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French 4610 and 4620

Literary Movement I & II

« On sent le romantique, on ne le définit pas », écrit, dès 1801, Sébastien Mercier dans sa Néologie; sage conseil qui ne fut guère suivi : depuis la Restauration, une masse de définitions contradictoires tourne le romantisme en esthétique protéiforme, voire en simple étiquette pour regrouper de vagues tendances communes à deux ou trois générations. Il n’y aurait, en fin de compte, que des romantismes, voire seulement des auteurs romantiques (...). [Dictionnaire des littératures de langue française.]

The problematic raised in the above quotation concerning romanticism could be extended to other literary movements. Can they be defined or circumscribed? Is a movement primarily a result of an aesthetic? Or do aesthetics arise from movements? Why are so many movements subject to contrary definitions by scholars?

Course Content

Among the many ways of understanding individual cultural works, the study of the literary movement in which they were created has one of the longest traditions. Sometimes the movement has been self-consciously formed when a group of like-minded artists has come together in opposition to a prevailing style (e.g. surrealism); sometimes the literary movement has been created by writers after the fact (e.g. the absurd) when common traits were recognised; and sometimes the movement has been identified after the fact by critics (e.g. postmodernism). The content of this course and the approach adopted will vary therefore with the instructor. Broadly speaking, French 4610 will focus on the historical period up to the end of the 18th century; French 4620 will study a literary movement from the 19th and 20th centuries. The movement to be studied will be announced prior to the course being offered and will be chosen from the following:

French 4610 — courtoisie, libertinage, libre pensée, baroque, humanism, classicism, Enlightenment, romanticism, etc.

French 4620 — realism, naturalism, symbolism, surrealism, existentialism, feminism, postmodernism, the absurd, nouveau roman, roman du terroir, etc.

Content of French 4620, Fall Semester 2010

From instructor Dr. Virginia Harger Grinling:

Commençant par un survol de certains mouvements et philosophies précurseurs du « nouveau roman », l'objet principal du cours est une étude en profondeur decertaines oeuvres et certains essais clé, indispensables pour la compréhension de ce genre. Les principaux auteurs étudiés - Robbe-Grillet, Sarraute et Butor -sont en effet considerés comme originaires du nouveau roman. Le nouveau roman peut être considéré comme étant le précurseur de beaucoup des mouvements artistiques - littéraire, cinématographique, arts plastiques - en évolution constante même de nos jours.

Pre-requisites

Two courses from the series French 3500, 3501, 3502, 3503, 3504 , or one of these courses with a grade of 80% or higher, are the prerequisites for 4000-level literature courses.

Frequency

Once every 3-4 years.

Together with or after 4610-4620

This course (and other similar ones at the 4000 level) are recommended for students doing a major in French, and especially for those doing Honours. It may be offered in conjunction with a similar graduate course

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