FRE 320H1F

French Literature of Classicism and Enlightenment


A. Motsch


An introduction to French Literature between Classicism and the Enlightenment (from the second half of the 17th century until the French Revolution). This course will examine central notions of classical aesthetics including “bienséance”, “honnêteté”, and “naturel” as well as concepts and issues of libertine philosophy and heterodoxy (“libre arbitre”, “droits de l’homme”, and “citoyenneté”) which explain the decay of absolutism and shape the critical impact of the Enlightenment, a revolution in moral, political, and religious ideas. It was during this period that Europe found its modern worldview which in many ways is still our own. This course will study both intellectual and artistic innovations, linking them to the socio-historical and material changes of 17th and 18th-century France.

Required texts:

La Bruyère, Les Caractères, Petits classiques Larousse; Molière, Les Précieuses ridicules, Petits classiques Larousse; Abbé Prévost, Manon Lescaut, Folioplus Classiques; Diderot, Supplément au voyage de Bougainville et autres textes, Garnier-Flammarion; Voltaire, Candide, Petits classiques Larousse.

Assignments and evaluation:

Essay (40%); textual analysis (25%); term test (25%); overall assessment (10%)


FRE 240H1/FRE245H, FRE241H1/FRE246H1.