1) Pierre Corneille, Le Cid and Polyeucte, excerpts from the texts of the querelle du Cid, as well as excerpts from Corneille, Trois discours sur le poĂ¨me dramatique
2) MoliĂ¨re and the querelle de lâ€™Ă‰cole des Femmes (La Critique de lâ€™Ecole des Femmes and Lâ€™Impromptu de Versailles), Le Tartuffe and George DandinÂ
3) Jean Racine, IphigĂ©nie and Esther
In France, theater as we know it only began to take shape at the beginning of the 17th century. ThisÂ class investigates the emergence of French classical theater under Louis XIII and LouisÂ XIVÂ by studying how this new genre interacted with monarchical power. The King and his ministers both attempted to develop public playhouses and police the stage, displaying simultaneously distrust for the theater and a desire to use it to political ends. In doing so, the King and his entourage were also attempting to keep the Catholic Church at bay, while modeling civil society in ways they hoped could serve the Crown.
As we read playsÂ by three ofÂ the most famous French classical playwrights (Corneille,Â MoliĂ¨re and Racine), we willÂ work to understand how the ethical and aesthetical canons of FrenchÂ classical tragedy and comedy (such as verisimilitude, and biensĂ©ances) wereÂ established, in constant negotiation with these conflicting political, spiritual and societal demands. We will also examine how kings and their counselors wereÂ represented on the French stage, and to what extentÂ it was possible to reflectÂ critically on the limitations of monarchical power in a genre that so depended on the Kingâ€™s support.
This classÂ invites students to think about the development of some of the most extraordinary plays of the Occidental tradition inÂ aÂ specific historical context, that of the rise of French absolutism. It will also allow them to reflect on the origins of modern drama more generally. Whenever possible films and recordings will be used to support studentsâ€™ reading of classical French plays.
French 102 or consent of Instructor. Course conducted in French.
This course satisfies one “Literature/Genre” or one “Elective” course requirement in the French major; satisfies one Historical Period requirement in French major. Satisfies one course requirement in the French minor.Â Â Satisfies L & S breadth requirement in Arts and Literature.