French and Italian | Reading and Expression in French
F300 | 3165 | Schachter, Marc

Topic: Collaboration and Resistance

Are there limits to the reasonable forms of resistance against even
the most brutal of oppressors? What are the consequences of working
with the enemy, whether to save your own life or to save the lives of
others? What happens when you fall in love with someone who belongs to
the enemy camp? From an entirely different perspective, what role did
literature play in consolidating the French monarchy or in liberating
French colonies? These are some of the questions raised by the
materials considered in this class. Readings will be drawn from
various historical periods and cover several genres. They include
excerpts from La Servitude volontaire, a Renaissance political
treatise by Étienne de La Boétie that eventually served as an
inspiration for modern theories of non-violent resistance;
pro-monarchy poetry by Pierre de Ronsard; some of Jean de La
Fontaine’s politically ambivalent Fables; Moi, Tituba sorcière, Maryse
Condé’s novel inspired by a historical slave accused of witchcraft
during the Salem witch trials; and Aimé Césaire’s play Une Tempête, a
post-colonial rewriting of Shakespeare’s The Tempest. We will also
watch two movies about the occupation of France during World War II:
Jean-Pierre Melville’s L’Armée des ombres, which glorifies the
dangerous undertakings of a group of resistance fighters, and Louis
Malle’s Lucien Lacombe, which tells the story of a young collaborator
who falls in love with a Jewish girl. The final grade will be based on
class participation (20%), two short papers (20% each), and two exams
(also 20% each). Prerequisite: F250, F255, F265, or consent of
department. Conducted in French. Fulfills A & H requirement.