Published: March 15, 2016

FREN Fall 2017 courses -

Français 4110: Le fantastique au XIXe siècle – Alina Van Nelson

Ce cours se propose d’explorer l’écriture fantastique au XIXe siècle à partir d'un corpus de textes appartenant à divers genres littéraires. Qu’est-ce que le fantastique ? Comment fonctionne-t-il dans un texte ? De quelle manière influe-t-il sur la représentation de la réalité? Dans quelle mesure cette représentation change-t-elle la façon dont nous percevons les divers aspects de cette réalité, qu’il s’agisse de la vie, de la mort, de l’amour, ou simplement du moi ? Nous nous efforcerons de répondre à ces questions en analysant, entre autres, divers textes poétiques, poèmes en prose, contes et romans d'auteurs tels Balzac, Nerval, Maupassant, Gautier, d’Aurevilly ou encore Nodier. .


Like JRR Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings before them, George RR Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire and the HBO series based on it speak to our abiding attachment to medieval epic and romance. The course explores the roots of that attachment by introducing students to the rich literary traditions on which Tolkien and Martin draw in order to create characters and worlds as meaningful to twenty-first-century viewers and readers as they would have been to our medieval ancestors. Kings and queens; knights and their ladies; heroes and monsters; dragons and wolves; sorcerers and many-faced ghosts—above all the symbolism of the sword, the warhorse, and the binding power of ritual, gift-giving, and oath-taking: all of these things dig deep into our darkest as well as noblest instincts and dreams.

Beginning with a discussion of just what it is that makes the Game of Thrones so enthralling, we will read the story of the man honored by contemporaries as “the Flower of Chivalry,” the 13th-century knight William Marshall, in order to see who medieval knights really were, how they lived, and what they believed and hoped for. We will then explore a variety of tales and tale types from Beowolf to The Song of Roland and from Arthurian romance to episodes from Dante’s Inferno, all with an eye to discovering something unexpected about ourselves and what it is we often secretly want from life—and perhaps also fear from death.

FREN 1900 Modern Paris in the Arts  - Masano Yamashita

The course explores both the social and cultural history of Paris from the years leading up to the French Revolution of 1789 to the present.  Filmmakers, novelists, painters, poets, urban planners have looked to Paris as a muse - a source of inspiration and pleasure but also sometimes of repulsion and anxiety. The urban space of Paris inspires awe and curiosity for its architecture, art and sophisticated inhabitants. But there is another Paris, one that disrupts visitors’ expectations and presents disconcerting images of violence and social inequality, alienation, crowding and psychic fragmentation.

This course presents an introduction to the many faces of Paris as the locus of the discontents and dreams of modernity. We will examine both the evolving life of the city itself and its second, symbolic life as the mythical center of modern, revolutionary consciousness.

We will look at how artists, writers and urban planners in the last two hundred years have understood and imagined the space and temporalities of Paris by watching films, analyzing paintings, novels and poems as well as reading critical socio-historical texts. The course will accordingly be a history not merely of what Paris is, but also what Paris means to modern consciousness.