Overview of Literature and Ideas in France: 19th to 20th Centuries

Institut Catholique de Paris

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Overview of Literature and Ideas in France: 19th to 20th Centuries

  • Host University

    Institut Catholique de Paris

  • Location

    Paris, France

  • Area of Study

    European Studies, Literature, Philosophy

  • Language Level

    Intermediate, High Intermediate

    Hours & Credits

  • Contact Hours

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
  • Overview

    This chronological journey into the French literary history of the last two centuries helps you (re)discover several important classical authors. Based on excerpts from their major works, we will see the contours of literary movements take shape, movements that influenced French culture and thought.

    - To acquire the bearings needed in order to situate writers within their era and within the history of ideas
    - To understand literary excerpts within the framework of their era and to discover the themes and elements that are characteristic to the literary and artistic movements to which the excerpts belong.
    - To orally present an author, their life and their work.

    Program19th CenturyRomanticism
    - The origins with Madame de Stael, Benjamin Constant and Chateaubriand
    - Victor Hugo and the Cénacle
    - Romanticism and Romanesque: Balzac and his Comédie humaine
    - Passion and truth chez Stendhal
    - Musset and Georges Sand, ?Les Enfants du Siècle? (film)

    Realism and Naturalism
    - Flaubert, a disappointment of romanticism (to read: Trois Contes)
    - From realism to naturalism with Zola and Les Rougon-Macquart
    - The pessimism of Maupaussant (to read: La Parure)

    Poetry: from Modernity to Symbolism
    - A precursor: Gérard de Nerval and Les filles du feu
    - The initiator: Beaudelaire and Les fleurs du mal
    - Verlaine and Rimbaud
    - Mallarmé and l?exigence absolu20th CenturyFrom l?Esprit Nouveau to Surrealism
    - Art Nouveau around Apollinaire
    - The surrealist nebulous (Breton, Eluard, Aragon, Artaud)

    A Literature Engaged in the Angst of the Absurd
    - Sartre and Existentialism
    - Simone de Beauvoir and le deuxième sexe
    - Camus between absurdity and revolt
    - Theater of the Absurd with Ionesco and Beckett

    The New Novel
    - Robbe-Grillet, the theorist
    - Michel Butor and La Modification
    - Nathalie Sarraute and La guerre de paroleGrading
    - 2 exams (50%)
    - An oral presentation on the life and work of one of the authors that we study (the date of the presentations will be determined during the first class) (25%)
    - Active participation, attendance, preparation for each class (reading, questions) (25%)

    Educational Tools
    - Each student must buy the following books:
    La literature progressive du francais, intermediate level, Clé International
    Trois Contes by Gustave Flaubert

    - Other documents will be give out or projected: excerpts from books, historical landmarks, biographies and analysis

    - Audiovisual documents (excerpts from L'histoire personnelle de la literature francaise by Jean d'Ormesson and excerpts from cinematic adaptations of certain works).

    Weekly Program:

    1 Presentation of the students Knowledge Quiz Presentation of the course
    Historical landmarks of the nineteenth century.
    2 Victor Hugo
    The Origins of Romanticism
    3 Romanticism and romance: Balzac and the human comedy Passion and truth in Stendhal
    4 Flaubert, a disappointed romanticism
    From realism to naturalism with Zola
    5 The pessimism of Maupassant
    6 TEST 1 + Claude Chabrol's film "Boule de suif"
    7 Poetry: from modernity to symbolism. Nerval, the precursor; Baudelaire, the initiator
    8 Verlaine and Rimbaud
    9 20th century, historical landmarks. Proust: In search of lost time
    10 Claudel: a versatile writer Aspects of Surrealism: Breton, Eluard, Aragon
    11 TEST 2 + film «The foam of the days» by Michel Gondry
    12 Sartre and Beauvoir existentialism and feminism
    13 Camus: the absurd and the revolt
    The theater of the absurd: Ionesco and Beckett
    14 Literature to the present:
    Modiano, The Clézio, Annie Ernaux

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.


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