RCLANG 320 - Seminaire en francais
Section: 001 Existentialism: Human Condition and the Absurd
Term: WN 2018
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; we will also study 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.

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

Course Requirements:

Attendance is required. Course work will include four analytical essays, one piece of creative writing and a presentation. Students are expected to participate actively in class discussions.

Intended Audience:

This class is open to RC students who have successfully passed the RC French Proficiency Exam the previous term.

Class Format:

This is a seminar type course which meets twice a week for 90 minutes.

RCLANG 320 - Seminaire en francais
Schedule Listing
001 (SEM)
TuTh 1:00PM - 2:30PM
002 (SEM)
TuTh 2:30PM - 4:00PM
NOTE: Data maintained by department in Wolverine Access. If no textbooks are listed below, check with the department.

Coursepack Location:
Dollar Bill 611 Church
Jean-Paul Sartre, Les Mouches Albert Camus, L'Etranger Detailed information on the course Canvas site.
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