Sex, Subversion and Censorship: Libertine Literature in Seventeenth-Century France (MLF3079)

15 credits

For many, seventeenth-century France conjures images of the sumptuous palace of Versailles, its neo-classical and baroque aesthetics, and its refined literature and performing arts. Yet, to a large extent, this image is the result of a conscious attempt to sanitise le grand siècle. In this module you will have the chance to peel away this façade, and to explore the more audacious and unpolished underbelly of the seventeenth century. Through pornographic poetry, daring satires of religion on stage, and the long-hidden memoirs of a sharp intellect who pushed scientific enquiry to the brink of depravity, this module presents a less traditional seventeenth century that has often been consigned to the margins of literary history. As well as society and thought of the time, you will study a range of themes that you may find surprisingly modern, and learn about the strategies used by free-thinking authors in order to avoid censorship or worse.