FRENCH LITERATURE I
Learning outcomes of the course unit
The course aims to familiarise students with “autobiographical writing” through the presentation of the most significant theoretical texts on the topic (for example: Lejeune’s Patto autobiografico), a reading of a number of passages taken from M. Yourcenar’s “family chronicles”) and an autobiographical novel.
Course contents summary
At a certain point in their lives, many writers feel the need to look back on their past and talk about their childhood. The course intends to show, starting from two childhood stories from the twentieth century: Jean le Bleu (1932) by Jean and Quoi? L’Éternité (1988) by Marguerite Yourcenar, that, however strong the author's desire to stick to reality and to be completely honest, childhood accounts can only be a reconstruction and that, in autobiographical writing, reality and imagination often end up merging together. The course will focus on those elements (in particular photographs and painting) which, combined with the senses (smell and taste), spur the writer to reminisce and feed his imagination.
Recommended reading: GIONO, Jean le bleu, Le Livre de poche no. 3649 (Italian translation: Il ragazzo celeste, Guanda, 1999)
YOURCENAR, Souvenirs pieux (1974) and Quoi? L’Éternité (1988), “Folio” (available in the Italian translation, Einaudi).
Michèle GOSLAR, Marguerite Yourcenar. “Come sarebbe stato insipido essere felice!” Sant’Oreste (RM), Ed. Apeiron, 2003.
Françoise BONALI FIQUET, Marguerite Yourcenar. L’infanzia ritrovata, Parma, ed. Battei, 2004.
Matthieu GALEY, Les Yeux ouverts. Entretiens avec Marguerite Yourcenar, 1980, “Livre de poche” (or Ad occhi aperti, Tascabili Bompiani).
Philippe LEJEUNE, Il patto autobiografico, Il Mulino, 1986 (original edition, Le Seuil, 1975; introductory part).