Middlebury Language School Graduate Programs

 

Sylvie Requemora-Gros is a Full Professor in Classical French Literature at Aix-Marseille University; Laureate of the « agrégation » prepared at the French grande école, the Ecole Normale Supérieure and the accreditation to supervise research (HDR); Director of Student Life at the American University Center of Provence (AUCP, Marseille); president of the North American Society for Seventeenth Century French Literature (NASSCFL), member of the jury for Ecole Polytechnique, Ecole Centrale and Ecole Normale Supérieure (Lyon), member of the Research Center on Travel literature (CRLV), member of the Interdisciplinary Center for Literary Studies of Aix-Marseille (CIELAM), and of the International Center for Encounters on the XVII Century (C.I.R. 17), chief editor for numerous anthologies of international conference papers, author of a published doctoral thesis entitled "Voguer vers la modernité" (Paris, PUPS, 2012, 880 p.), of some fifty articles on travel literature, on 17th century French literature and on the confusion of genre.

 

Courses

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

FREN 6525 - Intro to Literary Analysis      

This course will help social science and literary students master analytical and textual methodologies. These methodologies will allow students to read and comprehend texts in depth while developing their written analytical skills by performing methodological exercises such as summaries, technical explanations, close readings, argumentative dialectical essay, reading analyses or oral thematic presentations.

In these exercises, we will study tropes on the Other in literature, anthropology, sociology, and politics. What representation and images of travel, the foreign and the Other, stem from the French reader’s perspective? And who is this Other? Etymologically “the one who is not here”, the Other can be the neighbor, the opposite sex, the foreigner -- whoever is different. And what usage is made of such fluctuating representations? In a quest for travel and alterity through different texts spanning the 16th to the 21st centuries, we will explore the anthropological, sociological, political, stylistical, poetical, critical and ideological renewal of transcribed viewpoints of human identity and French clichés. To this end, we will study textual excerpts from different horizons might they be geographical, political, sociological, anthropological or historical.

Required Text:
1) a coursepack comprised of diverse argumentative texts
2) Le Supplément au Voyage de Bougainville (Diderot) ISBN 2253138099; LGF Libretti 13809
3) La Théorie du Voyage (Michel Onfray) ISBN 2253084419; LGF LDP Biblio essai 4417
4) Le Roi de Kahel (Tierno Monénembo) ISBN 2020851671; Seuil Cadre Rouge

Lit Theory/Analysis Pedagogy

Summer 2011, Summer 2012, Summer 2013, Summer 2014 Language Schools

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FREN 6617 - Reading Laughter      

Section A - Methodology; Section B - Literature

"Laughter is a power God gave to men to make up for their intelligence" according to Marcel Pagnol. This power has been attested to for two thousand years in collections of humorous tales and methods of which Greeks and Romans were already masters. But are we allowed to laugh at anything ? Democritus whose disillusioned humor was amazingly modern, says yes. Ciceron does too, and cataloged a thousand ways to elicit laughter. On the contrary, say the fathers of the Church, for whom laughter is a diabolical phenomen, an insult to divine creation, proof of man’s arrogance. Their arguments carry little weight in the Middle Ages : kings surround themselves with jesters and their subjects love skillful mockery during processions on feast days.

With Rabelais another way to laugh appears, an ambiguous laugh which perplexes {shakes certainties} and will persist even after the Renaissance, encompassing in turn the picaresque, the grotesque, the burlesque. Absolute monarchy longs to rein in the humorists, deciding in the seventeenth century to expulse the Italian buffoons. Is laughter subject to domestication? Transformed into caustic humor, it corrodes little by little the foundations of power and society. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries it will find fertile grounds in political satire, while the philosophers analyse its powers, at times to deplore them, and Baudelaire searches for the « comic absolute ». Irony becomes a way for man and the world to relate. The nineteenth century « Zutistes », « Fumistes », and even « J’menfoutistes » end the century with the apotheosis of nonsensical humor. The world hereafter will make fun of everything, its gods and its demons.
« Laughter is what defines man ». Is that true throughout history ? And may we laugh at everything ? Thoughtful laughter, contemplative laughter, cathartic laughter, diabolical laughter, laughter of superiority or of connivance, carnivalesque or learned laughter. Socio-cultural conditions and mentalities do indeed prevent the universalisation of the famous expression whose pertinence requires historic context. For that reason we will examine how literature writes laughter, at different periods, through the sociology of « laughters », permissiveness or censorship of the form and content of laughter, as well as the relationship between the style and reception of comic expression and the different genre and type of texts that put it into words, to better examine its literary grounding, in the joyous spirit of a « gay science » renewed.

