Fall 2023

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

Listed in: , as EDST-346  |  French, as FREN-346


Laure A. Katsaros (Section 01)


(Offered as FREN 346 and EDST 346) 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, history, and art,  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 nature against nurture debate and to gender biases in education. We will discuss theories of child-rearing, the emergence of children’s literature, and the material culture of childhood (e.g., clothes, toys, children's books).

Readings may include essays by historians of childhood such as Philippe Ariès, Elisabeth Badinter, Martine Sonnet and Colin Heywood; selections from Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s treatise, Émile, ou de l' Éducation, as well as excerpts from Félicité de Genlis's Adèle et Théodore, ou Lettres sur l'éducation. We will also read a physician's account of the "wild child" known as Victor, Dr. Jean Itard's Mémoire sur l'enfant sauvage de l'AveyronLa petite Fadette by George Sand [Aurore Dupin]; Les Malheurs de Sophie by the Comtesse de Ségur; and Jules Renard's autobiographical Poil de Carotte. This course will also closely examine eighteenth- and nineteenth-century artists' visions of childhood, with a particular emphasis on female artists such as Elisabeth Vigée-Lebrun, Marguerite Gérard, and Berthe Morisot. Conducted in French.

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

How to handle overenrollment: null

Students who enroll in this course will likely encounter and be expected to engage in the following intellectual skills, modes of learning, and assessment: Instruction in languages other than English; Speaking, reading, writing, and aural comprehension in languages other than English; Textual analyses; Some visual and aural analysis; Emphasis on written work; Formal and informal presentations; Some group work; Some creative work

EDST 346 - LEC

Section 01
Tu 1:00 PM - 2:20 PM FAYE 113
Th 1:00 PM - 2:20 PM FAYE 113


2024-25: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2013, Spring 2018, Fall 2020, Fall 2023