French and Italian | Reading & Expression in French
F300 | 13058 | Dade, Juliette

Through close readings of four genres of French literature (poetry,
theatre, novel, and short story), this course introduces students to
some of the important texts, movements, authors, and contexts of
French literature. The course will focus on techniques of literary
analysis as well as the development of reading and writing skills in
French. We will read works that have as a common trait the diverse
aspects of literary representations of women. Often adopted as muses,
women in literature have been depicted as anything from idealized
visions to threatening seductresses, motherly figures, and immoral
prostitutes. Often the female characters present a glimpse of the
daily life of women within the social context of their time.

We will begin with Moliere’s comedy, _L’Ecole des femmes_, in which
an old man adopts a young girl in order to teach her to be a perfect
wife. We will then read a selection of poems depicting women from the
Middle Ages to the twentieth century by such poets as Christine de
Pisan, Ronsard, Baudelaire, and Verlaine, among others. We will
continue with the short story _Boule de Suif_, by Guy de Maupassant,
and a handful of short stories from Colette’s collection, _La Femme
cachee_. Finally, we will end with _Une si longue lettre_ by Mariama
Ba, a personal narrative that retells the story of a recently widowed
Senegalese woman in the form of a letter to her friend.

The course will be graded based on participation, a four-page
explication de texte of one poem chosen by the student, two exams (on
the play and on the short stories), and a final five-page paper on
the novel. Prerequisite: F250, F255, F265, or consent of department.
Conducted in French. Fulfills A & H requirement.