Spring 2025

Worldliness and Otherworldliness

Listed in: French, as FREN-339


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 régime, they 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'inégalité, Diderot's Supplément au Voyage de Bougainville, and Madame de Graffigny's Lettres d'une Péruvienne, as well as Freud's Civilization and Its Discontents and a selection of essays by Claude Lévi-Strauss. Conducted in French.

Requisite: One of the following—FREN 207, 208 or the equivalent. Spring Semester: Professor de la Carrera.

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 Language Other than English, emphasis on written work, readings, textual and some visual analysis, and oral presentations.

Course Materials


2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2012, Spring 2015, Spring 2017, Spring 2023, Spring 2025