This literature class proposes two directions, the methodological one (A), and the literary (B). Choice A offers to literature students and social science students the opportunity to master analytical methods and textual commentary which will allow them to construct for themselves a way to read and understand in depth the various texts, along with deepening and exercising written analytical skills, through the use of various methodological exercises, such as the abstract, the synthesis of documents, techniques of critical analysis, written commentary, the dialectical debate essay, index cards, or thematic oral presentations.
Option B offers extended historical literary, cultural, philosophical, and social examination of the literature from the sixteenth through the twentieth century.

N.B. Students who choose section A can validate their credits in methodology (equivalent to 6525) or they can choose standard evaluation without validating the
methodolgy unit.

Required books:
1) Molière, Les Fourberies de Scapin, ISBN-13: 978-2070449996, Folio classique, 2013
2) Feydeau, Tailleurs pour dames, ISBN-13: 978-2734905196 Librairie théâtrale, 2012
3) collectif, Le rire en poésie, ISBN-13: 978-2070515875, Folio Junior Poésie, 1998
4) René de Obaldia,Fantasmes de Demoiselles, femmes faites ou défaites cherchant l'âme sœur, ISBN-13: 978-2246707813, Grasset et Fasquelle, 2006
Coursepacks: 1) A coursepack comprised of diverse theoretical texts : Baudelaire (« De l’essence du rire), Stendhal (Racine et Shakespeare, chap. II « Le rire »), Henri Bergson (Le rire), Beckett (Watt), etc.
2) A coursepack comprised of diverse texts : ( Gargantua (Rabelais), Farces et questions (Tabarin), Le médecin volant (Molière), Candide (Voltaire), L’homme qui rit (Hugo), La Cantatrice chauve (Ionesco), Marius (la partie de cartes, Pagnol), La Télévision (Jean-Philippe Toussaint).

Literature Methodology

Summer 2013

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FREN 6681 - Comedy & Society      

Comedy & Society, Comedy and the Human Condition

Section A: Methodology - Section B: Literature

Through analysis of five significant comedies (Molière through Ionesco : Dom Juan – Le Mariage de Figaro – La guerre de Troie n’aura pas lieu – Caligula – Rhinocéros-), the course will examine this literary genre in relation to its audiences, to the society which it mirrors, as well as to the different dramatic esthetics which it embodies. We will look at how the social dimension and the vision of man are associated, in as much as {or given that}they are expressed according to different representations in classical theatre or in more contemporary theatre.

Students can choose to take either a methodological section or a literary section of this course.

The first option, section A, offers literary and social science students an opportunity to master analytical methods and textual commentaries that will allow them to read and understand a variety of theatrical texts, all while enhancing their analytical writing skills through various methodological exercises. These include summaries, literary comparisons, technical explanations, textual commentaries, argumentative dialectical essays, reading analyses and oral presentations.

The second option, section B, offers students the opportunity to study the historic, literary, dramatic, cultural, philosophical and social evolution of French comedy from the 17th to the 20th century in great depth.
In both sections, students will read the texts and watch different film productions of each work as well.

N.B Students who choose section A can validate their credits in methodology (equivalent 6525).

