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Department of French & Italian at Emory

Graduate Courses SPRING, 2013


FREN 540      The Discourse of Passions in Literature and Art               Judovitz

(Cross-listed with CPLT 751, ENG 789, ILA 790)
Tuesdays, 1-4PM

Content: Michel Merleau-Ponty commented that “Feelings and passionate conduct are invented like words.” This is to suggest that the signs associated with emotion and its expression through behavior will vary both historically and culturally. In this course, we will examine the discourse of the passions in 17-th Century French literature and art in order analyze the specific patterning of the body and world in emotion. The body’s capacity to gesture by producing material effects in excess of the order of representation will be at issue. Based on Pascal’s observation that “The heart has reasons, that reason does not know,” we will inquire into the paradoxes that subtend the representation of passions in a culture that privileges the mastery of reason and the regulatory force of social norms. We will consider how passions manifest themselves at the juncture of signs and body testing the distinctions between the semiotic and somatic, meaning and materiality. Do passions be they erotic or spiritual entail gestures whose resonances, echoes and inarticulate nuances escape the formalizing grasp of semiology? Can the expression of passions be simulated or even counterfeit? The guiding question is how the representation of the passions challenges the limits of not just classical discourse but discursivity in general.

Texts: d’Urfe, L’Astree; Guilleragues, Lettres portugaises; Racine, Phedre; Mme de Lafayette, “La Princesse de Montpensier”; Moliere, Tartuffe and theoretical texts by Sartre, Foucault, Merleau-Ponty, Barthes, Bryson, Lyotard, Kamuf, Jean-Jacques Courtine etc., available on on-line reserves.

 

FREN 775      Gustave Flaubert et Claude Simon ou le fantôme             Bonnefis
Thursdays, 1-4PM                         du kiosque

Content:  Il est, dans Madame Bovary, telle page que Claude Simon aurait pu écrire ; dans L’Herbe ou La Route des Flandres, telle, inversement, que Flaubert, cette fois, semblerait, pour un peu, avoir lui-même écrite. Grosse l’une de trop d’avenir, grosse l’autre de trop de passé, pour que, dans leur venue même, elles n’aient pas, l’une et l’autre, échappé à ceux qui étaient censés les signer et auxquels, manifestement, elles n’étaient pas destinées. Lapsus dans le temps (l’expression est de Pascal Quignard : « Un roman dans le langage, un hapax dans la langue, un lapsus dans le temps, un raptus dans l’espace, un rêve dans la veille. »), qui autorise peut-être cette lecture croisée des œuvres de Flaubert et de Simon à laquelle je vous invite, en cette année 2013 qui verra justement la France célébrer, par un grand colloque au collège de France qu’inaugurera d’ailleurs Pascal Quignard, et par une exposition à Beaubourg, le centenaire de la naissance de Claude Simon.

Textes:  Seront lus de Flaubert, au Livre de Poche, Madame Bovary (1857) et Trois contes (1877); de Simon, aux éditions de Minuit, L’Herbe (1958), La Route des Flandres (1960) et Histoire (1967).

 

FREN 780      Derrida and Deconstruction                                                            Bennington
(Cross-listed with CPLT 751 and PHL 789)
Mondays, 1-4PM

Content:  The class aims to come to a general understanding of some basic Derridean ‘concepts’ and an appreciation of what we might call some of the manners of deconstruction.  Each session will concentrate on one or two texts, but the class as a whole will work cumulatively.  Some further readings are suggested, but are not obligatory.

Texts to be studied will include: De la grammatologie (tr. Of Grammatology) ; La Voix et le phénomène (tr. Speech and Phenomena) ; L’écriture et la différence (tr. Writing and Difference) ; La dissémination (tr. Dissemination); Marges de la philosophie (tr. Margins of Philosophy); Limited Inc.;Voyous (tr. Rogues).

 

FREN 780      Drama, Justice and Theatrical Performance:                    Felman
                             Between Theater and Trials                               
Mondays, 4-7PM
 (Cross-listed with CPLT 751, ILA 790, PSP 789, ENG 789R; Law  634)
Permission required.

Content: This course will study literary (and sometimes historical, and cinematic) courtroom dramas, in reflecting on the relation between the legal stage and the theatrical stage.

