Fall 2018  -  Get temporary access to course materials (Amherst College and Five-college students only)

Women of Ill Repute: Prostitutes in Nineteenth-Century French Literature

Listed in: French, as FREN-342  |  Sexuality, Women's and Gender Studies, as SWAG-342

Formerly listed as: FREN-42

Faculty

Laure A. Katsaros (Section 01)

Description

(Offered as FREN 342 and SWAG 342) Prostitutes play a central role in nineteenth-century French fiction, especially of the realistic and naturalistic kind. Both widely available and largely visible in nineteenth-century France, prostitutes inspired many negative stereotypes. But, as the very product of the culture that marginalized her, the prostitute offered an ideal vehicle for writers to criticize the hypocrisy of bourgeois mores. The socially stratified world of prostitutes, ranging from low-ranking sex workers to high-class courtesans, presents a fascinating microcosm of French society as a whole. We will read selections from Honoré de Balzac, Splendeur et misère des courtisanes; Victor Hugo, Les Misérables; and Gustave Flaubert, L’éducation sentimentale; as well as Boule-de-Suif and other stories by Guy de Maupassant; La fille Elisa by Edmond de Goncourt; Nana by Emile Zola; Marthe by Joris-Karl Huysmans; La dame aux camélias by Alexandre Dumas fils; and extracts from Du côté de chez Swann by Marcel Proust. Additional readings will be drawn from the fields of history (Alain Corbin, Michelle Perrot) and critical theory (Walter Benjamin, Michel Foucault, Julia Kristeva). We will also discuss visual representations of prostitutes in nineteenth-century French art (Gavarni, Daumier, C. Guys, Degas, Manet, Toulouse-Lautrec). Conducted in French.

Requisite: One of the following—FREN 207, 2081 or the equivalent. Fall semester. Professor Katsaros.

Keywords

Attention to Issues of Gender and Sexuality, Attention to Writing, Languages Other Than English

Offerings

2018-19: Offered in Fall 2018
Other years: Offered in Spring 2009, Fall 2012, Fall 2015