French Fables and Fairytales
The skills and building blocks for narrative self-invention, are captured and communicated in the tales French children are told from their earliest age, in the fables and fairy tales of their traditional bedtime reading. The French masters of these two literary genres of ‘writing for children’ are Jean de la Fontaine (ex. “La Cigale et la fourmi”) and Charles Perrault (ex. “La Belle au bois dormant”). The initial seventeenth-century readership for these two authors however was the highly refined and sophisticated salon society of the day. The course examines this body of classical French literature and considers the question of how it works, how it persists in its relevance, the lessons it teaches, the psychoanalysis to which it has been subjected, along with theories of identity-formation, in order to get beyond the “Happily ever after” ending and on to the point. The course will be conducted entirely in French, at an advanced intermediate level.