French poet Francois Villon's "Ballad of the ..
This painting was done by Van Gogh during the late 1800’s as Paris began to industrialize heavily. Van Gogh, like his good friend Paul Gauguin, sought to move away from the unhealthy, polluted theme of industrialized cities and urban environments, and embraced rural landscapes. The paint strokes flow through the painting and make it alive. Not only did the painting move away from the norms of Impressionist painters of the time, but it also represented the experimental painting style that would shock New Yorkers at the Armory Show a few decades later. Maybe not one of the most “Modern” pieces of artwork at the armory show, yet it still was far from the realistic and traditional artwork associated with European Art. A better example of the type of art that received much criticism is The Young Girl by Jacques Villon. Fun Fact: Marcel Duchamp’s brother, Gaston Duchamp, changed his name to Jacques Villon in honor of the medieval French poet Francois Villon.
The standard edition of Villon's poems is by ..
This module aims to introduce you to the Middle Ages and Renaissance in France and to some of their major authors and texts through a consideration of humour in these periods. We focus in particular on how authors use humour as a tool to challenge and subvert the dominant intellectual, religious, social and literary norms of their day. This subversive use of the written word is common to every literate age, and provides students with fascinating insights into the origins of modern culture. The texts selected for study are examples of different categories of humour including farce, burlesque, parody, satire, and irony. The module begins in weeks 1-3 with a theoretical and historical introduction to the study of humour, asking such questions as, "why do we laugh?". The remaining eight lectures are then divided equally into an introduction and discussion of each of the four prescribed texts/authors. We have one seminar on humour theory, and then four further seminars: one per text. Wks. 4-5: The fabliaux are short, bawdy, and largely anonymous comic tales, which circulated from the twelfth to the fourteenth centuries in France. Their subject matter is frequently explicit, pornographic and/or scatological (concerned with bodily functions). These are ingenious and burlesque everyday tales of sex, revenge, and trickery, whose heroes turn out invariably to be the tricksters. Wks. 6-7: Eustache Deschamps was a famous and prolific fourteenth century French poet who challenged the literary establishment of the day from within and changed the course of poetic history. His poetry is frequently political and satirical; he engages with the plight of war torn France, and mocks the incompetence of those in power. His many unfortunate targets include the nobility, peasants, musicians, fashionable women, and hypochondriacs. Wks. 8-9: Franois Villon is the notorious enfant terrible of medieval French poetry. In and out of prison for everything from burglary to inciting riots, Villon was a marginal and provocative figure. Villon's poetic last will, the Testament, is irreverent, ironic, and obscene. This fifteenth century poet subverts and parodies literary convention to produce a document which is elusive, fragmentary and defies interpretation. In his comic exploration of the poetic I, Villon anticipates much modern literary theory. Wks. 10-11: Rabelais's Renaissance epic, Gargantua, is a comic masterpiece. It was banned by the Sorbonne for its thinly disguised satire of the French religious, political and educational establishment. The reader follows the hilarious upbringing, disgusting habits, education, and coming of age of the giant Gargantua. The more obvious folk humour of the fabliaux is combined here with pervasive social satire.
Fabliaux du Moyen Age, ed. and trans. Jean Dufournet (Paris: Flammarion, 1999).
Eustache DESCHAMPS, Selected Poems, ed. Ian Laurie and Deborah Sinnreich-Levi (New York/London:
Routledge, 2003). Photocopies of this text are available to buy from Angela Foster in the West Wing Office.
Franois VILLON, Le Testament in Posies compltes, ed. Claude Thiry (Paris: Livre de Poche, 1991).
Franois RABELAIS, Gargantua, ed. Grard Defaux (Paris: Livre de Poche, 1994).
Bakhtin, Mikhail, Rabelais and his World (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1984).
Bowen, Barbara C., Humour and Humanism in the Renaissance (Ashgate, 2004).
Hunt, Tony, Villon's Last Will: Language and Authority in the Testament (Oxford: OUP, 1996).
Schenck, M. J. S., The Fabliaux, Tales of Wit and Deception (Amsterdam: JB, 1987).
Sinnreich-Levi, Deborah M., Eustache Deschamps, French Courtier-Poet: His Work and His World (New York:
AMS Press, 1998).