FREN 501 Pleasure and its Illusions: An Introduction to the Literature and Thought of the French Enlightenment
Dr. Natania Meeker, *Spring 2023* Tuesdays, 2-4:50 PM
In this course, we will study the eighteenth-century fascination with the conjunction of pleasure and illusion. If pleasure is in some sense our “truth,” as many authors of the period would suggest, why does it emerge precisely and intensely at moments of deception? We will approach this question as an entry point into some of the most crucial debates of the Enlightenment—around aesthetics, ethics, and politics, certainly, but also around the emergence of publics, both feminine and masculine, who sought out new modes of sensation and new forms of experience—in the novel and at the theater, in the pursuit of knowledge and in the critique of orthodoxies.... Authors we will read will include: Charrière, Crébillon fils, Diderot, Du Châtelet, La Mettrie, Montesquieu, Riccoboni, and Rousseau. Course is taught in French but students from all disciplines are welcome.