In the twelfth century, the French language shifted from a mostly ephemeral spoken language to a language that deserved to be written down. Authors began recording stories that had only been told aloud, and readers of Latin begin translating classical literature for French-speaking audiences. This huge burst of creative expression remade popular culture in ways that we can still recognize today–if we know what to look for. In this course, we will explore how our twenty-first-century passion for memes on TikTok and other social media has similar roots in twelfth-century tastes, and how the literature and culture of medieval France have shaped what we now think of as literature and pop culture. We will explore four major themes: the reinvention and adaptation of classical literature, the invention of modern romantic love, the introduction of King Arthur, and hilarious short fiction (also known as twelfth-century memes). Readings to include love poetry, short narratives both funny and serious, and longer texts about adventure and love. Conducted in French.
The Class: Format: seminar
Requirements/Evaluation: active class participation, midterm paper, class presentation, and final project
Prerequisites: strong 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; and those with compelling justification for admission
Distributions: Division I