Thèmes Littéraires et Culturels

FRIT F375 — Spring 2019

Margaret Gray
Lindley Hall 004
Days and Times
TR, 9:30 a.m. - 10:45 a.m.
Course Description

Politique des Femmes Ecrivains

Prerequisite: F300 or equivalent.

This course will explore the strategies with which certain women writers mount powerful sociopolitical critiques of their respective cultures through their fictions. We will study these tactics in the context of a hybrid part-narrative, part epistolary novel ; a fantasy narrative ; and a detective fiction. Our narratives will include the 1900 work of Marguerite Vallette-Eymery--who took as her pen name « Rachilde »--, La jongleuse, which traces the daring effort of an iconoclastic Creole widow to carve an identity within the stifling bourgeois norms and conventions of turn-of-the-century Paris. From the French Antilles and the racial and cultural context to which Rachilde’s Eliante longs to return, we will travel to Belgium with Jacqueline Harpman’s novel Orlanda (1996) and the subtle, contemporary dystopia of a young woman’s journey to awareness of her confinement within the roles of successful professor and beloved companion. Written as a riposte to the conformist ending of Virginia Woolf’s romp through gendered convention in her 1928 novel, Orlando, Harpman’s narrative engages fantasy to oppose gendered norms through the conflict opposing two halves of a single person : the timid, feminine Aline and her outrageous masculine double, Orlanda. Fred Vargas’s L’homme à l’envers [The Inside-Out Man] takes us to a corner of rugged, rural France, and a climate of suspicion and superstition, where we will pursue the entwined narratives of a young African man and a young French woman composer/plumber/truck-driver as they negotiate cultural hostility motivated by racial and gendered prejudice. Just as the text turns certain assumptions “inside out” (among them, the assumption that its author is a man), it also overturns literary as well as sociocultural conventions. Across these various narratives and their differing geographies, we will be constantly attentive to the formal choices made by our fictions as they explore gendered, racial and cultural tensions. Student performance will be evaluated on the basis of active class participation ; an oral presentation ; a midterm essay exam or analytical paper; and a final exercise consisting of a choice between an essay exam or an analytical paper.

Class number: 5632

3 credits

Interested in this course?

The full details of this course are available on the Office of the Registrar website.

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