became increasingly global and the latter transformed as nouvelle or California cuisine. This is the story told by the Readers’ Guide listings and the articles they enumerate. Historians are not often concerned about these intermediate sources, but they offer an interesting perspective on the Braudelian long-term. This article is but a preliminary look at the value of this kind of publications series, offering the historian a chance to see around the edges of the past.

Bertram M. Gordon

Bertram M. Gordon, professor of history and acting provost at Mills College in Oakland, California, is the author of Collaborationism in France during the Second World War (Ithaca, N.Y., 1980) and the editor of The Historical Dictionary of World War II France: The Occupation, Vichy, and the Resistance, 1938–1946 (Westport, Conn., 1998). His recent articles include “German Tourists in World War II France,” Annals of Tourism Research 25 (1998): 616–38; “The Eyes of the Marcher, Paris, May 1968: Theory and Its Consequences,” in Student Protest from the 1960s to the Present, ed. Gerard Jan de Groot (Harlow, U.K.; 1998), 39–53; “World War II France Half a Century After: In Historical Perspective,” in Fascism’s Return: Scandal, Revision, and Ideology, ed. Richard J. Golsan (Lincoln, Nebr., 1998), 152–81; “The ‘Vichy Syndrome’ Problem in History,” French Historical Studies 19 (1995): 495–518; and “L’Etat dans la vie et l’œuvre du général de Gaulle,” L’Espoir 91 (Mar. 1993): 21–28. He currently serves on the editorial board of French Historical Studies.

Footnotes

The author appreciates the research assistance of Debora Edwards and the financial support of Mills College; both were instrumental in the writing of this article.

1. Paul Marston, “Minister Urges Schools to Teach Spanish Not French,” Electronic Telegraph, 18 May 1995, Home News, http://www.telegraph.co.uk.

2. David Millward, “Spanish to Overtake French in Classroom,” Electronic Telegraph, 21 Sept. 1998.

3. James Brooke, “North Dakota, with German Roots, Adopts Spanish as Second Language,” New York Times, 2 Mar. 1996, 6. See also Merri Rosenberg, “Teachers Try to Renew Interest in French,” New York Times, “Westchester,” 25 Oct. 1998, sec. 14, 14.

4. A parallel question to that of how the people of one culture see another is that of the iconicity of a culture to itself, or how a people value their own culture. These questions can be addressed by the kind of systematic tabulations of the various books in print series in English, French, and other languages to complement the results obtained from the Readers’ Guide to Periodical Literature (New York). For an earlier example of the use of publication series statistics to show shifting interest in a specific issue, see Bertram M. Gordon, “The ‘Vichy Syndrome’ Problem in History,” French Historical Studies 19 (1995): 495–518.

5. See William Frederick Poole, with the assistance as associate editor of William I. Fletcher, Poole’s Index to Periodical Literature, 1801–1881 (Boston, 1882).

6. The comparable Poole’s figures for 1882–86 are 0.0020703; for 1887–92, 0.0022775; for 1893–96, 0.0015698; and for 1897–1902, 0.0015479. The figures for the 1890s must be approached with caution in that they are overlapped by the Nineteenth-Century Readers’ Guide, compiled long after the publication of the articles and published in 1944.

7. André Rauch, Vacances en France de 1830 à nos jours (Paris, 1996), 20.

8. Paris Pages, Paris Train Stations, retrieved 28 Feb. 1999 on the World Wide Web: http://www.paris.org:80/Gares.

9. Eugen Weber, Peasants into Frenchmen: The Modernization of Rural France, 1870–1914 (Stanford, Calif., 1976), see especially his discussion of the Freycinet Plan, 210.

10. Harvey Levenstein, Seductive Journey: American Tourists in France from Jefferson to the Jazz Age (Chicago, 1998), 125.

11. Minnie Buchanan Goodman, “Americans on the Eiffel Tower,” Harper’s Weekly, Nov. 1890, 851.

12. There are larger numbers of cross-references in the later editions of the Readers’ Guide, as classifications such as “France” are increasingly subdivided. However, the total listings increase by a factor of eight, meaning that any given entry or cluster of entries must show an eightfold gain just to maintain its proportional representation; a summary check does not indicate this to be the case for France and related listings. In addition, later listings often show more pages in the articles themselves. Again, the frequent growth in the size of the individual magazine issues indicates caution must be used in drawing conclusions.

