This seminar investigates the critical issues of the invention, reconfiguration, and use of literary fictions over time. How are works made by different authors -- beyond those who first create them? To whom do fictions belong: an original writer, actor, artist or trans historical community; individuals or symbolic groups? Do fictions cease to exist?
Questions : our investigation proceeds by fundamental one of aesthetics; and we’ll consider them in historical context, in relation to a variety of temporal circumstances. Our starting point: fiction has a cultural memory.
Debates : our study will engage with major thinkers and arguments : Ian Assman on cultural memory; Jacques Ranciere on ’anachrony’; Maurice Halbwachs & Jacques LeGoff on History and Memory; Aby Warburg on Mnemosyne; Emile Benveniste on the deep structures of Play; Walter Benjamin and François Bon on media and transmission; Judith Schlanger on the presence of forgotten works.
Materials: our repertory first around key pre-modern fictions in French vernaculars. To test our starting point, we’ll read them together with others that experiment creatively with their memory over many periods : the poetry of Villon with Victor Hugo and Edouard Glissant; utopian allegories of Christine de Pizan with Elsa Triolet; popular theatre, the Adam Plays, with Jean-Paul Sartre; historical chronicle with Michelet, and filmmaker Dreyer's Joan of Arc; troubadour song with Louis Aragon, Amin Maalouf and Kaija Saariaho; pictorial narrative, the Bayeux tapestry, with Inuit artifacts and Jean Lurcat. Readings are designed to give a cross-section of genres and media from a range of periods.
Media : As part of the FDH Digital Humanities project, this seminar will collaborate with researchers in France and Europe; in the second half of the semester, we'll pursue our work in tandem with the seminar of Prof. Deborah McGrady, University of Virginia. Digital surrogates, newly available, are key to our work.
Written work will involve weekly postings, a pair of critical reviews, and a final research project in cultural history, focused on fictions of the student’s choice, developed in the Ruppert Commons for Research, Technology, and Collaboration. For a A-V intro to the seminar see:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IByXiB2Z0iA&feature=youtu.be posted on Dept. of Romance Studies Website