Literature – Intermediate B1

Format: Online
Type: Culture & Literature
Level: Intermediate B1
11 weeks: Apr 5–Jun 21

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) (Level B1/B2) - 5 Weeks - Fri 10am–11:30am - Feb 23-Mar 23 - H.Fortin

    Extension du domaine de la lutte de Michel Houellebecq (explicit language)

    In 1994, Michel Houellebecq published Extension du domaine de la lutte and immediately became one of the most promising French authors of his generation. His literary career has since made him one of the most translated, popular, and polemical French contemporary authors.

    The protagonist of the book lives a solitary life and has not had sex for years because of his lack of charm and beauty. He is an average man and lives an average life. From banal conversations at the coffee machine to his observations of social life, the book is a journey of disenchantment. The story of this depressed and isolated man, told through his monologues and adventures, is a strong critique of modern society, obsessed with sex, money, and success. Beside its pessimistic yet funny point of view, the book is now considered as one of the most devastating satires of our time!

    In this class we will focus on learning and strengthening your French by reading (in class and at home), understanding, exploring vocabulary and grammar, and discussing the themes of the story. An average of 30 pages will be read each week.

    This class will interest you if you want to keep learning French by reading a classic of 20th century French Literature and if you want to discover Michel Houellebecq, considered one of the best – and most polemical – French writers.

  • ONLINE B1.LIT.E12(II) (Level B1/B2) - 5 Weeks - Wed 5:45pm–7:15pm - Feb 24-Mar 24 - H.Fortin

    La Gloire de mon père de Marcel Pagnol

    Marcel Pagnol (1895-1974) started his literary career late in life after having worked as a playwright, a screenwriter, and a movie director. In 1957, he started writing his autobiography and the first book, La Gloire de mon père, was published the same year. It became a huge success and is still considered as a classic of French literature.

    The book focuses on Marcel Pagnol’s childhood in Marseille and his vacation in the village of La Treille with his family. Filled with funny memories and vivid portraits of people living around him, the book delves into the quintessential and picturesque Provence with its lively charm, sunny landscapes, and refreshing characters. A perfect winter reading!

    In this class we will focus on learning and strengthening your French by reading (in class and at home), understanding, exploring vocabulary and grammar, and discussing the themes of the story. An average of 40 pages will be read each week.

    This class will interest you if you want to keep learning French by reading a classic of 20th century French literature and if you want to discover the sunny and refreshing world of Marcel Pagnol.

  • ONLINE B1.LIT.E01 (I) - 5 Weeks - Wed 5:45pm–7:15pm- Apr 7-May 5 - H.Fortin

    Corniche Kennedy de Maylis de Kerangal

    This novel by Maylis de Kerangal, published in 2008 and adapted in a movie in 2016, takes place along the “Corniche Kennedy” which borders the Mediterranean Sea in Marseille in the south of France. An expressway separating posh villas from a seaside without a beach, just a vertiginous slope of rocks where a few idle teenagers find daily refuge in the summertime, quarreling, bragging and flirting. Eddy’s gang, who took possession of the place, specialized in risky stunts. Defying their own fear, they made these high-flying dives a kind of initiation rite and they keep provoking the policemen who try to prevent them from jumping. All it will take is for an intruder, Suzanne, a “rich kid” from the surrounding area, to join them, to sow disorder in the gang and accuse certain rivalries between the small, cheap bosses. Childish games, just young people in search of strong emotions, but things will soon get worse. Not far from there, a detective in charge of monitoring this sensitive coastal area, spies on the actions of these “little jerks”, most of whom come from the poorer districts of Marseille. Insidiously, the two stories will converge in a disheveled scenario and the novel soon becomes a thriller. The book is 192 pages long. An average of 38 pages to read each week.

    In this class we will focus on learning and strengthening your French by reading (in class and at home), understanding, exploring the vocabulary and the grammar, and discussing the themes and the story.

    This class will interest you if you are willing to keep learning French by reading a contemporary novel, popular and celebrated for its style and narrative. The book was selected for numerous literary prizes when it came out in 2008.

  • ONLINE B1.LIT.E02 (I) - 5 Weeks - Fri 10am–11:30am - Apr 9-May 7 - H.Fortin

    La Moustache d’Emmanuel Carrère

    One morning, Agnès’ husband shaves his moustache, without telling her, in order to surprise her. But she doesn’t notice anything and, using their friends as witnesses, and supported by photos, shows her husband that he has shaved a moustache that never existed. The narrator, exasperated, does not find the joke very funny, and soon panic and paranoia loom. From this innocent hoax, the world is slowly being turned upside down. Is he becoming crazy? Is it a joke that his wife, his family and his friends are playing on him? Something in the world has gone wrong and the narrator loses his footing.

