French And Italian | Lectures et analyses littéraires
F300 | 2400 | McCullough


What is beauty? Who and what are considered beautiful? More importantly, who
defines beauty?  Does beauty bestow power or deny it? This course will
explore these and other related questions, while introducing students to
French, Canadian, and African Literature from the Renaissance, the nineteenth
and twentieth centuries. We will study the theme of beauty from various
angles, taking into consideration gender and cultural readings as well as
questions of art, vision and the gaze, and trace its development in French
Literature within the four major literary genres: poetry, theatre, the short
story and the novel.

Students will first learn about French versification and the critical
method called "explication de texte," and apply it to poetry. An anthology
will be prepared for students to purchase, including poems by Ronsard, Louise
Labé, Baudelaire, Marceline Desbordes-Valmore, Renée Vivien,
Léopold Sédar Senghor, Anne Hébert and André
Breton. We will examine beauty in Edmond Rostand's play Cyrano de
Bergerac, and we will read three or four short stories selected from
the following: La Parure by Guy de Maupassant, La Barque by
Henri Thomas, and stories from the collections L'Exil et le royaume
by Camus and Les Femmes d'Alger dans leur appartement by Assia Djebar.
Finally, we will study the manipulation of the gaze, its take-over by a
woman who directs it at her own and at a man's beauty in Marguerite Duras's
novel L'Amant. We will view popular French films of Cyrano de
Bergerac and L'Amant and see how questions of beauty are dealt
with in cinema.

The course will be conducted entirely in French, thus, besides learning how
to analyse literary texts, students will improve written and oral skills in
French. Students will be evaluated on daily class attendance and
participation, two short papers using the "explication de texte" method, a
midterm, and a final exam.