Death and All Its Dealings

R1A :  English Composition through French Literature in Translation
Fall 2012
M. Smith


Albert Camus, The Stranger; Maryse Conde, Crossing the Mangrove; François Villon, The Testament; The Danse Macabre of Women; Edgar Allen Poe, various works; Will Self, “North London book of the dead”; Ousmane Sembene, Niiwam; David Rosenwasser and Jill Stephen, Writing Analytically, 5th edition

RECOMMENDED TEXTS: Jean Baudrillard, excerpts from Symbolic Exchange and Death

Course Description:

The thief and vagabond François Villon, a French Medieval poet, became famous for his writings on death. Ousmane Sembene, a twentieth-century Senegalese writer, recounts the story of a poor man who rides the bus to the cemetery, carrying his dead child. The Guadaloupean author Maryse Condé creates the portrait of an outsider whose life and death are told by a series of different visitors who attend his wake. In this course, we will consider a broad range of literary, cultural, and filmic texts by French and Francophone authors from the Middle Ages to the late 20th century whose primary concern is death. In addition to analyzing French texts in translation, we will also look at a few English-language texts to provide a comparative perspective. In doing so, we investigate at how these authors and their characters understand, approach, rationalize, engage with, and are emotionally involved with the topic of death.

This course serves as an introduction to literary analysis and as a guide to the composition of well-argued essays. This will be accomplished by class discussion, by breaking down essay-writing into manageable components, and by extensive rewriting. French R1A fulfills the first half of the Reading and Composition Requirement in the College of Letters and Science. All readings and lectures are in ENGLISH.

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