French 365: (Un)ruly Minds in French Texts Montaigne to Valéry

This course will explore the ways in which various French philosophers and literary authors have grappled with the often unruly aspects of the human mind. Topics to be discussed include the mind-body relation, the thought experiment as a literary and philosophical exercise,  “free thinking” and libertinism, dreaming/ rêverie, and altered mental states like ecstasy, melancholy, magnetism, sensory deprivation, and terror.  
French 365, which is taught in English, will be connected next semester to the international symposium  “The Life of the Mind: Literature, Aesthetics, and the ‘sciences de l’homme,’ 1700-1900” ( April 2015).
French 365 is a course on literature in translation.  It does not count towards the French major but does satisfy the General Education breadth requirement in literature.
Diderot, D’Alembert’s Dream and Rameau’s Nephew
Laclos, Dangerous Liaisons  
Charrière, Letters of Mistress Henley Published by her Friend
Duras, Ourika
Balzac, Louis Lambert
Valéry, Monsieur Teste
 To be provided in a reader:  
·        –selections from Rousseau’s Reveries of the Solitary Walker
·        –short texts or excerpts from works by Montaigne, Descartes, Pascal, Voltaire, Mesmer,  Itard (a doctor who treated the “Wild Boy of Aveyron”), Baudelaire, and Maupassant.  
Films we may watch:
Frears, Dangerous Liaisons
Truffaut, The Wild Child