Amherst College 2017-18 Catalog

  • Introduction
  • About Amherst College
  • Admission & Financial Aid
  • Regulations & Requirements
  • Amherst College Courses
  • Five College Programs & Certificates
  • Honors & Fellowships

Introduction

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French

Professors de la Carrera‡, Katsaros (Chair), Rockwell†, and Rosbottom; Assistant Professors Nader-Esfahani and Sigal; Senior Lecturer Uhden.

*On leave 2017-18.

† On leave fall semester 2017-18.

‡ On leave spring semester 2017-18.

The objective of the French major is to learn about French culture directly through its language and principally by way of its literature. Emphasis in courses is upon examination of significant authors or problems rather than on chronological survey. We read texts closely from a modern critical perspective, but without isolating them from their cultural context. To give students a better idea of the development of French culture throughout the centuries, we encourage majors to select courses from a wide range of historical periods, from the Middle Ages to the present.

Fluent and correct use of the language is essential to successful completion of the major. Most courses are taught in French. The Department also urges majors to spend a semester or a year studying in a French-speaking country. The major in French provides effective preparation for graduate work, but it is not conceived as strictly pre-professional training.

Major Program. The Department of French aims at flexibility and responds to the plans and interests of the major within a structure that affords diversity of experience in French literature and continuous training in the use of the language.

A major (both rite and with Departmental Honors) will normally consist of a minimum of eight courses, six of which must be courses that are conducted in French. Students may choose to take (a) eight courses in French literature and civilization; or (b) six courses in French literature and civilization and two related courses with departmental approval. In either case, a minimum of four courses must be taken from the French offerings at Amherst College. One of these four must be taken during the senior year. All courses offered by the Department above FREN 103 may count for the major. Among these eight courses, one must be chosen from the Middle Ages or Renaissance, and one from the seventeenth or eighteenth centuries. (FREN 311 satisfies either of these distribution requirements.) With departmental approval up to four courses taken in a study abroad program may count toward the eight required courses for the major. Comprehensive examinations must be completed no later than the seventh week of the spring semester of the senior year.

Departmental Honors Program. Candidates for Departmental Honors must write a thesis in addition to fulfilling the course requirements for the major described above. Students who wish to write a thesis should begin to develop a topic during their junior year and must submit a detailed thesis proposal to the Department at the beginning of the second week of fall semester classes. Subject to departmental approval of the thesis proposal, candidates for Departmental Honors will enroll in FREN 498 and 499 during their senior year. (FREN 498 and 499 will not be counted towards the eight-course requirement for the major.) Oral examinations on the thesis will be scheduled in late spring.

Foreign Study. A program of study approved by the Department for a junior year in France has the support of the Department as a significant means of enlarging the major’s comprehension of French civilization and as the most effective method of developing mastery of the language.

Exchange Fellowships. Graduating seniors are eligible for two Exchange Fellowships for study in France: one fellowship as Teaching Assistant in American Civilization and Language at the University of Dijon; the other as Exchange Fellow, Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris.

Course numbering system. FREN 101-208 are French Language and Composition courses. FREN 101-207 are numbered by degree of difficulty. FREN 207, 208 and 311 have identical prerequisites and may be taken in any order. All courses numbered 320 and above, with the exception of those courses conducted in English, list FREN 207, 208, and 311 as prerequisites. Courses numbered 320 and above are advanced courses but are not ranked by order of difficulty. They are organized, instead, by period in the following manner:

311-319: French Literature and Civilization

320-329: Medieval and Renaissance Literature and Culture

330-339: Seventeenth- and Eighteenth-Century Literature and Culture

340-349: Nineteenth-Century Literature and Culture

350-359: Twentieth- and Twenty-First Century Literature and Culture

360-369: Special Courses

470 +: Advanced Courses

498-499: Senior Departmental Honors

490: Special Topics

101 Elementary French

This course features intensive work on French grammar, with emphasis on the acquisition of basic active skills (speaking, reading, writing and vocabulary building). We will be using the multimedia program, Totem, which employs only authentic French, allowing students to use the language colloquially and creatively in a short amount of time. Three hours a week for explanation and demonstration, plus small sections with French assistants. This course prepares students for FREN 103. For students without previous training in French.

Fall and spring semesters.  Senior Lecturer Uhden and Assistants.

2017-18: Offered in Fall 2017 and Spring 2018
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Spring 2008, Fall 2008, Spring 2009, Fall 2009, Spring 2010, Fall 2010, Spring 2011, Fall 2011, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017

103 Intermediate French

Intensive review and coverage of all basic French grammar points with emphasis on the understanding of structural and functional aspects of the language and acquisition of the basic active skills (speaking, reading, writing and systematic vocabulary building). We will be using the multimedia program, Imaginez. Three hours a week for explanation and demonstration, plus small sections with French assistants. This course prepares students for FREN 205.

Requisite: FREN 101 or two years of secondary school French. Fall and spring semesters. Senior Lecturer Uhden and Assistants.

2017-18: Offered in Fall 2017 and Spring 2018
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Spring 2008, Fall 2008, Spring 2009, Fall 2009, Spring 2010, Fall 2010, Spring 2011, Fall 2011, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017

205 Language and Literature

An introduction to the critical reading of French literary and non-literary texts; a review of French grammar; training in composition, conversation and listening comprehension. Texts will be drawn from significant short stories, poetry and films. The survey of different literary genres serves also to contrast several views of French culture. Successful completion of FREN 205 prepares students for FREN 207, 208, 311 or 312. Conducted in French. Three hours a week.

Requisite: FREN 103 or three to four years of secondary school French. Fall semester: Professor de la Carrera. Spring semester: Professor Rockwell.

2017-18: Offered in Fall 2017 and Spring 2018
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Spring 2008, Fall 2008, Spring 2009, Fall 2009, Spring 2010, Fall 2010, Spring 2011, Fall 2011, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017

207 Introduction to French Literature and Culture

Through class discussion, debates, and frequent short papers, students develop effective skills in self-expression, analysis, and interpretation. Literary texts, articles on current events, and films are studied within the context of the changing structures of French society and France’s complex relationship to its recent past. Assignments include both creative and analytic approaches to writing. Some grammar review as necessary, as well as work on understanding spoken French using video materials. Highly recommended for students planning to study abroad.

Requisite: FREN 205, or completion of AP French, or four years of secondary school French in a strong program. Fall semester: Professors Katsaros and Sigal. Spring semester: Professor Sigal.

2017-18: Offered in Fall 2017 and Spring 2018
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Spring 2008, Fall 2008, Spring 2009, Fall 2009, Spring 2010, Fall 2010, Spring 2011, Fall 2011, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017

208 French Conversation

To gain as much confidence as possible in idiomatic French, we discuss French social institutions and culture, trying to appreciate differences between French and American viewpoints. Our conversational exchanges will touch upon such topics as French education, art and architecture, the status of women, the spectrum of political parties, minority groups, religion, and the position of France and French-speaking countries in the world. Supplementary work with audio and video materials.

Requisite: FREN 205, or completion of AP French, or four years of secondary school French in a strong program. Limited to 16 students. Fall semester: Professor Nader-Esfahani. Spring semester: Professors Katsaros and Nader-Esfahani. 

2017-18: Offered in Fall 2017 and Spring 2018
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Spring 2008, Fall 2008, Spring 2009, Spring 2010, Spring 2011, Spring 2012, Spring 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017

314 From Astérix to Houellebecq: Translating Contemporary French

This course aims at improving the students' knowledge of the contemporary French language and of contemporary French society through translation. We will draw from a wide variety of sources, such as fiction, poetry, film, songs, press articles, graphic novels and advertising, to gain a better understanding of idiomatic French and of the translation process. Conducted in French.