13. Goodman, “Americans on the Eiffel Tower,” 851.

14. Hemingway described the years 1921–26; see M. H., note in Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast (New York, 1964).

15. The figures go from 0.0001394 in 1890–94, or 0.0003310, if we begin with the twentieth-century series in 1900–1904, to 0.0000056 in 1995–97.

16. “Worm Turns; Tourists Avoid Travel in France,” Newsweek, 7 Sept. 1964, 46. See also “Lost Art of Civilized Touring,” Esquire, Nov. 1964, 126–31.

17. See “Garçon! Souriez! Campaign of Welcome and Amiability,” Time, 23 Apr. 1965, 37; and T. Foote, “French Smile: at Americans! Campaign of Welcome and Amiability,” New York Times Magazine, 20 June 1965, 24–26.

18. See “Another Worry: How Strike Will Cut Tourist Dollars,” U.S. News and World Report, 3 June 1968, 43; and “Coup de Grace?” Newsweek 3 June 1968, 74.

19. Adam Gopnik, “Trouble at the Eiffel Tower,” New Yorker, 4 Aug. 1997, 80.

20. See “En Español, por Favor—Ou Français, oder Deutsch,” New York Times, 1 Jan. 1997, 46.

21. J. Sterling, “Why Do Not the Americans Speak the French Language? Should Use Americans to Teach It,” Arena 10 (1894): 543–44.

22. See C. W. E. Chapin, “Development of Greek and French in American Colleges, Chautauquan 32 (1901): 581–84; and C. H. Grandgent, “French as a Substitute for Latin,” School Review 12 (1904): 462–67.

23. See “Invasion of French Literature by Women,” American Monthly Review of Reviews 33 (1906): 498–99; also “Woman in Recent French literature” and “Neo-Romanticists—a New French Feminist Movement in Literature,” both in Current Literature 39 (1905): 497–99 and 47 (1909): 167–70, respectively. It has been suggested that whereas men studied Latin during this period, women learned French.

24. “En Español.” Even after the disaster of World War I for German studies, the work of Franz Kafka, Sigmund Freud, Thomas Mann, Alfred Döblin, Bertolt Brecht, and Herman Hesse maintained German as a prominent language of culture up to World War II. Germany produced more iconic literary centers, with Goethe in Weimar, Mann in Lübeck, Freud and Robert Musil in Vienna, and Döblin and Brecht in Berlin. German writers often wrote in exile, spreading interest in their language. The French had a smaller population of writers around the world and their literary centers were limited primarily to Paris’s seizième arrondissement and urban underworld of Proust and Georges Simenon’s Inspector Maigret, respectively, and perhaps the Algiers of Albert Camus.

25. G. F. Bridge, “French as a Business Proposition for American Students,” School Review 31 (1923): 662–69.

26. It appears that the centers for the publication of Sartre’s and Camus’s works quickly shifted from France to the English-language world and overseas. This remains to be confirmed by the study of the diffusion of the two writers’ production.

27. C. S. Kersten and V. E. Ott, “Your Foreign Language Program, Is It Relevant?” Education Digest 35 (Apr. 1970): 53–55.

28. Eugen Weber, France Fin de Siècle (Cambridge, Mass., 1986), 6. See also M.-C. Wrenn, “Le Big Flap over Franglais,” Life, 22 Sept. 1972, 73.

29. J. H. M. Salmon, “Oliver Cromwell and the French Romantics,” History Today 30 (Mar. 1980): 16–21.

30. W. R. Doerner, “Troubles of a Tongue en Crise,” Time, 14 Sept. 1987, 49.

31. Susannah Herbert, “Euroland Too Anglo-Saxon for the French,” Electronic Telegraph, 9 Jan. 1999. The role of the Académie Française in stultifying the development of the French language, detaching it from some of the most vibrant elements of urban society, and obliging students, both in France and elsewhere, to study a language they perceived as “classic” and alien, may have over the twentieth century contributed to the more widespread worldwide study of English. This issue merits historical examination.

