French and Italian | Reading and Expression in French
F300 | 16896 | Matheis, Eric

Topic: Ecrire l’amour: La passion amoureuse et la littérature

Love and the written word will be the focus of this introduction to
French literature. We will read works that exemplify this theme from
the major literary genres: poetry, theater, the short story, and the
novel. Students in the course will learn skills of reading,
analyzing, and writing about texts in French, and will develop
individual approaches to the material. Although we will examine
briefly various notions of love, taken from history, philosophy,
psychoanalytic theory, feminism, and gender studies, the course will
emphasize the idea of love as a specifically literary phenomenon—one
of fundamental importance for Western culture and society—from
fin’amor and courtly love, to romantic love and amour
fou. We will read Marie de France’s Lais and selected
examples of medieval lyric poetry (in modern French translation); we
will also read several important poems from the sixteenth,
nineteenth, and twentieth centuries. We will study two plays: a
tragedy, Racine’s Phèdre, and a short comedy, Molière’s
Les Précieuses ridicules. Finally, we will read a few short
stories by Maupassant, and the novel L’Amant by Marguerite
Duras. This course will make use of images, music, and film; it will
be conducted entirely in French. Prerequisite is F250: fulfills A &
H requirement.