||Mary B. McKinley
Douglas Huntly Gordon Professor
Department of French
353 Cabell Hall
University of Virginia
Charlottesville, VA 22904
Ph.D. Rutgers University
2009-2010: On Leave
Research: Early modern French and continental literature; rhetoric and poetics; Montaigne's Essais; women writers, particularly Marguerite de Navarre; and Renaissance Lyon.
Recent Graduate Courses
FREN 520/820 : Imitatio: Poetic Recreations of the Ancients
Long before Du Bellay’s Defense et Illustration, sixteenth century poets looked to the Ancients for inspiration and models. They followed the rule of imitatio in different ways as they strove to articulate their own – French – poetic voices. We will read the poets they read (Ovid, above all, but also some Virgil and Horace in Latin/French editions) and appreciate the transformations they made through their creative imitations. We will see how Metamorphoses was not only a favorite source but also an inspiring principle for Marot, Sceve, Labé, Du Bellay, Ronsard and others. Students planning to take this course could prepare by reading any editions of Ovid’s Metamorphoses and Virgil’s Aeneid this summer. Castiglione’s The Book of the Courtier (I like the Charles Singleton translation) will also be a central point of reference. Student work will include regular participation, some response writing, an oral presentation, a mid-semester writing assignment and a final paper.
FREN 520/820: The Heptameron and the European Novella
Marguerite de Navarre’s Heptaméron explicitly showcases its relation to Boccaccio’s Decameron, but it grows just as clearly from a variety of other works and literary genres. We will explore the Heptaméron in conjunction with selections from those earlier works, including in addition to the Decameron: Apuleius’s Metamorphoses (more commonly known as The Golden Ass) ; late-medieval French nouvelles; histoires tragiques ; Rabelais’s tales of Pantagruel and Gargantua, and La Princesse de Clèves. This focus will allow us to consider literature of the court and of the people and to appreciate the evolution of narrative structures, techniques and conventions in the early modern period. Requirements include regular participation, frequent response writing, an oral presentation, a mid-term writing assignment and a final paper.
FREN 520/820: MontaigneMontaigne's Essais records the birth of an author at a time when history was recording the failure of humanism. Writers struggled to defend and illustrate the French language -- and the ideal cultural identity that language proudly proclaimed -- as civil war and aristocratic decadence devastated France. Against that background we will observe the Essais pondering the search for knowledge while constructing a literary self and a new genre of prose writing. Montaigne’s gestures toward his predecessors, both Ancient and recent, will help us to appreciate the Renaissance practice of imitatio. Each student will analyze and present one passage from the Essais as well as defining and completing a written term project.
FREN 520/820: Rabelais and His World
The tales of Pantagruel and Gargantua enact a drama of upheaval, portraying and challenging early-modern notions of language and narrative. Can language lead to knowledge? How do words signify? And who can interpret them? What is the relevance of the word made print to the Word made flesh? While reading closely Pantagruel, Gargantua, Tiers Livre and Quart Livre, we will examine sixteenth-century notions of history, giants, the New World and religious reform. We will make brief forays into the works of writers in Rabelais's " circle": Erasmus, Marot and Marguerite de Navarre. Visits to the Gordon Collection will orient students to the use of rare books and to the history of early printed book production. Requirements: an oral presentation and a seminar paper. M.A. students are welcome in this seminar.
FREN 520/820 Literary Lyon
Literary Lyon: Crossroads of commercial and cultural traffic between Italy and Paris, Flanders and the Mediterranean, Lyon was the hub of sixteenth-century Europe. Its flourishing printing industry made it a bustling center of book production, and its distance from Paris allowed it greater freedom than the capital knew. We will study the printers and booksellers of Lyon and work with their products in our library's Gordon Collection. Between 1530 and 1560 Lyon celebrated the creativity of its own sons and daughters and of the writers it welcomed and nurtured. Marot, Rabelais, "Jeanne Flore," Dolet, Scève, Du Guillet, Labé and Aneau are some of the Lyonnais de souche ou de passage whose works and careers we will study.
