The gradual erasure of nationhood illustrates a cultural anxiety about the cost of empire. Therefore, The Last Man leaves readers stranded within an apocalyptic vision of colonial space, with no obvious recourse for responding to its traumatic vision. It falls to readers to find their way out of this annihilating conclusion to transform this cultural narrative of colonial rapine and imperial collapse.
By interrogating how literature creates readers and how readers reciprocally imbue texts with meaning, Shelley recasts this conservative view of reading into a dangerously prophetic enterprise, where characters are inextricably bound to the texts they consume. However, there is a chasm between the type of reading modeled within the novel, and the sort of reading Shelley demands of her audience. By forsaking the early-nineteenth-century vision of reading as a conservative, stabilizing enterprise in favour of an aesthetic vision that privileges agency and intervention, Shelley empowers her readers to reject the annihilating future that waits before them.
Reading in The Last Man In The Last Man, reading is a stabilizing enterprise, imbued with the socializing power to teach, limit, and control behaviour. Characters are passively bound to the ways of being modeled within texts, to the extent that they are unable to deviate from the norms, affect, and experiences simulated through writing. This method of reading represents a conservative ideal: friendship, love, and community are taught and continually reinscribed through literature, creating a populace bound by shared national values and ideals.
In The Last Man, the act of reading appears to bind characters to specific futures. Literature, with its ability to imaginatively recreate foreign lands and directly impact individual affect, was an important vehicle for both of these initiatives. While the late works of contemporaries like Coleridge, Southey, and Wordsworth illustrate how literature can used to teach behaviour, moderate emotions, and form national identity, Shelley illuminates the danger of literary affectus. Ultimately, his desire is rewarded: Verney marries Idris, ushering in a new epoch of happiness at Windsor.
Verney is overwhelmed by the sensations evoked through text to the extent that he believes them to be real. He writes: [Man may] make a tour of the world in books, he may make himself master of the geography of the university in the maps, atlasses ad measurements of our mathematicians. He may travell by land with the historians, by sea with the 17 navigators.
Perhaps the most interesting parallel between the scenes is the suggestion of paralysis. More telling, however, is its associations with immobility. As a passive reader, Verney accepts literature as truth 18 and, in doing so, imbues it with a prophetic power. His fate appears set from the moment he imaginatively raises the plague. When Verney becomes the last man on earth, he explicitly disrupts the relationship between reading and futurity once so prominent in the novel. His survival is not the result of strange exception Robert Lance Snyder , inoculation Alan Bewell , or sheer randomness Peter Melville.
While the other characters remain passive readers, shackled to certain futures, Verney escapes these bonds to write his own personal and literary narrative. Aspects of their reading style that were camouflaged against the familiar, if futuristic, backdrop of England in the first sections of the novel are revealed as limiting and dysfunctional against the backdrop of a world on the brink of collapse. On this new frontier, books are emptied of their socializing function, leaving only an aesthetic and affective experience that terrifies the characters. At one point, the characters stop reading entirely.
Here, Verney persists in finding truth in literature rather than real life. The aesthetic distance offered by such escapist fiction. The concept of distance is crucial in this scene, as the characters are deterred by temporal as well as aesthetic distance. Up to this moment, reading has driven the plot forward; now it carries readers back into the past. Emptied of their didactic value, texts offer no obvious model for living and thriving in an apocalyptic world.
Ultimately, only Verney is able to break away from this model of reading to critically differentiate between the reality of his world and the fictionality of texts. This is what saves him as the last man, while his final companions drown at sea. The final group scene illustrates Verney, Adrian, and Clara deciding to travel to Greece. As elsewhere in the novel, here Adrien uses these literary lines as a blueprint for his own desire and excitement for the azure sea.
By cultivating a critical distance from the poem, Verney is able to shake off its prophetic bonds and redefine his future. Shelley takes this readerly autonomy to its literary extreme by framing Verney as the author of The Last Man. As the sole survivor in a world annihilated by pestilence, Verney commissions himself to write a history of the end of humanity. However, Verney adopts a remarkably conservative authorial position.
While readers are bound to specific futures, Verney, as author and historian, is tied to a specific vision of the past. Influenced by the great literary histories written before him and his own traumatic experience of the plague, the creative aspects of writing are suppressed in favour of compulsive retelling. He faithfully records a history of the plague, unable to rewrite its devastating effects. Near the conclusion of the novel, Verney self-consciously laments: 21 What would become of us? O for some Delphic oracle, or Pythian maid, to utter the secrets of futurity! O for some Oedipus to solve the riddle of the cruel Sphynx!