Requisite: FREN 207 or 208 or the equivalent. Limited to 17 students. Omitted 2017-18. Professor Katsaros.

2017-18: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2014, Fall 2015, Fall 2016

320 Literary Masks of the Late French Middle Ages

The rise in the rate of literacy which characterized the early French Middle Ages coincided with radical reappraisals of the nature and function of reading and poetic production. This course will investigate the ramifications of these reappraisals for the literature of the late French Middle Ages. Readings may include such major works as Guillaume de Dole by Jean Renart, the anonymous Roman de Renart, the Roman de la Rose by Guillaume de Lorris, selections from the continuation of the Roman de la Rose by Jean de Meun, anonymous Fabliaux, and poetic works by Christine de Pisan, Guillaume de Machaut, Jean Froissart, and Charles d’Orléans. Particular attention will be paid to the philosophical presuppositions surrounding the production of erotic allegorical discourse. We shall also address such topics as the relationships between lyric and narrative and among disguise, death and aging in the context of medieval discourses on love. All texts will be read in modern French. Conducted in French.

Requisite: One of the following--FREN 207, 208, 311 or equivalent. Omitted 2017-18. Professor Rockwell.

2017-18: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Spring 2010, Spring 2013, Spring 2016

321 Amor and Metaphor in the Early French Middle Ages

The eleventh and twelfth centuries witnessed social, political, and poetic innovations that rival in impact the information revolution of recent decades. Essential to these innovations was the transformation from an oral to a book-oriented culture. This course will investigate the problems of that transition, as reflected in such major works of the early French Middle Ages as: The Song of Roland, the Tristan legend, the Roman d’Eneas, the Arthurian romances of Chrétien de Troyes, anonymous texts concerning the Holy Grail and the death of King Arthur. We shall also address questions relevant to this transition, such as the emergence of medieval allegory, the rise of literacy, and the relationship among love, sex, and hierarchy. All texts will be read in modern French. Conducted in French.

Requisite: One of the following--FREN 207, 208, 311, or equivalent. Spring semester.  Professor Rockwell.

2017-18: Offered in Spring 2018
Other years: Offered in Fall 2009, Spring 2012, Spring 2015

324 Studies in Medieval Romance Literature and Culture

The study of a major author, literary problem, or question from the medieval period with a particular focus announced each time the course is offered. The topic for spring 2017 was: "Dante and the French."  We will study the social, philosophical, poetic and institutional currents that contribute to the emergence of allegorical texts in the period between the twelfth and the late-fourteenth centuries.  Readings include the Quest for the Holy Grail and works by Chrétien de Troyes, Guillaume de Lorris, Jean de Meung, Dante Alighieri, and Marie de France. All readings will be done in English translation. Conducted in English. 

Omitted 2017-18  Professor Rockwell.

 2017-18: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2008, Spring 2011, Spring 2014, Spring 2017

327 Humanism and the Renaissance

Humanists came to distrust medieval institutions and models. Through an analysis of the most influential works of the French Renaissance, we shall study the variety of literary innovations which grew out of that distrust with an eye to their social and philosophical underpinnings. We shall address topics relevant to these innovations such as Neoplatonism, the grotesque, notions of the body, love, beauty, order and disorder. Readings will be drawn from the works of such major writers as: Erasmus, Rabelais, Marguerite de Navarre, Montaigne, Ronsard, Du Bellay, Maurice Scève and Louise Labé. The most difficult texts will be read in modern French. Conducted in French.

Requisite: One of the following--FREN 207, 208, 311 or equivalent. Omitted 2017-18. Professor Rockwell.

2017-18: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008, Fall 2010, Fall 2013, Fall 2016

329 True or False: The Search for Reality in Early Modern France

The Age of Information Technology has broadened our access to material from all around the world and has connected us to people and regions that would otherwise remain in the shadows. Furthermore, the Internet has given voice to another body, that of ordinary people, that now exists alongside more conventional authorities and outlets. Social media enables every individual to publicize him or herself and become a public figure; Wikipedia now co-exists alongside scholarly journals and academic e-books; WikiLeaks and hacking bring private matters of leaders and everyday people into the public eye; and Twitter has become a formidable rival to traditional news outlets in its release of breaking news. Conversely, this same democratization of information, in both its production and its representation, has problematized the relationship between the private and the public, and it has raised questions about the truth behind these multiple and often conflicting realities. Overwhelmed by the sheer quantity of information and by myriad perspectives, how can we ever be certain of what we know? How do we distinguish the true from the false, essence from appearance?   A period marked by a flourishing print culture and the production and circulation of knowledge, by religious and political conflicts, by new discoveries, inventions and methods of scientific inquiry, and by multiple arenas for “talk” and criticism--from town squares to court, from personal correspondence to the essay, from the poem to the pamphlet--early modern France offers a compelling point of comparison as we reflect upon these questions. What constitutes a lie? How is opinion constructed, and how might it differ from truth? What, or who, is a truth-teller? What role do rumor and gossip play in creating or challenging beliefs and reputations? What happens when something private is made public? Is the public face of an individual to be trusted, or is it simply a mask? What is evidence? Why is the notion of “illusion” a central preoccupation of writers, especially at the turn of the century? In this course, we will investigate the dynamic among the false, the real, and the true, and we will examine how rumor, gossip, belief, opinion, appearance, doubt,evidence, and judgement work to create, interrogate, and even undo truths and falsehoods. Readings will draw on works of fiction and non-fiction from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and may include major figures such as Ronsard, Marguerite de Navarre, Montaigne, Descartes, Corneille, Madame de Sévigné, Madame de Lafayette, and Racine. Conducted in French.

Requisite: One of the following—FREN 207, 208, 311 or equivalent.  Spring semester.  Professor Nader-Esfahani.

2017-18: Offered in Spring 2018

330 The Doing and Undoing of Genres in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries

This course explores the formation and transformation of various genres in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century literature, with a particular focus announced each time the course is offered. The topic for 2015-16 was "The Eighteenth-Century Novel and Theater in France."  Readings included texts by Diderot, Voltaire, Marivaux, Prévost, Laclos, and Beaumarchais. Conducted in French.

Requisite: One of the following--FREN 207, 208, 311 or equivalent. Omitted 2017-18. Professor de la Carrera.

2017-18: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2008, Spring 2011, Fall 2012, Fall 2015

338 The Republic of Letters

An exploration of Enlightenment thought within the context of the collaborative institutions and activities that fostered its development, including literary and artistic salons, cafés, and the Encyclopédie.  We will read texts by Rousseau, Diderot, Voltaire, and others, drawn from the domains of literature, philosophy, memoirs, and correspondence. To get a better idea of what it might have been like to live in the eighteenth century and be a participant in the “Republic of Letters,” we will also read a variety of essays in French cultural history. Conducted in French.                                                                                                                

Requisite: One of the following—FREN 207, 208, 311 or equivalent. Fall semester. Professor de la Carrera.

2017-18: Offered in Fall 2017
Other years: Offered in Fall 2008, Fall 2011

339 Worldliness and Otherworldliness

Many eighteenth-century writers imagined and invented other, better societies. To attenuate their criticisms of the social, political, and religious structures of the ancien régime, they had recourse to the viewpoint of fictional "outsiders" who arrive in France as if for the first time and describe what they see in minute and telling detail. We will analyze the role that these "other" worlds and the "otherworldly" point of view played in the development of eighteenth-century thought and literature, as well as some of the repercussions that these questions have had in twentieth-century thought. Readings will include Montesquieu's Lettres persanes, Rousseau's Discours sur l'origine de l'inégalité, Diderot's Supplément au Voyage de Bougainville, and Madame de Graffigny's Lettres d'une Péruvienne, as well as Freud's Civilization and Its Discontents and a selection of essays by Claude Lévi-Strauss. Conducted in French.

