Seminar Dates & Times

Mondays   |   2:00 p.m. – 3:15 p.m. EST


September 21
October 5, 19
November 2, 16, 30



Paris and the Left Bank in the 1940s

Moderated by Professor Jennifer Willging

In this seminar, we will explore the artistic and intellectual culture of Paris’s Left Bank, using as our primary text Agnès Poirier’s Left Bank: Art, Passion, and the Rebirth of Paris, 1940-1950. Poirier’s book traces the lives and works of the figures who witnessed—and contributed to—Paris’s revival from a city in shambles to a reborn cultural capital: Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone De Beauvoir, Albert Camus, Samuel Beckett, among others.

While the focus of the course will be the decade of World War II and its aftermath, we will start by sketching out the history of the Left Bank as a center of cultural output, from its humble origins during the Belle époque to its heyday as a Mecca of modernism during the Interbellum years. To conclude, we will look into the legacy of the Left Bank in the ethos of contemporary authors, in particular Michel Houellebecq.

Video will be used.

Session 1 Gertrude Stein, The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas
Session 2 Poirier, Left Bank (Part I); Camus, The Stranger
Session 3 Poirier, Left Bank (Part II); Sartre, No Exit
Session 4 Poirier, Left Bank (Part III); Beauvoir, The Blood of Others
Session 5 Poirier, Left Bank (Part IV); Duras, Moderato Cantabile, The War
Session 6 Michel Houellebecq, Submission

Seminar Cost: $450 (tax-deductible portion $225)