This culture course looks at the relationship between French politics, society and the arts from the Middle Ages to the French Revolution. French thinkers understood early on that literature and the arts could be persuasive tools in consolidating the power and prestige of France.
We will look at the birth of French literature, France’s art de vivre, and its politics to understand how France quickly acquired the reputation of cultural center of Western Europe. But while glorifying their heritage and cultural prestige, French writers and artists could also be scathing and critical, in particular in regards to State power, the role of the Church and the domination of the nobility over commoners.
The influence of writers on French society cannot be underestimated. Known for their incisive social commentary and readiness to tackle taboo subjects, many French writers were censored and sometimes even imprisoned for their ideas. This course invites students to discover the transgressions, power and lasting impact of early modern French writers, artists, and thinkers.
We’ll explore a diverse range of paintings, films, and literature depicting this foundational time in France.
Requisites: Requires a prerequisite or corequisite course of FREN 3100 (minimum grade C-).