Requisite: One of the following--FREN 207, 208, 311, or equivalent. Omitted 2017-18. Professor de la Carrera.

2017-18: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008, Fall 2009, Spring 2012, Spring 2015, Spring 2017

340 Colonial Cultures: Images of the French Colonial Empire

In the early years of the twentieth century, the French Colonial Empire stretched from Algiers to Antananarivo and from Hanoi to Cayenne. The Maghreb, French West Africa, French Equatorial Africa, the Indo-Chinese peninsula, and Madagascar all lived under French rule. This class will analyze the creation and dissemination of “colonial cultures” in the wake of French imperialism. From the early nineteenth century on, military conquest went hand in hand with the production of a diverse and wide-ranging colonial imaginary. Schoolbooks, colonial exhibitions, natural history museums, visual artefacts ranging from paintings to advertisements, literary works, songs, and films inspired by “Greater France” proliferated in French culture. Drawing from selected case studies, we will explore the many forms taken by the French colonial imagination. We will also examine critiques of colonialism, as well as strategies and modalities of resistance to the colonial imaginary.  Conducted in French.

Requisite: One of the following--FREN 207, 208, 311 or equivalent. Fall semester. Professor Katsaros.

2017-18: Offered in Fall 2017

342 Women of Ill Repute: Prostitutes in Nineteenth-Century French Literature

(Offered as FREN 342 and SWAG 342) Prostitutes play a central role in nineteenth-century French fiction, especially of the realistic and naturalistic kind. Both widely available and largely visible in nineteenth-century France, prostitutes inspired many negative stereotypes. But, as the very product of the culture that marginalized her, the prostitute offered an ideal vehicle for writers to criticize the hypocrisy of bourgeois mores. The socially stratified world of prostitutes, ranging from low-ranking sex workers to high-class courtesans, presents a fascinating microcosm of French society as a whole. We will read selections from Honoré de Balzac, Splendeur et misère des courtisanes; Victor Hugo, Les Misérables; and Gustave Flaubert, L’éducation sentimentale; as well as Boule-de-Suif and other stories by Guy de Maupassant; La fille Elisa by Edmond de Goncourt; Nana by Emile Zola; Marthe by Joris-Karl Huysmans; La dame aux camélias by Alexandre Dumas fils; and extracts from Du côté de chez Swann by Marcel Proust. Additional readings will be drawn from the fields of history (Alain Corbin, Michelle Perrot) and critical theory (Walter Benjamin, Michel Foucault, Julia Kristeva). We will also discuss visual representations of prostitutes in nineteenth-century French art (Gavarni, Daumier, C. Guys, Degas, Manet, Toulouse-Lautrec). Conducted in French.

Requisite: One of the following--FREN 207, 208, 311 or equivalent. Omitted 2017-18. Professor Katsaros.

2017-18: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2009, Fall 2012, Fall 2015

346 Enfants Terribles: Childhood in French Literature and Culture from Rousseau to the Surrealist

Images of childhood have become omnipresent in our culture. We fetishize childhood as an idyllic time, preserved from the difficulties and compromises of adult life; but the notion that children’s individual lives are worth recording is a relatively modern one.  Drawing from literature, children's literature, anthropology, philosophy, art, and film, we will try to map out the journey from the idea of childhood as a phase to be outgrown to the modern conception of childhood as a crucial moment of self-definition. We will pay particular attention to the issues of nature against nurture through the example of the "wild child" Victor. We will also discuss theories of child-rearing, the emergence of children’s literature, and the importance of childhood in avant-garde movements.  

Readings will include selections from Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s treatise on education, L’Emile; Victor de l'Aveyron by Dr. Jean Itard; Les Malheurs de Sophie by the Comtesse de Ségur; stories by Guy de Maupassant; selected poems Baudelaire and Rimbaud; Jules Vallès, L'Enfant; and the Surrealist play Victor ou les enfants au pouvoir by Roger Vitrac. We will examine nineteenth-century artists' visions of childhood, with a particular emphasis on female artists such as Elisabeth Vigée-Lebrun and Berthe Morisot. We will also discuss classic films by René Clément and François Truffaut as well as contemporary French films about childhood. Conducted in French.

Requisite: One of the following--FREN 207, 208, 311 or equivalent. Spring semester. Professor Katsaros.

2017-18: Offered in Spring 2018
Other years: Offered in Spring 2011, Fall 2013

347 Dream Worlds: Utopia and the French Imagination

In the aftermath of the French revolution, utopias proliferated in France as perhaps never before. Socialist thinkers such as Charles Fourier and Henri de Saint-Simon invented entire systems designed to improve social justice, equality, and harmony. Utopian dreams were not restricted to political thought, however: technology, science, and the arts also inspired, and gave shape to, visions of a perfect world. This class will be an introduction to utopian thinkers, designers, and artists of the nineteenth and early twentieth century and will ask why utopia had such a strong hold on the French imagination at the time. We will discuss artists’ communes, such as the Ecole de Barbizon; city planning and utopia; the development of science-fiction as a utopian genre; Georges Méliès and the beginnings of film; as well as the link between the creation of the French colonial Empire and utopia, through the example of Algeria.

We will be reading, among other sources, excerpts from Charles Fourier, Henri de Saint-Simon, and Etienne Cabet; futuristic novels by Jules Verne and Villiers de l’Isle-Adam; poetry and essays by Stéphane Mallarmé; and essays by historians Mona Ozouf, François Furet, Antoine Picon, and Michelle Riot-Sarcey. Class materials will also be drawn from film, architectural plans, and the visual arts. Conducted in French.

Requisite: One of the following--FREN 207, 208, 311 or equivalent. Omitted 2017-18. Professor Katsaros.

2017-18: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2016

352 The Space In-Between: Writing Exile and Return in the Twentieth Century

The twentieth century was a century of migrations. Many writers and poets experienced exile, whether displaced by the furious violence of history, forced out of their country by an unbearable political situation, or simply led by their literary ambition. For many, the host country becomes a problematic permanent residency; for others, it is only a passage before an often painful return to the native land. These various experiences intensely mark authors' relationship to writing: suspended between two countries, two languages and two cultures, these poets and writers form challenging conceptions of space and time. In the midst of a violent century, the book becomes a refuge against savagery, or on the contrary a place to cry out one's rage; an intimate territory in a foreign world, a space of questioning and reflection. We will read texts by Aimé Césaire, Albert Camus, Edmond Jabés, Georges Perec, Assia Djebar and Dany Laferrière, and watch films by Jean Rouch, Nurith Aviv and Manthia Diawara. Theoretical texts will include essays by Walter Benjamin, Jacques Derrida, Gilles Deleuze, Edouard Glissant and Edward Said, among others. Conducted in French.

Requisite: One of the following--FREN 207, 208, 311 or equivalent. Omitted 2017-18. Professor Sigal.

 

2017-18: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2016

356 Troubled Minds: The Self under Siege

The coincidence of the “I” and the self might seem redundant, even self-evident. But, in the twentieth century, the very act of writing one’s life, of writing about the self, is often the starting point of a quest that brings authors to express conflicted, paradoxical, even violent ideas about themselves and the world. Whether they aim at revealing the naked truth about their life, or on the contrary attempt to conceal it, they use literature as a repository for their experience, as well as an echo chamber of their convoluted thought. Confronted with such texts, we, the readers, may react with puzzlement or skepticism, rejection or envy. In other words, reading a writer telling about her or his experiences engages our own selves. This class will be the occasion to examine how we read when faced with the “I” of the other. Primary readings may include texts by Charles Baudelaire, Antonin Artaud, Driss Chraïbi, Marguerite Duras, Georges Perec, Roland Barthes and Maryse Condé. Secondary readings may include texts by Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Martin Buber, Philippe Lejeune, and Serge Doubrovsky. Students will engage with the material in three steps: writing a reading journal; presenting their work-in-progress in class; writing a final essay. Conducted in French.