Such Oedipus was I to be. Shelley Verney is our Delphic oracle and Pythian maid, who foretells the future with absolute certainty because it is his past. It seems as though this apocalyptic conclusion is unavoidable for readers of The Last Man: we have raised our plague, just as Verney raised his through reading.
Instead, he picks out the works of Homer and Shakespeare to comfort and guide him on his journey, implicitly sustaining the old literary canon and model of reading. If, as a reader, Verney wanted to break down the affective bonds between text and reader, the opposite is true for Verney as an author. Friend, come! I wait for thee! Despite its apparent impossibility, Verney devotes much energy towards envisioning an audience for his history.
Verney is alone and, despite his wistful imaginings, it seems unlikely that there will ever be an audience for his work. Therefore, the true challenge to readers of the The Last Man is deciding how to fictionalize ourselves as an audience. In the introduction, Shelley explains that the tale was discovered in Naples in , inscribed upon hidden leaves in the form an ancient Sibylline prophecy. Indeed, it is in the introduction that the prophetic ties of reading are explicitly realized: the novel is framed as a prophetic vision of our future, and the act of authorship is reduced to transcription and translation.
The only sign that life had touched this ancient space is the skeleton of a goat, which must have fallen through the ceiling opening. Through this atmosphere, Shelley gestures towards the Romantic fascination with ancient history and ruins. However, by , when the novel was published, the delight in antiquity was all but divorced from actual historiography. Instead, the aesthetic was tied to a contemporary and regionally specific identity.
Thus, while Shelley resists the State Romanticism practiced by her peers, her vision of readerly reform maintains a degree of conservative nationalism. Indeed, prophecy is fundamentally suggestive of a preordained outcome, evoking a model of reading wherein text is fated to come true.
Read Visions of Apocalypse: Representations of the End in French Literature and Culture (Modern
In Observations on the Modern Taste in Gardening , Joseph Heely describes the complex process of creating a believable folly: To keep the whole design in its purity — to wipe away any suspicion of its being any otherwise than a real ruin, the large and massy stones, which have seemingly tumbled from the tottering and ruinous walls, are suffered to lie about. This greatly preserves its intention, and confirms the common opinion of every stranger, of its early date; while, to throw a deeper solemnity over it, and make it carry a stronger face of antiquity, ivy is encouraged to climb about the walls and turrets.
Drawing upon the core characteristics of the late-eighteenth-century folly — historical deception, picturesque disarray, and an intimate bond with nature — her introduction 26 functions in a similar fashion, and to similar effect. Both author and architect are driven to create a believable work of art that is compelling for its truthfulness.
The burden is on the audience, then, to differentiate between pretentions of historical authenticity and actual reflections of truth. Shelley is creating a literary folly that, like its architectural counterparts, has more to say about contemporary England than any imagined past.
In this sense, the novel demands to be understood as one would a gothic ruin, with its affective, aesthetic, and temporal multiplicities. Therefore, the act of translation must refer to the process of moving between media, from naturalistic sibylline leaves to the newness of Romantic print.
Accordingly, Romantic readers consumed fragments of a global outpouring of text; the fundamental disjointedness of this experience could be read as representative of progress, or indicative of spiraling decline. The post-plague landscape appears artificially frozen in time, as signs of decay and collapse are replaced by theatrical illusion, picturesque stillness, and temporal compression. Essentially, the pristine apocalyptic landscape reaffirms the distinction between the dominant type of reading modeled in The Last Man and the type of reading required by the novel.
Shelley expects readers to recognize the fictionality of her imagery to fracture the predictive bonds between reading and futurity. Their routine is to migrate from city to city, discovering new props for this continuous act. This game of pretend illustrates the artificiality of post-plague life. Her perpetual practice of playing dress-up reveals a desire to capture these qualities for herself. Indeed, even the backdrop to their grotesque charade appears false and illusory.
It is only once Verney is truly alone that we gain full access into this domestic sphere. He enters a dwelling which reminds him of home: wood is piled high on the hearth, the table set in preparation for a meal, and a couch covered 29 with inviting snowy white sheets. However, despite this explicit reminder of age and decay, both images are remarkably stable in their representation of decomposition; they are snapshots in time, leaving it to the audience to imagine the gradual progress of mold and decay.
