FCS 195H1S

French Culture: From Napoleon to Asterix


P. Bovy


Description: This course will discuss how French identity has been constructed through culture, in the period between 1800 and 1960. We will examine different creations, concepts and positions of the French artist and intellectual through various examples (taken primarily from literature, the visual arts and music, but also from fashion, pop culture, nightlife and cinema). In the process, we will travel through cultural movements and schools of thought and across the different genres and media they influenced, from neoclassicism to surrealism.

Required texts: Balzac, Honoré de. Sarrasine. Translated by Clara Bell, New York, Kessinger, 2004; Botton, Alain de. How Proust Can Change Your Life. New York, Vintage Books, 1997; Goscinny, René and Albert Uderzo. Asterix the Gaul. Translated by Anthea Bell and Derek Hockridge, London, Orion House, 2004.

Course reader available online.

Assignments and evaluation: Term work 67% (Cultural analysis: 25%: Midterm exam: 35%; Essay: 25%; Overall assessment: 15%), two-hour final University Examination 33%.

Prerequisite: None