President Brand started to geek French Literature when he was in graduate school at the University of Michigan. He had an amazing professor who was a leader in the field of sixteenth century French Literature. Why the sixteenth century, in particular? The printing press was still relatively new, and French authors took advantage of the ability to produce many copies of works relatively quickly. It was a creative period, because suddenly work was mass produced. What and how much you could do with the French language became a major theme in literature of the period. ”I’m a huge fan of literature that says one thing, but does something else,” says Brand. One of his favorite works, Gargantua and Pantagruel by François Rabelais is a story about two giants, a father and son, which uses large language to tell the story. Unlike Medieval French Literature, which is very close to Latin, the works of the sixteenth century are close to modern French, so you can see the evolution of the language.
What is your favorite thing about Sixteenth Century French Literature?
“It shows the expansiveness and creativity of the French language.”
What’s one thing you think everyone should know about Sixteenth Century French Literature?
“It’s so much more enjoyable and playful than they might think!”
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