Popular Culture in Medieval and Early Modern France
La Chanson de Guillaume (Ed. Bennett); Rabelais, Pantagruel (Ed. Screech)
Course Reader (Readings will include: Marie de France, Lanval; Marguerite de Navarre, Heptameron (excerpts); Le Roman de Renart (selected branch); Selected fabliaux, fairy tales, farces, including some examples from the Bibliothèque bleue collection (Bancroft); Selected articles and secondary works)
In this course we will consider the traditional divide between an elite culture of learning and popular forms of entertainment. Students will become acquainted with various literary genres of the past that were quite successful in their day, many of which include lowbrow themes. Alongside these readings, we will read articles and excerpts from seminal studies that will give some background on reading practices of the past and that will help us to examine the meaning and status of “popular” culture and the associated literature. As we think about the value of popular literature and the different ways such texts could be analyzed, we will also direct our attention to the more general notion of a literary canon and its formation, and even to the value of literature itself.
French R1B satisfies the second half of the Reading and Composition Requirement.