Spring 2008

Worldliness and Otherworldliness

Listed in: French, as FREN-39


Rosalina M. de la Carrera (Section 01)


Many eighteenth-century writers imagined and invented other, better societies. To attenuate their criticisms of the social, political, and religious structures of the ancien regime, they also had recourse to the viewpoint of fictional "outsiders" who arrive in France as if for the first time and describe what they see in minute and telling detail. We will analyze the role that these "other" worlds and the "otherworldly" point of view played in the development of eighteenth-century thought and literature, as well as some of the repercussions that these questions have had in twentieth-century thought. Readings will include Montesquieu's Lettres persanes, Rousseau's Discours sur l'origine de l'inegalite, Diderot's Supplement au Voyage de Bougainville, and Madame de Graffigny's Lettres d'une Peruvienne, as well as Freud's Civilization and Its Discontents and a selection of essays by Claude Levi-Strauss. Conducted in French. Requisite: One of the following-French 07, 08, 11, 12 or equivalent. Second semester. Professor de la Carrera.