French and Italian | Reading and Expression in French
F300 | 9599 | Semk, Chris


Topic: Religion and Literature.  This course is designed as an
introduction to the study of French literature. Through the
examination of four genres (poetry, theater, short story, and
novel), students will develop the tools of literary analysis while
building upon their linguistic skills in French.

We will begin by reading a selection of lyric poems from the 16th to
the 20th centuries. Our next text, Corneille’s 17th-century tragedy
Polyeucte, traces the final day of an early Christian martyr who
forsakes everything, including life, for his newfound faith and
questions the distinction between heroism and fanaticism. We will
then turn toward 19th-century prose by reading two short stories by
Flaubert. “Un cśur simple” presents the image of selfless charity in
the figure of Félicité, while “La Légende de Saint Julien
l’Hospitalier” examines the relationship between sin and forgiveness
by revisiting the legend of a saint who unknowingly kills his
parents. Finally, we will read Cheikh Hamidou Kane’s novel
L’aventure ambiguë and follow the protagonist’s spiritual and
geographical itinerary from a Koranic school in Senegal to a French
university, appreciating the many moments that force him to confront
his traditional Islamic values with secular Western society.

Students will be graded on classroom participation, an explication
de texte, a short essay paper, and two final exams. Prerequisite is
F250, F255, or F265. F300 fulfills A & H requirement.