    In this celebrated novel, written in 1986 and adapted in a movie in 2005, Emmanuel Carrère builds a psychological thriller about a daily and insignificant madness that grows little by little, and triggers a quest for one’s own identity. Emmanuel Carrère has received numerous literary awards and is considered as one of the best contemporary French authors. The book is 192 pages long. An average of 38 pages to read each week.

    In this class we will focus on learning and strengthening your French by reading (in class and at home), understanding, exploring the vocabulary and the grammar, and discussing the themes and the story.

  • ONLINE B1.LIT.L01 - 11 Weeks - Tue 2pm-3:30pm - Apr 6-June 15 - L.Thommeret

    Le roman policier – Arsène Lupin : L’Aiguille Creuse de Maurice Leblanc

    In this course, you will greatly expand your French vocabulary by reading Arsène Lupin : L’Aiguille creuse, the first major novel featuring the adventures of the gentleman thief, Arsène Lupin, by Maurice Leblanc. In this novel, the “national thief” Arsène Lupin is being hunted by a young amateur detective, who is still in high school. Yet Arsène Lupin manages to master the secret handed down by the kings of France since the time of Julius Caesar: the Hollow Needle holds Marie Antoinette and Alessandro Cagliostro’s second secret, the hidden fortune of the kings of France. Arsène Lupin and the high schooler then go head to head trying to locate the fabulous treasure.

    This course is especially for you if you want to learn more about the origins of the hit Netflix series Lupin, you like to read, and you have reached a level in French where you can start reading literary texts.

    By the end of this course, you will have expanded your French vocabulary and developed your ability to read, understand and analyze French literature.

  • ONLINE B1.LIT.E11 (II) - 5 Weeks - Wed 5:45pm–7:15pm - May 19-June 16 - H.Fortin

    La Moustache d’Emmanuel Carrère

    One morning, Agnès’ husband shaves his moustache, without telling her, in order to surprise her. But she doesn’t notice anything and, using their friends as witnesses, and supported by photos, shows her husband that he has shaved a moustache that never existed. The narrator, exasperated, does not find the joke very funny, and soon panic and paranoia loom. From this innocent hoax, the world is slowly being turned upside down. Is he becoming crazy? Is it a joke that his wife, his family and his friends are playing on him? Something in the world has gone wrong and the narrator loses his footing.

    In this celebrated novel, written in 1986 and adapted in a movie in 2005, Emmanuel Carrère builds a psychological thriller about a daily and insignificant madness that grows little by little, and triggers a quest for one’s own identity. Emmanuel Carrère has received numerous literary awards and is considered as one of the best contemporary French authors. The book is 192 pages long. An average of 38 pages to read each week.

    In this class we will focus on learning and strengthening your French by reading (in class and at home), understanding, exploring the vocabulary and the grammar, and discussing the themes and the story.

  • ONLINE B1.LIT.E12 (II) - 5 Weeks - Fri 10am–11:30am - May 21-June 18 - H.Fortin

    Corniche Kennedy de Maylis de Kerangal

    This novel by Maylis de Kerangal, published in 2008 and adapted in a movie in 2016, takes place along the “Corniche Kennedy” which borders the Mediterranean Sea in Marseille in the south of France. An expressway separating posh villas from a seaside without a beach, just a vertiginous slope of rocks where a few idle teenagers find daily refuge in the summertime, quarreling, bragging and flirting. Eddy’s gang, who took possession of the place, specialized in risky stunts. Defying their own fear, they made these high-flying dives a kind of initiation rite and they keep provoking the policemen who try to prevent them from jumping. All it will take is for an intruder, Suzanne, a “rich kid” from the surrounding area, to join them, to sow disorder in the gang and accuse certain rivalries between the small, cheap bosses. Childish games, just young people in search of strong emotions, but things will soon get worse. Not far from there, a detective in charge of monitoring this sensitive coastal area, spies on the actions of these “little jerks”, most of whom come from the poorer districts of Marseille. Insidiously, the two stories will converge in a disheveled scenario and the novel soon becomes a thriller. The book is 192 pages long. An average of 38 pages to read each week.

    In this class we will focus on learning and strengthening your French by reading (in class and at home), understanding, exploring the vocabulary and the grammar, and discussing the themes and the story.

    This class will interest you if you are willing to keep learning French by reading a contemporary novel, popular and celebrated for its style and narrative. The book was selected for numerous literary prizes when it came out in 2008.