Diderot: An Encyclopedic Mind|
Spring 2023 not offered
In this class we will come to know the most progressive and often radical thinker of the French Enlightenment, Denis Diderot (1713-1784). We will begin this seminar with an examination of how this country abbot grew into the most well known atheist of his generation. We will then move onto his famous 74,000 article Encyclopédie, a book that not only dragged sacrilege and freethinking out into the open, but triggered a decades-long scandal that involved the Sorbonne, the Paris Parliament, the King, and the Pope. (During this portion of the class, students will undertake translations of select entries [from French to English] of the "dictionnaire" for possible publication.) In the second half of the semester, we will also study the writer's freewheeling art criticism. Finally, we will read two groundbreaking novels. The first of these, "La Religieuse", is a gripping pseudo-memoir of a nun who suffers unspeakably cruel abuse after she announces that she wants to leave her convent. The second, "Jacques le Fataliste", is a freewheeling anti-novel where Diderot used fiction to take up the problem of free will. In the final portion of the class, we will also read selections from his anticolonial and antislavery writings.
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|Course Format: Seminar||Grading Mode: Graded|
||Fulfills a Major Requirement for: (ARHA)(CGST-MN)(COL)(FRST-MN)(FRST)(RMST)
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Readings, written assignments, and class discussions will be in French. While any student who has completed FREN 215 (with a minimum grade of B) or has placed out of FREN 215 through the placement test may sign up for this course, it is an advanced course intended for students who have already taken two courses in French beyond FREN 215 or already studied abroad in a French-speaking country. Only COL students may take this course CR/U. All others must take it for a letter grade. Students who are not admitted to the course through pre-registration are strongly encouraged to submit an enrollment request and attend the first class.
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