Syllabus II : Objectifs & attentes

(version générale, en anglais)


This course aims to provide you with:

  • several sorts of reading skill: especially a very slow, careful, attentive, meticulous close-reading, that includes rereading
  • some basic but fundamental research skills: the collection and sorting of data, prior to its analysis and use; from/within our texts
  • the development, enhancement, and honing of thinking skills
  • vocabulary and techniques for the analysis and criticism of literary texts
  • adeptness at the craft of writing: from short pithy paragraphs to long essays; constructing sound arguments; using textual evidence and good reasoning; with an emphasis on commentary, analysis, and critique: the « close writing » that parallels close reading
  • (main objective) competence in writing commentaries–L’ANALYSE DE TEXTE, LE COMMENTAIRE–and essays–LA DISSERTATION LITTÉRAIRE

and a sense of literary texts in context:

  • foundational knowledge about the Medieval, Renaissance, and Early Modern Francophone world:
  • principally its literature;
  • supplemented by the broad lines of its cultural and historical background;
  • and the wider backdrop: European culture before c. 1700, the pre-modern world, world literature, continuing and contemporary literary issues

It/I also hope(s) to provide you with, as a bonus,

  • a love for learning
  • some enjoyment and pleasure
  • an awareness of literature’s potential as an infinite resource of comfort and consolation


What you should expect from this course:

  • for part of the week, a classic but somewhat more interactive lecture format (LE COURS MAGISTRAL)
  • for part of the week: discussion, work in groups and individually, intensive writing in a workshop style (L’ATELIER D’ÉCRITURE)
  • reading
  • rereading shorter passages
  • to think while reading, and to make notes
  • writing, every week: most of this will be short, and it is intended to be non-traumatic but intensive
  • an increase in the quality of your writing
  • to separate out and handle responsibly and competently: facts, arguments, aesthetic judgments, value-judgments; as distinct from opinions and fuzzier feelings
  • to learn: through a combination of lectures, discussion with peers, and your own independent initiative
  • to learn to enjoy and maybe even love learning, through pre-modern and early modern French literature’s love of learning and play with it: this is a major step towards becoming a philologist and/or philosopher
  • to have–it is seriously and strongly hoped–some fun

SEE FURTHER: « La règle du jeu » / SYLLABUS III: « THE RULES »