Required texts:
1) Giraudoux, La Guerre de Troie n'aura pas lieu, éd., Grasset, le livre de poche, ISBN 2 – 253 – 00489 – 8
2) Camus, Caligula, éd., Folio/Gallimard, ISBN 978 – 2 – 07 – 036064 – 2
3) Ionesco, Rhinocéros, éd., Folioplus/Gallimard, ISBN 978 – 2 – 07 – 033880 - 1
4) Beaumarchais, Le Mariage de Figaro, Paris, Pocket classique, 2010, ISBN-10: 2266210432, ISBN-13: 978-2266210430.
5) Molière, Dom Juan, Paris, Garnier Flammarion, 1998, ISBN-10: 2080709038, ISBN-13: 978-2080709035

"

Literature Pedagogy

Summer 2012

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FREN 6683 - Classical Fr Lit through Film      

From Text to Screen: Classical French Literature Experienced through Film

Classical French literature is often considered old fashioned, sclerotic and much too invaluable to be studied yet again. Nevertheless, numerous directors and producers continue to accept the challenge—at the same time aesthetic and political—of adapting and conceptualizing literature though images. This course proposes studying the complexities of the novel, comedy and dramatic 17th century poetry, by way of seminal works: How do we envisage Madame de La Fayette today, from La Princesse de Clèves to La belle Personne (C. Honoré) through the eponymous film by J. Delannoy, La Lettre (M. de Oliveira) or even La Fidelité (A. Zulawski)? Or what do we make of the recent adaptation of La Princesse de Montpensier by B. Tavernier? How do comedy stars such as Smaïn, after R. Coggio or P. Fox, in Les Fourberies de Scapin, or Michel Serrault and Jean-Marie Bigard, before B. Lazar in Le Bourgeois gentilhomme, succeed in making us laugh with Molière? Furthermore, what do we continue to make of ancient tragedy after its Racinian production, as P. Chéreau, P. Jordan or B de Coster did for Phèdre? The ambitious goal of this course involves rethinking classicism to arrive at a better understanding of the present.

Students can choose to take either a methodological section (A) or a literary section (B) of this course. The first option, section A, offers literary and social science students an opportunity to master analytical methods and textual commentaries that will allow them to read and understand a variety of theatrical texts, all while enhancing their analytical writing skills through various methodological exercises. These include summaries, literary comparisons, technical explanations, textual commentaries, argumentative dialectical essays, reading analyses and oral presentations.

The second option, section B, offers students the opportunity to study the historic, literary, dramatic, cultural, philosophical and social evolution of screen adaptations of French literature of the 17th century in great depth.
In both sections, students will read the texts and watch different film productions of each work as well.

Required Texts:
1. Le Bourgeois gentilhomme and Les Fourberies de Scapin by Molière
2. La Princesse de Clèves and La Princesse de Montpensier by Madame de La Fayette
3. Phèdre by Racine

Literature

Summer 2011

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FREN 6722 - Liberty and Libertines      

The goal of this literature course is to examine the problematics of liberty and licentiousness through the study of the specific role of the subversif author. In the classical period, the word « libertine » is an insult, designating those who are reproached with an extreme liberty of conduct as well as thought. The work of « libertines » is thus always controversial: it must sidestep the different forms that repression or censureship might take, using forms of publication that avoid the mainstream and using irony to disguise intent. A variety of intellectual and philosophical references, styles and literary genres serve the “libertines”: lyrical works, novels, comedies, tragedies, travel narratives, pamphlets, philosophical essays or treatise. The study of the « libertine » allows for a singular point of view on a certain number of central notions: pleasure vs. moral code, order and disorder, rules and liberty, truth, plausibility and fiction, sensualism and eroticism, skepticism, etc.

