Read classic and contemporary writing in French! Books and themes change each session—view below.
Literature makes a major contribution to a nation’s cultural heritage and exposure to authentic written texts is one of the many ways foreign language learners can improve their language proficiency. In this course, discover French and Francophone literature through the analysis and discussion of major literary works, either focusing on one text or on a specific theme woven through a variety of texts. This course is designed for literature lovers who would like to learn about the history of literature, of French expression, and to become more independent in reading challenging texts in their original French language.
B1.LIT.E11 (II) (Level B1/B2) - 5 Weeks - Tue 5:45pm–7:15pm - Nov 2-Dec 7 - S.Durand
L’Amant de Marguerite Duras
When L’Amant was published in France in 1984 by the prestigious Éditions de Minuit, the book became a literary phenomenon -both for the readers and the critics- that made it the inevitable winner of the Prix Goncourt the same year. If Marguerite Duras (1914-1996) was already a famous and celebrated author, L’Amant solidified this reputation and became her masterpiece.
The author recounts her childhood in French Indochina: her family, the crossing of the Mekong River to go to Saigon and the meeting with a rich Chinese man. He is the “lover”, more than ten years her senior, who will trouble the young girl and will create in her an excessive passion. An autobiographical account of the awakening of the senses, tinged with a subtle “durasian” emotionality and a scandalous sensuality, L’Amant is about both abandonment and liberation.
The novel is 145 pages long and you will have to read about 30 pages a week.
This course will require reading approximately 30 pages per week. Each week, additional and optional materials will be provided to accompany the reading (podcast, videos, articles). We will look at the least understood passages to discover new vocabulary and grammar points, but we will mainly focus on discussing the story itself: the characters, the themes, the plot. Finally, we will draw interpretations on the writing and the aesthetics of this great woman of French letters.
B1.LIT.E12 (II) (Level B1/B2) - 5 Weeks - Thu 10am–11:30am - Nov 4-Dec 9 - S.Durand
Dora Bruder de Patrick Modiano
“PARIS. LOOKING FOR a young girl, Dora Bruder, 15 years old, 1m55, oval face, gray-brown eyes, gray sport coat, burgundy sweater, navy blue skirt and hat, brown sport shoes. Please send all information to Mr. and Mrs. Bruder, 41, boulevard Ornano, Paris.” It is this ad found in a newspaper dated on December 31, 1941, that inspires Patrick Modiano, Nobel Prize winner in Literature in 2014, to write this short book. Written as a police investigation, the narrator sets out to find this young Jewish girl, a runaway who was recaptured several times by the French police and whose life would be taken by the barbarous Nazi occupation forces.
Considered Patrick Modiano’s masterpiece, the story speaks to the author’s obsession with the darkest period of contemporary French history, made up of forgetfulness and unspoken words. We also discover the author himself and his existential interrogations.
This course will require reading approximately 30 pages per week. Each week, additional and optional materials will be provided to accompany the reading (podcast, videos, articles). We will look at the least understood passages to discover new vocabulary and grammar points. We will mainly focus on discussing the story itself: the characters, the themes, the plot. Finally, we will draw interpretations on the writing and the aesthetics of this great master of contemporary French literature that is Patrick Modiano (born in 1945).