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AIDS in French Culture
Social Ills, Literary Cures
David Caron


Why France ignored the AIDS crisis

The deluge of metaphors triggered in 1981 in France by the first public reports of what would turn out to be the AIDS epidemic spread with far greater speed and efficiency than the virus itself. To understand why it took France so long to react to the AIDS crisis, AIDS in French Culture analyzes the intersections of three discourses—the literary, the medical, and the political—and traces the origin of French attitudes about AIDS back to nineteenth-century anxieties about nationhood, masculinity, and sexuality.

"Literary and cultural analysis come together here as Caron casts brilliant light on the disastrously inadequate public response to the AIDS pandemic in France. . . . He shows how literature has supplied the communitarian voice that would otherwise have been lacking."—Ross Chambers, author of Facing It: AIDS Diaries and the Death of the Author

David Caron is associate professor of French at the University of Michigan.

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cover of AIDS in French Culture is a photo of a large pink condom as part of a public display to raise AIDS awareness.

November 2001
216 pp
.  6 x 9

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