RLFR 318 Twentieth-Century Novel: From Adversity to Modernity

Last offered Fall 2013

Cross Listed as COMP318
In his futurist novel Paris in the Twentieth Century (1863), Jules Verne envisions an era of technological superiority, complete with hydrogen cars and high-speed trains, televisions and skyscrapers, computers and the internet. But in Verne's vision of modernity, technological sophistication gives way to intellectual stagnation and social indifference, in a world where poetry and literature have been abandoned in favor bureaucratic efficiency, mechanized surveillance, and the merciless pursuit of profit. To contest or confirm this dystopic vision, we will examine a broad range of twentieth-century novels and their focus on adversity, dignity, and modernity. In a century dominated by the devastation of two World Wars, the atrocities of colonial empire, and massive social and political transformation, the novel both documented and interrogated France's engagement with race and ethnicity, gender and sexuality, colonialism and immigration. Within this historical context, we will discuss the role of the novel in confronting war and disease, challenging poverty and greed, and exposing urban isolation and cultural alienation in twentieth-century France. Readings to include novels by Colette, Genet, Camus, Duras, Ernaux, Guibert, and Begag. Lectures to include discussions of Gide and Proust, Sartre and Beauvoir, Cixous and Foucault, Jelloun and Djébar. Films to include works by Fassbinder, Annaud, Lioret, Ducastel, Martineau, Téchiné, and Charef. Conducted in French.
Class Format: seminar
Requirements/Evaluation: active class participation, two short papers, an oral presentation, and a final paper
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Prerequisites: a 200-level course such as RLFR 201, 202, 203; or by placement test; or by permission of the instructor
Enrollment Preference: French majors and certificate students; Comparative Literature majors; and those with compelling justification for admission; seniors returning from study abroad (in France or another Francophone country) are particularly welcome
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Divisional Attributes: Division I
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Enrollment Limit: 20
Expected Enrollment: 20
Class Number: 1820
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RLFR 318 SEM Twentieth -Century Novel Division 1: Languages and the Arts Brian Martin
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