French and Italian | Etudes de littérature contemporaine
F650 | 30216 | Gray, Margaret


Topic: Autour de 1913: Nostalgie, Innovation, Scandale, Crise.
Widely considered the “annus mirabilis” of French 20th-century
literary history, the year 1913 sees the publication of Proust’s _Du
côté de chez Swann_, after its refusal by three publishers; a
collection of vignettes by Colette, _L’Envers du Music-Hall_,
documenting the behind-the-scenes lives of music-hall performers;
Apollinaire’s collection of poems, _Alcools_, whose title conveys the
poet’s hope to produce the effect of powerful drink upon his readers;
Alain-Fournier’s lyrical and oniric novel about quest and obsession,
_Le Grand Meaulnes_; Blaise Cendrars’s long “simultaneous” poem,
_Prose du transsibérien et de la Petite Jehanne de France_. In 1913,
André Gide completes his impertinent _Les Caves du Vatican_; Paul
Valéry begins work on “La jeune Parque,” after a twenty-year silence;
and future Nobel laureate Albert Camus is born. A variety of texts
spanning several genres—novel, theatre, poetry, memoir, essay—will
provide insight into this extraordinary moment of exuberant literary
production and promise, including representative works published
before and after 1913. Exercises will include an oral exposé,
preparation of a reading question, and the choice of a final written
exam or long paper. Readings and discussion will be in French. Texts
will include:

Alain-Fournier, _Le grand Meaulnes_
Colette, _L’Envers du Music-Hall_
Apollinaire, _Alcools_ and _Les Mamelles de Tiresias_
Proust, _Du côté de chez Swann_
Gide, _Les caves du Vatican_ and _Les Nourritures terrestres_
Rachilde, La Jongleuse
Cocteau, _Thomas l’Imposteur_
Valéry, _Charmes_