FRE 304H1F

Contemporary French Women's Prose Fiction


B. Havercroft


This course will examine French prose fiction by women written in the latter quarter of the twentieth century, during which an unprecedented number of texts by women writers were published.  Texts representing different women’s issues in contemporary society will be analyzed.  The selection of texts reflects the heterogeneity of the various tendencies that form the vast mosaic of women’s prose at the end of the century :  écriture féminine (feminine writing) of the 1970s (Cixous), the recycling of fantastic and baroque motifs (Germain), the creation of a dreamlike and apocalyptic universe (Redonnet), autobiographical writing (Ernaux), and the representation of the witch figure and the mother-daughter relationship (NDiaye).  Particular attention will be paid to the treatment of specific issues such as the representation of sexuality, identity, feminisms, the female body, solitude, the relationship between the personal and the socio-political spheres, sexual difference, and gender roles, as well as to the multiple textual strategies and formal features pertinent to the construction of the female subject. 

Required Texts :

Cixous, Hélène.  La (Paris : Gallimard, 1976; des femmes, Poche, 1979); Ernaux, Annie.  Passion simple (Paris : Gallimard, 1992); Germain, Sylvie.  Le Livre des nuits (Paris : Gallimard, 1985); Redonnet, Marie.  Splendid Hôtel (Paris : Minuit, 1986); NDiaye, Marie. La sorcière (Paris : Minuit, 1996/2003).

Assignments and Evaluation :

One mid-term test (30%); one short essay (20%); one longer essay (40%); participation and overall assessment (10%).


FRE 240H1/FRE245H, FRE241H1/FRE246H1.