WGSS 201
War and Resistance: Two Centuries of War Literature in France (1800-2015) Fall 2021
Division II Difference, Power, and Equity
Cross-listed RLFR 202 / COMP 292 / WGSS 201

Class Details

In 1883, Maupassant called on his fellow war veterans and writers to join him in speaking out against warfare and violence, crying “Let us dishonor war!” From the Gallic Wars against Caesar (during the first century BC) to recent terrorist attacks in France (at the opening of the twenty-first century), the French literary tradition is rich in texts that bear witness to war and speak out against its monstrous inhumanity. While war literature in France can be traced back to ancient and medieval texts on VercingĂ©torix, Charlemagne, William the Conqueror, and Joan of Arc, this course will focus specifically on literary representations of war during the nineteenth- and twentieth-centuries, from the Napoleonic Wars, to the First and Second World Wars, to the Algerian and Cold Wars, and the “War on Terror.” Discussions will examine the impact of war on soldiers and civilians, patriotism and pacifism, history and memory; the implications of war as invasion and conquest, occupation and resistance, victory and defeat; the relationship of war to gender, sexuality, and ethnicity; and the role of war in colonialism and genocide. Readings to include novels, short stories, and poems by Balzac, Stendhal, Hugo, Rimbaud, Daudet, Maupassant, Zola, Cocteau, Wiesel, Duras, Camus, and Fanon. Films to include works by Resnais, Renoir, Carion, Jeunet, Malle, Angelo, Pontecorvo, and Duras. Conducted in French.
The Class: Format: seminar
Limit: 16
Expected: 16
Class#: 1685
Grading: yes pass/fail option, no fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: active class participation, midterm exam, and two to three papers (of 3-5 pages each)
Prerequisites: exceptional performance in RLFR 105; successful performance in RLFR 106; or by French placement exam; or by permission of instructor
Enrollment Preferences: French majors and certificate students; Comparative Literature majors; Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies majors; and those with compelling justification for admission
Distributions: Division II Difference, Power, and Equity
Notes: This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
RLFR 202 Division I COMP 292 Division I WGSS 201 Division II
DPE Notes: This course focuses on a critical examination of difference, power, and equity in French war literature and film. Through the study of war (as invasion and conquest, occupation and resistance, colonialism and genocide), the course thus challenges students to examine the effects of class, race, religion, ethnicity, gender, and sexuality in narratives on war and violence, and on survival and resistance.

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