Jacques Noiray




Course List: 

Courses offered in the past four years.
indicates offered in the current term
indicates offered in the upcoming term[s]

FREN 6624 - Myth of Paris in French Lit      

This course will examine the different aspects and the numerous meanings of the literary image of Paris in French literature from its medieval origins to its contemporary achievement. We will find the first occurrences of this image in François Villon’s poetry at the end of the Middle Ages, and, two and three centuries later, in Boileau’s Satires and Prevost’s and Diderot’s novels. The literary image of Paris reached its full development in the 19th century in the fiction of Balzac, Hugo, Flaubert and Zola and in Baudelaire’s poems: we will analyze the various moral, aesthetic, political, ideological components which make up the complete image. We will follow its evolution, fifty years later, in early 20th century poetry (Apollinaire, the Surréalistes) and then, before World War II, in Celine’s novels. On the way, we will explore other kinds of arts and artists, painters, singers, photographers, filmmakers, who, like writers, contributed to the development of a collective imaginary picture of the city —the myth of Paris. Literature

Summer 2014 Language Schools, LS 6 Week Session

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FREN 6667 - Image of Machine in 19-20C Lit      

The Image of the Machine in Literature (19th-20th Century)

The purpose of this course is to study the various aspects of the image of machines and mechanical devices as developed in French fiction from the mid-19th century. First we will place this image in its contemporary scientific, social and historical contexts, and look for its early appearance both in poetry and novels around 1850.

We will then consider three instances of the literary representation of machines in the late 19th century French novel : 1/ the realist representation in Zola’s La Bête humaine (1890). We will study the various meanings of the image of trains and locomotives : technical (engines and railways), philosophical (the machine as a progress and history maker), and phantasmatic meanings (erotic and killing impulses). 2/ literary fantasy in Jules Verne’s Vingt mille lieues sous les mers (1870). We will look at the Nautilus, captain Nemo’s submarine, successively as a machine, a luxurious and marvelous masterpiece, a powerful adventure and drama booster, an instrument of knowledge, but also as a dangerous incitement to pride and violation of the natural and divine interdicts. 3/ the fantastic vision of science and technique in Villiers de l’Isle-Adam’s L’Ève future (1886), a strange narrative about an artificial creature and a search for ideal love. We will examine the various technical, moral and metaphysical aspects of this rich and unappreciated novel.

Finally we will study the further developments of the literary image of the machine, picking different examples from 20th century French literature : adventure and science fiction, futurist poetry glorifying energy and modern beauty provided by machines, surrealist and structuralist attempts to control the mechanism of language.

Required texts :
Emile ZOLA, La Bête Humaine, ISBN 978-2-0812-0291-7
Jules VERNE, Vingt mille lieues sous les mers, ISBN 2-07-042483-9
Auguste VILLIERS DE L’ISLE-ADAM, L’Ève future. ISBN 2-07-038739-9 Literature

Summer 2015 Language Schools, LS 6 Week Session

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FREN 6716 - The Human Body in French Lit      

Representation of the Human Body in French Literary Texts (1800-1950)

The purpose of this course is to study how the human body was represented in French literature, especially in fiction and poetry, between 1800 and 1950. First,
we’ll insist on the influence of two previous ways of representing and exhibiting the body — painting and drama. Then we’ll see how literature takes over the genre of the portrait, of men and women, in the romantic novel (Madame de Stael) and the realistic novel (Balzac). We’ll consider a special extension of the body — the voice— and we’ll study the relationship between literature and music in Balzac’s works. We’ll then emphasize the rich erotic and aesthetic meanings of the image of the body, especially in Baudelaire’s poems (Les Fleurs du mal) and aesthetic works (Le peintre de la vie moderne) about jewels, clothing and make-up. At the same time, we’ll study the influence of caricature on the popular novel, in Eugène Sue’s and Victor Hugo’s representation of poverty. In Zola’s naturalistic novel, we’ll see how the representation of the body includes disease and death (L’Assommoir), war and its horrors (La Débâcle), and we’ll extend the study to the Grande Guerre novelists (Barbusse, Dorgelès, Genevoix). We’ll then show how Balzac’s and Zola’s representations of the body are renewed in Proust’s and Celine’s works, and we’ll finally examine some texts glorifying the body through sport (Montherlant) or a euphoric relationship with nature (Gide, Camus).

No textbooks required Literature

Summer 2014 Language Schools, LS 6 Week Session

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FREN 6755 - Baudelaire      

Baudelaire's Works and Influences

In this course we will study the works of Charles Baudelaire (1821-1867), one of the greatest writers in French literature, and maybe 19th century's newest, richest and deepest poet. First we will place his works in the context of contemporary literary creation, with a brief survey of French poetry at the end of the romantic era, showing how Baudelaire differs from his great predecessors, such as Victor Hugo or Théophile Gautier.

We will then examine the various aspects of Baudelaire's works, looking at themes, forms and ideas —versified poems in Les Fleurs du Mal and prose texts in Le Spleen de Paris. We will also study Baudelaire's rich critical essays, a most important and original part of his creation (if less well-known) and go into some extracts from Fusées and Mon cœur mis à nu, his intimate and unfinished diary.
Finally, we will see how Baudelaire’s influence spread over French poetry long after his death, by going through some texts by Verlaine, Rimbaud, Apollinaire and the Surrealists Literature

Summer 2015 Language Schools, LS 6 Week Session

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The Betty Ashbury Jones MA ’86 School of French

Sunderland Language Center
Middlebury College
P: 802.443.5526
F: 802.443.2075

Mailing address
Betty Ashbury Jones MA ’86 School of French
14 Old Chapel Road
Middlebury College
Middlebury, VT  05753

Sheila Schwaneflugel, Coordinator