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France: History and Literature: Reference Sources for History

Last Updated: 5/21/2009

Reference Sources for History

Use these subject dictionaries, encyclopedias, bibliographies, indexes, etc. to read up on topics and authors and find further reading references.  This is a very long section, with these parts, in this order:

Guide to Reference
General Encyclopedia
Subject Dictionaries for History
French History Bibliography--Current
French History Bibliography--Retrospective
Gazetteers/Place Name Dictionaries and Atlases
Quotations

Guide to Reference  Main Z 1035 .G8 ed. 11

Published by the American Library Association in 1996,  this is the last print version of an annotated guide to reference works in all subject areas.  From the table of contents choose the Humanities section if your work is in literature or language  Choose the History and Area Studies section for History  The kinds of sources presented here are the kinds of works presented in this section of this research guide you are working your way through. 

General Encyclopedia

Encyclopaedia Universalis. AE 25 f.E3 1993 v. 1-18 Main

Thousands of articles, on all topics. Comparable to Encyclopedia Britannica or Encyclopedia Americana in the English speaking world. Descriptions of other general French language encyclopedias may be found in the Guide to Reference Books, 1996, p. 112.

Subject Dictionaries for History

Some general works listed first.  Then list becomes chronological by period of history.  So works about 20th c. are at the end.

Historical Dictionary of France. Main DC 35 .R39 1998

Entries for persons and topics in French history. 60 pp. bibliography on all aspects of French history at the back.

Dictionnaire de l'Historien.  Main D 13 .D537 2015

355 entries signed by 200 authors.  Entries are from one to about three pages and cover themes in history, places, broad topics, issues in historical thought.  For example:  etranger, Europe, evenement, evolutionnisme, exclus, exegese, fait colonial, fait divers, fait historique, fait(s) religieux, famille, feodalite, just to choose a few.  No biographical entries. French publisher and point of view. Two overall French academic editors: one is professor emeritus of medieval history the other is professor of contemporary history and culture of the 20th c.  Further reading references.

France Profiled, Essential Facts on Society, Business, and Politics in France. Main DC 33.7 .F723 1999

Mix of history and information on contemporary France. Information on administrative regions, historical chronology, culture, the major cities, the economy, social institutions, departments and territories overseas.

Encyclopedia of Western Colonialism Since 1450

Europe 1450-1789, Encyclopedia of the Early Modern World Main Library Reference D 209 .E97 2004 v. 1-6

Covers the early modern period, between the end of the Middle Ages and the French Revolution. Signed articles, by scholars, with further reading references. Some articles are extensive. Has biographical as well as topical articles. Some black and white illustrations, especially of people. Generous cross references.

Oxford Encyclopedia of the Modern World

Covers 1750 to the present, providing special attention to social, economic, cultural and political topics applicable to the time. Articles on countries, regions, and ethnic groups; themes involving social history, demography, family life, politics, economics, religion, thought, education, science and technology, and culture; events such as major wars; and extensive coverage of the United States.  50 maps. Provides information about and interpretation of major developments across particular regions both salient events and regional perspectives on common themes such as politics, demography, social class, and gender.

Dictionnaire de la Colonisation Francaise.  Main JV 1807 .D53 2007

Dictionnaire des Esclavages  Main HT 861 .D53 2010

Encyclopedia of European Social History from 1350-2000 Reference HN 373 .E63 2001 v. 1-6

Dictionnaire des Corsaires et Pirates  Main G 535 .D495 2013

Over 600 signed entries about seafaring adventurers and shipowners, about a page long each.  Also has topical entries and entries for names of places all over the world associated with piracy, several black and white maps, a glossary of terms, and a chronology of world piracy from 1326 to 2012.  Emphasis, however, is pre-20th century.  Entries authored by professors, teachers, doctoral students, cartographers, geographers, archivists, independent scholars.

Toute l'Histoire par les Dates et les Documents, Chronologie de l'Histoire de France et Regards sur le Monde. Main DC 35 .J6 1989 

"A chronology present in three main columns: 1) in France, 2) outside France, 3) Civilization, science, and technology. A fourth column gives quotations, facts, lists, etc. relevant to the year(s) covered in the other columns. Prehistoric times through 18th century treated in 80 pages."

