LITR 074F. The Shadow of the Enlightement

Crosslisted with FREN 074 .
The following course offers a critical examination of the central ideas guiding the French Enlightenment, paying particularly close attention to the notion of "otherness" underlying the Enlightenment project-that is, that which is facilely left out in the eighteenth century's valorization of reason. In opposition to the Enlightenment idea of the rational man is the irrational animal, a binary that materialist thinkers like La Mettrie and Condillac are quick to blur; in opposition to the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen (the crowning civil rights document from the French Revolution) is Olympe de Gouges' Declaration of the Rights of Woman and of the Female Citizen, a text that criticizes eighteenth-century gender inequalities; in opposition to the Enlightenment's enormous blind spots surrounding race is Claire de Duras' Ourika, a novel that decries the pervasive racism of the eighteenth century. Throughout the semester, we will study the novels, essays, and dialogues that shape the major ideas of the Enlightenment (and the revolutionary modes of thinking that accompany it), while also studying that which lies in the shadow of the Enlightenment. Authors include: Voltaire, Diderot, Rousseau, Condillac, La Mettrie, Gouges, Duras.

Taught in English; and there is a 0.5 credit French Attachment for students reading in French (FREN 074A ).
1 credit.
Spring 2024. Staff.
Catalog chapter: Modern Languages and Literatures: Literatures in Translation  
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