Dartmouth professor to lecture on French theater at Fairfield University's Quick Center


Dartmouth College professor John Rassias, Ph.D., will lecture on the literary movements that influenced French theater, Thursday, April 11 at Fairfield University's Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts. "Meat and Mysticism from Naturalism to Symbolism: French Theatre in Shock," is scheduled for 7 p.m. The lecture is part of the Quick Center's "A French Showcase: Evolving Arts," an eight-week celebration of the contributions the French have made to the worlds of arts and letters.

Rassias will present the stage as a battleground between two vigorous literary movements in France from 1850 to 1900. Naturalism, which originated with the French writer Émile Zola, featured characters whose attempts at free will and choice were governed by forces beyond their control. Symbolism, which emerged among French poets and spread to painting and theater, made use of highly metaphorical language or symbols to express human experience. In dynamic fashion, Rassias will trace the philosophy that shaped these movements and describe how young authors threw themselves into the struggle for artistic dominance. The lecture, he said, will address "the battle between two ideologies for dominance of mind and art."

Rassias is the William R. Kenan Professor of French and Italian at Dartmouth, where he teaches French language and culture, 18th century literature and French theater. During the 1960s, he developed an immersion language and culture program to train Peace Corps volunteers. He later adapted the method for college instruction, and today, the Rassias Method is used in classrooms across the country to teach 180 different languages. Rassias is president of The Rassias Foundation, a non-profit affiliate of Dartmouth College that assists academic institutions, corporations, government agencies and individuals in their efforts to learn foreign languages through the Rassias Method. The foundation's mission is to further the study of, and interest in, second language learning.

The French Showcase events are sponsored in part by the university's Humanities Center and the Connecticut Commission on the Arts. Tickets to the lecture are $10. To reserve a seat, call the box office at (203) 254-4010 or toll-free at 1-877-ARTS-396 or visit the website, www.quickcenter.com.

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Media Contact: Nancy Habetz, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2647, nhabetz@fairfield.edu

Posted on March 15, 2002

Vol. 34, No. 184