Dictionnaire des Intellectuels Francais. Main DC 33.7 .J85 1996

Les personnes. Les lieux. Les moments. Page long entries. Bibliographic references.

Dictionary of Untranslatables, a Philosophical Lexicon Main B 51 .V6313 2014

Dictionary of philosophical terms in the European Continental tradition that resist or confound translation, as well as themes relating to the act of translating itself.  Entries for 369 terms range in length from a paragraph to several pages.  More than just simple definitions; the terms are meditations on etymology that locate them in the contexts of ancient and modern languages.

Medieval France, an Encyclopedia. Reference DC 33.2 .M44 1995

"An introduction to the political, economic, social, religious, intellectual, literary, and artistic history of France from the early 5th century to the late 15th." Entries range in length from a paragraph to a few pages. Bibliographic references. Articles in the English language.

Dictionnaire de la France Medievale. Main DC 60.6 .F38 1993

Similar to the work just above, only with shorter articles and in the French language. Mix of biographical and topical articles. No bibliographic references.

France, a Reference Guide from the Renaissance to the Present Main DC 35 .R64 2004

Contains a 110 page history of France followed by the historical dictionary of entries on topics, names, places, and events. Concludes with a chronology 751-2004. Appendices of black and white maps and rulers of France since 814.

Dictionnaire Raisonne de l'Alchimie et des Alchimistes Main QD 23.5 .M66 2010

Encyclopedia of the Renaissance Reference CD 361 .E53 1999 v. 1-6

Dictionnaire Louis XIV Main DC 124.5 .D53 2015

Entries for people, places, topics of the era of Louis XIV, with further reading references.  Entries vary in length from a paragraph to a couple of pages.

Dictionnaire Libertin, la Langue due Plaisir au Siecle des Lumieres  Main PQ 265 .W354 2011

Dictionnaire du Grand Siecle. Main DC 35 .D57 1990

Covers the "siecle de Louis XIV," 17th and early 18th centuries. Biographical and topical articles, from a paragraph in length to a few pages. Some illustrations. No further reading references. In French.

Encyclopedia of the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars: a Political, Social, and Military History  Reference DC 220 .E53 2006 v. 1-3

Companion to the French Revolution

Blackwell-Wiley online reference materials.  "Twenty-nine newly written essays reassessing the origins, development, and impact of this great turning point in modern history. Examines the origins, development and impact of the French Revolution. Features original contributions from leading historians, including six essays translated from French. Presents a wide ranging overview of current historical debates on the revolution and future directions in scholarship Gives equally thorough treatment to both causes and outcomes of the French Revolution."

Historical Dictionary of the French Revolution Main DC 147 .H36 2015

Contains a chronology of events, 1786-1799, topical, biographical, and event entries, and a bibliography. The bibliography contains references to documentary collections, general histories, biographies and memoirs, each period of the Revolution, works on religion and the church, cultural histories, social and economic histories, military histories, provincial histories, and works on women and gender, international reactions to the Revolution, Paris, and historiography.

Historical Dictionary of the French Revolution, 1789-1799. Main DC 147 .H57 1984 v. 1-2

Over 500 articles on persons, events, constitutional developments. Short bibliographies with each entry. Chronology. In English.

Critical Dictionary of the French Revolution. Main DC 148 .D5313 1989

"A summary of contemporary scholarship presented as a collection of essays arranged in five groups: events [of the Revolution], actors [principal people and groups], institutions and creations [i.e. army, clubs, suffrage, taxes, assemblies], ideas [i.e. fraternity, Jacobinism], historians and commentators [on the Revolution at the time and since then]. Short bibliographies." "Indexes by theme and proper name to name of article; alphabetical listing of articles within the sections. Good illustrations in color." In English.

