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FREN2105 - Enlightenment & Revolution: the 18th Century

Value: 0.5 course units
Dr Benjamin Bâcle
Teaching structure:
one unseen two-hour written examination (100%).

Module Description:

The socially critical and intellectually progressivist literature called 'Enlightenment writing', published under, and against, the Ancien Régime, is much discussed for its role in fostering the collective atmosphere of the French Revolution of 1789, as well as the modern democratic and imperialist institutions that emerged after the Revolution. For today’s specialists, the writings studied in this module had little or no impact on the ensuing social institutions, but certainly helped to give birth to the egalitarian sensibilities, values and attitudes fundamental to modern democracies. This module studies tensions and clashes within the anti-authoritarian or non-authoritarian modes of writing, the hybrid, transgressive uses of genre, aesthetic preoccupations, philosophical and political principles and social critique contained in five controversial works, as well as the reverberation of events.

Preparatory Reading and Set Texts:

  • Montesquieu, Lettres persanes (Folio).
  • Rousseau, Du contrat social (Folio).
  • Diderot, La Religieuse (Folio).
  • Diderot, L’Entretien d’un père avec ses enfants (Flammarion).
  • Beaumarchais, Le Mariage de Figaro (Folio).