Mad Love

R1A (Section 3) :  English Composition through French Literature in Translation
Fall 2017
Class No: 45027
S. Rogghe


Euripides, The Bacchae and Other Plays (Penguin 2006, 978-0140447262)

Chrétien de Troyes, Arthurian Romances (Penguin 2004, 978-0140445213)

André Breton, Mad Love (Bison Books 1988, 978-0803260726)


Course reader, available at Krishna Copy, 2001 University Ave.


Plato, Symposium

C.G. Jung, Aion (excerpts)

Ovid, Orpheus and Eurydice

Ovid, Echo and Narcissus

Tristan and Isolde (fragments)

Robert Desnos, poems To the Mysterious One

Gérard de Nerval, “The Tale of Caliph Hakim”

Gérard de Nerval, Aurelia (excerpts)

Zarina Zabrisky, “It”


Recommended texts:

Writing Analytically by David Rosenwasser and Jill Stephen

The Elements of Style by William Strunk and E. B. White

Course Description:

“I dreamt so much of you that you lose your reality…” Thus goes the first line one of the famous love poems by the surrealist Robert Desnos, marking a shift from reality into the dream world. In this course, we will explore literary works that deal with love not merely in the conventional sense, i.e. as a love story between two people, but we will focus on texts that display what the surrealist André Breton called “Mad Love” and “Convulsive Beauty:” works in which love takes on a distinctly mystical, otherworldly dimension. The works we will read in this course all share this surrealist quality, in that they portray a love whose object can be a phantom, an immaterial idea, or an illusion. From Narcissus falling in love with his own reflection, to Tristan and Isolde being fatefully joined by a magic potion, or Gérard de Nerval mistaking “an ordinary woman of this century” for a poetic muse, all of these works display a tragic archetypal constellation that mixes love with a touch of (divine) madness.

Through a close reading of texts ranging from Antiquity to the present day, as well as by drawing parallels and making comparisons between these different texts, this course will sharpen critical reading skills as well as promote clear, argumentative writing. To this goal, there will be a variety of writing exercises and essays in response to the texts read.

This class will introduce students to approaching textual material critically, and will stress the idea of writing as a process through a variety of assignments and revisions geared to guide the development and clear expression of coherent argumentation.

Additional Information:

French R1A satisfies the first half of the Reading and Composition Requirement. Classes are conducted in ENGLISH

Section times and locations in the Schedule of Classes