Introduction to French Literature – Prose
Selected readings, with discussion and analysis, of the various genres of prose fiction.
You love literature, you love French, you love to read, but you’re sometimes unsure how to best approach a text and formulate your thoughts about it? Then FREN 301 and FREN 302 are designed for you. They will focus on the literary genres and their evolution in the major literary movements. A close reading of the texts will enable students to develop strategies for analyzing narrative techniques, poetic forms, dramatic structure. FREN 301 will focus on prose; FREN 302 will focus on poetry and theater.
What purpose did Montaigne have in mind when he penned his famous Essais? What makes Chateaubriand’s René such a typical Romantic hero? Are Proust’s sentences as meandrous and insidious as you’ve always heard they were? This course explores a few masterpieces in French prose from the Renaissance through the twentieth century. Along the way, you’ll discover the science fiction of Voltaire, you’ll experience le mal du siècle with Chateaubriand, you’ll meet a humble servant and a colorful parrot in a short story by Flaubert, and you’ll reflect on phenomenology and war in Sartre’s “Le Mur”. Furthermore, you will learn the various methods of literary analysis as you perform close readings and explications de texte.