ENG 2903: French women writers from enlightenment to existentialism
The file is restricted.
Please click here to access if the item description shows YU only.
YU Faculty Directory
MetadataShow full item record
Course syllabus / YU only
¶This course will trace how French women writers explore key questions surrounding their female identity by engaging with the literary movements of their time. As we make our way through a series of fascinating novels from the eighteenth to the twentieth century, we will see how these writers explored the ideological questions of their day by centering the place of women’s roles in French society. Each module of the class will be organized around the central question of the novel at hand: We’ll ask What Is Love? as we read Françoise de Graffigny’s Letters from a Peruvian Woman (1747), a story in letters exchanged between an Incan princess kidnapped by European invaders and her fiancé, who may or may not be waiting for her. Next we’ll consider ¶What Is Marriage? with George Sand’s Indiana (1832), the story of a young woman unhappily married to a violent man, and the drama that unfolds in a series of unexpected love triangles that traverse race and class. Then we’ll turn to What is Madness? in Rachilde’s Monsieur Vénus (1884), which draws on popular medical literature and leaves the reader wondering who decides a woman’s sanity. We’ll ask What is Independence? with Colette’s The Vagabond (1910) in which a woman attempts to support herself after the end of her tumultuous marriage to a cheating husband. Finally, we’ll explore What is Liberty? in Simone de Beauvoir’s A Woman Destroyed (1968) a novella in which a woman considers her own destiny as she grapples with choices she has made, and whether she had any choice at all. The novels will be contextualized in a variety of ways: through excerpts from contemporary feminist critics, early French medical and scientific texts about women, and nineteenth- and twentieth-century French women’s magazines. Students will gain an understanding for the sweep of French literary tradition, while examining how fiction can function as a mode of feminist critique. In the process, they will develop their own literary analysis and close reading skills, as well as an appreciation for how cultural and historical context can frame their literary interpretations. ¶In recognition of the current challenges that students (and faculty!) face, we have "pauses" built into the syllabus. These breaks will mean less reading or no reading for class, and films to watch or images to examine instead of novels to study. They are marked by the pink highlighting below. They are structured around when papers are due and/or we've just completed a long novel. This should allow you to catch up if you've fallen behind, or just get a chance to reset before we continue. Of course, there may be unforeseen events and interruptions over the course of the semester. Please reach out to me if you are having any difficulties and we will work out a solution.
Mesch, R. (2022, Fall). Syllabus: ENG 2903: French women writers from enlightenment to existentialism. Stern College for Women, Yeshiva University.
*This is constructed from limited available data and may be imprecise.
The file is restricted. Please click here to access if the item description shows YU only.
The following license files are associated with this item: