Cultural exchange through a literary understanding with a French novelist
Cultural exchange through a literary understanding with a French novelist
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  • 승인 2007.10.01 00:00
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▲ Le Clezio hopes his lectures to be a bridge connecting the cultural of France and Korea.
             As if listening to a novel read by the author himself, a lecture by Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clézio gets underway. Calm and self-composed, his voice quietly resounds throughout the classroom. Flipping the pages of a book might sound disruptive. Amid this tranquil ambience, Le Clézio, whose name often appears as a candidate for the Nobel Prize in literature or is touted as being, “the most influential French novelist on the planet,” grabs students’ attention. Since the beginning of the fall semester, Le Clézio has been teaching a course designed for seniors majoring in French literature at Ewha. The lecture is titled, “Contemporary French Literature Critique.”

             Le Clézio won the Prix Renaudot, which is one of the four major French novel prizes, in 1963 for his novel, Le Proce's-verbal. The work levels criticism at the artificiality of modern Western civilization and induces readers to get closer to the pure origin of human existence by telling us a story about a man who is alienated from the world. Le Clézio is a writer with an established reputation for describing an object with transparent and poetic language, as if reflecting it in a photograph

.            Park So-young (French Literature, 4), a student in Le Clézio’s class, says, “It is an honor to have a chance to listen to Clézio’s lecture. He sheds an artistic atmosphere with a background as a novelist.”

However, having Le Clézio lecturing at Ewha seems so much more than a chance to meet the celebrated novelist. It symbolizes cultural exchanges between Korea and France at a scholarly and academic level. Le Clézio introduces French female novelists who are renowned in France but are not well-known in Korea and lets students to make a presentation on those novelists’ works analyzed according to their own point of view.

“I want to hear a lot from students and through this, I want to exchange culture with them,” Le Clézio says. “I do not expect a literature but I want students to take a sincere approach and to be able to feel and express literature.” Le Clézio emphasizes that “reading is critique.” The French novelist believes that critique does not necessarily require expertise so all students can do it.

             Le Clézio from time to time incites laughter from students with his use of witty and clever words. A peaceful lecture that has a risk of becoming a moment of respite for students is delicately managed by Le Clézio.

Although Le Clézio is quite a maestro of literature, he is easily approachable. Even if some students are not good at French, Le Clézio does not shun them. When an Ewha Voice reporter sought for mercy in for not being able to ask questions in French, Le Clézio composedly responded that he also cannot speak Korean so it did not matter.

Truly, in his first class, Le Clézio told students that he can understand and speak English so if students cannot convey their thoughts well in French, they can use English. Cho Hye-ryung (French Literature, 3), one of the students attending the class, says, “I think Le Clézio tries to lessen the burden of students by from time to time using English.” Cho added, “Le Clézio seems gentle and friendly.”

Recently, Le Clézio was observed eating lunch with students at the student cafeteria, E-Fine. Le Clézio says, “I usually eat meals with students. I am a talkative person.” Le Clézio seemed infatuated with the cheerful atmosphere of the cafeteria full of Ewha students.

             Professor Song Ki-jung (French Literature), who made a critical contribution to fetching Le Clézio to Ewha, also takes his class. She moderates the class atmosphere by encouraging students’ participation and sometimes translating subtle words that students have difficulty in understanding. Song says, “This class would be a place to communicate with one another with different cultural backgrounds.”

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