French And Italian | Théâtre et essai
F305 | 2279 | Isbell

In F305, we will read and perform four plays which typify four
major movements in the history of French theater: Jean Racine's
Andromaque (1667), perhaps the loveliest of all
classical tragedies, with its chain of hopeless lovers; Edmond
Rostand's Cyrano de Bergerac (1897), the French
Romantics' superb homage to Shakespeare; Samuel Beckett's En
attendant Godot (1953), the tragicomic quintessence of the
Theater of the Absurd; and Jean-Paul Sartre's Huis Clos
(1944), a splendid Existentialist tragedy set in Hell (a seedy
hotel room!).  We will examine a film or two, such as Depardieu's
Cyrano and Steve Martin's Roxane, to see how
directors adapt drama to the screen, and we will write a short
play in French.  For the essay, we will read and discuss a course
packet covering four centuries of French essays, from Montaigne
to Roland Barthes, and examine how to catch and hold a reader's
attention in this delicate genre, trying our hand at writing
essays ourselves.