Philosophers, Prophets, and Mystics in French Culture (MLF3078)

15 credits

On the night of 23 November 1654, one of the most brilliant mathematicians and scientists of all time, Blaise Pascal, had a vision that he recorded in a short note: ‘Fire – God of Abraham, God of Isaac, God of Jacob, not of the philosophers and the scholars’. This intense religious experience altered the course of Pascal’s life and led him to write his celebrated Pensées. You will study an eclectic range of texts that engage with philosophy, prophecy, and mysticism, including two wide-ranging chapters from Montaigne’s Essais, Pascal, Diderot’s exploration of human consciousness through dreaming, Le Rêve de d’Alembert, and selected works by the twentieth-century philosopher, activist and mystic, Simone Weil. Your studies conclude with Verne’s playful yet scientifically prescient account of a manned trip to the moon, De la terre à la lune.