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FREN4205 - Desire for Community: Literature as Anthropology

Value: 0.5 course units
Dr Kevin Inston
Teaching structure:
two assessed 3,000 word essays (100%).

Module Description:

The desire for community is born of the sense of its absence, or arises within diversity. It dynamises the writing projects of novelists, autobiographers and observers of distant peoples. 20th-century French anthropologists acknowledge their close ties with the literary tradition of l’étude de l’homme and particularly with the work of Rousseau. The texts for study are closely tied to one another on this level which lends itself to a combination of approaches: intertextual, theoretical, historical or thematic. Seminars using group discussion, with short presentations when appropriate, give you the chance to follow up your preferred approaches.

Preparatory Reading and Set Texts:

  • Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Discours sur l’inégalité. Paris: Folio essais, 1985.
  • Denis Diderot, Le Supplément au Voyage de Bougainville. Paris: Folio, 2002.
  • Michel Leiris, Cinq Etudes d’ethnologie. Paris: Gallimard, 1988.
  • Claude Lévi-Strauss, Nature, Culture et Société : les structures élémentaires de la parenté chapitres 1 et 2. Paris: GF, 2008.
  • Marguerite Duras, L’Amant.  Paris: Edition Minuit, 1984.
  • Marguerite Duras, La Pluie d’été. Paris: Folio, 1994.