FRENCH LITERARY ENTHUSIASTS

THE FRENCH INSTRUCTIONAL BOOK CLUB OF L’UNION FRANÇAISE

FOR FALL 2022

Decadence and Revolution in French Literature

French history records revolutions and revolts by the poor against a decadent aristocracy, both during The French Revolution and the Paris Uprising of 1832. The contrast between the rich and poor becomes the subject of great novels worth reading today.  We will read two novels about the social systems prior to the French Revolution.  First, we will examine Voltaire’s delightfully subversive picaresque novel Candide, which is set all over the world, rather than in France, and talks about the absurdity of the values of his time. We will then read Les Liaisons Dangereuses by Pierre Choderos de Laclos, a man who served in Napoleon’s Grande Armée who depicts in his novel a pre-revolutionary libertine ruling class who behave almost like vampires engaged in a kind of military campaign. Finally, we will read Les Misérables by Victor Hugo, which depicts the lives of the poor in the nineteenth century in France and their motives to revolt against the government in 1832.  All three of these novels continue to be revered by the French people, and they speak to our own desires in the United States for a just world.

This class is open to students at an intermediate level or above.

This is an instructional book club. Note that this series is in French and requires at least an intermediate French ability for participation.

The classes will be on Zoom.

Tuition is $180 for the entire semester.

Click here to register.

Contact Anne Babson for additional information at anne_babson@yahoo.com