Stage and Page. VT: The Weight of Existence

FRIT-F305 — Fall 2024

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Hall Bjørnstad
WH 109
Days and Times
MW 9:45A-11:00A
Course Description

Variable Title: “The Weight of Existence”

What is the meaning of life? Does our existence have an obvious, pre-given purpose? If it has, how can it be that people don’t agree on this purpose? Is the purpose rather to search such a meaning – or are these just the wrong questions altogether? Is the weight of these questions something we should embrace or escape? In this course we will study masterpieces from French literature that confront the question of the weight of existence in different ways. Alternating between early modern and 20th-century texts, we will explore essays by Montaigne, Pascal and Camus, and plays by Molière, Sartre and Beckett. The course is conducted seminar-style with focus on in-class discussion. Course requirements include weekly response papers on Canvas, two in-class papers and a final creative group project. All class discussion, reading, and writing will be done in French. Through our ongoing reflection and dialogue, as interpreters of great works of literature, the participants will (a) improve their mastery of academic French, both written and spoken; (b) enhance their intercultural communicative competence and critical-thinking skills, while (c) grappling with the complexities and ambiguities of human experience.

FRIT-F 305    #30862         9:45A-11:00A        MW       WH 109        Prof. Hall Bjornstad

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