Requisite: One of the following--FREN 207, 208, 311 or equivalent. Omitted 2017-18. Professor Sigal.

2017-18: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2017

359 "What's the Magic Word?" The Power of Literature

The Oxford English Dictionary defines magic as “the use of ritual activities or observances which are intended to influence the course of events or to manipulate the natural world.” Sorcerers use recipes, incantations, and actions, to bend the natural order of things. In this class, we will question why some of the most prominent writers in French modernity have engaged with magical thought in their works. In the nineteenth century, numerous authors used magic as a metaphor to express the irrationality inhibited by a culture obsessed with reason and progress. In the twentieth century, avant-garde movements embraced this trend: writers, poets and artists were avid practitioners of fortune telling, telepathy, astrology and numerology. Concurrently, magic became a prominent subject of modern ethnologists: magical thinking articulated both the dawn of science in religious societies and the persistence of religion in scientific societies, and thus allowed ethnologists to cross-examine two phenomena essential to defining modern societies. Authors took a great interest in these findings. We could link their interest to a desire to produce a language made of words that “do things.” In a way, writers are like magicians whose incantations do not function anymore, as if their language had lost its power. In this class, we will read both literature and ethnology to investigate the ways in which magical thinking infused the birth of literary modernity. We will read literary works by Flaubert (Madame Bovary), Nerval, Artaud, Breton, and Césaire; and critical and ethnographical texts by Mauss, Levi-Strauss, Métraux, De Certeau and Bailly. Conducted in French.

Requisite: One of the following--FREN 207, 208, 311 or equivalent. Fall semester. Professor Sigal.

2017-18: Offered in Fall 2017

360 Masterpieces of French Literature in Translation

A study of great works of French literature. Readings may include: Prévost's Manon Lescaut, Laclos' Dangerous Liaisons, Flaubert's Madame Bovary, Zola's The Beast Within, Huysmans' Against Nature, Proust's Swann's Way, and Camus' The Stranger. Conducted in English. Omitted 2017-18. Professor de la Carrera.

2017-18: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2009, Fall 2010, Spring 2012, Spring 2016

361 European Film

(Offered as FREN 361 and FAMS 321)  A study of some of the greatest French New Wave (1959-1963) films, as well as earlier French films that influenced the New Wave. From the New Wave we shall view Truffaut’s The 400 Blows; Godard’s Breathless, My Life to Live, and Contempt; Hiroshima mon amour and Last Year at Marienbad by Resnais. We shall also study Zero for Conduct (1933) and L’Atalante (1934) by Jean Vigo; Boudu Saved From the Waters (1932) Grand Illusion (1937), and The Rules of the Game (1939) by Jean Renoir; Jean-Pierre Melville’s Bob le Flambeur (1956) and A Man Escaped (1956) by Robert Bresson. No previous training in film analysis is required. Conducted in English.

Omitted 2017-18. Professor Caplan.

2017-18: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008, Spring 2013, Spring 2016

369 Madame Butterfly Lives: Cross-Cultural Exchanges in France and Japan

(Offered as ASLC 338 and FREN 369)  In 1867, in the waning days of the Tokugawa shogunate, the Japanese authorities dispatched several geisha to the Paris World Exposition to represent a country few Europeans knew anything about. Since these inauspicious beginnings, the culture of each country has come to have a decisive hold on the imagination of the other across a wide array of fields. By the time Jean-Paul Sartre arrived in Tokyo almost a century later, the cultural ties were so extensive that the French philosopher was greeted by a media frenzy normally reserved for celebrities. Today, Japanese comic books are widely available in French translation, and French cinema shows regularly on Japanese screens. This interdisciplinary course tracks the circulation of texts, ideas, images, and people between France and Japan from the late nineteenth century to the present, allowing us to address issues of national identity, Orientalism, exoticism, gender, media culture, and artistic modernism, among other themes. Course materials will be drawn from literature, visual art, opera, film, dance, fashion, design, philosophy, and history. The class is taught in English and requires no prior knowledge of either count

Omitted 2017-18. Professors Katsaros and Van Compernolle.

 

2017-18: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2016

410H French in Practice for Senior Majors

The course provides a forum for seniors for the practice of spoken French at the advanced level with native speakers. Students will prepare and deliver presentations; practice interviewing techniques; and learn and practice using technical vocabulary from a variety of disciplines in the sciences, social sciences, and humanities.  The choice of short readings and vocabulary sets will vary each time the course is offered and will reflect the interests of the students enrolled. Spring semester: The Department

Requisite: Senior status.  Open only to French majors.  Spring semester.  The Department.

2017-18: Offered in Spring 2018
Other years: Offered in Spring 2016, Spring 2017

473 Books That Bind

(Offered as FREN 473 and ARHA 473) This seminar stages the connections, associations, and interactions that bind together books and their users. It is premised upon the idea that books (manuscripts, printed texts, digital publications, and related media) initiate complex exchanges and relations: they enrich our world, affect our perceptions, stimulate our sensations, and trigger our emotions. Knowledge perpetuates itself in books: books are the crossroads where one consciousness pursues the consciousness of the other, the dwellings where communities are founded or dismantled, and faiths united and untied. In this seminar, we will bring together the methodologies of art history, textual analysis, ethnography, material culture, and art making and curating in order to investigate the place of books in our society and in history. Each session will be devoted to a singular aspect of the book, broadly conceived. Possible topics may include the book as an object of collection; colonial and post-colonial uses of the book; the intersection of body and codex; the book as talisman and amulet; diverse practices of reading and assembling the page; the precarious status of the author; and the materiality of the book. In parallel, throughout the semester, students will conceive an exhibition (and an exhibition catalog) about the Book, to be presented at Frost Library.  Conducted in English.

Requisite: One course in History of Art, French, Studio Art, History, Anthropology, or related discipline. Permission required for first-year students.  Limited to 20 students. Spring semester. Professors Sigal and Rice.

2017-18: Offered in Spring 2018

490 Special Topics

Independent Reading Courses. Full course.

Admission with consent of the instructor required. Fall and spring semesters.

2017-18: Offered in Fall 2017 and Spring 2018
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Fall 2008, Fall 2009, Fall 2010, Fall 2011, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017

498, 499, 499D Senior Departmental Honors

A single course.

Fall semester. The Department.

2017-18: Offered in Fall 2017
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Fall 2008, Fall 2009, Fall 2010, Fall 2011, Fall 2012, Fall 2013, Fall 2014, Fall 2015, Fall 2016

About Amherst College

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French

Professors de la Carrera‡, Katsaros (Chair), Rockwell†, and Rosbottom; Assistant Professors Nader-Esfahani and Sigal; Senior Lecturer Uhden.

*On leave 2017-18.

† On leave fall semester 2017-18.

‡ On leave spring semester 2017-18.

The objective of the French major is to learn about French culture directly through its language and principally by way of its literature. Emphasis in courses is upon examination of significant authors or problems rather than on chronological survey. We read texts closely from a modern critical perspective, but without isolating them from their cultural context. To give students a better idea of the development of French culture throughout the centuries, we encourage majors to select courses from a wide range of historical periods, from the Middle Ages to the present.

