Ann Delehanty

Early modern prose, classical theatre, medieval literature, philosophy and literature, historiography.

Scott Hiley

Medieval literature and law, economies of the novel, poetics and theology, manuscript studies.

Hugh Hochman

20th-century French poetry and prose, theories of the lyric, philosophy of language.

Luc Monnin

18th-century French literature and culture, history and theory of language, history of ideas, computer theory, visual arts.

William Ray

French narrative from the 17th century to the present, cultural theory, theories of reading, aesthetic theory. On sabbatical and leave 2008-09.

Catherine Witt

19th-century literature, art and history, contemporary poetry, theatre, cinema. On leave 2008-09.

By the time they graduate, students majoring in French will have begun to acquire a critical appreciation of French literature and the ability to express themselves in the spoken and written language. In keeping with Reed’s general educational goals, students are expected to broaden their preparation by pursuing work in humanities, other literatures, and the fine arts.

The members of the French department cover a wide range of literary interests and critical attitudes. The course offerings, organized mostly by genre, cover all important periods and movements in French literature.

In addition to the general course offerings, the department offers seminars on special topics and can arrange independent studies. Recent seminar topics have included contemporary French narrative, French feminist theory, Surrealism in literature and the other arts, Rousseau, Balzac, Flaubert, Baudelaire, and history and French cinema.

Most classes range in size from 10 to 15 students and are conducted primarily in French.


Any student wishing to enroll in a French course at any level and who has not studied French previously at Reed College must take the placement examination given every year during orientation week. Entering students who place out of second-year language (French 210) will be advised to enroll in French 320 or another 300-level course with consent of the instructor.

For Majors

Students who wish to major in French and who have not had prior experience in the language can do so by completing French 110 and 210 during their first two years at Reed, or elsewhere. During their last two years they must complete all the course requirements for the major listed below.

For Nonmajors

Students wishing to fulfill the Division of Literature and Languages requirement for third-year study in a foreign literature can do so by showing proficiency on the French 210 level and then taking any 300-level courses, except French 320.

French House

The French House on campus functions not only as a residence hall, but also as the center for a variety of extracurricular activities, including film evenings and social and cultural events, as well as gatherings with students and faculty from the entire Reed College community.

Language Scholar

Each year, Reed hosts two visiting language scholars from France. They provide contact with a native speaker and assist the department in academic and cultural matters.

Study Abroad

The French department encourages its majors to spend some time abroad, and to that end it has instituted exchange programs in France with the Université de Rennes II and several campuses of the Université de Paris. The work a student completes abroad in these approved programs is credited toward the Reed degree, and students on financial aid may apply their aid toward the costs.

Requirements for the Major

  1. A minimum of six units in literature at the 300 and 400 level, at least two of which must be prior to the 19th century.
  2. Ability to write French at the equivalent of French 320.
  3. French 470.

Recommended but not required:

  1. French 320 is strongly advised.
  2. Latin 110, if possible.
  3. Humanities 210 and/or 220.

French Course Descriptions

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