Recent Undergraduate Courses
FREN 341: Medieval and Renaissance Literature
The French Middle Ages and Renaissance, a period covering over 500 years, may seem like a faraway world of knights and crusaders, artists and explorers. Yet, modern culture continues to reveal its fascination with that distant past. Books from those centuries between 1050 and 1600 shaped ideals, tastes and cultural icons that continue to capture the imagination today. Our readings will include selections from La Chanson de Roland; Marie de France's Lais; Chrétien de Troyes Yvain; Christine de Pizan's La Cite des Dames; Rabelais's Pantagruel; Montaigne's Essais and some lyric poetry. They reveal changing notions of the hero and of love, and they question the individual's relationship to God, to society, and to the unknown. Taught in French with attention to improving written and oral expression. Three short papers totaling 12-15 pages, a mid-term and a final.
FREN 402: Littérature de la Renaissance
Upheaval, discovery, challenge and innovation mark the literary creations of Renaissance France. Sixteenth-century France witnessed the Protestant Reformation, the Copernican Revolution and discoveries of worlds both Ancient and New. The printed page was the novel medium that brought change to a newly literate society. In Erasmus's Praise of Folly, Rabelais's Gargantua, Marguerite de Navarre's Heptaméron and Montaigne's Essais, we will see how writers both recorded and shaped their turbulent times. Regular participation, three short papers (total 15-20 pages), a mid-semester and a final exam.
FREN 402: Women Writers of the Renaissance
Against a dominant current of misogynistic discourse that relegated them to silence, women writers of the sixteenth century assumed new identities of female authorship. How and why did unprecedented numbers of women become authors in a world where authority was male? We will consider descriptions of women by prominent male authors (Castiglione, Erasmus, Rabelais, Calvin and Montaigne) and examine polemics about women such as the “querelle des femmes” and the "querelle des amies" as we read works by Hélisenne de Crenne, Marie Dentière, Marguerite de Navarre, Pernette du Guillet, Louise Labé, Madeleine and Catherine des Roches and Marie de Gournay. Class conducted in French. A mid-term and final exam as well as three short papers (15-20 pages total) written in French will be required.
FREN 438: A Renaissance City: Lyon, 1530-1550
Crossroads of commercial and cultural traffic between Italy and Paris, Lyon enjoyed pride of place in sixteenth-century France. This course will examine how Lyon's identity emerged and how it was shaped by people who lived or visited there between 1530 and 1550: merchants, printers, doctors, ambassadors, mapmakers, kings, poets and artists. We will study printing and book production, market fairs, "rebeines" or workers' uprisings, famine and poverty relief, religious reform and suppression of heretics, the birth of urban cartography, musical performances and royal entries. Visits to Alderman Library=s Gordon Collection of sixteenth-century books and the use of web-based and other technological resources will allow us to view a revolution in media culture that occurred 450 years ago in the light of another one taking place today. Mid-term and final exam, several short papers (15-20 pages total) and a final project.
FREN 483: Advanced Seminar: Renaissance Travelers
The Sixteenth Century saw French adventurers setting out for exotic ports in the New World and hallowed destinations in the Old. For many writers, a journey to Rome became a required intellectual pilgrimage, while French explorers took colonists to both North and South America, and the French court sent emissaries to Suleiman and his advancing Ottoman Empire. The written accounts of those journeys inspired in turn stories of travels taken only in the imaginations of their authors. We will emphasize the New World narratives and what they reveal about events changing the culture and mentality of Europe: the printing revolution, the Protestant Reformation, and France’s first efforts to “civilize” the world beyond its borders. We will read these works in the original sixteenth-century French and examine many of them in the sixteenth-century editions available in our library’s Gordon Collection. Readings include selections from: Giovanni da Verrazano, Relation du voyage de la Dauphine (1524) ; Jacques Cartier, Relations (1534-42) ; François Rabelais, Le Quart Livre (1548, 1552) ; André Thevet, Cosmographie de Levant (1554) ; Les Singularités de la France Antarctique (1557) ; Jean de Léry, Histoire d'un voyage fait en la terre du Brésil (1578, 1580) ; and Michel de Montaigne (1533-92), Essais (1580-95)
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