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Module THE ART OF STORYTELLING: FAIRIES, PHILOSOPHES AND THE SOCIO-POLITICAL SPACES OF HUMOUR

Module code: FR235
Credits: 5
Semester: 2
Quota: 20
Department: FRENCH
International: No
Coordinator: Prof. Ruth Whelan (FRENCH)
Overview Overview
 

Humour, laughter and satire have always been powerful socio-political tools in human societies. In this course we study two seminal texts that have shaped the consciousness not only of the French but also of other European peoples: Charles Perrault’s Histoires ou Contes du temps passé (1697) and Voltaire’s Candide (1759), the one a collection of fairytales, the other a philosophical tale. Our purpose is to understand the art of story-telling developed in these texts and understand how stories that may appear trivial or merely funny are actually critical of the ideologies, and socio-political structures of their day. In and through these texts, alternative socio-political spaces are adumbrated; in and through them, human imagination re-shapes realities that are oppressive or simply outdated. Their authors tell or re-tell stories to make people laugh, in the knowledge, or perhaps just the hope, that laughter has the power to set people free.

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