RLFR 318
Twentieth-Century French Novel: From Adversity to Modernity Fall 2016
Division I
Cross-listed COMP 318 / RLFR 318
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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 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, Begag. Lectures to include discussions of Gide, Proust, Sartre, Beauvoir, Cixous, Foucault, Jelloun, Djébar. Films to include works by Fassbinder, Annaud, Lioret, Ducastel, Martineau, Téchiné, Charef. Conducted in French.
The Class: Format: seminar
Limit: 20
Expected: 20
Class#: 1830
Grading: yes pass/fail option, yes fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: active class participation, midterm exam, and two to three papers
Prerequisites: a 200-level course; or by placement test; or permission of instructor
Enrollment Preferences: French majors and certificate students; Comparative Literature majors; and those with compelling justification for admission; seniors returning from study abroad (in France or other Francophone countries) are particularly welcome
Distributions: Division I
Notes: This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
COMP 318 Division I RLFR 318 Division I

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