Special Topics in French Cultural Studies I:Love, Sex and Desire in French Literature and Cinema


M.A. Visoi


This online, asynchronous course will explore the themes of love, sex and desire in French literature and cinema through close reading, analysis, and interpretation of three major novels from the eighteenth to the twentieth literature. A comparative approach based on various examples taken from literary, philosophical texts and from film adaptations will examine the concept of love and its many definitions. Selections from ancient and modern philosophical texts on love, sex, and desire will be the starting point of our discussions: Ovid, "The Art of Love", Plato, "The Symposium", Bataille, "Eroticism", Beauvoir, "The Woman in Love", and Foucault, "The History of Sexuality".

The course will be held in English.

Students who are proficient in French and intend to complete their readings and major tests in French (Online Essay and Online Film Analysis) in order to count this course towards a program in French (Major of Specialist only), should inform the Course Instructor of their decision by the end of the first week of classes.

N.B. Discussion Forum contributions will be submitted in English only.

Required Books (print or electronic copies):

Pierre Choderlos de Laclos, "Dangerous Liaisons", Emile Zola, "Nana", Marguerite Duras, "The Lover"

Course Textbook:

Marie-Anne Visoi, "A Thematic Approach to French Cultural Studies: Love, Sex and Desire in French Literature and Cinema", Universal Publishers, 2012, ebook available from University of Toronto Libraries and posted in the course website.

Required Films

"Dangerous Liaisons" - 1988, Stephen Frears; "The Lover" - 1992, Jean-Jacques Annaud, available from University of Toronto Libraries and posted in the course website.

Assignments and evaluation:

Online Essay (30%); Online Film Analysis (30%); Online Test (25%); Online Participation in Discussion Forum sessions and Overall Assessment facilitated by Quercus collaboration tools (15%).