Fall 2013

Enfants Terribles: Childhood in Nineteenth-Century French Literature and Culture

Listed in: French, as FREN-346

Formerly listed as: FREN-46

Moodle site: Course


Laure A. Katsaros (Section 01)


Images of childhood have become omnipresent in our culture. We fetishize childhood as an idyllic time, preserved from the difficulties and compromises of adult life; but the notion that children’s individual lives are worth recording is a relatively modern one.  Drawing from literature, children's literature, anthropology, philosophy, art, and film, we will try to map out the journey from the idea of childhood as a phase to be outgrown to the modern conception of childhood as a crucial moment of self-definition. We will pay particular attention to the issues of nature vs. nurture through the example of  the "wild child" Victor, to nineteenth-century theories of child-rearing, and to the symbolic importance of children in avant-garde art.

Readings will include selections from J.J. Rousseau; Victor de l'Aveyron by J. Itard; selected poems and prose by Baudelaire; Les Malheurs de Sophie by the Comtesse de Ségur; selected stories by Guy de Maupassant; selected poems by Arthur Rimbaud; Jules Vallès, L'Enfant; and the Surrealist play Victor ou les enfants au pouvoir by Roger Vitrac. We will look at nineteenth-century artists' visions of childhood, with a particular emphasis on female artists such as Elisabeth Vigée-Lebrun and Berthe Morisot. We will also discuss films by Clement, Truffaut, Bresson, and Jeunet, among others. Conducted in French.

Requisite: One of the following--FREN 207, 208, 311, 312 or equivalent. Fall semester.  Professor Katsaros.

Cost: $35.00 ?


2020-21: Offered in Fall 2020
Other years: Offered in Spring 2011, Fall 2013, Spring 2018, Fall 2020