31334 - French Literature 3

Course Unit Page

Academic Year 2020/2021

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course students know aspects and problems of the history of literature. They know analytically the works of the different authors, are able to evaluate their literary quality and to analyze them according to precise critical methodologies. They have acquired the theoretical knowledge necessary to recognize the formal, thematic and stylistic components of literary works, and are able to link them to precise historical and cultural contexts. They are able to translate and comment with the property the contents of the works studied, from a linguistic, historical and philological point of view.

Course contents

Through readings of full texts or selected passages of poetry and prose by Corneille (Le Cid), Molière (Les Femmes savantes), Mme de Lafayette (Princesse de Clèves), Racine (Phèdre), Pascal, La Bruyère, La Rochefoucauld, the main aspects of the poetics of French «classicism» will be expounded and some of the forms in which it expressed itself in the XVII century will be analysed in detail, from traditional dramatic genres, such as tragedy and comedy, to the minor forms of prose writing, such as novel, pamphlet and aphoristic writing.


Storia europea della letteratura francese, I. Dalle origini al Seicento, edited by L. Sozzi, Torino, Einaudi, 2013, part III, “Il Seicento”, pp. 239-484.


Integral reading of original text:

Molière, Les Femmes savantes (edizione consigliata Gallimard, FolioPlus);

Mme de Lafayette, La Princesse de Clèves (edizione consigliata Gallimard, FolioPlus);

Corneille, Le Cid (edizione consigliata Les Livres de Poche, coll. “Le Théatre de Poche”).


Selected texts in photocopy from::

Boileau, Art poétique (integrale);

Racine, Phèdre (act I, sc. 3; a. II, scenes 5 and 6; a. IV, scenes 5 and 6; a. V, 6 and 7) ;

La Bruyère, Caractères (scelta) ;

La Rochefoucauld (massime scelte) ;

Pascal, Pensées e Les Provinciales (scelta) ;

R. Bray, La formation de la doctrine classique (III parte, cap. 2)


Teaching methods


Assessment methods

During the oral test, partly in Italian and partly in French, the basic knowledge of the subject matter of the course, that is to say the historical and literary period of the XVII century, will be assessed. See the bibliography for the pages of Storia europea della letteratura francese (published by Einaudi, edited by L. Sozzi), which is MANDATORY STUDY for all the students, whether attending or non attending, and is ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY to pass the examination.

Furthermore, the knowledge of the selected texts and of the single authors’ works dealt with during the lectures and present in bibliography will be assessed to evaluate the student’s critical and interpretative skill. Therefore, an in-depth knowledge of the historical development of the two centuries, together with the skill to correctly interpret the texts, will be evaluated as excellent, while the purely descriptive skill to sum up and to set forth the historical and literary problems emerging from the reading of single texts will be evaluated as sufficient. The incapacity to grasp the logical and descriptive connections between historical and cultural phenomena, critical and theoretical notions and literary works will be evaluated as insufficient.

Teaching tools

Didactic materials will be available to the students both online and in pdf format, uploaded in AMS CAMPUS-ALMA D.

Office hours

See the website of Riccardo Campi