Alternative Realities: Queer Melodramatics and the Hegemony of Realism

R1B (section 1) :  English Composition through French Literature in Translation
Spring 2021
Class No: 22219
remote; synchronous
T. Blakeney


J.-J. Rousseau, Julie; H. de Balzac, “Preface to the Comédie humaine;” Max Ophuls, Lola Montès; Jacques Demy, The Umbrellas of Cherbourg; François Truffaut, The 400 Blows; J.-L. Godard, Breathless; 2gether (2020); Mad Men

Course Description: 

In this course, we will explore the history of realism (understood as a representational ideology that privileges works of art that seek to represent the “truth” of the world) and its other, melodrama (understood not as a genre but as a quality; that which is too emotional, not psychological, not realistic). Particularly, we will trace the ways in which this binary was used at different points in history and in different genres to enforce distinctions between “good” and “bad” art, and the ways in which this binary helped enforce gender and sexual norms by erecting cishetero male experiences as “true” while denigrating the experiences of queers and women as “melodramatic.”

Additional Information:

French R1B satisfies the second half of the Reading and Composition Requirement. Classes conducted in ENGLISH.  Enrollment is limited to 17 students.

Attendance is mandatory the first two weeks of classes.  This includes all enrolled and wait listed students.  Students who do not attend all classes during the first two weeks may be dropped. Students attempting to add this class during weeks 1 and 2 who did not attend the first day will be expected to add themselves to the wait list and attend all class meetings thereafter.  If space permits, they may be enrolled from the wait list.