French And Italian | Rebels With and Without a Cause
E103 | 0056 | Mickel


Topic : The Roots of Rebellion.  In "Rebels with and without a Cause"
we shall explore what makes the human being a revolutionary. We shall
probe the nature of revolution and government in western European
culture as it is manifested in various forms of literature and
thought.  In the first week of the course we shall analyze the
relationship between man and God and man and society through important
religious, philosophical, and political writings. Our literary
exploration of the idea of the rebel will take us into literature of
eleventh- and twelfth-century France. We shall read a twelfth-century
French play and an eleventh-century saint's life. Can a saint be a
rebel? If so, how does he relate to one of the greatest rebels, Don
Juan, who appears in the seventeenth century drama, The Trickster of
Seville? Is the Lover in the Romance of the Rose a rebel or
revolutionary?

Then we shall pursue the idea of utopia and the ideas of revolution in
European and American society of the eighteenth and nineteenth century
in such writer as Rousseau, Hobbes, Madison, Thoreau and Marx. In what
sense is any government legitimate? When does one's freedom become
rebellion? What are the forms of government (Plato) that men have
formed to meet their needs? What are their strengths and weaknesses?

Finally, we shall consider the rebel and what we have learned in such
famous novels as Dostoievski's Crime and Punishment and Stendhal's The
Red and the Black. And we shall close with the recent New York Times
best seller of Krakauer, Into the Wild. As part of the course the
class will see two movies, On the Waterfront and Rebel without a
Cause.

Members of the class will write two short essays. There will be two
hour exams and a final.