French and Italian | Reading and Expression in French
F300 | 7246 | Vantine, Peter James


FRIT /Topic: De l’amour et de la guerre.  This course is an
introduction to four genres in French literature (poetry, theater,
novel, and short stories). The course will focus on developing skills
in literary analysis through close readings. In so doing, students
will also be working to improve their oral and written skills in
French. The texts studied will cover a wide range of historical
periods, but they are connected by their common attempts to represent
the highly intense experiences of love and war – two seemingly
opposing phenomena that are nevertheless frequently linked in
literature.

We will read a selection of both epic and lyrical poems from the
Middle Ages to the 20th century. Our play will be Corneille’s _Le
Cid_, a 17th-century tragi-comédie that is a tangled tale of young
love, family honor, fatal duels and war. For our novel, we will read
Balzac’s 19th-century text _Le Colonel Chabert_, in which a
Napoleonic war hero who was left for dead on the battlefield must
engage in a kind of legal and social warfare in an attempt to regain
his identity back in Paris, where his reappearance is problematic for
his wife, who has remarried into a position of wealth and status that
she is loath to lose. We will then read Vercor’s short story “Le
Silence de la mer,” a text published clandestinely in occupied France
during WWII. Finally, we will finish with excerpts from Atiq Rahimi’s
recent novel _Syngué sabour_, which is set in Afghanistan and depicts
a wife tending to her unconscious husband, a wounded jihadist.

The final grade for the course will be based on participation, an
explication de texte (3-4 pages), a second paper (4-5 pages), and two
exams. Taught in French. Prerequisite is F250, F255, or F265. F300
fulfils A & H requirement.