Dictionnaire de la Presse Francaise Pendant la Revolution 1789-1799 Main PN 5176 .D53 2005 t. 1-4

Arrangement by area or region.  With each by departement.  Then alphabetically by name of periodical.  Entries are lengthy and include such information as:  title/title changes, dates of founding and of publication, frequency, place of publication and "zone principale de diffusion," names, addresses, biographical information of the proprietors, editors, and printers, volume of circulation, price and mode of distribution, format/size, typographic features, political tendencies explicit or implicit, where copies are held today, bibliographic references about the periodical.

Historical Dictionary of Napoleonic France, 1799-1815  Main DC 201 .H673 1985

"Emphasis on Napoleon's Empire, its 'events, politics, economy and economic developments, society and its evolution, and the institutions and culture of the era'." Mix of topical and biographical articles. Further reading references. Chronology. In English.

Dictionnaire Napoleon. Main DC 147 .D53 1989

More comprehensive than the work just above; in French. Mix of topical and biographical articles. Bibliographical references. A thematic index at back shows the article titles on various topics, such as all the articles pertinent to finance publiques, for example.

Dictionnaire des Feministes France XVIIIe-XXIe Siecle.  Main HQ 1115 .D532 2017

Also has some topical articles.  Signed entries.  Further reading references.  Biographical entries are 2-3 pages.  Some topical articles are longer.

Dictionnaire Litteraire des Fleurs et des Jardins (XVIIIe et XIXe Siecles) Main PN 56 .F55 D537 2017

Many long articles on 18th and 19th c. writers and their associations with flowers and gardens.  Some topical articles.  Signed entries with bibliographies.

Nations and Nationalism: a Global Historical Overview

Covers all aspects of nationalism, in all parts of the world, from the time of the French Revolution to the present day.

Palgrave Encyclopedia of Imperialism and Anti-Imperialism  Reference JC 359 .P335 2016 v. 1-2

Presents prominent themes, epochal events, theoretical explanations, and historical accounts of imperialism from the beginnings of modernity and the capitalist world system in the 16th c. to the present day.  Especially emphasizes 20th c. events, etc. around the world.  Imperialism defined: the military, political, legal, and/or economic control of one people's territory by another, so that the subject territory is made to relinquish resources, labor, and produce, for little or no compensation.  This work examines how imperialism has impacted societies in the Third World and how it shaped social relations and popular perceptions in the First-World countries of Europe, North America, and Japan.  Not a straight forward A-Z dictionary arrangement.  Instead there are chapters of signed entries on: biographies of significant persons, country and regional analyses, culture and the arts, history, movements/ideologies, political economy, and themes/concepts.  Many articles have lengthy further reading references.  The contributors are academics from around the world.

Historical Dictionary of France from the 1815 Restoration to the Second Empire.  Main DC 256 .H5 1987 v. 1-2

Over 900 articles cover the period from the end of the reign of Napoleon Bonaparte to the beginning of the reign of Louis Napoleon, on movements, cultural life, influences, and political figures. Chronology. Bibliographic references. In English.

Historical Dictionary of the French Second Empire, 1852-1870.  Main DC 276 .H57 1985

Over 300 articles on the period, on people, institutions, political events, places, concepts and ideas, aspects of culture, society, the economy. Chronology. Further readings. In English.

Dictionnaire du Second Empire.  Main DC 276 .D53 1995 Main

In French. Topical and biographical articles. Modeled after the Dictionnaire Napoleon, above, in scope and coverage. Bibliographical references. Illustrations.

Historical Dictionary of the Third French Republic, 1870-1940.  Main DC 337 .H57 1986 v. 1-2

Over 700 entries largely written by American scholars, covers all aspects of French civilization during this period, cultural, political, social, economic, and political. Bibliographic references. In English.

France de la Belle Epoque.  Main DC 33.6 .L34 2013

A period of  great transformation in political and social life, medicine and other sciences, literature, the arts in France.  Covers 1870-1914.  Smattering of topics.

Dictionnaire Historique de la Vie Politique Francaise au XX Siecle.  Main DC 369 .D53 1995

Meaning, since 1918. Topics, people, places. Bibliographical references. In French.

