Special topics courses for Spring 2013
LANG 400 / WOST 377:
Monsters, Female and Otherness in French Literature
What is a monster? Why are humans so fascinated by the monstrous and why do these creatures continue to influence fiction and modern media? There are written accounts of the monstrous dating back to early Viking sagas, Ovid’s Metamorphoses (8th Century) and medieval tales such as Marie de France’s Lais (12th Century), as well as in present films and media such as Luc Picard’s film Babine (2008), Lady Gaga’s The Monster Ball Tour (2009-2011), HBO’s True Blood (2008-2011), and the new French animated film Un monstre à Paris (2011).
Throughout the centuries, the monster has been defined in many different ways: from an anomaly to a hybrid identity. It becomes apparent that the definition of the monster is constantly evolving, changing and shifting through time in any given society. The goal of this course is to understand monstrosity and how it affects our understanding of the feminine and the otherin a French context. Using discourse on femininity, otherness, freaks and freakery, and monstrous space, this course will examine works by famous French authors such as: Marie de France, Alexandre Dumas, Guy de Maupassant, Théophile Gautier, and Victor Hugo. The course will also explore film by famous cinematographers such as Jean Cocteau, Jean Delannoy, and Christophe Gans. Through these texts and films, the course seeks to explore the monster as a cultural product in terms of the marginal character or the other, and what it signifies in today’s society and culture.
Course will be taught in English, but students can do work in French to count towards their major/minor.
Course taught by Cynthia Jones, MA Cynthia.email@example.com