Mortimer M. Guiney joined the faculty of Kenyon College in 1987, after completing his Ph.D. dissertation in comparative literature on early twentieth- century theories of the novel. Since then, his research has focused primarily on the relationship between literature, education and the State in nineteenth-and twentieth-century France. His book on that subject, Teaching the Cult of Literature in the French Third Republic, was published by Palgrave Macmillan Press. Guiney has chaired the modern languages and literatures department on two occasions for a total of four years, and has also served as director of Kenyon's intensive language program (KILM), as well as chair of the Kenyon faculty. He is married to Amy Mock, an occupational health and safety specialist, and they have two daughters, Zoe and Kate.
Nineteenth- and twentieth-century French literature, comparative literature and cultural studies, French language teaching
1987 — Doctor of Philosophy from Yale University
1983 — Master of Arts from Yale University
1980 — Bachelor of Arts from Univ Mass Amherst
This is a year-long course offering the equivalent of three semesters of conventional language study. Work for the course includes required practice sessions with an apprentice teacher (AT), which will be scheduled at the beginning of the semester. Class meetings and AT practice sessions are supplemented with online activities and written homework. Work in class focuses primarily on developing listening comprehension and speaking skills while reinforcing vocabulary acquisition and the use of grammatical structures. Written exercises, short compositions, and elementary reading materials serve to develop writing and reading skills and promote in-class discussion. There are normally eight to nine hours of class instruction in the first semester (including AT sessions). This course is intended for students who have had no prior experience with French or who are placed in FREN 111Y-112Y on the basis of a placement exam administered during Orientation. Offered every year.
This course is a continuation of the first semester of intensive introductory French. During the second semester, the class continues the study of the fundamentals of French with the addition of more literary and cultural materials, introduced with a view toward further developing reading comprehension and writing ability, expanding vocabulary, and enhancing cultural awareness. Prerequisite: FREN 111Y or permission of instructor. Offered every year.
This course is designed for students interested in further developing their ability to speak, write, and read French. The course includes a comprehensive grammar review and short cultural and literary readings, which will serve as points of departure for class discussion. Course requirements include attendance at one extra discussion section per week with a language assistant. Attendance at a weekly French table is strongly encouraged. Prerequisite: FREN 111Y-112Y or equivalent or placement test. Offered every year.
This course is the continuation of the first semester of intermediate French. Please see the description for FREN 213Y. Prerequisite: FREN 111Y-112Y, placement, or permission of instructor. Offered every year.
This course is designed to provide advanced students with the opportunity to strengthen their abilities to write, read, and speak French. The conversation component of the course will focus on the discussion of articles from the current French and Francophone press, films, other media, and Web sites, and on developing the fluency in French to perform linguistically and culturally appropriate tasks. The composition component will seek to improve the ability to write clearly and coherently in French. In order to foster these goals, the course will also provide a review of selected advanced grammatical structures and work on literary excerpts. Prerequisite: FREN 213Y-214Y or equivalent. Offered every year.
The purpose of this course is to introduce students to the study of three major literary genres--poetry, theater, and the novel--from the French Revolution to the twenty-first century. Readings will include the works of authors such as Hugo, Baudelaire, Lamartine, Balzac, Mallarmé, Colette, Cocteau, Camus, and Sartre. The course seeks to help students gain a deeper understanding of French literary history and of its relationship to major social and philosophical movements. In addition to exploring certain themes, we will see how the literature reflects important societal and intellectual debates of the time. The course will continue the development of the skills of literary analysis, guided discussion, and essay writing in French. The course will be conducted in French. FREN 321 is recommended. Prerequisite: FREN 213Y-214Y or equivalent. Offered every year or alternating with FREN 323.
The works of French literature and thought in the seventeenth century embody what the French call "le classicisme": the golden age of the national literary tradition. The belief still persists that French literature of the period, such as Racine's tragedies or Boileau's Art poétique, rivaled the great works of antiquity. This course will introduce students to the literature and intellectual history of seventeenth-century France and will examine the concept of the Baroque, the ideals of the classical aesthetic which succeeded it, and the tensions that may lie beneath the classical facade. Readings will include such works as Pascal's Pensées, plays by Corneille, Molière, and Racine, selected poems by La Fontaine, and what is often considered the first psychological novel, La Princesse de Clèves by Madame de Lafayette. The course will be conducted in French. FREN 321 is recommended. Prerequisite: FREN 213Y-214Y or equivalent. Normally offered every other year.
We will explore the competing forces of la raison and la sensibilité as they affect developing notions of the self and of individual freedom in eighteenth-century France. Our readings will include some of the major works of Enlightenment thought, representative of several genres: philosophical narratives, plays, novels, and autobiographical texts by such authors as Montesquieu, Voltaire, Diderot, Rousseau, Graffigny, and Laclos. Our considerations of the tensions between the heart and reason will also provide some glimpses of the underside of the French Enlightenment and will reveal an ongoing dialogue between the center (Paris) and a variously constituted periphery. The course will be conducted in French. FREN 321 is recommended.Prerequisite: FREN 213Y-214Y or equivalent. Normally offered every third year.
Though centered on the novel, this course may examine various genres including drama, short narrative, and even film. Close readings of classic modern texts will serve to illuminate questions such as the role and nature of the subject, narrative coherence and incoherence, the incorporation of marginal voices into the literary mainstream, and the relationship between literature and modernism. These texts will be situated in historical and intellectual context. Authors studied may include Marcel Proust, Samuel Beckett, and Marguerite Duras. This course is designed to accommodate advanced students as well as those with little or no previous experience in French literature. The course will be conducted in French. FREN 321 is recommended. Prerequisite: FREN 213Y-214Y or equivalent. Normally offered every third year.
We will explore the relationship between poetry and modernity, as well as learn techniques for the close reading of French poetic texts. Authors will include Rimbaud, Verlaine, and Mallarmé in addition to Baudelaire and Valéry. The literary and philosophic consequences of the development of a poetic language that rejects all reference to the outside world, striving toward the pure or absolute text, constitutes the primary focus of the course. The course will be conducted in French. FREN 321 is recommended. Prerequisite: FREN 213Y-214Y or equivalent. Normally offered every third year.
The period extending from the belle époque to World War II saw the birth, ascendancy, and worldwide influence of French avant-garde poetry. We will study this phenomenon chronologically, beginning with the Symbolist "cult of literature" epitomized by poet Stéphane Mallarmé, moving on to "anti-literature" such as the Paris Dada movement, and ending with the Surrealist and post WWII periods, when the literary avant-garde established itself as a powerful institution in its own right. We will study poems and some shorter prose texts by a range of authors including Paul Valéry, Guillaume Apollinaire, Tristan Tzara, and André Breton. We will also discuss the relationship between literature and other arts such as painting and film. The course will be conducted in French. FREN 321 is recommended. Prerequisite: FREN 213Y-214Y or equivalent. Normally offered every third year.
See description for MLL 493.