Dictionnaire des Mondes Juifs Main DS 102.8 .A88 2008

Several essays to start on currently important topics re Jews in France.  Chronology from 586 to the first decade of the 21st century.  Dictionary entries for persons, topics, events; some are short, some are several pages.  Bibliography at end.

Dictionnaire de la Shoah Main D 804.25 .D53 2009

Several articles to start on the Holocaust.  A chronological section from 1933 to after 1945.  Dictionary entries for persons, topics, events, some longer than others.  Brief bibliography at end.

Encyclopedie de la Second Guerre Mondiale  Main D 740 .E53 2015

Entries for people, places, events, conferences, organizations,  broad topics (such as cinema, exactions and crimes of war, historiographie, mobilisation for war, resistances, science, torture, gouvernements, Shoah).  Entries have bibliographic references at the end and are signed.

Dictionnaire du Francais sous l'Occupation PC 2689 .K37 2013

Note call number in PC; this is language dictionary, not a history dictionary per se.  Defines French words pertaianing to the resistance movement, collaboration with the Germans, and daily life in France and Belgium between 1940 and 1945.

Dictionnaire de la France sous l'Occupation.  Main DC 397 .A618 2011

Historical Dictionary of World War II France, the Occupation, Vichy, and the Resistance, 1938-1946. Main DC 397 .H58 1998

One of several such dictionaries. Entries for people, events, places, military concepts and terms, institutions, battles, cultural phenomena of the time. Further reading references. In English.

Historical Dictionary of the French Fourth and Fifth Republics, 1946-1991.    Main DC 401 .H57 1992

"269 articles ranging from politics to economics, to foreign and defense policy to society and culture." Bibliographical references. In English. Chronology.

Columbia History of Twentieth Century French Thought  Reference DC 33.7 .C575 2006

Signed entries, by specialists, with further reading references. Very brief, not very useful chronology at the beginning. “Goes beyond philosophy itself to present studies of all aspects of the French intellectual world of the 20th c.: anthropology, art and architecture, classics, cognitive science, economics, the exact sciences, film, history, the life sciences, literature, music, philosophy, religion, sociology.” Book has four parts: movements and currents, themes, intellectuals, and dissemination. In the front there is a list of the articles in each section. To write on a movement, for example, one would benefit from reading about it in this work: annales school, feminism, surrealism, etc. Good place for idea generation.

Cambridge Companion to Modern French Culture Main DC 33.7 .C27 2003

Encyclopedia  of Contemporary French Culture Reference DC 33.7 .E53 1998

A Dictionary of Contemporary France. Main DC 415 .A65 1999

"Attempts to identify and define those terms and acronyms used in newspapers when reporting on France since 1970. Tends to concentrate on institutions, public figures, and events." Short entries. In English. No bibliographic references.

French Culture 1900-1975. Main DC 33.7 .F726 1995

Goal is to provide a ready reference for the vocabulary of culture. Contains entries on persons, places, terms, art forms, and organizations associated with creative expression in the humanities, those forms of creativity that seek to describe and interpret the human condition. Deals with the rich world of art, music, literature, drama, radio, television performance, movies, and dance. No entries for individual works. Covers both high and low art. Persons, ideas, and events outside the arenas of creative expression that stimulated artistic responses have special significance in culture and are included. Certain specific social and historical forces and the creative responses they prompted are also described. In English.

Handbook of French Popular Culture. Main DC 33.7 .H29 1991

"Bibliographic essays on advertising, comics, detective stories, science fiction, cartoons, film, broadcasting, culinary matters, leisure, love, music, serial publications, and sports. Each provides historical background, analyzes trends and relevant studies, and offers suggestions for further research. List of museums. Index by topic and cited author."

A la Ronde du Grand Paris, Dictionnaire des Lieux de Paris et de sa Banlieue Cites par Louis-Ferdinand dans Son Oeuvre et sa Correspondence, ou Frequentes par l'Ecrivain.  Main PQ 2607 .E834 Z866 2016 v. 1-3

Illustrations.  Quotes from Celine.  Entries for streets, passages, parcs, woods, quartiers, more.  Indexing by themes (topics) and by personal names cited. 

