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French Kiss: The History of Love and the French Novel (HISTORY 236F)

COURSES

Term
  • Autumn
Subject Code
FRENCH
Course Number
159
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French Kiss: The History of Love and the French Novel (HISTORY 236F)

The history of the French novel is also the history of love. How did individuals experience love throughout history? How do novels reflect this evolution of love through the ages? And, most significantly, how have French novels shaped our own understanding of and expectations for romantic love today? The course will explore many forms of love from the Ancien Régime to the 20th century. Sentiment and seduction, passion and desire, the conflict between love and society: students will examine these themes from a historical perspective, in tandem with the evolution of the genre of the novel (the novella, the sentimental novel, the epistolary novel, the 19th-century novel, and the autobiographical novel). Some texts will be paired with contemporary films to probe the enduring relevance of love "à la française" in the media today. Readings include texts by Lafayette, Prévost, Laclos, Dumas fils, Flaubert, Colette, Yourcenar, and Duras. This is an introductory course to French Studies, with a focus on cultural history, literary history, interpretation of narrative, thematic analysis, and close-reading. Readings and discussion in English.