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Spring 2018

Spring 2018 – Course Descriptions

French 71110: Problems in French Literary History: The Novel.
Professor Domna Stanton.

Tuesday 4:15-6:15
GC: Room 4202.11
Course taught in French
Required for first-year students 4 credits.
Open to students outside of French, 2-4 credits.
This course on the history and theory ofGC the novel will begin with a set of readings (Scholes, Bakhtin, Brooks, Genette, Barthes, Sedgwick) on aspects of narrative and narratology. We will then read closely six novels beginning with La Princesse de Clèves (Folio Classique, 2000) and Les liaisons dangereuses (Petits Larousse Classiques, 2007), followed by Mme de Duras' Ourika (Folio Classique 2007) and Madame Bovary (Folio Classique 2001) and ending with Du côté de chez Swann (Folio Classique, 1988) and Djebar's Ombre sultane (Livre de Poche, 2006) . [These editions will be on reserve in the GC Library, but if you purchase your own texts, please make sure to buy the same editions so we are all on the same page.] Our discussions will be informed by critical readings for each text, listed in the syllabus, and available on Blackboard.
Goals of this course include: gaining an understanding of the sweep of the French novel; reading novels intensively for their narratological, thematic, stylistic, ideological/political and gender scripts; writing analytical papers on literary texts; doing literary research; reading critical theory critically; and improving spoken and written literary/critical French (or English).

Work for the course, over and above class preparation and engaged participation, involves for those taking the course for 4 credits: two short papers 5-7 pp), one of these a class presentation of a critical text, a final 15-page paper (topic developed in consultation with the instructor ), and a final exam; for those taking the course for 2 credits: there will be the class presentation of a critical text (written up into 5-7 pp); and the final exam, in addition to class preparation and participation.

The course will be conducted in French; written work will be in French for students in French; students from other departments may write their papers in English.

For further information and all questions, please contact Domna Stanton (
French 79140: Le roman arabe d'expression française.
Professor Marlene Barsoum.

Thursday 4 :15-6 :15.
Course taught in French

The following selection of writers hailing from North Africa and the Middle East will be studied in this course with an eye on highlighting the religious and ethnic diversity of the Arab world : Andrée Chedid (Egypt/ Lebanon/France), Edmond Jabès (Egypt/France), Tahar ben Jelloun (Morocco/France), Malika Mokeddem (Algeria/France), Albert Memmi (Tunisia/France) and Leila Sebbar (Algeria/France). The condition of being embedded in more than one culture has had a considerable impact on the writings of the novelists on the program. We will discuss that imprint by examining tropes pertaining to the crossing of boundaries such as the notion of exile, home, the ethics of hospitality, the importance of language to identity, and the construction of self and the perception/construction of the other. In recent times, we have seen a heightened preoccupation with the question of war which consequently has become a prevalent topic in multiple domains. We will therefore open up a discussion about the discourse on war which can be both historical and figurative and which reevaluates relationships between the individual and the collective and their confrontation with the other. Such a discourse raises questions about perception of otherness - the operative metaphor in discussions surrounding war. This will lead to an analysis of the notion of identity, a topic which has been under scrutiny by writers and theorists alike for the past few decades. Required reading: Ben Jelloun, Tahar. L'enfant de sable Chedid, Andrée. La Maison sans racines Jabès, Edmond. Le Soupçon, le désert. Maalouf, Amin. Les Identités meurtrières Memmi. Albert, La statue de sel Mokeddem, Malika, Les hommes qui marchent Sebbar, Leila & Nancy Houston, Lettres parisiennes, autopsie de l'exil

French 86000: Exécrer son temps, penser son époque: de Proust à Despentes.
Professor Maxime Blanchard.

