Future Tense: The Culture of Anticipation in France between the Wars by Roxanne PanchasiFuture Tense: The Culture of Anticipation in France between the Wars by Roxanne Panchasi

Future Tense: The Culture of Anticipation in France between the Wars

byRoxanne Panchasi

Hardcover | May 28, 2009

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In the years between the world wars, French intellectuals, politicians, and military leaders came to see certain encounters-between human and machine, organic and artificial, national and international culture-as premonitions of a future that was alternately unsettling and utopian. Skyscrapers, airplanes, and gas masks were seen as traces in the present of a future world, its technologies, and its possible transformations. In Future Tense, Roxanne Panchasi illuminates both the anxieties and the hopes of a period when many French people-traumatized by what their country had already suffered-seemed determined to anticipate and shape the future.

Future Tense, which features many compelling illustrations, depicts experts proposing the prosthetic enhancement of the nation's bodies and homes; architects discussing whether skyscrapers should be banned from Paris; military strategists creating a massive fortification network, the Maginot Line; and French delegates to the League of Nations declaring their opposition to the artificial international language Esperanto.

Drawing on a wide range of sources, Panchasi explores representations of the body, the city, and territorial security, as well as changing understandings of a French civilization many believed to be threatened by Americanization. Panchasi makes clear that memories of the past-and even nostalgia for what might be lost in the future-were crucial features of the culture of anticipation that emerged in the interwar period.

Title:Future Tense: The Culture of Anticipation in France between the WarsFormat:HardcoverDimensions:240 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.2 inPublished:May 28, 2009Publisher:Cornell University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0801446708

ISBN - 13:9780801446702

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Editorial Reviews

"Roxanne Panchasi's core insight is that the future can be a congenial place to think about the present—even if the thoughts themselves are far from reassuring. She shows us how certain objects—artificial limbs, vitamins, domestic furnishings, America—intruded on the French imagination of the 1920s and 1930s, objectifying forebodings of stagnation and irrelevance. Future Tense is a timely book in the cultural history of anxiety."—Raymond Jonas, Giovanni and Amne Costigan Professor of History, University of Washington