Courses available in French


Tout est dit, et l’on vient trop tard.

— La Bruyère

French 250B: Studies in Nineteenth-Century French Literature — Violence and Counterviolence in Nineteenth-Century French Literature



Honoré de Balzac, La Fille aux yeux d’or, Père Goriot (GF-Flammarion)

Georges Sand, Indiana (folio)

Flaubert, L’Education Sentimentale (GF with dossier)

Zola, Nana (1070-252x)

Maupassant, Bel Ami (GF Flammarion)

Barbey d’Aurevilly, Les Diaboliques (GF-Flammarion)

Rachilde, Monsieur Venus (MLA edition)


Baudelaire, Oeuvres Complètes (eds Laffont)

Zola, Le Roman expérimental (GF with dossier)

David Harvey, Paris Capital of Modernity

Course Description:

“Non seulement, je serais heureux d’être victime, mais je ne haïrais pas d’être bourreau- pour sentir la Révolution de deux manières!” Baudelaire, Pauvre Belgique!

This seminar examines a series of classic works from Romanticism to Decadence in light of their negotiations with the violence of history. These works address the revolutionary upheavals and cultural transformations of the period: the spectral recurrence of revolution and terror; shifting configurations of class struggle; the shock experience in the modern city; the spectacularization of history and urban life; new forms of private and public space; scientific and medical discourses on gender, class and race. Other issues of interest include the politics of aesthetic form (including the visual arts); desire, theatricality, and consumerism; the intersections of writing, gender and sexuality; the colonial imaginary. We will explore these issues through detailed close readings, with a view to contrasting the distinctive discursive strategies of violence and/as counterviolence that characterize each work, while identifying the kinds of inquiry and critique modeled and enabled by literary form. Authors include Balzac, Sand, Baudelaire, Flaubert, Zola, Maupassant,  Barbey d’Aurevilly and Rachilde.

Section times and locations in the Schedule of Classes