While this is stillness typical of a still-life painting, static in its composition and form, it registers as unusual in The Last Man. Writing has the power to move us - in ways of thinking about the world as illustrated by the characters in the novel , affectively as readers of The Last Man might experience and, most basically, through time and space within an imagined literary world. The dusty meal stops Verney in his tracks, fracturing his happy illusion and forcing him to recognize the falsity of his existence. It is significant that this scene takes place indoors, deep inside the previously 30 inaccessible domestic realm.
It is notable that Heidegger inflects his discussion of spatiality with an element of time: dwelling is to stay in place, both physically and temporally.
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Decay and ruin are natural fixtures in the novel in the scenes that take place before the plague; it is only in the post-apocalyptic world that Shelley eradicates the natural processes of age, decay, and dereliction. For instance, when Raymond enters the pestilent city of Constantinople, it collapses in spectacular ruin. His entry into the Golden City is meant to be a triumphant finale to his triumph over the Turks on behalf of the Greeks.
Shelley lingers over these scenes of destruction, emphasizing the immediacy of its destruction. This image of destroyed wealth foreshadows the pristine luxury items that lay abandoned in the post-apocalyptic world. Ruins indicate a straightforward view of time and history. By choosing to eradicate this element from her post-plague landscape, Shelley resists linear conceptions of time and history. The material landscape is paused at the end of The Last Man, which opens the possibility of envisioning alternative futures.
Shelley, through her aesthetics of ruin and preservation, seeks to overturn this predictive cycle of literature and introduce an alternative model of reading literature. Through this system of reading, The Last Man is transformed from a distant prophetic vision into an actionable critique of early-nineteenth-century England.
As I have outlined in the previous chapter, the collapse of humanity and the post-apocalyptic environment are curiously divorced in the novel. The landscape is free of ruin and decay, creating a fantastical sense of paused time that implies the possibility of human intervention. Endlessly productive, requiring no labour, and available for occupation, the post-apocalyptic landscape is deeply reminiscent of the earlyth century ideal of colonial space. Yet, the plague is not only a symptom of imperialism.
It also functions as a direct metaphor for imperialism itself. However, the plague is a relentless consuming force that clears the nation of bodies. However, in a devastating reversal, this history unfolds on British soil, transforming these dreams of empire into the destruction of nationhood. Its apparently miasmic transmission heightens this sense of a stealthy, indefensible global assault.
Shared humanity is recast as shared ecology, and the environment becomes a medium through which to examine anxieties about imperial interconnectedness. However, immediately preceding and proceeding this statement, Verney clarifies that this black orb never cast[s] its shadows on England. However, these rhetorical attempts at distancing England from 36 the East prove futile against the actual onslaught of the plague.
Beyond this rumored event, the plague exclusively affects human bodies; it is a curse of humanity, intent on colonizing the entire globe. Here, Shelley distinguishes between the myth of colonial space, and the post-apocalyptic reality of this ideal. The idea of colonies drying up directly contradicts their status as endlessly fertile sites of possibility and progress.
Just as Romantic imperialists sought to rewrite and re-illustrate colonial space to conform it to their narrative of paradisiacal newness, the plague aggressively transforms the world to satiate its desires. He refers to the plague and yet, within this context of migratory reversal, the evil could also refer to the sins of empire. The plague forces England to acknowledge the consequences of its imperial endeavors, all collected neatly within its island borders. The narrative scope of The Last Man is thus reduced from a global, even atmospheric scale, to a national tragedy.
I lowered my lamp, and saw a negro half clad, writhing under the agony of disease, while he held me with a convulsive grasp. With mixed horror and impatience I strove to disengage myself, and fell on the sufferer; he wound his naked festering arms round me, his face was close to mine, and his breath, death-laden, entered my vitals. For a moment I was overcome, my head was bowed by aching nausea; till, reflection returning, I sprung up, threw the wretch from me, and darting up the staircase, entered the chamber usually inhabited by my family. Ultimately only Verney is left, his memories and reflections becoming the full scope of the novel.
This infected African represents the dangerous mobilities incited by the plague. The encounter between Verney and the African can be understood as an unanticipated contact zone between the colonizer and colonized. Together, they form an intimate tableau, which can be viewed as a grotesque parody of the imperial motif of a kneeling racialized figure offering up gifts to Britannia.
