French and Italian | Reading and Expression in French
F300 | 10447 | Bray, Patrick Maxwell


The goal of this course is to introduce students to the analysis of
four different genres of French literature: the novel, the short
story, poetry, and the theater. We will read works that have as a
common trait a loose retelling of the classical Pygmalion myth: a
(male) artist falls in love with his own representation of a woman.
We will begin by reading Molière’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 read the short stories “Le
Chef-d’oeuvre inconnu” and “Sarrasine” by Balzac, as well as
Mérimée’s “La Vénus de l’Ille;” all of which investigate the
relationship of the plastic arts to sexuality. A selection of poems
from the Renaissance to the twentieth century will explore the role
of the muse in poetic inspiration. Finally, we will read a novel by
André Gide, La Symphonie pastorale, which tells the story of
a naïf pastor who falls in love with a blind orphan. The course will
be graded based on participation (15%), an “explication de texte” of
one poem chosen by the student (25%), two exams, on the play and on
the short stories (30%), and a final five-page paper on the novel
(30%). Taught in French. Prerequisite is F250 or consent of
department. F300 fulfills A & H requirement.