Homeless in the City of Lights

R1A (Section 3) :  English Composition through French Literature in Translation
Fall 2019
P. Lyons


Balzac : Colonel Chabert (1832)

Baudelaire : The Flowers of Evil (1857), Paris Spleen (1869)

Driss Chraibi: The Butts (1955)

Virginie Despentes: Vernon Subutex I (2015)


Jean Renoir – Boudu Saved from Drowning (1932)

Leos Carax – The Lovers on the Bridge (1991)

Sylvain George – Paris is a Moveable Feast – A Film in 18 Waves (2017)

Course Description:

In this course we will be engaging with poetry, novels, and films that explore different forms of homelessness in Paris ranging historically from the Nineteenth Century to the Present Day. We will critically assess the definitions and portrayals of homelessness that the works considered offer us, as well as those that they problematize or restructure. How are various figurations of homelessness bound to structures of power and governmentality? How does the law, for instance, dictate who is homeless, and who is ‘homed?’ What about architecture? Discourses surrounding race, gender, and nationality? To begin answering these questions, we will situate the artworks under consideration within their social and historical conditions of emergence. This will help us to better understand how literature and film allow us to critically reposition ourselves with regards to the often normalized conditions of the sans-abris.


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 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