What happens when writers decide to compose in a language that is not their native one? What do they lose and, most importantly, what do they gain? This course explores these questions and encourages students to find their own original voice in French by 1) exploring universal themes that are personal and meaningful (such as childhood, identity, love, and family) and how each author expresses those themes into their work 2) engaging in writing exercises, such as le pastiche, in which they will add their own creative spin to a theme, just as Marcel Duchamp did when he added a mustache to the Mona Lisa. The first semester focuses on the art of the short story where students discuss what constitutes a compelling narrative in the works of writers such as Guy de Maupassant, Émile Zola, Marcel Proust, Jean-Marie le Clézio, Michel Tournier, Georges Perec, Simone de Beauvoir, Nancy Huston and Andrée Chedid. The second semester concentrates on the poem by examining all forms of the poem, from the classical to the surreal, through the lens of poets such as Villon, Rimbaud, Baudelaire, Apollinaire, Lautréamont, Michaux, Ponge et Jaccottet. This course is conducted in a workshop-type format in that students are expected to not only generate and revise work on a regular basis, but to read and critique that of their classmates in a constructive matter. At the end of each semester, students put together a literary review of their best work as well as a reading to share with the rest of the French community at Dalton, showing that one the most important reasons to learn a second language is to have a new, creative avenue to tell your story, write your poem.
Prerequisite: French 4A and/or one year of elective or departmental permission
Full year course: 1.0 credit