Courses available in French

Courses

Le voyage n'est nécessaire qu'aux imaginations courtes.

—Colette

French 245A: Early Modern Studies — Early Modern Affect: From Passion to Sensibility

Readings:

see description.

Course Description:

If the “affective” turn in the humanities can be seen (in part) as a reaction against conceptions of the aesthetic predicated on the disinterestedness of the ideal consumer of art, it’s also true that the disinterestedness associated with Kant was itself a turn away from a previously dominant understanding of art as precisely a cultivation of interest — with “interest” long meaning not mere curiosity but rather something on the order of heightened emotional involvement. This seminar takes as its subject early modern literature’s varying role in the production and regulation of emotion in its audience. Since we will be ranging over two centuries, one question we will return to is the extent to which we can separate Classical “passion” from Enlightenment “sensibility,” and how such a transition (if it exists) maps onto socio-political formations (court society, bourgeois domesticity) and contributes to the advent of a properly modern aesthetics. We’ll be reading widely in the history of emotions and aesthetics, and tackling the following texts: Corneille, Horace; Molière, Le Misanthrope; Racine, Bérénice; Lafayette, La Princesse de Clèves; Diderot, Le fils naturel and La Religieuse; Rousseau, Julie; Laclos, Les liaisons dangereuses.

 

Section times and locations in the Schedule of Classes