Courses available in French


Mon ultime prière: Ô mon corps, fais de moi toujours un homme qui interroge!

— Fanon

French 120B: Twentieth-Century Literature — Wars, Revolts, Literature. Midnight in the Twentieth Century


Robert Linhart, L’établi

Vercors, Le silence de la mer

Samuel Beckett, En attendant Godot

Nathalie Sarraute, Tropismes

Jean Echenoz, 14

Marie NDiaye, Papa doit manger


Course Description:

In this course, we will explore the (plural and not always direct) relationships between literary creation and socio-political contexts as these relationships unfold in France between WWII and the contemporary era. We will do so through the lens of a publishing house, “Les Éditions de Minuit,” which was founded clandestinely during the Occupation and has since then hosted the publications of many major (as well as lesser known) writers and intellectuals. We will proceed chronologically, starting with Minuit’s tradition of “résistance littéraire” during WW2, entering the Post-War era with Samuel Beckett’s absurd/existentialist theater and leaving it with the theorization and practices of the “Nouveau Roman.” We will then move to novels, theoretical texts and documents that engage with some of the major political and social conflicts of the 1960s and 1970s in France, in particular the decolonization of Algeria, and the workers’, students’ and feminist movements. We’ll end our semester reading contemporary novels and plays written by the most recent generations of “Minuit authors” and consider what becomes of formal innovation and literary engagement when wars, revolutions and vanguard movements have seemingly disappeared altogether from the French contemporary landscape. Course taught in French. Additional texts will be made available through bCourses.


French 102 or consent of Instructor.

Additional Information:

This course satisfies 1 French Major course requirement in the “Literature” (112-120) category or 1 French Major course requirement in the Elective category. Satisfies College of Letters and Science breadth in Arts and Literature. Priority enrollment for declared French majors.


Section times and locations in the Schedule of Classes