Thursdays 6:30-8:30

"Zola célèbre son temps, moi je l'exècre" déclara Joris-Karl Huysmans. Héritier de Nerval et de Flaubert, l'auteur d'À rebours s'inscrivait ainsi dans une lignée de misanthropes et de nostalgiques qui ont haï leur monde, qui ont regretté d'y vivre. Ce cours sur le XXième et XXIième siècles abordera l'oeuvre (roman, essai, pamphlet, etc.) d'écrivains modernes insérés dans cette tradition pessimiste. En effet, il s'agira d'étudier des écrivains atrabilaires ou mélancoliques qui, soit par la critique acerbe de leur contemporainéité, soit par une anachronique loyauté à "ce qui fut", ont continué de dénoncer les dogmes et les modes de leur temps, les lieux communs et les conformités de leur époque. Textes à l'étude: Le temps retrouvé (1927) de Marcel Proust Minima Moralia (1951) de Theodor Adorno Amour, colère, folie (1968) de Marie Vieux-Chauvet Faut-il brûler Sade? (1972) de Simone de Beauvoir Fragments d'un discours amoureux (1977) de Roland Barthes Des arbres à abattre (1984) de Thomas Bernhard Commentaires sur la société du spectacle (1988) de Guy Debord Bicentenaire (2004) de Lyonel Trouillot Oscar de Profundis (2016) de Catherine Mavrikakis Vernon Subutex (2015-2017) de Virginie Despentes En ce siècle si satsifait de lui "C'était mieux avant" *************

FRENCH 87500: Cross-Disciplinary Translation: an Experiment.
Distinguished Professor/Resident Professor Mary Ann Caws
5 weeks/one credit.
Indepent Study
4:15-6 on Wednesdays, January 31, through Wednesday February 28

This seminar is an investigation into different ways and methods of the translation process as it can be applied to various genres and disciplines. It is a brief and highly experimental attempt to see what kinds of carrying-over are most effective in the several fields it will bring to the fore, both verbal and visual. The predictive plan is as follows, with adjustments probably to be made as the five weeks unfold: first a consideration of translation as we ordinarily think of it, introducing several examples from the different genres we will be looking at. The subject of translation will be initially related to the prose poem - its shape, substance and potential power. Next, a text into film study, the selection to be discussed with the participants. Then, the kind of art and text relation I have been developing in almost all my seminars at the Graduate School, most probably dealing with necessarily limited examples from symbolism, cubism, futurism, dada and surrealism, translating again in the sense of seeing variously across borders. The final two weeks will consider the issues of fragmentation and collage, ending with the serial impulse. Outside readings will include these topics, and as preparation for each session, participants will write and submit a paragraph considering the issue at hand. The sessions will begin with a presentation, general and particular, to be followed by a general discussion in which the participants from their own various disciplines and orientations will engage. My own varied interests have led me to such publications as The Eye in the Text: Essays on Perception, Mannerist to Modern; A Metapoetics of the Passage: Architextures Surrealist and After; The Art of Interference: Stressed Readings in Visual and Verbal Texts: MANIFESTO: A century of isms, Modernist Manifestos and Surprised in Translation (whence the title for the seminar). Experimental indeed, because the range is vast and varied, and the time deliberately limited.

French 87200: "Seminar in Film Theory: Theories of the Cinema"
Crosslisted with FSCP 81000

Professor Jerry W. Carlson
Mon 2pm – 6pm
2/4 credits

This course presents a survey of "classical" and contemporary film theory. The contributions of the most important early theoreticians such as Eisenstein, Bazin, Epstein, Arnheim, Dulac, Merleau-Ponty, Balázs, and Kracauer, as well as such contemporary theorists as Metz, Mitry, Baudry, Mulvey, and Heath will be reviewed and contextualized. Questions about the structure and functioning of the filmic text, the nature of cinematic representation, and film spectatorship raised by the various scholls of thought, including phenomenology, Marxism, semiology, psychoanalysis, and feminism, will be of major concern. Attention will focus on the analysis of primary theoretical texts, although secondary texts as well as historical works and films that assist in contextualizing film theory may be assigned as well.

French 87500: Independent study Professor Sautman, The late Medieval Theater.
2/4 credits.
Day/times tba