Literature And The Arts In French Studies: The Jesuit Relations: France and the New World

FRIT-F451 — Fall 2023

Eric MacPhail
Course Description

Prerequisite: Two courses from FRIT-F 305, F 306, F 361, F 362, F 363, F 364, F 375; or one course from FRIT-F 222, F 225, F 226, F 227, F 310, F 311 and one course from FRIT-F 305, F 306, F 361, F 362, F 363, F 364, F 375; or department consent

Starting in 1611 Jesuit missionaries came to Canada to preach Christianity and to learn the customs and the languages of the indigenous population. Their reports were published under the title Relations de la Nouvelle France and are known collectively as the Jesuit Relations. Their ethnographic and linguistic research had a profound impact on European thought and inspired a number of literary and polemical works written in French. We will look at excerpts from these relations, which are available both in modern editions and in digitized versions of the originals, to see how the Jesuits understood radically unfamiliar cultures and how they had to reexamine their own beliefs and practices. We will also read some literary reflections of this tradition in the works of le Baron de La Hontan, Voltaire, and a few others. Students will write and rewrite two essays and take a final exam. We will also gain experience on working with archival material from the Lilly Library.

COLL (CASE) A&H Breadth of Inquiry credit

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