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The Renaissance Body in French Literature and Medicine (FRENCH 319)

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Instructor
Term
  • Autumn
Subject Code
FRENCH
Course Number
219
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The Renaissance Body in French Literature and Medicine (FRENCH 319)

If the Renaissance is famous for discovering unknown continents and ancient texts the body too was a new territory of conquest. How did literature respond to the rise of an anatomical gaze in the arts and in medicine and how did it stage the aesthetic religious philosophical and moral issues related to such a promotion or deconstruction of the body? Does literature aim at representing the body or does it use it instead as a ubiquitous signifier for intellectual emotional and political ideas? The locus of desire, pleasure and disease, the body also functioned as a reminder of human mortality and was caught in the web of gender issues, religious controversies and new norms of behavior. Texts from prose fiction (Rabelais) poetry (Scève Ronsard Labé D'Aubigné) essays (Montaigne) and emblem literature. Extra documents include music scores tapestries paintings philosophical and anatomical plates from medical treatises. Taught in English; readings in French and English.