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


French 220A: Studies in 16th-Century Literature — Rabelais and his Friends — Humanism, the Humanities, and the Fate of Reading


Rabelais, Pantagruel; Gargantua; Tiers Livre; Quart livre (ed. Demerson, Paris, Le Seuil, “Points”).

Course Description:

This seminar will offer an extended engagement with the work of the greatest writer of prose narrative in the European Renaissance, François Rabelais. Through a reading of the work of Rabelais and several of his humanist contemporaries (Erasmus, Marot, Dolet, Marguerite de Navarre) we will pay special attention to the changing strategies of reading and interpretation that shape the genesis of modern “literature” in the sixteenth century. We will read primary texts in dialogue with a number of essays about both the history of reading practices and hermeneutics. Of central interest will be how certain features of the discourse we call “literature,” as well as certain humanistic discipines familiar to us today, are sketched out as responses to early modern political and theological disputes. Among the quetions to be asked: Can one read with the body? Is muteness discursive? Can invisible writing be literary?

Section times and locations in the Schedule of Classes