FRENCH LITERATURE II
Learning outcomes of the course unit
Through the course, students will obtain the ability to collocate the texts analyzes in the literary, historical and cultural French context of XVIII and XIX centuries. They will dwell on the rhetorical construction of the speech about love and on the text organization problems in the novels.
Course contents summary
The speech about love in the French novel during the end of the 18th century and the first half of the 19th.
A detailed study of the following works:
Les liaisons dangereuses (1782) Choderlos de Laclos
La duchesse de Langeais (1834) Honoré de Balzac.
The speech about love has to be understood like a speech “about love”, and as a formulation of a thought concerning the love itself, progressively developed during the story. It’s a study concerning the phenomena and the speech procedures supporting and defining the fictional performance of the amorous feeling in its variable expressions (passion, desire, affliction, obsession, idealization and so on). The language procedures allowing the characters’ and the teller’s – if present - reasoning about love will be analysed, consequently focusing about the amorous dissertation inside the text. Specifically, we will dwell on the rhetorical construction of the speech on love and on the text organization problems in the novels Les liaisons dangereuses by Choderlos de Laclos and La duchesse de Langeais by Honoré de Balzac.
How does the speech about love in the two texts participate to the writing process and the text realization itself?
How and why the characters analyse and explain the feeling of love while they are dreaming or experimenting it? Or, maybe, they are trying to realise it?
How can that speech break free from the narration itself, gaining a specific sociological relevance (importance) and in the meanwhile a philosophical/conceptual poignancy which could guarantee an everlasting relevance?
These two novels have been chosen because of the ambiguity with which they both approach the cliché of the speech about love, and the specific connection built by the novel writing with the linguistic and extra-linguistic rules of the speech itself producing and guaranteeing a constant and unsolved fluctuation between the tragic power, the ironic distance and the [adesione lirica].
The analysis of the speech about love will be extended to a wider choice of novels which were published (appeared) during the end of the 18th century and the first half of the 19th, in order to give the students a wider overview about the novel production of that time (of that period).
The epistolary novel
• The vogue of épistoliers and secrétaires in society
• Monophonic and polyphony
• Analysis and dissertation
• Tradition and innovation: from Lettres persanes by Montesquieu to Julie ou la nouvelle Héloïse by Rousseau
The affirmation of feeling in a natural context
• Julie ou la nouvelle Héloïse by Rousseau and Paul et Virginie by Bernardin de Saint Pierre
The romance of love analysis - precursors:
• From the psychological perspective of La princesse de Clèves de Mme by Mme de La Fayette to the principles of intellectual analysis of the libertine novel
• The vogue of the memorial novel: Manon Lescaut de l'Abbé prévost - La vie de Marianne and Le Paysan Parvenu by Marivaux
• The theatrical marivaudage La Double Inconstance (1723), Les Fausses Confidences (1733) Le Jeu de l'amour et du hasard (1730)
Novel and philosophical story: irony and abstraction
• The affirmation of the critical enlightenment spirit through: Voltaire, Diderot, Montesquieu
• Results of the conceptual analysis and derives of the cult of reason in Les liaisons dangereuses
• From heroic libertinism (XVII ° s.) To the mundane roué
• Aristocratic / worldly tradition of the libertine novel: Crébillon Fils Lettres de la Marquise de M * au Comte de R * (1732) - Les Égarements du cœur et de l'esprit (1735-38)
La nuit et le moment (1755) Le Sopha (1742) - Claude Joseph Dorat - C. Duclos etc
• Popular / erotic-pornographic vein: Gervaise de Latouche, Mirabeau, Fougeret de Monbron, Nerciat
• The divin marquis: the «Sade» case
ANALYSIS of LES LIAISONS DANGEREUSES by LACLOS
• Wisely orchestrated intrigue
• The role of the letter: kaleidoscope of points of view, dangers and perversions of correspondence
• Space-time abstraction
• Disincarnation of the characters: des êtres de discours
• Verbal modes of desire
• Theatricalization and staging of desire (Paradoxe sur le comédien Diderot)
• The defeat of a system
THE XIXth century
ROMANTICISM (precursors and progressive affirmation of the intimist novel)
• Masked autobiography and autobiographical tales proper: Chateaubriand - Senancour - Mme de Staël - Benjamin Constant (+ Musset et Stendhal)
• Le mal du siècle or vague des passions: Musset - Chateaubriand etc
• Amorous subjectivism and projection of the ego in the unsatisfied search for elective affinities. Exacerbated lyricism and correspondences with nature.
• La Comédie Humaine - the literary cathedral
• The Balzacian "method": Is Balzac realistic?
