Rues, routes et boulevards: Modern Narratives in French

Gustave Caillebotte, Rue de Paris, temps de pluie

All throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, French literature was undergoing dramatic transformations. Not only was it reflecting the effects of revolutions, wars, and new ways of life, but it was in turn impacting society at its core. Our way of apprehending this movement will be to focus our attention on the depiction of streets, roads and boulevards in French literature. Charles Baudelaire portrayed them as sites of alienation and encounter; Victor Hugo as battlefields; Marcel Proust as a repository of memories; Irène Némirovsky as social laboratories; Beckett as a site of longing. In line with the historical structure of the course, we will also pay attention to the transformation of Paris through new class hierarchies (Balzac) industries (Zola), as well as new ways of life (Perec and Ernaux).

Language of instruction: French

Prerequisites: One of FREN 311, FREN 321 and one of FREN 224, FREN 401

10% Regular Participation
20% Essais courts
20% Oral Presentation
15% Création oulipienne
5% Prospectus of research paper
30% Research paper

Honoré de Balzac, La Maison du chat-qui-pelote
Georges Perec, Tentative d’épuisement d’un lieu parisien
Samuel Beckett, En attendant Godot
Annie Ernaux, La vie extérieure