Fluent and correct use of the language is essential to successful completion of the major. Most courses are taught in French. The Department also urges majors to spend a semester or a year studying in a French-speaking country. The major in French provides effective preparation for graduate work, but it is not conceived as strictly pre-professional training.

Major Program. The Department of French aims at flexibility and responds to the plans and interests of the major within a structure that affords diversity of experience in French literature and continuous training in the use of the language.

A major (both rite and with Departmental Honors) will normally consist of a minimum of eight courses, six of which must be courses that are conducted in French. Students may choose to take (a) eight courses in French literature and civilization; or (b) six courses in French literature and civilization and two related courses with departmental approval. In either case, a minimum of four courses must be taken from the French offerings at Amherst College. One of these four must be taken during the senior year. All courses offered by the Department above FREN 103 may count for the major. Among these eight courses, one must be chosen from the Middle Ages or Renaissance, and one from the seventeenth or eighteenth centuries. (FREN 311 satisfies either of these distribution requirements.) With departmental approval up to four courses taken in a study abroad program may count toward the eight required courses for the major. Comprehensive examinations must be completed no later than the seventh week of the spring semester of the senior year.

Departmental Honors Program. Candidates for Departmental Honors must write a thesis in addition to fulfilling the course requirements for the major described above. Students who wish to write a thesis should begin to develop a topic during their junior year and must submit a detailed thesis proposal to the Department at the beginning of the second week of fall semester classes. Subject to departmental approval of the thesis proposal, candidates for Departmental Honors will enroll in FREN 498 and 499 during their senior year. (FREN 498 and 499 will not be counted towards the eight-course requirement for the major.) Oral examinations on the thesis will be scheduled in late spring.

Foreign Study. A program of study approved by the Department for a junior year in France has the support of the Department as a significant means of enlarging the major’s comprehension of French civilization and as the most effective method of developing mastery of the language.

Exchange Fellowships. Graduating seniors are eligible for two Exchange Fellowships for study in France: one fellowship as Teaching Assistant in American Civilization and Language at the University of Dijon; the other as Exchange Fellow, Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris.

Course numbering system. FREN 101-208 are French Language and Composition courses. FREN 101-207 are numbered by degree of difficulty. FREN 207, 208 and 311 have identical prerequisites and may be taken in any order. All courses numbered 320 and above, with the exception of those courses conducted in English, list FREN 207, 208, and 311 as prerequisites. Courses numbered 320 and above are advanced courses but are not ranked by order of difficulty. They are organized, instead, by period in the following manner:

311-319: French Literature and Civilization

320-329: Medieval and Renaissance Literature and Culture

330-339: Seventeenth- and Eighteenth-Century Literature and Culture

340-349: Nineteenth-Century Literature and Culture

350-359: Twentieth- and Twenty-First Century Literature and Culture

360-369: Special Courses

470 +: Advanced Courses

498-499: Senior Departmental Honors

490: Special Topics

101 Elementary French

This course features intensive work on French grammar, with emphasis on the acquisition of basic active skills (speaking, reading, writing and vocabulary building). We will be using the multimedia program, Totem, which employs only authentic French, allowing students to use the language colloquially and creatively in a short amount of time. Three hours a week for explanation and demonstration, plus small sections with French assistants. This course prepares students for FREN 103. For students without previous training in French.

Fall and spring semesters.  Senior Lecturer Uhden and Assistants.

2017-18: Offered in Fall 2017 and Spring 2018
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Spring 2008, Fall 2008, Spring 2009, Fall 2009, Spring 2010, Fall 2010, Spring 2011, Fall 2011, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017

103 Intermediate French

Intensive review and coverage of all basic French grammar points with emphasis on the understanding of structural and functional aspects of the language and acquisition of the basic active skills (speaking, reading, writing and systematic vocabulary building). We will be using the multimedia program, Imaginez. Three hours a week for explanation and demonstration, plus small sections with French assistants. This course prepares students for FREN 205.

Requisite: FREN 101 or two years of secondary school French. Fall and spring semesters. Senior Lecturer Uhden and Assistants.

2017-18: Offered in Fall 2017 and Spring 2018
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Spring 2008, Fall 2008, Spring 2009, Fall 2009, Spring 2010, Fall 2010, Spring 2011, Fall 2011, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017

205 Language and Literature

An introduction to the critical reading of French literary and non-literary texts; a review of French grammar; training in composition, conversation and listening comprehension. Texts will be drawn from significant short stories, poetry and films. The survey of different literary genres serves also to contrast several views of French culture. Successful completion of FREN 205 prepares students for FREN 207, 208, 311 or 312. Conducted in French. Three hours a week.

Requisite: FREN 103 or three to four years of secondary school French. Fall semester: Professor de la Carrera. Spring semester: Professor Rockwell.

2017-18: Offered in Fall 2017 and Spring 2018
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Spring 2008, Fall 2008, Spring 2009, Fall 2009, Spring 2010, Fall 2010, Spring 2011, Fall 2011, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017

207 Introduction to French Literature and Culture

Through class discussion, debates, and frequent short papers, students develop effective skills in self-expression, analysis, and interpretation. Literary texts, articles on current events, and films are studied within the context of the changing structures of French society and France’s complex relationship to its recent past. Assignments include both creative and analytic approaches to writing. Some grammar review as necessary, as well as work on understanding spoken French using video materials. Highly recommended for students planning to study abroad.

Requisite: FREN 205, or completion of AP French, or four years of secondary school French in a strong program. Fall semester: Professors Katsaros and Sigal. Spring semester: Professor Sigal.

2017-18: Offered in Fall 2017 and Spring 2018
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Spring 2008, Fall 2008, Spring 2009, Fall 2009, Spring 2010, Fall 2010, Spring 2011, Fall 2011, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017

208 French Conversation

To gain as much confidence as possible in idiomatic French, we discuss French social institutions and culture, trying to appreciate differences between French and American viewpoints. Our conversational exchanges will touch upon such topics as French education, art and architecture, the status of women, the spectrum of political parties, minority groups, religion, and the position of France and French-speaking countries in the world. Supplementary work with audio and video materials.

Requisite: FREN 205, or completion of AP French, or four years of secondary school French in a strong program. Limited to 16 students. Fall semester: Professor Nader-Esfahani. Spring semester: Professors Katsaros and Nader-Esfahani. 

2017-18: Offered in Fall 2017 and Spring 2018
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Spring 2008, Fall 2008, Spring 2009, Spring 2010, Spring 2011, Spring 2012, Spring 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017

314 From Astérix to Houellebecq: Translating Contemporary French

This course aims at improving the students' knowledge of the contemporary French language and of contemporary French society through translation. We will draw from a wide variety of sources, such as fiction, poetry, film, songs, press articles, graphic novels and advertising, to gain a better understanding of idiomatic French and of the translation process. Conducted in French.

Requisite: FREN 207 or 208 or the equivalent. Limited to 17 students. Omitted 2017-18. Professor Katsaros.

2017-18: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2014, Fall 2015, Fall 2016

320 Literary Masks of the Late French Middle Ages

The rise in the rate of literacy which characterized the early French Middle Ages coincided with radical reappraisals of the nature and function of reading and poetic production. This course will investigate the ramifications of these reappraisals for the literature of the late French Middle Ages. Readings may include such major works as Guillaume de Dole by Jean Renart, the anonymous Roman de Renart, the Roman de la Rose by Guillaume de Lorris, selections from the continuation of the Roman de la Rose by Jean de Meun, anonymous Fabliaux, and poetic works by Christine de Pisan, Guillaume de Machaut, Jean Froissart, and Charles d’Orléans. Particular attention will be paid to the philosophical presuppositions surrounding the production of erotic allegorical discourse. We shall also address such topics as the relationships between lyric and narrative and among disguise, death and aging in the context of medieval discourses on love. All texts will be read in modern French. Conducted in French.

