Alright, you asked for it. Herewith, a description of The Orals: a ritual every doctoral student must undergo at some point in his or her graduate career.
Oh, get your mind out of the gutter. It’s a test. And it’s a big one, although there are plenty of hotshot grad students who will shrug and tell you it’s no big deal, they barely studied, yawn, who wants to go out for a smoke? I hate those people.
The Oral Examination, at the fine institution from which I expect to receive my PhD sometime in the next decade, is described in the handbook thusly:
Students [...] demonstrate their powers of discernment, analysis,
and eloquence on the Second Examination, commonly referred to as
"Orals." This is a two-hour examination in three fields, administered
by a committee of three professors.
In planning for the Second Examination, students should [...][d]ecide upon three fields of inquiry. A field list may be
organized around a genre, a historical period, a major author or set of
authors, or a theoretical approach. Fields should be broad enough to
constitute the framework for an undergraduate course, and focused
enough to provide a basis for advanced scholarly research. Make lists
of primary and secondary sources that seem appropriate to each field.
In order to ensure scholarly and professional range, the student should
avoid overlap among the lists.
I’m pretty much set on my lists and am about to start on my readings and re-readings. Apart from that, all that’s left is to figure out how to develop powers of discernment, analysis, and eloquence by May. No sweat.
I’m sharing this here because I see it as a kind of pact, an agreement that I will read and discuss the various items on the following reading list on this blog between now and May, as a means of assuring both that I read it all and that I am capable of discussing these works in public in an acceptable and compelling (if not discerning and eloquent) manner. And since I’ll only be doing my French list with you (my other two lists I’ll keep to myself), it sort of works for this blog. So without further ado, list number one. Class is now in session.
French "modernism," 1890-1950 (still subject to modification).
–Le Paysan de Paris (1919)
–L’amour fou (1937)
— Manifestes du surréalisme (1924-1953)
— Entretiens (1913-1952)
–Les Mamelles de Tirésias (1917)
–Histoire de l’oeil (1928)
–Aveux non Avenus (1928)
–Voyage au bout de la nuit (1932)
–La Vagabonde (1910)
–Le pur et l’impur (1932)
–Mon corps et moi (1925)
–The Night of Loveless Nights (1926)
–Un cadavre (1929)
–Rrose Sélavy (1922-1923)
–Langage cuit (1923)
–Deuil pour deuil (1924)
–La Liberté ou l’Amour (1927)
–Les Ténèbres (1927)
–Corps et biens (1930)
–Capital de la douleur (1926)
–Les faux-monnayeurs (1925)
–Ubu Roi (1896)
–Collected Writings (coll. 1995)
–Crise de vers (1896)
–La condition humaine (1933)
–Les gazettes d’Adrienne Monnier (1938)
–Le Porche du Mystère de la deuxième vertu (1912)
–À la recherche du temps perdu (1913-1927)
–Contre Sainte-Beuve (1908)
–Coeur Double (1891)
–Le Livre de Monelle (1894)
–Manifeste Dada (1918)
–Manifeste sur l’amour faible et l’amour amer (1920)
–Une femme m’est apparue (1904)
To be added–?
Henri Michaux, René Char, Maeterlinck, Villiers de l’Isle Adam, Remy de Gourmont, Reverdy, Claudel, Valéry, Montherlant (Les jeunes filles?)