French and Italian | Théâtre et essai
F305 | 27665 | Bjornstad, Hall

Topic: Le poids de l'existence

According to Montaigne, “Philosopher, c’est apprendre à mourir.” In
this course we will study literature that emerges as a response to
the “weight” of existence, be it by making it easier to carry, by
reminding us of the weight from which we are fleeing, or by staging
the encounter between laughter and tears, pleasure and pain, joy and
sadness. First we will follow the early development of the genre of
the essay, from Montaigne through Charron and Pascal, to Nicole
(available in the course pack). Then we turn to seventeenth-century
theater, reading one comedy (Dom Juan by Molière) and one tragedy
(Phèdre by Racine). Finally we will examine some 20th-century
responses to similar issues, reading one essay (Le mythe de Sisyphe
by Camus) and two plays (Huis clos by Sartre, En attendant Godot by
Beckett). Course requirements include short weekly response papers
(not graded) and two 5 page essays. The course will be conducted in
French. F 305 : P - FRIT-F 300. Above class carries COLL A & H
distribution credit.