Our Paris correspondent tells us of what shook France, and perhaps all of Europe, forty years ago this month. -- Levi Asher
It’s spring of 1968. France has emerged from post World War II reconstruction with an economy that is strong and growing. Consumer goods are plentiful, and France’s gross domestic product has surpassed that of Britain for the first time in 200 years. Charles De Gaulle is president. France is a major world power. All is right with the world. Or is it?
The late 1960s also coincided with the coming of age of a population explosion, those children born between 1945 and 1965, after the Second World War. This new generation of young people was coming up against a French society that had not changed, despite economic growth, for hundreds of years. French society was authoritarian. The public morality was conservative. Religion, patriotism and respect for authority were the values of the adult generation in France in 1968.
Branching Out, a joint project of Poets House and the Poetry Society of America, with funding from the National Endowment for Humanities, presents Hettie Jones on the Beat Poets, Tuesday, May 6 @ 6:00 PM.