Readers become observers to a sight otherwise 39 impossible to behold: the miasmic transferral of the plague.
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This image recalls a scene from some fifty years earlier, when English explorer and botanist Sir Joseph Banks confronted another coastline as the precipice of a new world. During the Romantic period, colonial spaces were constructed as edenic sites of imperial potential.
Late-eighteenth- and early-nineteenth-century explorers, natural scientists, writers, and politicians established a myth of colonial space which emphasized its natural fecundity and available potential.
Shelley engages with this myth in The Last Man through her representation of post-apocalyptic space. The post-apocalyptic landscape and the Romantic myth of colonial space share three central characteristics: they are robustly fertile, require no labour, and are primed for occupation by virtue of their emptiness. By applying the idealized qualities of colonial space to the post-plague landscape, Shelley queries the implications of conceptualizing colonial space as a new garden of Eden by highlighting the dangerous implications of this myth.
This perception of colonial space extended well beyond the South Seas, reverberating through most exploration narratives of the period. John Webber was one of several artists to travel with Captain James Cook during his voyage around the South Seas and the Pacific Ocean from to This visual representation Tahiti as a fertile island paradise contributed towards a broader myth of colonial space: endlessly fertile, and ready for English consumption.
The unharvested coconuts, breadfruit, and grapes which have already begun to fall to the ground and rot act as an enticing invitation to consume. Here, the flourishing post-apocalyptic landscape diverges from the reality of lateth and earlyth century colonial space. Scarcely can it be said that they earn their bread with the sweat of their brow when. While an estimated fifteen thousand slaves died of malnutrition between and , English demand for sugar grew insatiably Clarkson By reducing the labour needed to produce food for themselves, slaves could direct their energies more fully towards the demands of the sugar industry.
Unlike the post-plague ecology in The Last Man, which is genuinely devoid of human intervention, the Romantic quest for an imperial paradise was built upon a largely hidden network of dispersed labour and exploitation. The bodies in this network of colonial labour had to be concealed on both legal and symbolic grounds. England justified its colonial conquests by the Roman legal principle of res 44 nullius, whereby things that are unclaimed remain common property until someone claims them. For this legal logic to function, sites of colonial potential had to be figuratively emptied of preexisting bodies.
These bodies also had to be hidden for the colonial myth of edenic newness to persist. Commissioned by sugar planter and historian William Beckford of Somerley to produce six landscape paintings, Robertson travelled to Jamaica in His images were quickly reproduced by engravers, including Thomas Vivares, James Mason, and Daniel Lerpiniere, allowing them to be widely circulated throughout Romantic England.
The landscape is an Anglo-Jamaican hybrid which establishes Jamaica as a natural extension of 9 While many scholars discus res nuilus and suggest that it was a way of justifying colonialism from the 16th century to the 20th century for instance Nicholas Canny, Ken MacMillan, and Anthony Pagden , Andrew Fitzmaurice pushes back against this conception to suggest that it only came into wide use as a reified tool of law in the 18th century.
Although Robertson represents African bodies in this work, he actively hides the image of the labouring slave body — only one man is depicted working, and he is obscured from view by shadows. The smoke rising from a mill building in the background is the only other cue that labour is occurring within this landscape.
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Shelley pushes against this myth by challenging the assumption that ecological abundance and ostensibly unoccupied spaces indicate paradisiacal newness. The high caloric fruit was met with near-universal dislike in the British West Indies. They say that Negroes do not like it, and will not eat it, if they can get anything else. Its fruit was used to feed pigs, while the slaves for whom it was intended consumed an Afro-Indian diet of maize, yams, plantains and cassava.
As David Watts observes, the acceptance of the breadfruit tree in Jamaica was a mid-nineteenth-century development, rather than a Romantic one. And in both cases, the driving hunger remains unfulfilled. Unlike the conventional conceptualization of hunger as a stimulus in a feedback loop prompting the body to seek food, The Last Man reframes hunger as a drive towards death.
This linearity is incredibly impactful in a novel that largely privileges circular conceptions of temporal progression. In the previous chapter, I argued that the paused stillness of the post-apocalyptic landscape suggested the possibility of human intervention and transformation. The plague offers no such regenerative potential. Instead, the plague turns these imperial ambitions inwards, consuming the nation itself. Their careless disinterest in bodily hunger is what allows them to maintain the illusion of immunity; to acknowledge hunger, in The Last Man, is to anticipate death.
