"This is the end, beautiful friend:" War as an internal and external battlefield

R1B (Section 3) :  English Composition through French Literature in Translation
Fall 2019
S. Rogghe



Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness ISBN-10: 0141441674

Erich Maria Remarque, All Quiet on the Western Front ISBN-10: 9780449213940


Course reader including excerpts from:

Freud & Einstein, Why War?

Rousseau, essays on war

Victor Hugo, Address to the Paris Peace Conference

Victor Hugo, The Terrible Year (poems)

Tolstoy, selections from War & Peace

Rimbaud, A Season in Hell

Rimbaud, Poems 1972

Apollinaire, Calligrammes

Breton, The Disdainful Confession

Breton & Soupault, The Magnetic Fields

Jacques Vaché, War Letters

Aldous Huxley, The Doors of Perception

Jim Morrison, The American Night

(plus relevant critical essays)


Francis Ford Coppola, Apocalypse Now

Course Description:

“Spiritual combat is as fierce as the battles of men,” wrote the nineteen-year-old Arthur Rimbaud, having witnessed the Franco-Prussian war up close in 1871. This phrase suggests a correlation between the external side of war and an inner, psychological struggle on the level of both the individual and the collective. Through a variety of literary and theoretical texts, this course will examine the phenomenon of war in its “spiritual” or psychological dimension, reflecting on whether war is an intrinsic part of human civilization, or whether it mirrors a darker aspect within ourselves. In particular, we will look at three historical junctures: the response of poets such as Victor Hugo and Arthur Rimbaud to the Franco-Prussian War of 1870, World War I and its relation to surrealism and the exploration of the unconscious in the 1920s, and, finally, the psychedelic reaction to the Vietnam War during the counterculture of the 1960s. In addition to situating these wars within their socio-historic contexts, we will discuss topics such as derealization, violence and aesthetics, and mass psychology. While most of the material is not of a graphic or explicit nature, there will be a few graphic depictions of violence in the film we will watch, which I will signal to the class for those who would rather skip these.

Because this is a writing course, student writing will be examined and dissected in group discussions and in smaller peer review groups, as a way to provide constructive feedback and learn from each other’s writing. In addition, we will also address methods for doing critical research, including exercises devoted to library resources and bibliographical information.

Additional Information:

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.

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