Shades of Truth and Fiction in Contemporary French Literature

René Magritte, L'Empire des lumières

One notion that has come to define our times is that of truth. We are tasked, urgently, to seize what it may be and how it can be ascertained. Paradoxically, literature may contribute some of the most crucial reflections on the boundaries of truth. Indeed, writers of fiction have an intimate grasp on all shades of the real and of its representation. This appears remarkably salient in contemporary French literature, as it plays endlessly with nuances of the self, of testimony, of objectivity. This semester, we will discover how a variety of authors interprets historical reconstitution, gaslighting, confession, verisimilitude, autofiction, and more.

Language of instruction: French

Prerequisite: Either (a) all of FREN 311, FREN 321 or (b) all of FREN 328, FREN 329 and one of FREN 225, FREN 402

10% Regular Participation
15% Fiches de lecture
10% Essais courts
20% Présentation littéraire
10% Création littéraire
5% Prospectus of Research Paper
30% Research paper

Patrick Modiano, Dora Bruder
Emmanuel Carrère, La moustache
Hervé Guibert, Cytomégalovirus
Annie Ernaux,  L’événement
Christine Angot, Les Petits
Gaël Faye, Petit pays