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 yearlong 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, students further the study of the fundamentals of French including literary and cultural materials, introduced with a view toward increasing 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 or 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 and web sites, with the aim of developing students' fluency in French and their performance of linguistically and culturally appropriate tasks. Through the composition component, students will seek to improve their ability to write clearly and coherently in French. In order to foster these goals, the course also will 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 21st century. Readings will include the works of authors such as Hugo, Baudelaire, Lamartine, Balzac, Mallarmé, Colette, Cocteau, Camus and Sartre. Students will 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.
We will examine some of the social, cultural and political issues in contemporary France, as well as their historical context, by analyzing representative films and texts from the 20th and 21st centuries. Films and themes may include "La Grande Illusion," "Lacombe," "Lucien" and World Wars I and II; "Coup de Torchon," "Indochine" and the colonial experience; "Milou en Mai" and the fifties and sixties; and "La Haine" or "Welcome" and the impact of immigration. Students will be regularly required to view films outside of class. We also will read a textbook on contemporary France to supplement the films, and students will be required to complete an independent research project on a topic related to class discussions. The course will be conducted in French. FREN 321 is recommended. Prerequisite: FREN 213Y–214Y or equivalent. Generally offered every other year.
The works of French literature and thought in the 17th 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 17th-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. Generally 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 18th-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 also will 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. Generally 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 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 less experience in French literature. The course will be conducted in French. FREN 321 is recommended. Prerequisite: FREN 213Y–214Y or equivalent. Generally 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. Generally 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-World War II 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 also will 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. Generally offered every third year.
This course offers an opportunity to study on an individual basis an area of special interest — literary, cultural or linguistic — under the regular supervision of a faculty member. It is offered primarily to candidates for honors, to majors and, under special circumstances, to potential majors and minors. Individual study is intended to supplement, not to take place of, regular courses in the curriculum of each language program. Staff limitations restrict this offering to a very few students. To enroll in an individual study, a student must identify a member of the MLL department willing to direct the project, and in consultation with them, write up a one page proposal for the IS which must be approved by the department chair before the individual study can go forward. The proposal should specify the schedule of reading and/or writing assignments and the schedule of meeting periods. The amount of work in an IS should approximate that required on average in regular courses of corresponding levels. It is suggested that students begin their planning of an IS well in advance, so that they can devise a proposal and seek departmental approval before the registrar's deadline. Typically, an IS will earn the student 0.25 or 0.50 units of credit. At a minimum, the department expects the student to meet with the instructor one hour per week. Because students must enroll for individual studies by the end of the seventh class day of each semester, they should begin discussion of the proposed individual study preferably the semester before, so that there is time to devise the proposal and seek departmental approval before the registrar’s deadline.