Requisite: One of the following--FREN 207, 208, 311 or equivalent. Omitted 2017-18. Professor Rockwell.

2017-18: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Spring 2010, Spring 2013, Spring 2016

321 Amor and Metaphor in the Early French Middle Ages

The eleventh and twelfth centuries witnessed social, political, and poetic innovations that rival in impact the information revolution of recent decades. Essential to these innovations was the transformation from an oral to a book-oriented culture. This course will investigate the problems of that transition, as reflected in such major works of the early French Middle Ages as: The Song of Roland, the Tristan legend, the Roman d’Eneas, the Arthurian romances of Chrétien de Troyes, anonymous texts concerning the Holy Grail and the death of King Arthur. We shall also address questions relevant to this transition, such as the emergence of medieval allegory, the rise of literacy, and the relationship among love, sex, and hierarchy. All texts will be read in modern French. Conducted in French.

Requisite: One of the following--FREN 207, 208, 311, or equivalent. Spring semester.  Professor Rockwell.

2017-18: Offered in Spring 2018
Other years: Offered in Fall 2009, Spring 2012, Spring 2015

324 Studies in Medieval Romance Literature and Culture

The study of a major author, literary problem, or question from the medieval period with a particular focus announced each time the course is offered. The topic for spring 2017 was: "Dante and the French."  We will study the social, philosophical, poetic and institutional currents that contribute to the emergence of allegorical texts in the period between the twelfth and the late-fourteenth centuries.  Readings include the Quest for the Holy Grail and works by Chrétien de Troyes, Guillaume de Lorris, Jean de Meung, Dante Alighieri, and Marie de France. All readings will be done in English translation. Conducted in English. 

Omitted 2017-18  Professor Rockwell.

 2017-18: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2008, Spring 2011, Spring 2014, Spring 2017

327 Humanism and the Renaissance

Humanists came to distrust medieval institutions and models. Through an analysis of the most influential works of the French Renaissance, we shall study the variety of literary innovations which grew out of that distrust with an eye to their social and philosophical underpinnings. We shall address topics relevant to these innovations such as Neoplatonism, the grotesque, notions of the body, love, beauty, order and disorder. Readings will be drawn from the works of such major writers as: Erasmus, Rabelais, Marguerite de Navarre, Montaigne, Ronsard, Du Bellay, Maurice Scève and Louise Labé. The most difficult texts will be read in modern French. Conducted in French.

Requisite: One of the following--FREN 207, 208, 311 or equivalent. Omitted 2017-18. Professor Rockwell.

2017-18: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008, Fall 2010, Fall 2013, Fall 2016

329 True or False: The Search for Reality in Early Modern France

The Age of Information Technology has broadened our access to material from all around the world and has connected us to people and regions that would otherwise remain in the shadows. Furthermore, the Internet has given voice to another body, that of ordinary people, that now exists alongside more conventional authorities and outlets. Social media enables every individual to publicize him or herself and become a public figure; Wikipedia now co-exists alongside scholarly journals and academic e-books; WikiLeaks and hacking bring private matters of leaders and everyday people into the public eye; and Twitter has become a formidable rival to traditional news outlets in its release of breaking news. Conversely, this same democratization of information, in both its production and its representation, has problematized the relationship between the private and the public, and it has raised questions about the truth behind these multiple and often conflicting realities. Overwhelmed by the sheer quantity of information and by myriad perspectives, how can we ever be certain of what we know? How do we distinguish the true from the false, essence from appearance?   A period marked by a flourishing print culture and the production and circulation of knowledge, by religious and political conflicts, by new discoveries, inventions and methods of scientific inquiry, and by multiple arenas for “talk” and criticism--from town squares to court, from personal correspondence to the essay, from the poem to the pamphlet--early modern France offers a compelling point of comparison as we reflect upon these questions. What constitutes a lie? How is opinion constructed, and how might it differ from truth? What, or who, is a truth-teller? What role do rumor and gossip play in creating or challenging beliefs and reputations? What happens when something private is made public? Is the public face of an individual to be trusted, or is it simply a mask? What is evidence? Why is the notion of “illusion” a central preoccupation of writers, especially at the turn of the century? In this course, we will investigate the dynamic among the false, the real, and the true, and we will examine how rumor, gossip, belief, opinion, appearance, doubt,evidence, and judgement work to create, interrogate, and even undo truths and falsehoods. Readings will draw on works of fiction and non-fiction from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and may include major figures such as Ronsard, Marguerite de Navarre, Montaigne, Descartes, Corneille, Madame de Sévigné, Madame de Lafayette, and Racine. Conducted in French.

Requisite: One of the following—FREN 207, 208, 311 or equivalent.  Spring semester.  Professor Nader-Esfahani.

2017-18: Offered in Spring 2018

330 The Doing and Undoing of Genres in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries

This course explores the formation and transformation of various genres in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century literature, with a particular focus announced each time the course is offered. The topic for 2015-16 was "The Eighteenth-Century Novel and Theater in France."  Readings included texts by Diderot, Voltaire, Marivaux, Prévost, Laclos, and Beaumarchais. Conducted in French.

Requisite: One of the following--FREN 207, 208, 311 or equivalent. Omitted 2017-18. Professor de la Carrera.

2017-18: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2008, Spring 2011, Fall 2012, Fall 2015

338 The Republic of Letters

An exploration of Enlightenment thought within the context of the collaborative institutions and activities that fostered its development, including literary and artistic salons, cafés, and the Encyclopédie.  We will read texts by Rousseau, Diderot, Voltaire, and others, drawn from the domains of literature, philosophy, memoirs, and correspondence. To get a better idea of what it might have been like to live in the eighteenth century and be a participant in the “Republic of Letters,” we will also read a variety of essays in French cultural history. Conducted in French.                                                                                                                

Requisite: One of the following—FREN 207, 208, 311 or equivalent. Fall semester. Professor de la Carrera.

2017-18: Offered in Fall 2017
Other years: Offered in Fall 2008, Fall 2011

339 Worldliness and Otherworldliness

Many eighteenth-century writers imagined and invented other, better societies. To attenuate their criticisms of the social, political, and religious structures of the ancien régime, they had recourse to the viewpoint of fictional "outsiders" who arrive in France as if for the first time and describe what they see in minute and telling detail. We will analyze the role that these "other" worlds and the "otherworldly" point of view played in the development of eighteenth-century thought and literature, as well as some of the repercussions that these questions have had in twentieth-century thought. Readings will include Montesquieu's Lettres persanes, Rousseau's Discours sur l'origine de l'inégalité, Diderot's Supplément au Voyage de Bougainville, and Madame de Graffigny's Lettres d'une Péruvienne, as well as Freud's Civilization and Its Discontents and a selection of essays by Claude Lévi-Strauss. Conducted in French.

Requisite: One of the following--FREN 207, 208, 311, or equivalent. Omitted 2017-18. Professor de la Carrera.

2017-18: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008, Fall 2009, Spring 2012, Spring 2015, Spring 2017

340 Colonial Cultures: Images of the French Colonial Empire

In the early years of the twentieth century, the French Colonial Empire stretched from Algiers to Antananarivo and from Hanoi to Cayenne. The Maghreb, French West Africa, French Equatorial Africa, the Indo-Chinese peninsula, and Madagascar all lived under French rule. This class will analyze the creation and dissemination of “colonial cultures” in the wake of French imperialism. From the early nineteenth century on, military conquest went hand in hand with the production of a diverse and wide-ranging colonial imaginary. Schoolbooks, colonial exhibitions, natural history museums, visual artefacts ranging from paintings to advertisements, literary works, songs, and films inspired by “Greater France” proliferated in French culture. Drawing from selected case studies, we will explore the many forms taken by the French colonial imagination. We will also examine critiques of colonialism, as well as strategies and modalities of resistance to the colonial imaginary.  Conducted in French.