Dictionnaire de Mai 68 Main DC 414 .D44 2008

Entries for persons, topics, events, in long paragraphs to a couple of pages.

Dictionnaire de l'Immigration en France.  Main JV 7925 .L2334 2012

The theme of migration and migration is at the crossroads and in the heart of the social sciences.  This dictionary combines, as far as possible, a plurality of scientific perspectives: historical, legal, economic, demographic, sociological and anthropological.  Text in French.  Entries are not individually signed but the authors' credentials are given at the beginning of the book, along with the names of the entries they wrote.  Most are French academics.  Articles are alphabetical, lengthy, with sub-parts.  There is a list of all the topics at the back.  Covers such topics as colonisation and immigration, affirmative action, antisemitism, the banlieues, clandestine migration, retention centers, citizenship and political participation, discrimination, church and immigration, ethnicity, families and women in immigration, lodging, national identity, media, minorities, police, the press, refugees, romanies, health, tolerance, ethnic statistics, transnationalism, etc.

Dictionnaire Historique et Critique du Racisme Main HT 1523 .D56 2013

540 articles by 250 specialists.  Articles are on topics, such as justice sociale, islamophobie, ethnocentrisme, imperialisme, stereotypes, neo-racisme.  Also biographical entries, entries on countries, on names of organizations.  Lengthy articles, with bibliographies, signed by scholarly authors.

Dictionnaire des Racismes, de l'Exclusion, et des Discriminations Main HT 1523 .D538 2010

Nearly 100 pages of articles by various scholars on postcolonial French society, what discrimination is, minorities in French media,etc.  History of this topic from the 15th century forward, about 40 pages, followed by dictionary entries for persons, topics, organizations, etc. Long entries for some topics.  Bibliography.

Dictionnaire des Banlieues Main HT 352 .F8 D53 2009

Some short chapters about problems of French suburbs, short chapters on various eras from 1850 to the present, dictionary entriess for persons, topics, places.  Lengthy articles.  Bibliography.

Mots de l'Empire, Lexique Militaire et Historique  Main DC 201 .J68 2012

Very brief entries for topics, people, and many military terms.  No further reading references.  Very short bibliography of other dictionaries drawn upon.

Encyclopedia of Transitional Justice Business Library K 5250 .E53 2013 v. 1-3

300 entries from noted scholars and practitioners. Global in scope.  Covers both historical and contemporary periods.  v. 1=theoretical aspects.  v. 2=over 80 country studies, both historical topics and present day.  v. 3=overview of political backgrounds, missions, and activities of over 100 transititional justice organizations; also has timeline.

Dictionnaire Historique et Juridique de l'Europe.  Main JN 30 .D4886 2013

Biographical, place name, and topical entries, most about a page in length.  Some attention to thought, literature, culture, authors.  Signed entries.  Further reading references.  Covers 1870 to today.  Emphasizes world and regional conflicts, the Cold War, evolution of European treaties and accords during the period.

Dictionnaire du Judaisme Francais Depuis 1944 Main BM 313 .D53 2013

Topical and biographical entries.  Signed entries.  Some entries have further reading references. 

European Immigration: a Sourcebook  Main JV 7590 .E946 2014

Chapters by country discuss immigration history, statistics, and migration policies specific to the nation.  Historical context, information on the current situation, and discussion of media coverage related to immigration issues.  Previous ed. in stacks and also online.

Dictionnaire des Migrations Internationales Approche Geohistorique  Main JV 6021 .D49 2015

Arranged by continent.  With continent there are articles of several pages on each country, with sub-sections on both immigration and emigration for each.  Covers the past as well as the present situations.

Anarchistes, Dictionnaire Biographique du Mouvement Libertaire Francophone  Main HX 830 .A52 2014

Arranged alphabetically by surnames.  Entries are signed and are about a page in length.  Further reading references are provided.  Chronological period covered is 1840-2000.

Dictionnaire des Inegalities Main  HM 821 .D53 2013

500 signed entries, by 215 specialists in history, philosophy, economics, sociology, ethnology, geography, statistics, medicine, and law address inequalities in contemporary society that are gender, age, ethnicity, nationality, class, or geography based.  Entries are about a page long and have further reading references in many cases.