• The art of portrait and the return of the characters
• The novel of formation and love initiation
• Composition, description and dramatization of a universe parallel to reality: an ante litteram cinematographic writing
• The visionary and the opera-world
ANALYSIS OF THE DUCHESSE DE LANGEAIS
• The title
• The three chapters
• The closed space of the boudoir
• Theatrical illusion
• The conflict of love: love fetishism and idolatry - the infinite preambles and frustration of desire - the quête of chivalry and the story of the desert
• The amorphous crystallization
• The momentum towards the absolute and the usury of the vital forces
• Spirituality and transcendence
Stendhal between romance and realism
• Psychological analysis and autobiographical temptation
• The mediation of desire
• DE L'AMOUR
LACLOS (DE) Choderlos, Les Liaisons dangereuses. Ed. Gallimard, coll. Folio classiques, prefazione di André Malraux, Parigi, 1970 (prefazione), 1972 (testo e note), note di Joel Papadopoulos, 2001.
Consultabili ( e consigliati) per prefazioni o note
LACLOS (DE) Choderlos, Les Liaisons dangereuses, Gallimard, « Bibliothèque de la Pléiade », Paris, 2011 (introduzione e note: Catriona Seth)
LACLOS (DE) Choderlos, Les Liaisons dangereuses, Les Livres de Poche, Paris, 1987. (Prefazione : Didier Béatrice Une église baroque à confessionnaux multiples)
LACLOS (DE) Choderlos, Œuvres complètes, Gallimard, “Bibliothèque de la pléiade”, Paris, 1979 (note e apparato critico: Laurent Versini).
Honoré de Balzac
Edizione di riferimento:
BALZAC (de), Honoré. Histoire des Treize (Préface: GENGEMBRE, Gérard), Paris, édition Pocket Classique, 1992.
Antologia letteraria di riferimento
BONINI G.F., JAMET M-C, BACHAS P., VICARI F. Écritures ed. Valmartina 2016
Altre antologie scolastiche consigliate:
Beaubourg, ed. Einaudi scuola – Itinéraires littéraires, ed. Hatier – L’esprit des mots, ed. Loescher
Su Choderlos de Laclos e Les Liaisons dangereuses
• Un saggio a scelta tra :
DIDIER Béatrice, Choderlos de Laclos, Les liaisons dangereuses: pastiches et ironie, Éditions du temps, Paris, 1998.
DOSI Francesca. La lettera in corpo. Parma, Diabasis, 2017 (il saggio è in italiano, ma l’esame si svolge rigorosamente in lingua francese. Questo testo è pertanto consigliato per chi frequenta il corso)
FONTANA Biancamaria, Du boudoir à la Révolution : Laclos & Les Liaisons dangereuses dans leur siècle, éd.Agone, Marseille, 2013.
GOLDZINK Jean, Le Vice en bas de soie : ou le roman du libertinage, José Corti, « Les Essais », Paris, 2001.
VERSINI Laurent « Le roman le plus intelligent ». ‘Les Liaisons dangereuses’ de Laclos, Champion, « Unichamp », Paris, 2000.
• Oppure cinque articoli a scelta individuabili nelle seguenti raccolte :
AAVV Europe, n° 885-886, gennaio, febbraio 2003,
AAVV, Laclos et le libertinage, 1782-1982: Actes du colloque du bicentenaire des Liaisons dangereuses, PUF, Paris, 1983 :
MC CALLAM David, « Les modalités du désir dans Les Liaisons dangereuses », Dix-huitième siècle, 1/2006 (n° 38), p. 589-609. URL : http://www.cairn.info/revue-dix-huitieme-siecle-2006-1-page-589.htm
Su La Duchesse De Langeais
• Cinque articoli a scelta che verranno resi disponibili sul portale ELLY oppure forniti a inizio corso su supporto cartaceo.
DOSI Francesca Trajectoires balzaciennes dans le cinéma de Jacques Rivette ed LettMotif
2013 pp. 379, 581.
The course consists of lectures, during wich the presentation of histirical and literary contents will be supplemented by commentary and analysis of extracts from texts. The Elly Platform will be used in order to make available critical materials to enable students to carry out personal investigations of the course contents.
Assessment methods and criteria
The knowledge acquired during the course will be assessed through an oral exam in french. The following knowledge and skills will be assessed: knowledge about authors and works covered in the course and their accurate insetion into cultural context; the ability to express content in correct french; an adequate level in the ability to analyze and rework the basic contents in an autonomous way.
A fail determined by the absense, demonstrated by the student during the oral examination, of the ability to understand the basic contents of the course, the lack of autonomous preparation and the inability to solve problems related to information retrieval and the decoding of texts, as well as the formulation of independent judgments. A pass (18-23/30) is determined by the ability, demonstarted by the student, to have acquired the basic content of the course; a sufficient level of autonomous preparation, an acceptable ability to solve problems related to information retrieval and decodin of texts, as well as the formulation of independent judgment. Middle-range marks (24-27/30) are assigned to those student who produce evidence of more than sufficient (24-25/30) or good (26-27/30) levels in the evaluation indicators listed above. Upper-end marks (from 28/30 to 30/30 cum laude) are awarded on the basics of the demonstration of a very good to an excellent level in the evaluation indicators listed above.