Dangerous Liaisons: Love in French Literature
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Division: The New School for Public Engagement
School: Bachelor's Program for Adults and Transfer Students
Course Number: NLIT 3424
Course Format: Seminar
Permission Required: No
The greatness of French classical literature lies in its treatment of human passions, as Albert Camus proclaimed. In this course, we study masterpieces illustrating various aspects of love and literary expression through the centuries. Passionate love, whether platonic or overtly sexual, is an enduring theme in French literature, from the 17th-century novel The Princess of Clèves to Duras' The Lover and Ernaux's Simple Passion. We begin with classic works by the 17th-century tragedians Corneille (El Cid) and Racine (Phaedra). We then read texts from a variety of literary genres: the psychological novel, the epistolary novel, the realistic novel, satire, auto-fiction, and the autobiographical journal. In all passion, there is an element of revolt against convention, and the protagonists we encounter in our journey through the human soul and psyche take a stand against the mores of their era.
Course Open to: Degree Students