In an interesting parallel, Death is personified as a hungry body, spurred by the same need for nourishment as those infected by the plague. However, unlike the plague sufferers, who are ultimately consumed by their illness, Death is successful in his hunt for nourishment. In effect, the plague is driven by his insatiable need to consume.
Even at the end of the world, when Death has claimed almost every person on earth, he hungrily hunts for more victims. Its landscapes are fertile, requiring no labour to cultivate or maintain their productivity, and utterly emptied of people. And yet, Verney is dissatisfied with this edenic vision of perfect imperialism: But where was the bustle and industry characteristic of such an assemblage; the rudely constructed dwelling, which was to suffice till a more commodious mansion could be built; the marking out of fields; the attempt at cultivation; the eager curiosity to discover unknown animals and herbs; the excursions for the sake of exploring the country?
Our habitations were palaces, our food was ready stored in granaries—there was no need of labour, no inquisitiveness, no restless desire to get on. Instead, it can be read as a conservative desire to return to an insular agrarian economic model, where English men and women work to sustain themselves on a local scale.
Ironically, this is the same model that Robertson invokes in his attempt to make Jamaica appear more comfortably English in his picturesque landscapes. The process of unnaming is directly tied to the themes of authorship outlined in the first chapter. Verney creates a purpose for himself by writing a history of the plague.
Through this process, he is able to differentiate between humanity, and its linear drive towards death, and the fantastical environment which captures the regenerative ideals of colonial space. In losing his voice, Verney loses the ability to vocalize his distinctness from the environment. Instead, he becomes awkwardly subsumed as a superfluous addition to the perfect, edenic, and emptied landscape. Verney will never be forced into labour like his forefathers because there is no Eve to tempt him into sin. Thus, the Romantic fantasy of a colonial eden is perfectly and terribly realized.
However, Verney has already been cursed with his crushing knowledge of the history of mankind. The systems of modern life which provide Verney with diverse foodstuffs like Indian corn and freshly picked oranges are recast as dangerous conduits for reverse migration and contagious disease. For Shelley, readers are bound by neither history nor the future; they possess the ability to narrate their own responses to literature and being within the world.
Yet this critical perspective might also be reflected back onto The Last Man itself. As scholars like Banks and Bewell have illustrated, routes of 51 trade, traveling ecologies, and maritime contact had already inexorably connected the world in the early-nineteenth century. This, in itself, may suggest that the forward drive of Neuzeit has already won out, ushering in a new era of reading, temporality, and imperial embrace. Taylor, M. The course will also examine the views expressed against the practice of torture, on the appearance of the guillotine Dr. Guillotin and Beccaria , on the legalization of divorce Brissot de Warville , on the cult of reason Danton and on the cult of the Supreme Being Robespierre.
It will also consider the views promulgated by the Catholic reactionaries Joseph de Maistre, Chateaubriand and Vicomte de Bonald , that began to be published after Thermidor. During the semester, students will acquire the ability to recognize and understand different revolutionary and post-revolutionary attitudes. This course, offered jointly as a "dialogue course" between the English Department and the Department of French, Literature, and Culture, will be team-taught by a professor from each department.
The course will therefore include classes in English, alternating with classes in French concerning the influence of the English novels by such authors as Daniel Defoe, Samuel Richardson, Henry Fielding, Laurence Sterne, Jane Austen on literature of the French Enlightenment, including their reception, their translation, and their adaptation, in a study of how the novels under consideration are invested with new meanings through translation.
The student will come to recognize that translation functioned as a compromise between the two cultures rather than conforming to today's convention of linguistic and semantic equivalence. The student will come to understand that, from narratives of the Crusades, viewed from both sides, to the numerous texts which, in the 21st century, authors show an interest and a mutual concern. The perspective of the West on the East and the one of the East on the West is measured in terms of confrontation, or at least strangeness.
Finally, the course also aims to deconstruct the usual designations, East and West, by showing that the geographical borders of these two spaces are debatable and debated. This course examines European literature in translation by studying important works, literary movements, and large themes. The course will study novels, poetry and drama from Europe, from a selection determined by the teacher, either on a national or on a transnational comparative scale.