Dictionnaire des Menaces Contemporaines de Leur Prevention et de Leur Traitement Main JZ 5588 .L35 2014 pt. 1-2

A bilingual dictionary of terms, organization names, and acronyms, 17,000 words and phrases.  French to English in v. 1; English to French in v. 2.  No descriptions, just word translations. 

Dictionnaire des Acteurs de l'Europe  Main JN 30 .D524 2015

A dictionary of people, places, organizations, topics important in Western Europe of today.  Further reading references, including websites.  Esp. helpful for EU entitities.  Not many biographical entries.

Dictionnaire des Concepts Nomades en Sciences Humaines Main H 43 .D49 2010 v. 1-2

Long topical articles, arranged alphabetically, signed, with further reading references.  Entries are by a team of  European specialists: sociologists, anthropologists, historians, and art historians.  Long unannotated bibliography at the back of each volume, also.  Some topics: Absolutisme, Administration, Ancien Regime, Avant-Garde, Confession, Droit Musulman, Fortuna, Frontiere, Grand Tour, Haute Moyen Age, Histoire Contemporaine, Humanisme Civique, etc.

Encyclopedie de la Colonisation Francaise Main JV 1807 .E53 2017 v. 1 (A-B)

The beginning volume of what promises to be a huge enterprise.  No biographical entries.  Entries for places, people groups, events, texts, opinions, words/expressions, concepts.  The principle is to follow each entry by a short definition, drawn from texts (as often as possible contemporaneous with events) illustrating the word studied, with scholarly apparatus (comments, explanatory paragraphs of transition, references to documents cited, bibliographies, sometimes filmographies ...).

Dictionnaire de la France Merveilleuse  Main GR 161 .D45 2017

A topical dictionary of the supernatural, the fantastic, apparitions, and enchanted places of France.

 

 

 

 

French History Bibliography--Current (Sources for finding materials, especially periodical articles, written today about French history topics)

Bibliographie Annuelle de l'Histoire de France du Cinquieme Siecle a 1958. Main Z 2176 .B5

Annual volumes cover all topics in French history from the 15th c. to 1958. Published in France. Much of the indexed material will be in French. Use the table of contents pages to find the period and type of history you seek and then scan the references in the chapters. Unannotated. Covers both book and article material.

French History Bibliography--Retrospective

If you need to make an exhaustive search for materials on a topic in French history see Guide to Reference  for the possible book-length bibliographies published in the past. Use these. Also, follow up on the references found in the various French history dictionaries.

Sources Pour l'Histoire de l'Immigration en France de 1830 à Nos Jours: Guide  Main DC 34 .B535 2006

French Vernacular Books, Books Published in the French Languagae before 1601 Main Z 2162 .F74 2007 v. 1-2

Goal is to identify surviving copies of all known editions of works published in the french vernacular during the first great age of print. Entries come from holdings of libraries in Paris, municipal libraries in France outside Paris, and collections outside France itself (over 150 collections; 30% of the items included).  Gives library locations.  Holdings here in the M.S.U. Libraries are included, those on microfilm and in Special Collections.  We own a set of microfilm called French Books Before 1601, set #4265.  Some but not all of the items in this bibliography will be in our microfilm set, but there is no correlation between the two, so this bibliography can not be used, directly, as a finding aid for the film set.  2268 items in this film set are in our online catalog. Step one: use this bibliography.  Step two: check the titles you want that you find in the bibliography in our online catalog by author and/or title.  Items might also be found online in Gallica, ARTFL (link just below here), HathiTrust, or Google Books.

Gazetteers/Place Name Dictionaries and Atlases

Dictionnaire de Noms de Lieux de la France  Main DC 14 .B55 2011

Atlas des Empires Maritimes.  Map Library Short Atlas G 1046 .F1 C67 2013

Historical maps and illustrations help the reader discover the secrets of sea power from the ancient world to the present.

Quotations

Dictionnaire de Citations Francophones Main PN 6086 .D538 2011

Over a hundred famous authors comment on the French language.

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