Writing about Love: Seminar in Seventeenth-Century French Literature
Is love an ennobling passion? a dangerous snare? an unattainable ideal? a game of mirrors? In this course we will study the prevailing ideas about love in seventeenth-century France, considering male and female points of view, and a variety of literary genres: fable, fairy tale, maxim, letter, portrait, story and novel. To the extent possible, the course will be conducted as a literary salon: students will engage in debate, try their hand at composition, and critique each other’s productions. Works we will study include Molière, Les Précieuses ridicules and L’Ecole des femmes ; Racine, Andromaque; Guilleragues, Lettres portugaises; La Rochefoucauld, Maximes; La Fayette, La Princesse de Clèves and La Comtesse de Tende; Choisy, L’Héritier and Perrault, La Marquise-Marquis de Banneville; plus fairy tales by Perrault, D’Aulnoy, and L’Héritier, selected fables by La Fontaine, and film versions or treatments of at least three of the works on the syllabus.