RCLANG 320 - Seminaire en francais
Section: 001 Existentialism: Human Condition and the Absurd
Term: WN 2010
Subject: RC Languages (RCLANG)
Department: LSA Residential College
With permission of instructor.
Advisory Prerequisites:
Proficiency test and permission of instructor.
May be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:

Far from being a doctrine, Existentialism is fundamentally a philosophical tendency. Born of a reaction against Hegelian rationalism, the different existentialist tendencies come together in the rehabilitation of freedom, subjectivity and individual existence. In this course we will attempt, through our readings, to discern the characteristics of various existentialist concepts. After a brief survey of the precursors and the “founders” of existentialism, we will focus on two members of what has been called the Philosophical School of Paris, namely Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir, as well as on Albert Camus. Our first readings by Jean-Paul Sartre will allow us to familiarize ourselves with the main existentialist themes. The study of Albert Camus’ conception of the human condition and the absurd will offer us a diametrically opposed perspective to Sartre’s systematic approach, and de Beauvoir’s critique of Sartre’s conception will shed new light on the concepts of freedom and responsibility. Students will be asked to write essays on the readings and to participate actively in class discussions.

Assigned works:

  • Jean-Paul Sartre:
    • L’Existentialisme est un humanisme
    • La Nausée (excerpts)
    • Les Mouches
    • Le Mur
  • Albert Camus:
    • Le Mythe de Sisyphe (excerpts)
    • Caligula
    • L’Etranger
  • Simone de Beauvoir:
    • Les Bouches inutiles
    • Tous les hommes sont mortels


Luis Puenzo:
La Peste

Audio-visual materials:

  • Sartre par lui-même
  • Simone de Beauvoir
  • Albert Camus: A Self-Portrait

RCLANG 320 - Seminaire en francais
Schedule Listing
001 (SEM)
TuTh 1:00PM - 2:30PM
002 (SEM)
MTuTh 11:00AM - 12:00PM
NOTE: Data maintained by department in Wolverine Access. If no textbooks are listed below, check with the department.

Coursepack Location:
Dollar Bill 611 Church
Students will be informed when the course pack is ready. 
Books should be ordered online, as no bookstores will place foreign books orders. More information on options available to purchase the books will be made available on the course CTools site.
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