32. G. Turquet-Milnes, “New Criticism: Albert Thibaudet,” Contemporary Review 125 (1924): 607–15.

33. R. McMullen, “Michel Foucault,” Horizon 11 (fall 1969): 36–39; J. L. Martí, “French Thought in Latin America,” Américas 18 (Sept. 1966): 8–15; and M. Geltmann’s review of Hertzberg’s book in the National Review 20 (1968): 1331–32.

34. The author of “The Philosophy Fad” was J. Swartz. The other two articles were J. Valls-Russell, “France’s Café Symposiasts,” New Leader, 10 Feb. 1997, 11–12; and “Pensées au Lait,” Utne Reader (July–Aug. 1997): 12–13.

35. F. Rothschild, “French Eighteenth-Century Art in England,” Nineteenth Century 31 (1892): 375–90, also published in Living Age, 30 Apr. 1892, 280–89. See also E. R. Pennell, “Royal Academy’s New Departure,” Nation, 6 Feb. 1896, 115–16.

36. C. Waern, “Some Notes on French Impressionism,” Atlantic Monthly 69 (1892): 535–41.

37. N. H. Moore, “Barbizon School in America,” Chautauquan 36 (1903): 421–27 and 498–505. A series of four articles by L. de Fourcaud was titled “German Emperor’s Collection of French Paintings,” Magazine of Art 27 (1903): 208–16 and 321–27, and 28 (Dec. 1903 and May 1904): 53–58 and 330–37.

38. “Defeating Elginism in France: Protection of Public Art Treasures” and “Halting the Traffic in French Ruins,” Literary Digest, 14 Jan. 1926, 26–27, and 9 July 1927, 25–26, respectively.

39. International Studio, 8 Jan. 1930, 8.

40. “Art of René Clair,” Living Age 342 (1932): 181–82.

41. R. R. Plant, “Jean Renoir,” Theatre Arts 23 (1939): 429–35.

42. See “Suprreemly Morral [sic]: Tarzan,” Newsweek, 20 Aug. 1951, 56; and A. Knight, “What’s Happened to French Films?” Saturday Review, 24 May 1952, 33.

43. See “Refined Depravity: Current Trend in French Moviemaking,” America, 12 Dec. 1959; and Genêt, “Letter from Paris: Moral Concern over New-Wave French Films,” New Yorker, 13 Aug. 1960, 88.

44. A. Knight, “New Life for the New Wave: MCA’s European Venture,” Saturday Review, 20 Aug. 1966, 38.

45. J. R. MacBean, “Rossellini’s Materialist Mise-en-Scène of La Prise du pouvoir par Louis XIV,” Film Quarterly 25 (winter 1971): 20–29. On the Chinese in Paris, see “Chinese Are Coming: Movie Called The Chinese in Paris,” Newsweek, 11 Mar. 1974, 44, and “Peking’s Pique: Chinese Concern over Les Chinois à Paris,” Time, 11 Mar. 1974, 57.

46. See “Nostalgia and Nightmares: Chantons sous l’Occupation,” Time, 7 June 1976, 40.

47. See R. Grenier, “Aging of the New Wave,” Commentary 71 (Feb. 1981): 61–63; and W. Wolf, New York, 9 Jan. 1984, 68.

48. S. Steeples and A. Katona, “Beyond the New Wave: Four Perspectives on French Cinema,” Film Quarterly 49 (summer 1996): 2–15.

49. Susannah Herbert, “£30m Asterix to Repel Hollywood,” Electronic Telegraph, 6 Jan. 1999,.

50. Jean-Michel Frodon, “Obélix à l’écran ou le coup de l’éléphant,” Le Monde, 3 Feb. 1999, 27.

51. Susannah Herbert, “Asterix: The Own Goal,” Electronic Telegraph, 4 Feb. 1999,.

52. N. Darnton, “French Fashion Goes Global,” Newsweek, 6 Nov. 1989, 75–76.

53. A. Cone, “English-Speaking Women and French Commerce,” Contemporary Review 75 (1899): 710–19, which was excerpted in American Monthly Review of Reviews 19 (1899): 727–28.

54. C. Wolcott, “Adolf Hitler: Grand Couturier; Now That the Paris Fashion Industry Is Nazi-controlled, Various Capitals Are Scrambling for World Leadership,” Living Age, 8 June 1941, 322–28. See also Dominique Veillon, “Fashion,” in The Historical Dictionary of World War II France: The Occupation, Vichy, and the Resistance, 1938–1946, ed. Bertram M. Gordon (Westport, Conn., 1998), 132.

