This course fulfills the general requirement in arts and letters.
This course is intended to offer students who cannot read French an opportunity to study some of the greatest works of French literature in English translation. We will read six novels, dating from the late eighteenth century to the mid twentieth: "Les Liasons Dangereuses" (Laclos), "Le Pere Goriot" (Balzac), "Madame Bovary" (Flaubert), "Swann's Way" (Proust), "Nausea" (Sartre), "The Stranger" (Camus). My goal will be to present each of these masterpieces in terms of how it reflects social relations, political structures, and historical tensions at the time of its writing, how it innovates aesthetically in the tradition of French literature, and how it contributes to our knowledge of psychology, character, and emotion. No previous knowledge of French literature or culture is assumed. Students will be asked to write three short papers and to post comments on the readings to a class listserve.