Otherness and Romanticism
One of the responses of 19th century Romantic writers to the expansion of the French Empire was a fascination with exotic lands and people. The objective of this course is to study the ideological and aesthetic stakes of exoticism. What do literary representations of exotic lands and people tell us about fantasies and anxieties haunting the metropolis? Did exotic writings serve to perpetuate or undermine the imperial project? Did aesthetic innovations help to challenge racial archetypes or did they reinforce them? Starting with a discussion of female and feminized figures in orientalist writings, Balzac's Passion dans le desert and Nerval's Voyage en Orient, we will turn then to the Caribbean context and the way the Haitian revolution and interracial relations are imagined in Hugo's Bug-Jargal and Lamartine's drama Toussaint Louverture. In the last part of the course, with Ourika, by Claire de Duras, and Indiana, by George Sand, we will discuss the representation of exiled black and creole women in post-revolutionary France. (FREN 0221 or by waiver) 3 hrs. lect/disc.