French Course Descriptions

French 110 - First-Year French

Full course for one year. A study of elements of grammar, speaking, and reading. Conference.

French 210 - Second-Year French

Full course for one year. Revision of grammar and elementary composition; readings in philosophy, lyric poetry, novel, and theatre. Prerequisite: French 110 or equivalent. Conference.

French 320 - Stylistics and Composition

Full course for one year. This course is designed to help students develop strong written and oral skills in French and to familiarize them with the critical uses of a rhetorical vocabulary. Through frequent discussions of regular writing and close-reading assignments we will explore ways to frame a wide range of questions pertaining to French literature from the Middle Ages to the contemporary Francophone novel. Conducted in French. Prerequisite: French 210 or demonstration of equivalent ability by placement exam. Conference. Fulfills the Group D requirement.

French 331 - French Literature and Culture of the Middle Ages

Full course for one semester. The primary goal of this course will be a broad experience with the literature and culture of the French Middle Ages (1050-1450), centered on two of the most pervasive themes in medieval thought: wealth and poverty.   We will ask: Is poverty simply the absence of wealth? What are the problems of patronage?  Can chivalry be commercialized?  Is the body real estate or ready cash?  The course will address these questions, and others, in an examination of the shifting values assigned to wealth and poverty in literature, culture, and the visual arts.  Readings will include: hagiography, a chanson de geste, courtly romance and lais, several fabliaux, a comic play, and selections from the lyric tradition.  Discussion in French.  Prerequisite: French 210 or demonstration of equivalent ability by placement exam. Conference.

French 332 - Early Modern French Literature and Culture

Full course for one semester. This course is intended as a survey of the literature of Renaissance and seventeenth-century France, though special attention will be paid to the ways in which spatial and especially geographical constructs serve to organize knowledge. Themes will include: translation as literary displacement, travel and homesickness, the quest for knowledge, the rise of relativism, and the place of the picaresque.  Readings from Rabelais, Labé, Ronsard, Du Bellay, Montaigne, Descartes, Pascal, Racine, Corneille, and Charles Sorel.  Discussion in French.  Prerequisite: French 210 or demonstration of equivalent ability by placement exam. Conference.

French 333 - The French Enlightenment

Full course for one semester. This course examines the literature of eighteenth-century France, with emphasis on the cultural milieu (social, artistic, religious, philosophical, political) in which the texts appeared. We will examine the emergence of the ideology of reason as it is thematized in texts by Montesquieu, Voltaire, Diderot, D’Alembert, Condillac, Rousseau, Condorcet. We will look at key notions that define the Enlightenment and ask how new literary forms shape, promote or question these ideas. We will also examine forms of popular culture that the scientific and philosophical agenda keeps in the shadows and demonizes as superstition, imagination, or foolishness. Conducted in French. Prerequisite: French 210 or demonstration of equivalent ability by placement examination. Conference. Not offered 2007-08.

French 334 - Nineteenth-Century French Literature and Culture

Full course for one semester. This course examines the literature of nineteenth-century France, with an emphasis on the cultural milieu in which the texts appeared. The topic for 2006-07, l’imaginaire fantastique, explored the nineteenth century’s fascination with the supernatural and the uncanny as it transpired not only in the aesthetic, philological, scientific, religious and spiritualist discourses of the time, but also in the emergence of new genres, narrative techniques, and literary tropes. Authors studied include major French fiction writers (Nodier, Mérimée, Gautier, Balzac, Nerval, Hugo, Barbey d’Aurevilly, Villiers de l’Isle Adam, and Maupassant) as well as influential theoreticians of the uncanny (Hoffmann, Poe, Freud, Caillois, the Surrealists, et al). Discussion in French. Prerequisite: French 210 or demonstration of equivalent ability by placement exam. Conference. Not offered 2007-08.

French 341 - French Narrative and the Novel Prior to Realism

Full course for one semester. An examination of the novel and other narrative forms that developed in France from the seventeenth to the nineteenth century. The course will focus on the function of these new narrative forms within their social and historical contexts, with special emphasis on the institutionalized forms of public discourse that developed during the period and the various theories of representation upon which they drew. Authors covered will include Mme. de Lafayette, Diderot, Laclos, Rousseau, Hugo, Michelet, Balzac, and Flaubert. Discussion in French. Prerequisite: French 210 or demonstration of equivalent ability by placement exam. Conference. Not offered 2007–08.

French 342 - Novel from Flaubert to the New Novel: The Collapse of Realism and the Undoing of the Subject

Full course for one semester. The theory and decline of realism in the French novel will be discussed in Flaubert, Proust, Sartre, Robbe-Grillet, and Sarraute. Focusing primarily on the evolution in narrative form from 1850 to 1960, this course will examine the shift in the modern novel from representing social structures or systems objectively to evoking subjectivity and provoking more complex reader-text transactions. Discussion in French. Prerequisite: French 210 or demonstration of equivalent ability by placement exam. Conference.

