The Grail Quest of Marcel Proust

Semester: 

Spring

Offered: 

2023

Virginie Greene (Department of Romance Languages and Literatures)
Freshman Seminar 60K 4 credits (fall term) Enrollment:  Limited to 12

This seminar is an introduction to literature, the visual arts, the Harvard campus, and the Boston area.

We will read entirely Chrétien de Troyes’ Tale of the Grail (c. 1190), and excerpts of Marcel Proust’s In Search of Lost Time (1913-1922). Students will be invited to reflect on young Perceval's adventures coming to Camelot, young Marcel's efforts entering elite Parisian circles, and their own experience of "coming to Harvard," whether physically or remotely. Taking advantages of Harvard and the Boston area art resources, we will focus on the visual aspects of the stories and the art works they inspired (such as the 1895 Edwin Austin Abbey wall paintings at the Boston Public Library), or describe (such as the Fogg Museum Gustave Moreau painting mentioned by Proust).

The seminar was designed on the model of a quest, each class being held in a different location on campus and in the Boston area.

Prerequisites: No previous knowledge of the subject or French language is necessary. Texts and other materials will be available in English.

See also: Spring 2023