RLFR 109(F) Introduction to French Literature: Laughter and Despair

Through an organized web of obsessions, this course will introduce students to some seminal moments of French literature and culture. In the face of human misery and futility, the writers selected respond in a multiplicity of ways, ranging from despair to laughter. The course will gravitate around dialectically opposed though not exclusive notions such as seriousness and frivolity (frivolous seriousness, serious frivolity), depth and superficiality, being and appearance, the Court and the City. By establishing connections between the various genres and periods, the course will show how the reading of one text infects and enhances our understanding of another. Readings will include: Villon, Du Bellay, Ronsard, Pascal, Moliere, Perrault, Constant, Flaubert, and Ionesco. Conducted in French. Requirements: class participation, several short papers, an oral presentation, and an hour exam. Prerequisites: French 104 or 105 or by placement test or by permission of instructor.