55. “Yield From High Fashion Is Low,” BusinessWeek, 16 Feb. 1957, 68–70. For Dior, see P. E. Deutschman, “How to Buy a Dior Original,” Holiday, Jan. 1955, 44–47; “Dictator by Demand,” Time, 4 Mar. 1957, 30–34, excerpted as “Christian Dior: Dictator of Fashion,” Reader’s Digest, May 1957, 128–32; and “Dior, and an American,” Newsweek, 2 Dec. 1957, 78.

56. P. E. Schneider, “Adieu to Paris’ Little Dressmakers,” New York Times Magazine, 20 Sept. 1959, 16–17; and R. Lecler, “He Wars against the Fashion Pirates,” Coronet, Apr. 1960, 184–88.

57. H. Dorsey, “Couture: The Splendid Craft,” Vogue, Oct. 1982, 292.

58. Darnton, “French Fashion Goes Global.” See also R. Morais, “Lace at $300 a Yard,” Forbes, 23 Oct. 1989, Special Issue, 76–78.

59. K. Betts, “The Glorious Tradition” Vogue, Dec. 1995, 245–67; and P. Weiss, “Couture Unzipped,” Vogue, Oct. 1996, 320–29.

60. Bertram M. Gordon, “‘Going Abroad to Taste’: North Americans, France, and the Continental Tour, the Late Nineteenth Century to the Present,” in Proceedings of the Twenty-Fifth Annual Meeting of the Western Society for French History, ed. Barry Rothaus (Greeley, Colo., 1999). As the most recent Readers’ Guide figures available at the time of the writing of “Going Abroad to Taste” were for 1995, it measures only up to the 1990–94 period.

61. The data are taken from Berlin phone directories (West Berlin for the years 1953–84, 1984 used as the 1983 directory was unavailable) and analyzed in an unpublished paper: Bertram M. Gordon, “Gastronomy, Popular Culture, and the Image of France in the Twentieth Century” (paper presented at the Western European Studies Conference, “France—Future Perfect?” Kalamazoo College, Kalamazoo, Mich., 12 Apr. 1996).

62. See, for example, the series of articles titled “Our French Recipes” and “Savory Dishes from Kitchens in France” that ran in the Delineator in 1917 and 1918.

63. H. Jessup, “Bits of Brittany Bakery,” Delineator, Feb. 1926, 60.

64. She wrote that the women of the early nineteenth century, however, had been “fuller, softer, smoother” than those of the war era, who “wore tight sheathes of glittering cloth over their slender bodies, and helped all the sad young men to be gay and gather rosebuds.” In M. F. K. Fisher, “Set-Piece for a Fishing Party,” Harper’s Monthly Magazine 174 (1937): 443. In her nostalgia for the early nineteenth century, Fisher may have reflected in her own way the higher valuations shown for the French of that era in the Gentlemen’s Magazine and Poole’s.

65. M. F. K. Fisher, “I Was Really Very Hungry,” Atlantic Monthly 159 (1937): 737.

66. Not identifying the restaurant, to which he claimed to have been led blindfolded, the New York Times correspondent rejoiced that France had not lost the art of cooking. See Harold Calender, “‘World’s Best Restaurant’: Major Discovery in the Field of Wining and Dining Is Reported by a Correspondent South of the Loire,” New York Magazine, 31 Mar. 1946, 16.

67. Bernard Frizell, “Gastronomy: Good Eating Has Survived Both War and Politics As France’s Finest Art,” Life, 9 Dec. 1946, 64.

68. Foster Rhea Dulles, Americans Abroad: Two Centuries of European Travel (Ann Arbor, Mich., 1964), 170–71.

69. Joseph Wechsberg, “Provence without Garlic,” Atlantic Monthly, 5 Sept. 1951, 92–95. See also E. Chaix, “Come Dine in the Land of Brillat-Savarin,” Rotarian, Mar. 1953, 12–13; E. Church, “How to Make a Cook’s Tour: Michelin Guide,” House Beautiful, Sept. 1951, 136–37; and F. Levison, “First, Peel an Eel: Paris Cordon Bleu School,” Life, 19 Nov. 1951, 83–84.