French 343 - Contemporary French Fiction

Full course for one semester. This course will examine narrative strategies since the late 1950s and their underlying aesthetic theories. The course will focus on several issues or problems, including the autonomy of the literary text, narrative as a space of encounter between objective reality and the creative imagination, and the construction of the subject through autofiction. How do the formal aspects of prose fiction place into question our experience of the self and the world? To what extent are the self and the world disclosed through narrative, and what is the nature of this process? Readings will include Robbe-Grillet, Perec, Duras, Hébert, Barthes, Modiano, Ernaux, and Quignard. Conducted in French. Prerequisite: French 210 or demonstration of equivalent ability by placement exam. Conference. Not offered 2007–08.

French 351 - Seventeenth-Century French Drama

Full course for one semester. In this course, we will examine several plays by Corneille, Racine, and Molière. We will focus on how authority is established in a society where all authority is in question. We will look at the theatrical representation of kings, sultans, courtiers, nobles, doctors, servants, martyrs, and others in order to consider the various sources of power, authority, and sagacity in a political climate where dissimulation, spectacle, and divertissement often got you further than more traditional means. Conducted in French. Prerequisite: French 210 or demonstration of equivalent ability by placement exam. Conference. Not offered 2007–08.

French 363 - Francophone Literature

Full course for one semester. Introduction to Francophone literature of the Caribbean. We will examine twentieth-century Caribbean literature written in French including works by Maryse Condé, Patrick Chamoiseau, Simone Schwarz-Bart, Raphaël Confiant, Edouard Glissant, and Aimé Césaire. Through the lens of contemporary postcolonial theory, we will look particularly at how these Caribbean writers figure political and social resistance in their works. We will discuss how these works underscore the inherent tensions between individual, national, and postcolonial identity. Discussion in French. Prerequisite: French 210 or demonstration of equivalent ability by placement exam. Conference. Not offered 2007–08.

French 371 - Nineteenth-Century French Poetry and Poetics

Full course for one semester. This course explores the emergence of a new poetic representation of the self in the nineteenth century and follows its development from the contemplative verses of Lamartine to the typographical experimentations of Mallarmé. Through reading a combination of canonical works (by poets of the Romantic, Parnassian and Symbolist schools) and popular poetry, students will identify and reflect upon the rhetorical and prosodic innovations that upturned the idea of lyricism in the modern period. Topics discussed will include: popular culture; the relation between the arts; hermeticism; irony; modernity. Conducted in French. Prerequisite: French 210 or demonstration of equivalent ability by placement exam. Conference.

French 381 - Twentieth-Century French Poetry and Poetics

Full course for one semester. This course will focus on poets since Mallarmé and the theoretical, aesthetic, and ethical projects of poetry in the context of modernity. Poets covered will include Apollinaire, Reverdy, Desnos, Eluard, Ponge, Bonnefoy, Guillevic, Réda, and Roubaud. The course will rely on close rhetorical readings in order to found an understanding of lyric poetry in the modern age, focusing on address, theories of performative language, relationships between figurative and literal language, and the materialism–textualism debate. Conducted in French. Prerequisite: French 210 or demonstration of equivalent ability by placement exam. Conference.

French 382 - Twentieth-Century French Theatre

Full course for one semester. This course explores a wide spectrum of experimental and theoretical avenues in twentieth-century French theater. Taking the concept of interprétation as a point of departure, we will examine the various intersections between modern theories of dramaturgy, acting, and stage production with a view to opening up the theatrical space to new modalities of reading. Authors studied include playwrights (Jarry, Apollinaire, Cocteau, Sartre, Beckett, Genet, Koltès and Novarina) and major theoreticians of avant-garde theater (Artaud, Grotowski, Brecht, Brooks, et al). Students will gain a first-hand insight into the problems of staging and performing the theatrical text through watching excerpts of actual performances and in-class readings. Conducted in French. Prerequisite: French 210 or demonstration of equivalent ability by placement exam. Conference. Not offered 2007–08.

French 400 - Introduction to Literary Theory

See Literature 400 for description.
Literature 400 Description

French 451 - Special Topics in French Literature: Historical Memory in Postwar French Cinema

Full course for one semester. In this course, we reflect on the testimonial function taken on by French cinema in the aftermath of the Second World War. Focusing on significant moments of crisis in twentieth-century French history (e.g. the Occupation, the Holocaust, and decolonization), we will analyze the tropes and audiovisual strategies that enable the filmic medium to challenge traditional historical narratives, while "working through" these experiences of collective trauma. We will view films by Melville, Resnais, Bresson, Ophüls, Godard and Marker, and discuss each one from two complementary perspectives: we will consider the films from an aesthetic and technical point of view, focusing on issues such as camera, lighting, sound, editing, narrative, documentary, etc. Additionally, we will read important reviews and essays that have opened up the debate over cinema's commitment to politics and ethics. Weekly film screenings. Discussion in French. Prerequisite: French 210 or demonstration of equivalent ability by placement exam. Lecture-conference. Not offered 2007–08.

French 470 - Thesis

One-half or full course for one semester or one year.

French 481 - Independent Reading

One-half or full course for one semester. Prerequisite: French 210 or demonstration of equivalent ability by examination; approval of instructor and division.




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