In the light of these literary forms adopted by the “libertines”, our reflection will be organised chronologically and according to the literary genre rather than by theme, making it obvious that it is the writing that reveals the subversive message, while proposing a cultural and ironic complicity capable of concealing the great libertine themes.
We will base our study on
– a tragedy in verse: Les Amours tragiques de Pyrame et Thisbé de Théophile de Viau (photocopies)
– an imaginary travel in prose : Les Etats et Empires de la Lune de Cyrano de Bergerac (GF),
– a comedy in prose : Dom Juan de Molière (GF),
– libertine tales in verse : Jean de La Fontaine, Contes libertins (Librio)
– and one novel : Les Liaisons dangereuses de Laclos (Poche).
Excerpts from texts by Rabelais, Casanova, and Sade will complete our overview.
The goal of this literature course is to examine the problematics of liberty and licentiousness through the study of the specific role of the subversif author. In the classical period, the word « libertine » is an insult, designating those who are reproached with an extreme liberty of conduct as well as thought. The work of « libertines » is thus always controversial: it must sidestep the different forms that repression or censureship might take, using forms of publication that avoid the mainstream and using irony to disguise intent. A variety of intellectual and philosophical references, styles and literary genres serve the “libertines”: lyrical works, novels, comedies, tragedies, travel narratives, pamphlets, philosophical essays or treatise. The study of the « libertine » allows for a singular point of view on a certain number of central notions: pleasure vs. moral code, order and disorder, rules and liberty, truth, plausibility and fiction, sensualism and eroticism, skepticism, etc.
In the light of these literary forms adopted by the “libertines”, our reflection will be organised chronologically and according to the literary genre rather than by theme, making it obvious that it is the writing that reveals the subversive message, while proposing a cultural and ironic complicity capable of concealing the great libertine themes.
We will base our study on
– a tragedy in verse: Les Amours tragiques de Pyrame et Thisbé de Théophile de Viau (photocopies)
– an imaginary travel in prose : Les Etats et Empires de la Lune de Cyrano de Bergerac (GF),
– a comedy in prose : Dom Juan de Molière (GF),
– libertine tales in verse : Jean de La Fontaine, Contes libertins (Librio)
– and one novel : Les Liaisons dangereuses de Laclos (Poche).

Excerpts from texts by Rabelais, Casanova, and Sade will complete our overview.

Summer 2014 Language Schools

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FREN 6769 - Poetry of Modernity      

Poertry of Modernity, the Modernity of Poetry

The practice of poetry, common in France since its beginnings, experienced important renovation, first in the seventeenth century and then in the nineteenth, proving its capacity for metaphamorphosis, from Barocco to Classicisme, then from Classicisme to Modernity, and the intelligence of its play with styles, genres, and ideas. Our emphasis in this course will be on demonstrating these developments and explaining them. To accomplish this we will use five major anthologies, touchstones of these transformations: Art poétique by Boileau, Fables et Contes of La Fontaine, Alcools, by Guillaume Apollinaire, Charmes, by Paul Valéry, and Le Roman inachevé, by Louis Aragon.

Students can choose to take either a methodological section (A) or a literary section (B) of this course.

The first option, section A, offers literary and social science students an opportunity to master analytical methods and textual commentaries that will allow them to read and understand a variety of theatrical texts, all while enhancing their analytical writing skills through various methodological exercises. These include summaries, literary comparisons, technical explanations, textual commentaries, argumentative dialectical essays, reading analyses and oral presentations.
The second option, section B, offers students the opportunity to study the historic, literary, cultural, philosophical and social evolution of French poetry from the 17th to the 20th century in great depth.

Required texts:
1) Apollinaire, Alcools, coll. Poésie/Gallimard
2) Valéry, Charmes, in Poésies, coll. Poésie/Gallimard, ISBN 2 – 07 – 030282 – 2
3) Aragon, Le Roman inachevé, coll.Poésie/Gallimard, ISBN 978 – 2 – 07 – 030011 - 2
4) Boileau, Art poétique, t. 2, Sylvain Menant éd., Paris, Fammarion, 1998, GF 206, ISBN 2080702068
5) La Fontaine, Fables, Jean-Charles Darmon éd., Paris, Le Livre de Poche, 2002, ISBN-10: 2253010049, ISBN-13: 978-2253010043
6) La Fontaine, Contes libertins, Paris, Librio, 2004, n°622, ISBN 2290332275

Literature

Summer 2012

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