French literature and culture 1 (2017/2018)

Course code
Name of lecturer
Stefano Genetti
Stefano Genetti
Number of ECTS credits allocated
Academic sector
Language of instruction
Semester 2 dal Feb 26, 2018 al Jun 9, 2018.

Lesson timetable

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Learning outcomes

This course introduces to some voices and aspects of modern and contemporary French literature in order to develop critical readings of relevant literary texts in relation to social, economic and artistic changes in the recent history of French culture.
At the end of this course, students shall therefore acquire knowledge in French cultural history, along with the capacity of applying this knowledge to critical readings of relevant literary texts concerning the identitarian, relational, historical, cultural, social and ecomonical issues the course deals with.


Women’s history, women’s stories: mothers and daughters in French XXth-century literature

The history of women and of feminism in XXth-century France is rich in political, philosophical, social, economical, artistic and cultural implications. Against this background, this course deals with the complex issues of women’s writing and focuses on XXth century literary texts dealing with the relationships between mothers and daughters: women writing about their mothers, about their being daughters and, sometimes, about their becoming mothers in their own turn.
Works by Colette (La femme cachée, La naissance du jour, Sido, letters from her mother and to her daughter); Simone de Beauvoir (Le deuxième sexe, Mémoires d’une jeune fille rangée, Une mort très douce); Nathalie Sarraute (Enfance); Annie Ernaux (Une femme, Je ne suis pas sortie de ma nuit, L’autre fille, Mémoire de fille, her essay on Simone de Beauvoir); Nina Bouraoui (Garçon manqué).
The point of view of a son will be represented by Charles Juliet’s Lambeaux.

Among the literary works discussed, each student shall choose three works by three different authors. A complete and in-depth reading in French of these three works is required.
Students must achieve overall knowledge concerning the history of women and feminism in XXth-century France, along with the ability to comment on all the literary texts (excerpts as well as complete in-depth readings: author, context, literary genre, ideas and images, themes, and style), with particular regard to the mother and daughter relationship.

A detailed program with bibliographical information, as well as a selection of literary and critical texts, will be given at the beginning of the course.
Students attending the course will be given access to a mid-term paper (1/2 of the final evaluation): students will be required to comment on an excerpt from one of the books that far discussed during the course.
Students unable to attend the course are requested to contact the teacher (e-mail and office hours). Some critical readings given at the beginning of the course are especially selected for them in order to prepare the final oral exam.

The course, as well as the mid-term paper and the final oral exam, are in Italian. All texts (literary excerpts and extended readings) must be in French.
Further instructions, concerning both the mid-term paper and the oral exam, will be given during the course.

Select bibliography
Christine Bard, Histoire des femmes dans la France des XIXe et XXe siècles, Paris, Ellipses, 2013.
Murielle Lucie Clément et Sabine van Wesemael (sous la direction de), Relations familiales dans les littératures française et francophone des XXe et XXIe siècles. La figure de la mère, Paris, L’Harmattan, 2008.
Franco Restaino e Adriana Cavarero, Le filosofie femministe, Torino, Paravia, 1999.
Gianfranco Rubino (a cura di), Il romanzo francese contemporaneo, Roma/Bari, Laterza, 2012.
Lionello Sozzi (a cura di), Storia europea della letteratura francese. II. Dal Settecento all’età contemporanea, Torino, Einaudi, 2013, pp. 413-430.
Sandra Teroni (a cura di), Il romanzo francese del Novecento, Roma/Bari, Laterza, 2008.
Françoise Thébaud (a cura di), Storia delle donne in Occidente, diretta da Georges Duby e Michelle Perrot, Il Novecento, Roma/Bari, Laterza, 1992.
Michelle Zancarini-Fournel, Histoire de femmes en France: XIXe et XXe siècles, Rennes, Presses Universitaires de Rennes, 2005.
Dominique Viart et Bruno Vercier, La littérature française au présent. Héritage, modernité, mutations, Paris, Bordas, 2005, pp. 76-99.

Reference books
Author Title Publisher Year ISBN Note
Annie Ernaux Écrire la vie Gallimard Quarto 2011
Nathalie Sarraute Enfance Gallimard Folio 1983
Nina Bouraoui Garçon manqué Le livre de poche 2013
Charles Juliet Lambeaux Gallimard Folio 1997
Colette La naissance du jour GF Flammarion 1984
Simone de Beauvoir Une mort très douce Gallimard Folio 1972

Assessment methods and criteria

For students attending the course who choose to present their mid-term paper, the final evaluation will be the result of:
a) mid-term paper (1/2 of the evaluation);
b) oral exam (1/2 of the evaluation).
For students unable to attend the course, the complete program will be discussed during the oral exam.