Literature – Intermediate B1

Format: Online
Type: Culture & Literature
Level: Intermediate B1

5 weeks: July 31–September 3

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.

  • ONLINE B1.LIT.E11(II) (B1/B2) - 5 weeks - Tue 12pm–1:30pm - Aug 3-Aug 31 - H.Fortin

    Zazie dans le Métro de Raymond Queneau

    Zazie, a little provincial girl from Berry, is impatient to take the Parisian subway. She is welcomed to Paris by her uncle Gabriel, who will take her around the capital and show her its most famous monuments for a few days. But Zazie is impertinent and rude and very outspoken for a little girl of her age. The reader follows her adventures in the streets of Paris, alternating between disappointment and wonder, at a time when France also dreams of emancipation and freedom. Raymond Queneau describes, through the encounters of the little girl in the capital, a gallery of picturesque characters who fill this funny and amusing fable with philosophical reflections on identity, freedom and childhood.

    Built as a burlesque parody of the great epics or picaresque novels, Zazie dans le métro has become a classic of French literature. Published in 1959, the novel launched the literary career of Raymond Queneau, considered one of the greatest authors of the twentieth century in France. A popular novel that has marked generations of French people, it is also a pioneering book celebrated for the creativity and inventiveness of its language and dialogue. The book was adapted to the cinema in 1960 by Louis Malle.

    The book is 229 pages long and you will have to read about 45 pages each week.

  • ONLINE B1.LIT.E12(II) (B1/B2) - 5 weeks - Wed 10am–11:30am - Aug 4-Sept 1 - H.Fortin

    La Place et Passion simple d’ Annie Ernaux

    Annie Ernaux is a French writer who has been recognized and celebrated since the 1970s and who has carved out a very singular and original path in the French literary world. Almost exclusively autobiographical, her work is a precise and persevering search for herself through writing. Coming from a working-class background, she questions her modest origins and her identity as a woman and does not hesitate to speak for the most disadvantaged in an empathetic and humble way. Her style, simple and uncluttered, never seeks virtuosity and strives instead to achieve a form of authenticity and universality.

    For this summer session, I would like to read with you two short autobiographical novels by Annie Ernaux. The first, La Place, which won the Prix Renaudot in 1984, is a fragmentary narrative “born of the pain of losing [her] father” and unfolds as an elegy to his memory and her own childhood. The second, Passion simple, is the story of a forbidden love affair between the narrator and a married man: “from September of last year, I did nothing but wait for a man” she writes as if longing was the proof of being in love.

    The two novels are 104 pages and 66 pages respectively and will require reading about 30 pages per week.