An important aspect of this course is to determine the place of the masterworks in the evolution of world literature. At the end of the course, students will be able to compare texts from other literary contexts, gain new perspectives in literary history, and explore literature through the lens of literary canons, genres, themes, and forms. This course studies European theatrical plays in French translation, with particular— but not exclusive—attention to the canons that marked Western theatre. It may then look at the Greek tragedies of Antiquity, the Elizabethan period and the Spanish Golden Age of the Baroque repertoire, as well as creators of the 20th century like the Italian Luigi Pirandello and the German Bertolt Brecht, who were imitated by others.
By the end of the course, students will know the seminal works in the history of theatre and their influence on the contemporary dramatic art that continually draws upon them. The objective of this course is to introduce students to the study of non-European literature. Texts will be examined in their French translation.
By studying important works, significant literary movements, and large themes, the course will analyze how national literatures are built and how literature is used in context outside the French-speaking literature. While stressing the diversity of literature Americas, Africa, Asia, Oceania , this course will evaluate emerging literature in their relationship with the European canon. The course may study one region in particular or may elaborate a comparative study of two or more regions. At the end of the course, students will be able to understand masterworks originating from another language English, Spanish, Portuguese, Arabic, etc.
The course provides students an in-depth knowledge of the epistolary novel at the end of the 17th century and during the Enlightenment through the study of its most representative works. The French novel underwent an important change in with the publication of Guilleragues' novel, Lettres d'une religieuse portugaise, comprised entirely of letters. This new narrative device, which became increasingly popular among novelists, legitimized the expression of love by concealing the identity of the author behind that of the letter writer, giving the impression of an actual eyewitness account.
The objective of this course is to introduce students to two similar literary genres: the travelogue and the travel novel. Since the age of the Great Discoveries, the travelogue gave rise to increasing interest in France.
Anchored in reality, the travelogue, which claimed to be objective and transparent, served a double role: to portray the truth and to teach through description. The travelogue became a useful means to fight the accusations of improbability and puerility which weighed down the novel as a genre.
This course introduces students to a considered analysis of a number of literary genres considered to be on the fringe of the canonical work officially recognized by the literary institution. Before registering in this course, students must find a professor to guide them during both semesters, and they must receive the approval of the Department Head. This course is given in the form of guided readings. Students must produce either a significant quantity of written work or a single written piece of a substantial length on a specific theme. Students will develop their critical thinking skills and will use a number of theoretical works published in their area of research.
This course will study the themes of fanaticism, tolerance and religion in a literary perspective and provide a more complete picture of cultural intelligence. Through text analysis and lectures, the student will understand that the notions of tolerance and fanaticism were quite familiar to the Enlightenment French philosophes. By reading works of fiction, essays and treaties, the student will develop a thorough understanding of issues and of ways of thinking underlying the quest for a more equal and tolerant society, a quest that continued to inspire writers such as Victor Hugo and Boris Vian in the 19th and 20th centuries.
By reading and studying texts written by essay writers, playwrights and novelists, the student will develop a new way of understanding the world and the ways in which many thinkers interpreted the dangers underlying fanaticism. This course aims to impart to the student, by means of textual analyses and lectures, a greater knowledge of diverse currents that characterize the francophone essay since the beginning of the 21st century.
Through readings of different essays and studies of the specific poetics of this literary genre, the student will become familiar with the ways in which the 21st century essay breaks today's world down into themes. The student will also gain greater awareness of society's profound transformations, its crises, its innovations and its catastrophes, which all contribute to the creation of a new apocalyptic "imaginaire", which can be defined by the loss of stable points of reference. Readings of various essays will allow us to study sequentially the discursive construction of new internal threats, different conspiracy theories, the topic of crisis as a way of interpreting the world, rhetorical anxiety-provoking situations and the stylization of paranoia Hofstadter.
By the end of the course, the student will have acquired a thorough knowledge of the poetics of this genre as well as an enhanced ability to pinpoint and analyze recurrent themes by which the modern essay strives to make sense out of the 21st century. This course examines surrealism, the most significant cultural movement of the 20th century. It starts with a review of the 19th-century writers who were the forerunners of the movement and the dada phenomenon, where it all started.