Legal trials share with theatrical plays the fact that they are social spectacles of living confrontations, embodying conflicts and disputes that are enacted on a stage, address an audience, follow ceremonial practices and rituals, and use dialogue and actors (or performers) who play designated roles. This course will ask: What is the reason for modern theater’s increasing emphasis on trials? What can trials teach us about theater?  And conversely, what can the theater teach us about trials?  What is the role of trials – as spectacular crises of truth – in the theater of history and of cultural memory? Observing how courtroom dramas (in culture, and in literature) take place as exchanges between events, acts, bodies, words, ritual, ceremony, and testimony, we will ask: What does it mean to be a player (in life, and in the world)? We will view the stage as a space of intersection between the private and the public, between the individual and the collective, between the sacred and the secular, as well as a space of exchange between illusion and reality, reason and madness, consciousness and the unconscious.

Literary courtroom dramas (plays, and scenes from novels) selected among: Aeschylus, Sophocles, Shakespeare, Bertolt Brecht, Bernard Shaw, Herman Melville, Moises Kaufman, Peter Weiss, E.M. Forster, Virginia Woolf 

Critical texts (mainly theories of theater; and of dramas) selected among:  Aristotle, Antonin Artaud, Bertolt Brecht, Walter Benjamin, Hannah Arendt, Barbara Johnson, Jean-Paul Sartre, Freud, Hegel, Nietzsche, Marx.

Particulars:  Emphasis on close reading.  Required: Regular attendance and ongoing participation; two short papers; brief oral presentations.

 

FREN 785      Caribbean Southern                                                             Loichot
Wednesdays, 1-4PM
 (Cross-listed with  ENG 789 and CPLT 751)

Content:  This course will read texts from the U.S. South through the lens of Caribbean theoretical, poetic, and fictional productions. Conversely, U.S. writing will illuminate Caribbean literature. The course will also highlight terms that resist translation and do not travel well between the two regions (e.g. “métissage” and “miscegenation”). Lectures and discussions will be organized around the following keywords: plantation and marooning; water and ecologies; genealogies and sexualities; the discourse of disaster; creolization and neo-creolization.

Particulars:  Sustained participation, short response papers, presentation, research paper with annotated bibliography. 

Readings:  In addition to the list of books to be purchased, readings will include texts by Kamau Brathwaite, Wilson Harris, Sylvia Wynter, George Washington Cable, Lafcadio Hearn, Junot Díaz and Edwidge Danticat. We will also discuss Benh Zeitlin’s film Beasts of the Southern Wild.

 

 

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French Graduate Seminars Spring 2012


FREN 530    Montaigne et la pensée engagée         

J. Vance
M 4 :00-7 :00PM

Content :  Pourquoi Montaigne déclare-t-il qu’il hait et fuit toutes obligations sociétales? Pourquoi refuse-t-il le sacrifice de sa liberté individuelle que représente le devoir? Montaigne définit sa propre modernité dans l’histoire des belles-lettres à partir d’une réflexion sur les vicissitudes que crée l’obligation à autrui. Il est, affirme-t-il, au-delà "de tout exemple moderne" parce qu’il est l’homme le "plus libre et moins endebté" qui soit, refusant d’anéantir la liberté de sa propre volonté en l’assujettissant au service d’autrui. Quelles sont les implications éthiques et esthétiques d’une telle posture critique envers la société? Comment la "théorie critique" peut-elle nous servir à décrire la position de Montaigne vis-a-vis de l’obligation et du devoir?

 

FREN 550    Jean-Jacques Rousseau
G. Bennington
T 1 :00-4 :00PM
(Cross-listed with CPLT 752)

Content : Plus qu’un autre, peut-être, c’est Jean-Jacques Rousseau qui aura signé le dix-huitième siècle français.  Que ce soit en matière de philosophie politique, de théorie pédagogique, d’écriture littéraire ou autobiographique, tout change là où Rousseau écrit et signe de son nom.  Nous essayerons, à travers la lecture de grands textes en tous genres, de mieux cerner la place et les enjeux de cette signature qui se veut unique, garant présumé d’une vérité qui se révélera de plus en plus fabuleuse.

Texts : Les Confessions ; Emile, ou de l’éducation ; Discours sur l’origine de l‘inégalité ; Du Contrat social ; Les rêveries du promeneur solitaire ; Rousseau juge de Jean-Jacques.

Particulars : The course will be taught in French.

 

FREN 730     Plaisir au roman (Giono et Céline)
P. Bonnefis
Th 1:00-4:00PM

Content:  Il y a plaisir à lire Giono, un plaisir même que Malraux mettait au-dessus de tout. Il y a plaisir à lire Céline, les lectures jubilatoires qu’un Fabrice Luchini en fait sur scène le prouveraient s’il était nécessaire.

On voudrait, ce semestre, s’interroger sur ce qui fait l’essence du plaisir en question, et se demander, pour commencer, si le plaisir ressenti par exemple à lire Un roi sans divertissement est le même plaisir que l’on éprouve à lire Mort à crédit.

Dans un livre qui eut son heure de gloire et qu’en cette occasion il serait peut-être opportun de rouvrir, Barthes distinguait les textes de plaisir des textes de jouissance, nous invitant toutefois à tenir les premiers en moindre estime. La jouissance, il est vrai, parmi les Modernes, ralliait, en ces années-là, tous les suffrages.

De ce point de vue, d’ailleurs, il est juste d’en convenir, Giono a toujours paru moins « moderne » que Céline. Tel Quel était célinien mais n’était pas gionien.

Je souhaiterais, cependant, malgré Tel Quel, examiner avec vous l’hypothèse qu’on puisse être les deux successivement, si ce n’est en même temps. Quelque conséquence qu’il y ait lieu d’en tirer, le cas échéant, sur la nature du plaisir que l’on prend au roman.

Textes étudiés :
            1. Giono ;
                        Un roi sans divertissement (Folio).
                        Le Husssard sur le toit (Folio).
                        Fragments d’un paradis (Gallimard, coll. « L’Imaginaire).

            2. Céline :
                        Voyage au bout de la nuit (Folio).
                        Mort à crédit (Folio).
 


FREN 780    Primal Scenes: Psychoanalysis, Literature, and the Limits
of the Human
E. Marder
W 1:00-4:00PM
(Cross-listed with CPLT 751-001, PSP 789)

Content:
In this course, we shall examine how psychoanalysis both establishes and challenges the boundaries of the human.  Beginning with a close reading of Freud’s The Interpretation of Dreams, we shall explore how Freud’s derives the specificity of the human unconscious (via the complex operations of the dream-work) by turning to literary language, theatrical spaces and events, and technological operations.  Throughout the course, we will focus on the Freudian conception of the ‘primal scene’ as a way of examining how psychoanalytic theory challenges traditional conceptions of temporality, repetition, sexuality and desire, writing, mourning, cruelty, and the status of the historical event. Texts may include: The Interpretation of Dreams (Freud); Freud’s case histories (including ‘Dora,’ ‘The Wolf-Man’, ‘The Rat-Man,’ ‘Little Hans’, and ‘Schreber’) Phèdre (Racine); Le Ravissment de Lol V. Stein (Duras); Moderato cantabile (Duras); La Chambre claire (Barthes); Selections from: Combray and A l’ombre des jeunes filles en fleurs (Proust); La Bête humaine (Zola); To the Lighthouse (Woolf) Muriel (dir. Alain Resnais).  Additional readings may include works by: Jacques Derrida, Gilles Deleuze, Avital Ronell, Samuel Weber, Nicolas Abraham and Maria Torok, Hélène Cixous, & Sarah Kofman.

 

FREN 780    Literature and Justice:  Writers on Trial
S. Felman
M 4:00-7:00 PM
(Cross-listed with CPLT751/ENG789/ILA790, LAW)
Permission required.
Content: History has put on trial a series of outstanding thinkers.  At the dawn of philosophy, Socrates drinks the cup of poison to which he is condemned by the Athenians for his influential teaching, charged with atheism, and corruption of the youth.  Centuries later, in modernity, similarly influential Oscar Wilde is condemned by the English for his homosexuality, as well as for his provocative artistic style.  In France, Emile Zola is condemned for defending a Jew against the state, which has convicted him.  E. M. Forster writes about a rape trial /race trial of an Indian by the colonizing British Empire.

However different, all these accused have come to stand for something greater than themselves: something that was symbolized -- and challenged – by their trials.  Through the examination of a series of historical and literary trials, this course will ask:  Why are literary writers, philosophers and creative thinkers, repetitively put on trial, and how in turn do they put culture and society on trial?  What is the role of literature as a political actor in the struggles over ethics, and the struggles over meaning?

Texts:
Selected readings, chosen among: Plato; Oscar Wilde; Flaubert; Baudelaire; Zola; Melville; E. M. Forster; Bertolt Brecht; Virginia Woolf; Hannah Arendt; Kafka; Spinoza; Jacques Lacan.


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 End of Spring 2012 Graduate ATLAS

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