Requisite: One of the following--FREN 207, 208, 311 or equivalent. Fall semester. Professor Katsaros.

2017-18: Offered in Fall 2017

342 Women of Ill Repute: Prostitutes in Nineteenth-Century French Literature

(Offered as FREN 342 and SWAG 342) Prostitutes play a central role in nineteenth-century French fiction, especially of the realistic and naturalistic kind. Both widely available and largely visible in nineteenth-century France, prostitutes inspired many negative stereotypes. But, as the very product of the culture that marginalized her, the prostitute offered an ideal vehicle for writers to criticize the hypocrisy of bourgeois mores. The socially stratified world of prostitutes, ranging from low-ranking sex workers to high-class courtesans, presents a fascinating microcosm of French society as a whole. We will read selections from Honoré de Balzac, Splendeur et misère des courtisanes; Victor Hugo, Les Misérables; and Gustave Flaubert, L’éducation sentimentale; as well as Boule-de-Suif and other stories by Guy de Maupassant; La fille Elisa by Edmond de Goncourt; Nana by Emile Zola; Marthe by Joris-Karl Huysmans; La dame aux camélias by Alexandre Dumas fils; and extracts from Du côté de chez Swann by Marcel Proust. Additional readings will be drawn from the fields of history (Alain Corbin, Michelle Perrot) and critical theory (Walter Benjamin, Michel Foucault, Julia Kristeva). We will also discuss visual representations of prostitutes in nineteenth-century French art (Gavarni, Daumier, C. Guys, Degas, Manet, Toulouse-Lautrec). Conducted in French.

Requisite: One of the following--FREN 207, 208, 311 or equivalent. Omitted 2017-18. Professor Katsaros.

2017-18: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2009, Fall 2012, Fall 2015

346 Enfants Terribles: Childhood in French Literature and Culture from Rousseau to the Surrealist

Images of childhood have become omnipresent in our culture. We fetishize childhood as an idyllic time, preserved from the difficulties and compromises of adult life; but the notion that children’s individual lives are worth recording is a relatively modern one.  Drawing from literature, children's literature, anthropology, philosophy, art, and film, we will try to map out the journey from the idea of childhood as a phase to be outgrown to the modern conception of childhood as a crucial moment of self-definition. We will pay particular attention to the issues of nature against nurture through the example of the "wild child" Victor. We will also discuss theories of child-rearing, the emergence of children’s literature, and the importance of childhood in avant-garde movements.  

Readings will include selections from Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s treatise on education, L’Emile; Victor de l'Aveyron by Dr. Jean Itard; Les Malheurs de Sophie by the Comtesse de Ségur; stories by Guy de Maupassant; selected poems Baudelaire and Rimbaud; Jules Vallès, L'Enfant; and the Surrealist play Victor ou les enfants au pouvoir by Roger Vitrac. We will examine nineteenth-century artists' visions of childhood, with a particular emphasis on female artists such as Elisabeth Vigée-Lebrun and Berthe Morisot. We will also discuss classic films by René Clément and François Truffaut as well as contemporary French films about childhood. Conducted in French.

Requisite: One of the following--FREN 207, 208, 311 or equivalent. Spring semester. Professor Katsaros.

2017-18: Offered in Spring 2018
Other years: Offered in Spring 2011, Fall 2013

347 Dream Worlds: Utopia and the French Imagination

In the aftermath of the French revolution, utopias proliferated in France as perhaps never before. Socialist thinkers such as Charles Fourier and Henri de Saint-Simon invented entire systems designed to improve social justice, equality, and harmony. Utopian dreams were not restricted to political thought, however: technology, science, and the arts also inspired, and gave shape to, visions of a perfect world. This class will be an introduction to utopian thinkers, designers, and artists of the nineteenth and early twentieth century and will ask why utopia had such a strong hold on the French imagination at the time. We will discuss artists’ communes, such as the Ecole de Barbizon; city planning and utopia; the development of science-fiction as a utopian genre; Georges Méliès and the beginnings of film; as well as the link between the creation of the French colonial Empire and utopia, through the example of Algeria.

We will be reading, among other sources, excerpts from Charles Fourier, Henri de Saint-Simon, and Etienne Cabet; futuristic novels by Jules Verne and Villiers de l’Isle-Adam; poetry and essays by Stéphane Mallarmé; and essays by historians Mona Ozouf, François Furet, Antoine Picon, and Michelle Riot-Sarcey. Class materials will also be drawn from film, architectural plans, and the visual arts. Conducted in French.

Requisite: One of the following--FREN 207, 208, 311 or equivalent. Omitted 2017-18. Professor Katsaros.

2017-18: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2016

352 The Space In-Between: Writing Exile and Return in the Twentieth Century

The twentieth century was a century of migrations. Many writers and poets experienced exile, whether displaced by the furious violence of history, forced out of their country by an unbearable political situation, or simply led by their literary ambition. For many, the host country becomes a problematic permanent residency; for others, it is only a passage before an often painful return to the native land. These various experiences intensely mark authors' relationship to writing: suspended between two countries, two languages and two cultures, these poets and writers form challenging conceptions of space and time. In the midst of a violent century, the book becomes a refuge against savagery, or on the contrary a place to cry out one's rage; an intimate territory in a foreign world, a space of questioning and reflection. We will read texts by Aimé Césaire, Albert Camus, Edmond Jabés, Georges Perec, Assia Djebar and Dany Laferrière, and watch films by Jean Rouch, Nurith Aviv and Manthia Diawara. Theoretical texts will include essays by Walter Benjamin, Jacques Derrida, Gilles Deleuze, Edouard Glissant and Edward Said, among others. Conducted in French.

Requisite: One of the following--FREN 207, 208, 311 or equivalent. Omitted 2017-18. Professor Sigal.

 

2017-18: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2016

356 Troubled Minds: The Self under Siege

The coincidence of the “I” and the self might seem redundant, even self-evident. But, in the twentieth century, the very act of writing one’s life, of writing about the self, is often the starting point of a quest that brings authors to express conflicted, paradoxical, even violent ideas about themselves and the world. Whether they aim at revealing the naked truth about their life, or on the contrary attempt to conceal it, they use literature as a repository for their experience, as well as an echo chamber of their convoluted thought. Confronted with such texts, we, the readers, may react with puzzlement or skepticism, rejection or envy. In other words, reading a writer telling about her or his experiences engages our own selves. This class will be the occasion to examine how we read when faced with the “I” of the other. Primary readings may include texts by Charles Baudelaire, Antonin Artaud, Driss Chraïbi, Marguerite Duras, Georges Perec, Roland Barthes and Maryse Condé. Secondary readings may include texts by Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Martin Buber, Philippe Lejeune, and Serge Doubrovsky. Students will engage with the material in three steps: writing a reading journal; presenting their work-in-progress in class; writing a final essay. Conducted in French.

Requisite: One of the following--FREN 207, 208, 311 or equivalent. Omitted 2017-18. Professor Sigal.

