As recent history continues to show, France and the United states enjoy a love-hate relationship. Expressions of admiration and dismissal of one culture by the other are usually based on superficial judgments derived from well-worn cliches that do little more than perpetuate perceived and real differences between the two societies. Those who study these differences inevitably examine them through their own cultural peculiarities. Marianne and the Puritan attempts to draw these various analyses together by contrasting the different ways each culture constructs the romantic couple through U.S. and French popular cinema. David I. Grossvogel's broad sweeping, comparative, and interdisciplinary study is conducted with great elegance and erudition. It is a must for film studies, literary criticism, francophone studies, art history, and cultural sociology and anthropology.
David I. Grossvogel is the Goldwin Smith Professor of Comparative Literature and Romance Studies at Cornell University.