In addition to looking at different literary genres, students will focus their attention on the visual arts-particularly photography, painting and sculpture-and on contemporary expressions of surrealism that can be found in advertising, film, etc. At the end of the course, students will have a strong understanding of the period during which surrealism flourished most strongly, the inter-war period, as well as the movement's forerunners in the previous century and its many descendants today.
This course aims to give students in-depth knowledge of the art of testimony narrative techniques, the work of memory, striving for coherence, effects of reality and a better understanding of the polarity of opinions expressed in often contradictory testimonies regarding similar experiences. Students will grasp the issues that the various testimonies reveal and, through analyzing the tensions inherent in any recounted experience, gain a better understanding of the significance and the scope of testimonies.
The works of Sartre and Camus will be of primary importance, in the three major literary genres they used: essays, stories and theatre. We will also examine the aesthetic change of direction that the absurd took after World War II, with the theatre of derision. At the end of the course, students will be able to identify the absurd in theoretical and fictional works and will be familiar with the different forms it has taken over time.
The choice of the author will depend upon the professor teaching the course that particular year. This course aims to present an in-depth perspective on the work of an author of French, Quebec or francophone literature in general. Finally, this course will allow the student the opportunity to become familiar with the author's era, opening up further important historical, political and sociological considerations. This course is a study of the ways in which Greek and Roman writers of antiquity represent great heroes. At the end of the course, students will be familiar with the main classical models dealing with heroism and will be able to explain their relationship with mythology and philosophy.
They will be able to recognize and analyze the parameters within which the concept of wartime heroism is formed and is justified in the epics of Homer and Virgil; the tragedies of Sophocles, Aeschylus and Euripides; and the works of Plutarch, Lucan, Apuleius, Caesar and Athanasius of Alexandria. This courses aims, through text analysis and lectures, to give students an in-depth knowledge of various concepts of ancient rhetoric. Through reading different treatises and studies, students will become familiar with the ways in which rhetoric was defined during the Greek and Roman antiquities, they will understand the nature of its components and sub-components, and they will learn the rhetorical and logical foundations of argument analysis.
The rhetoric of philosophers such as Plato, Aristotle, Demosthenes, Cicero, Quintilian and Apsines will be studied in order to understand the historical mistrust of rhetoric and the way its merits have been defended. At the end of the course, students will have learned what characterizes ethos, logos, pathos, syllogism, enthymeme, hypotyposis, topos, paralogism, etc. This course aims, through text analysis and lectures, to give students an in-depth knowledge of various concepts of rhetoric from the 18th century to present. Through reading different treatises and studies, students will become familiar with the ways in which the modern world has transformed our understanding of rhetoric.
At the end of the course, students will have learned the cognitive advantages and limits of metaphorical production, ethical and eristic rhetoric, the foundations of problematology, and the relationship between persuasion and a given axiological system. Students will acquire the skills necessary for recognizing and using a large number of argumentative techniques in accordance with their purpose.
This course is a study of the development of the French-Canadian novel before the Quiet Revolution. After discussing a few basic historical and theoretical principles, we will examine the novels that mark the important phases of this development. Emphasis will be placed on themes and ideologies in a sociohistoric context. This course is a study of the new directions that the Quebec novel has taken in the wake of the sea change brought about by the Quiet Revolution. We will focus on the expression of a new nationalist sentiment in novels. We will cover the concept of the socially engaged writer, new styles of writing, the emergence of women's writing and, above all, the growing importance of migrant literature.
This will lead us to reconsider the relationship between the various literatures of French-speaking Canada in the context of minority literatures. From Marguerite de Navarre to Mme de Genlis, many women writers, including Mme de Villedieu and Marie-Jeanne Riccoboni, to name only a few, tried to establish themselves as authors. Through a close reading of diverse texts - including fairy tales, short stories and novels - students will understand the conditions women authors faced and the reception of their works. They will be able to analyze the main themes raised in the works studied, to identify the strategies used to question the place of women in society and to formulate a critical reflection on the publications of women writers from the Renaissance to the French Revolution.
This course is a study of Quebec poetry from its origins up to the midth century.
Daron Burrows | Faculty of Medieval and Modern Languages
After reviewing the beginnings of written poetry in French Canada, we will examine Quebec poetry specifically: the Literary and Patriotic Movement of Quebec; the Montreal literary school; the regionalist poets and the exotic poets, including the argument that brought them into conflict; and lastly, the solitude generation. We will situate these poetic movements in their respective sociocultural contexts and will see the role they played in the community.