70. Roger Angel, “Best French Food Afloat: French Liner Liberté,” Holiday, Feb. 1957, 78–80; Elizabeth David, “Alsatian Cooking,” Vogue, 1 Nov. 1957, 162; and A. Watt, “Six Secret Paris Bistros,” Vogue, 1 Oct. 1958, 186–89.

71. Craig Claibourne, “Crêpes: More Than Suzette,” New York Times Magazine, 17 May 1959, 84–85.

72. L. H. Lapham, “Everyone’s in the Kitchen with Julia,” Saturday Evening Post, 8 Aug. 1964, 20–21. Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking was reviewed by Time and Newsweek in 1970.

73. C. Stinnett, “How to Get and Keep the Upper Hand with a French Menu,” Holiday, Feb. 1971, 8. See also “Accent Is Garlic; Daube,” New York Times Magazine, 27 June 1971, 47; and W. Root and M. Eckley, “Secret of Great Women Chefs,” McCalls, Aug. 1971, 70–77.

74. See Waverly Root, “Restoration of French Cooking: A Simple Lunch with Paul Bocuse,” New York Times Magazine, 17 Dec. 1972, 66, and the reply in the same magazine by George Lang, 14 Jan. 1973, 14.

75. R. A. de Groot, “French Cooking Is Dead—the New French Cooking Is Born,” Esquire, June 1975, 131–40; and Jacques Pepin, “La Nouvelle Cuisine: Is It Truly New?” House Beautiful, Jan. 1976, 66–67.

76. Susan Heller Anderson, “Beyond the ‘Nouvelle Cuisine,’” New York Times Magazine, 4 Mar. 1979, 62.

77. The decrease is accentuated because the Readers’ Guide tended at this time to cross-reference and cluster list a growing number of listings but the cross listings do not appear to compensate for the decline in the French cooking percentages in an ever-growing Readers’ Guide total pagination.

78. L. Langway and S. Sullivan, “Au Revoir, New Cuisine?” Newsweek, 7 Dec. 1981, 121–22. The sense of “after” arguably associated with postmodernism was reflected in Patricia Wells, “After Quiche,” New York Times Magazine, 4 Oct. 1987, 61–62.

79. Mimi Sheraton, “Moderne Is Newer Than Nouvelle,” Time, 16 Sept. 1985, 90.

80. Gael Greene, “A Short Tour de France,” New York Magazine, 23 July 1990, 40.

81. Laura Shapiro, “An American Revolution,” Newsweek, 16 Dec. 1991, 54–55.

82. Adam Gopnik, “The Politics of Food: Is There a Crisis in French Cooking,” New Yorker, 28 Apr. and 5 May 1997, 152–54.

83. Frank J. Prial, “Teetering at the Summit in France: Chefs Find That a Three-Star Rating No Longer Guarantees Financial Success,” New York Times, 20 Jan. 1999, B1 and B12.

84. Quoted in William Grimes, “The New American Service: Easygoing, Not French and Formal,” New York Times, 3 Feb. 1999, B1 and B12.

85. Union postale universelle (Universal Postal Union), retrieved 28 Feb. 1999 from the World Wide Web: http://www.imf.org/external/np/sec/decdo/upu.htm.

86. See Levenstein, Seductive Journey, 92 and 207–8.

87. The term l’exception française has recently been used in reference to a French unwillingness to accept U.S.-inspired “neoliberal” globalization on both political and cultural levels, including, for example, resistance to the Internet in favor of the Académie Française. For an article castigating American critiques of France as “antimodern” in the mid-1990s, see Thomas C. Frank, “Cette Impardonnable Exception Française,” Le Monde diplomatique, Apr. 1998, 12. For a reference to a conference held at the Institut d’études politiques de Bordeaux, 8–9 Oct. 1998, see “La Recherche de l’exception française,” Le Monde diplomatique, Oct. 1998, 2.

88. Internet search on “language/nationality” retrieved on 2 Oct. 1998 using the Alta Vista search engine.

Additional Information

ISSN
1527-5493
Print ISSN
0016-1071
Launched on MUSE
1999-10-01
Open Access
No
Archive Status
Archived 2004
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