Intro To French/Francophone Studies: Private Selves Public Pressures

FRIT-F 300 — Spring 2023

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Margaret Gray
BH 240
Days and Times
TR 3:00P-4:15P
Course Description

An introduction to French and Francophone studies, this course has three goals: a) to provide further exposure to a variety of literary genres in French, including poetry, theatre, the novel and the short story b) to develop and sharpen reading skills through practice in close reading and techniques of literary analysis c) to foster student progress in practical skills such as aural and written comprehension, as well as oral and written expression. We will begin with the expression of private emotion within the pressures and constraints of public form in Renaissance love poems in the Petrarchan tradition; analyzing the reprise and transformation of these forms in the Romantic lyrics of the nineteenth century, we will continue with their subsequent post-Symbolist ironizations. Our study of the interface between the private and the public will turn to a different genre, theatre, as we see that Jean Anouilh’s manipulation of the ideal of romantic love in Le Bal des Voleurs becomes a vehicle for powerful social critique. Along with its probing questions of class difference, however, the play offers a delightful mix of bumbling thieves attempting to get the best of a rich and canny dowager and her eligible nieces, as true love and personal honor triumph across social and economic differences. Turning next to narrative, we will study David Foenkinos’s acclaimed 2009 novel La délicatesse with its issues of self-reconstruction after loss in the relationship of a young professional woman with an improbable subordinate in the face of disapproving public pressures. We will conclude our study of private selves facing public constraints in Henri Thomas’s short story, “La barque.” Exercises will include an in-class writing assignment, a midterm exam consisting of quotations to analyze and an essay question, a paper of literary analysis and a comprehensive final exam. All discussion and written work will be conducted in French.

COLL (CASE) A&H Breadth of Inquiry credit

FRIT-F 300         #31094    3:00P-4:15P            TR       BH 240            Gray M

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