French and Italian | Colloquium in French Studies-Literature & the Arts
F451 | 30336 | Calhoun, Alison


Title: French Literature and Music. In this interdisciplinary course,
we will consider the relationship between French literature and music
from the Middle Ages to the 20th century. Although many French
literary works have been set to music or have music as part of their
fictional subject, the goal of this course will be to consider hybrid
works that are, from their inception, both literary and musical. Such
forms include lyric poetry, court ballet, comedy-ballet,
libretto/opera, and _chanson_. Complemented by musical illustrations
either in video or audio recordings, we will examine the difficult
balance between these often competing sister arts in an attempt to
understand France’s unique struggle to develop vocal music.

In the first part of the semester, we will focus on selected poems
from the Troubadours, Trouveres and Pleaide poets, Beaujoyeulx’s _Le
Ballet comique de la Reine_, Moliere’s _Le Bourgeois gentilhomme_
(also in film), and a recent video-recording of Lully’s _Cadmus et
Hermione_. Next, we will enter into the heated debates around music
and language that occupied the 18th century, with critical readings
by Rousseau (_Lettre a d’Alembert_, _Lettre sur la musique
française_) and Diderot (_Le Neveu de Rameau_), video-recordings of
Pergolesi’s _La serva padrona_ and Rameau’s _Les Paladins_, and
recordings of Lully’s _Armide_. At the end of the course, we will
examine more recent examples from French _chanson_ by Georges
Brassens and Edith Piaf as well as the debatable case of Arthur
Rimbaud.

No musical training or technical knowledge required. Course taught in
French. Prerequisite: two of the following: F305, F306, or F375; or
consent of the instructor. May be repeated with a different topic for
a maximum of 9 credit hours for any combination of F450 and F451.
Fulfills A & H, CSA requirements.