Their aesthetic characteristics will also be pointed out. To accomplish this, we will study numerous representative poets, but will look at a few of them more closely, such as Nelligan, DesRochers, Saint-Denys Garneau and Grandbois. This course is a study of French-Canadian poetry, principally Quebec poetry, since the publication of Refus global in We will analyze the often close relationship between the poet and society. Also, we will draw parallels with French poetry and the visual arts. Lastly, we will focus our attention on songs.
After an overview of the history of drama in French Canada, this course will study the real development of this literary genre from to The plays of some major playwrights will receive particular attention. This course will study dramatic production in French Canada since It will show the diversity and originality of that production through the works of important playwrights.
Students enrolled in this course will primarily study plays of major playwrights of 17th century France, but also of the 18th and 19th centuries. Different genres, such as historic tragedies, comedy ballet, romantic drama, etc. By the end of the semester, students will have a solid knowledge of the mechanics of drama, its esthetics and style, as well as of the social, political, moral and psychological content of the plays selected.
This course aims to provide students a better understanding of the profound changes taking place in the field of French literature in the aftermath of World War II which determined the shape of contemporary literature in France. Through a detailed study of several important literary movements such as the OuLiPo, and through specific examples from the "age of suspicion" inaugurated by the Nouveau Roman to the death of the two great figures Roland Barthes and Jean-Paul Sartre, this course will capture the innovations developed by writers of that time, in terms of poetics and theory, by situating them in their context.
This course offer students an in depth understanding of current French literature, as well as an understanding of the issues to the contemporary era, not only within the study of literature, but also outside its boundaries. The s saw a new generation of writers appear, which, although they inherited from the formalists and experimental novels of their predecessors, as well as from their theoretical concerns, implemented a return to the notion of the story and to the traditional novel.
This shift also concerns the practice of the previous generation of writers, whose writing also tends to become transitive, with different aesthetic modes.
Imagining the Apocalypse
The course will begin by focusing on this turning point and by offering a portrait of the following thirty years. Several major works of this time will then be considered, while particular attention will be paid to the innovations that characterize their relationship with reality. This course aims to reveal to the student the multiple connections between literature and other art forms.
Through study of literary works of fiction and works of art criticism, the student will, by the end of the course, come to an understanding of the love-hate relationship between authors and artists common esthetic movements, solidarity or rivalry between different arts and between artists, etc. Through lectures and analysis of texts, this course will equip students with technical and theoretical knowledge of various discourses that represent power or use it to change opinions. The course will begin with a look back at previous centuries to illustrate the discursive use of power in relation to forms of social unrest such as revolutions, conscription, wars, crises and recessions.
Through their reading of essays, pamphlets, treaties and opinion pieces, students will learn to decode the ways in which cultural, political, military, economic and bureaucratic powers interfere with discourse production. They will also see how those powers can be praised, criticized or rejected using a variety of arguments. Students will become familiar with a number of modes of domination and with how discourses have objectified them.
By the end of the course, they will have acquired valuable skills in the discursive representation of power, its nature, its evolution and its complexity. This course provides an overview of the development of the major currents of thought in French Canada, from the beginning of the colony writings of New France up to the eve of the 20thcentury. Emphasis will be placed primarily on the different themes and ideologies in a sociohistoric context, and the importance of the narrative style of the works will also be considered.
We will look at the birth of numerous literary genres: essay, travel writing, poetry, drama, story and novel. This course picks up where FRF leaves off. Students will continue to examine written works that reveal a collective identity, both inside and outside Quebec; naturally, the universal scope of the themes and ideologies that developed will also be considered. We will focus our attention on narrative prose stories and novels , popular music and the work of a number of stand-up comedians, to illustrate the development of nationalist thought.
After a brief look at the history of the French presence in Canada, we will examine the sociopolitical and cultural connections between the French minorities of l'Acadie, of Ontario and of western Canada and, inevitably, the relationship of these minorities with Quebec.
This course will study the literature and culture of francophone societies outside France, Canada and Africa. It will analyze the evolution of these literatures and, if need be, of the oral traditions particular to the culture studied. A main theme of this course will be the sometimes problematic relationship of these literatures with metropolitan France. The goal of the course is to lead the student to a better understanding of lesser-known francophone cultures. Undergraduate French, Literature, and Culture Courses.