What is literature? Why read literature today? And how do we talk about what we read? This seminar offers an initiation to literature in French from the Enlightenment to the digital age. It introduces a wide range of critical and theoretical tools to study literature and its uses, and aims at developing writing and argumentation across a range of literary genres (theater, essay, novel, poetry...). This seminar explores how most urgent political and philosophical issues of the ages can be read through and unraveled within literary texts. Authors studied may include Montesquieu, Diderot, Balzac, Baudelaire, Flaubert, Sartre, Césaire, Michaux, Duras, Fanon, Perec, and Modiano.