Date: May 12, 1995

From: Exams Committee

Re: The MA reading list

Based on performance in the recent MA exams, and in order to reduce the excessive work load of pre-MA students, the exams committee has decided to offer the following emendations to the Masters reading list.

The student may substitute any six of the following modern adaptations or abridged versions or translations of works on the Masters list as previously revised January, 1995.

[N.B.: Diacritical marks lost in this online version.]

Moyen Age

Le Roman de Rose. (in this screenplay adaptation, Rose and three friends rent out a castle in Bulgaria for the summer only to be harassed and finally besieged by the local militia--no allegory whatsoever)

La Chevrolet ou la Charrette. (in a small Iowa town, a young man faces the consequences after making the wrong decision before his high school prom)


Montaigne: "De la vanite de l'institution des enfants" (we've combined the two essays into one, removed most of the allusions to classical literature, and replaced Montaigne's philosophical skepticism with a narrow, no-nonsense cynicism to make for a fast, easy-going read)


Corneille: Le Cid, legerement modifie. (six enraged stuffed parrots struggle for perch space in a cramped but gilded cage)

Horace, version "quintessence." (various blocks or segments of perfect alexandrins meet other blocks of perfect alexandrins to form a lengthy sequence of rhymed alexandrins divided into five large blocks)

Boileau: Art du maquillage. (trois premiers chants)


Rousseau: La E-Mail Heloise (this romantic epistolary novel, which records an internet exchange of sexual fantasies between a Seattle dentist and a married Atlanta lawyer, drags on for 4 pages in its printed form)

Fontenbayle: Sur la pluralite des cometes. (these two writers have finally been combined into one to make for ease of study and lack of confusion on the exam)

Diderot: Le Neveu de Rambo. (a humorous dialogue with a clumsy sycophant famous for having shot off half of his foot while trying to clean his more successful Uncle's machine gun with his shirt sleeves)


Mallarme: "Ses purs oncles. . ." (after reading the Third OuLiPo Manifesto, her uncles--Bob and Steve--became so pure that they decided from then on to rhyme only in "x")


Proust: Swine's Way. (not so much a translation of Proust's great work as an "adaptation" aimed at the reading enjoyment of American businessmen age 40-60)

Duras: L'Auto-destruction extasiee de Mathilde Porete pendant les vacances recentes a Vinh-Longh

La Chanson de Roland Barthes. (this recently discovered late work of Barthes is an autobiographical epic that reads itself as such in its very narrative development even as it further undermines the bourgeois appropriation of epic through the interspersion throughout the text of a reading of the poster for the film version of La Chanson de Roland starring Gerard Depardieu as Ganelon)

Anne Rice: Entretien avec le vampire. (although this work was not originally written in French, the committee has decided to accede to recent enthusiastic requests to include "at least a translation" on the MA list)

(I dedicate this reading list to the uncharacteristically good-humored faculty of the Department of French and Italian at the U. of Wisconsin. Uncharacteristically--for an academic department of literary studies. --E.M.-L.)




Email: maderlin@ms13.hinet.net


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