French and Italian | Thèmes et perspectives littéraires
F375 | 9832 | Calhoun, Alison

Heroines in French Theater

From clever women like the “Parisian maiden” who cross-dresses to test
her future husband, to mad women like Solange and Claire, whose game
of dress-up leads to a fatal end.  From the injustices of Cleopatra,
captured and driven to suicide, or Antigone, buried alive for
defending her dead brother, to the desperate and scorned cases of
Phaedra, in love with her stepson, or Berenice, left to rot by her
politically-driven lover. These heroines will be the subjects of our

We will focus on major French plays from the 16th to the 20th
centuries in which female roles are central. This course will also
serve as an introduction to French theater, giving students tools for
writing and talking about dramaturgy and film adaptations. Major plays
from the Renaissance will be read in short excerpts, while plays from
later centuries, read in full, will include: Bérénice (Racine); La
Fausse suivante (Marivaux); Les Caprices de Marianne (Musset);
Antigone (Anouilh); Les Bonnes (Genet).  Film adaptations studied will
include: La Fausse suivante (Benoît Jacquot) and Les Blessures
assassines (Jean-Pierre Denis).