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Foreign Languages and Literatures

Self Expressions - French 450 - Spring 2014

November 22, 2013

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Literature fulfills a deep human need to grapple with the world around us. This grappling can take many forms: coming to terms with things past, making sense of those present, sketching out those yet to come. Through the lens of literature, then, this need turns into one both to tell and to read, or be told, stories. Throughout literary history, writers have explored diverse channels in order to express what we now commonly call the “self” - as though we all knew what “self” referred to.

In this seminar, we will engage both critically and creatively with the notion of “self expressions”: How do literary forms shed light on the expression of self? What kinds of stories do they tell, to whom? What kinds of stories do we need them to tell? Why is that? And how do we tell stories, whether our own, or somebody else’s? To elaborate our own answers to these questions, we will explore critically various kinds of self expressions going back to the Renaissance (essays,letters, memoirs, dialogues, journals, autobiographies, and criticism), as well as engage creatively in self expression.


Pre-requisites:  French 321, Senior standing

T/TH - 1:50-3:20 pm

Professor Isabelle DeMarte,


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