The Fly in the Ointment: Literary Setbacks

R1B (Section 2) :  English Composition through French Literature in Translation
Spring 2014
D. Hoffmann


Émile Zola, The Masterpiece; Franz Kafka, “A Hunger Artist”; Honoré de Balzac, The Unknown Masterpiece and Sarrasine; Paul Valéry, excerpts from Notebooks; poems and essays by Charles Baudelaire, Arthur Rimbaud, and Stéphane Mallarmé.

Course Description:

Works of art often don’t come to fruition as planned, if at all. From the spiritual to the material, this course will explore setbacks of all kinds: waning inspiration, the pangs of self-doubt, the problems of a fair-weather muse, even bankruptcy and censorship. We’ll consider such mishaps, reversals, and obstacles both as a theme in literature and as a living problem for artists and writers alike. Readings will include prose from Zola, Balzac, Kafka, and Flaubert, along with poetry and/or essays from Baudelaire, Rimbaud, Valéry, and Mallarmé.

This course is designed to fulfill the second half of the Reading and Composition requirement. The primary goal of this course is to develop students’ reading and writing skills through a series of assignments that will provide them with the opportunity to formulate observations made in class discussions into coherent argumentative essays. Emphasis will be placed on the refinement of effective sentence, paragraph, and thesis formation, keeping in mind the notion of writing as a process. Other goals in this course are a familiarization with French literature and the specific questions that are relevant to this field. In addition, students will be introduced to different methods of literary and linguistic analysis in their nonliterary readings.


Additional Information:

French R1B satisfies the second half of the Reading and Composition Requirement. Classes are conducted in ENGLISH.



Section times and locations in the Schedule of Classes