2017-18: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2017

359 "What's the Magic Word?" The Power of Literature

The Oxford English Dictionary defines magic as “the use of ritual activities or observances which are intended to influence the course of events or to manipulate the natural world.” Sorcerers use recipes, incantations, and actions, to bend the natural order of things. In this class, we will question why some of the most prominent writers in French modernity have engaged with magical thought in their works. In the nineteenth century, numerous authors used magic as a metaphor to express the irrationality inhibited by a culture obsessed with reason and progress. In the twentieth century, avant-garde movements embraced this trend: writers, poets and artists were avid practitioners of fortune telling, telepathy, astrology and numerology. Concurrently, magic became a prominent subject of modern ethnologists: magical thinking articulated both the dawn of science in religious societies and the persistence of religion in scientific societies, and thus allowed ethnologists to cross-examine two phenomena essential to defining modern societies. Authors took a great interest in these findings. We could link their interest to a desire to produce a language made of words that “do things.” In a way, writers are like magicians whose incantations do not function anymore, as if their language had lost its power. In this class, we will read both literature and ethnology to investigate the ways in which magical thinking infused the birth of literary modernity. We will read literary works by Flaubert (Madame Bovary), Nerval, Artaud, Breton, and Césaire; and critical and ethnographical texts by Mauss, Levi-Strauss, Métraux, De Certeau and Bailly. Conducted in French.

Requisite: One of the following--FREN 207, 208, 311 or equivalent. Fall semester. Professor Sigal.

2017-18: Offered in Fall 2017

360 Masterpieces of French Literature in Translation

A study of great works of French literature. Readings may include: Prévost's Manon Lescaut, Laclos' Dangerous Liaisons, Flaubert's Madame Bovary, Zola's The Beast Within, Huysmans' Against Nature, Proust's Swann's Way, and Camus' The Stranger. Conducted in English. Omitted 2017-18. Professor de la Carrera.

2017-18: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2009, Fall 2010, Spring 2012, Spring 2016

361 European Film

(Offered as FREN 361 and FAMS 321)  A study of some of the greatest French New Wave (1959-1963) films, as well as earlier French films that influenced the New Wave. From the New Wave we shall view Truffaut’s The 400 Blows; Godard’s Breathless, My Life to Live, and Contempt; Hiroshima mon amour and Last Year at Marienbad by Resnais. We shall also study Zero for Conduct (1933) and L’Atalante (1934) by Jean Vigo; Boudu Saved From the Waters (1932) Grand Illusion (1937), and The Rules of the Game (1939) by Jean Renoir; Jean-Pierre Melville’s Bob le Flambeur (1956) and A Man Escaped (1956) by Robert Bresson. No previous training in film analysis is required. Conducted in English.

Omitted 2017-18. Professor Caplan.

2017-18: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008, Spring 2013, Spring 2016

369 Madame Butterfly Lives: Cross-Cultural Exchanges in France and Japan

(Offered as ASLC 338 and FREN 369)  In 1867, in the waning days of the Tokugawa shogunate, the Japanese authorities dispatched several geisha to the Paris World Exposition to represent a country few Europeans knew anything about. Since these inauspicious beginnings, the culture of each country has come to have a decisive hold on the imagination of the other across a wide array of fields. By the time Jean-Paul Sartre arrived in Tokyo almost a century later, the cultural ties were so extensive that the French philosopher was greeted by a media frenzy normally reserved for celebrities. Today, Japanese comic books are widely available in French translation, and French cinema shows regularly on Japanese screens. This interdisciplinary course tracks the circulation of texts, ideas, images, and people between France and Japan from the late nineteenth century to the present, allowing us to address issues of national identity, Orientalism, exoticism, gender, media culture, and artistic modernism, among other themes. Course materials will be drawn from literature, visual art, opera, film, dance, fashion, design, philosophy, and history. The class is taught in English and requires no prior knowledge of either count

Omitted 2017-18. Professors Katsaros and Van Compernolle.

 

2017-18: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2016

410H French in Practice for Senior Majors

The course provides a forum for seniors for the practice of spoken French at the advanced level with native speakers. Students will prepare and deliver presentations; practice interviewing techniques; and learn and practice using technical vocabulary from a variety of disciplines in the sciences, social sciences, and humanities.  The choice of short readings and vocabulary sets will vary each time the course is offered and will reflect the interests of the students enrolled. Spring semester: The Department

Requisite: Senior status.  Open only to French majors.  Spring semester.  The Department.

2017-18: Offered in Spring 2018
Other years: Offered in Spring 2016, Spring 2017

473 Books That Bind

(Offered as FREN 473 and ARHA 473) This seminar stages the connections, associations, and interactions that bind together books and their users. It is premised upon the idea that books (manuscripts, printed texts, digital publications, and related media) initiate complex exchanges and relations: they enrich our world, affect our perceptions, stimulate our sensations, and trigger our emotions. Knowledge perpetuates itself in books: books are the crossroads where one consciousness pursues the consciousness of the other, the dwellings where communities are founded or dismantled, and faiths united and untied. In this seminar, we will bring together the methodologies of art history, textual analysis, ethnography, material culture, and art making and curating in order to investigate the place of books in our society and in history. Each session will be devoted to a singular aspect of the book, broadly conceived. Possible topics may include the book as an object of collection; colonial and post-colonial uses of the book; the intersection of body and codex; the book as talisman and amulet; diverse practices of reading and assembling the page; the precarious status of the author; and the materiality of the book. In parallel, throughout the semester, students will conceive an exhibition (and an exhibition catalog) about the Book, to be presented at Frost Library.  Conducted in English.

Requisite: One course in History of Art, French, Studio Art, History, Anthropology, or related discipline. Permission required for first-year students.  Limited to 20 students. Spring semester. Professors Sigal and Rice.

2017-18: Offered in Spring 2018

490 Special Topics

Independent Reading Courses. Full course.

Admission with consent of the instructor required. Fall and spring semesters.

2017-18: Offered in Fall 2017 and Spring 2018
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Fall 2008, Fall 2009, Fall 2010, Fall 2011, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017

498, 499, 499D Senior Departmental Honors

A single course.

Fall semester. The Department.

2017-18: Offered in Fall 2017
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Fall 2008, Fall 2009, Fall 2010, Fall 2011, Fall 2012, Fall 2013, Fall 2014, Fall 2015, Fall 2016

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French

Professors de la Carrera‡, Katsaros (Chair), Rockwell†, and Rosbottom; Assistant Professors Nader-Esfahani and Sigal; Senior Lecturer Uhden.

*On leave 2017-18.

† On leave fall semester 2017-18.

‡ On leave spring semester 2017-18.

The objective of the French major is to learn about French culture directly through its language and principally by way of its literature. Emphasis in courses is upon examination of significant authors or problems rather than on chronological survey. We read texts closely from a modern critical perspective, but without isolating them from their cultural context. To give students a better idea of the development of French culture throughout the centuries, we encourage majors to select courses from a wide range of historical periods, from the Middle Ages to the present.

Fluent and correct use of the language is essential to successful completion of the major. Most courses are taught in French. The Department also urges majors to spend a semester or a year studying in a French-speaking country. The major in French provides effective preparation for graduate work, but it is not conceived as strictly pre-professional training.

Major Program. The Department of French aims at flexibility and responds to the plans and interests of the major within a structure that affords diversity of experience in French literature and continuous training in the use of the language.

A major (both rite and with Departmental Honors) will normally consist of a minimum of eight courses, six of which must be courses that are conducted in French. Students may choose to take (a) eight courses in French literature and civilization; or (b) six courses in French literature and civilization and two related courses with departmental approval. In either case, a minimum of four courses must be taken from the French offerings at Amherst College. One of these four must be taken during the senior year. All courses offered by the Department above FREN 103 may count for the major. Among these eight courses, one must be chosen from the Middle Ages or Renaissance, and one from the seventeenth or eighteenth centuries. (FREN 311 satisfies either of these distribution requirements.) With departmental approval up to four courses taken in a study abroad program may count toward the eight required courses for the major. Comprehensive examinations must be completed no later than the seventh week of the spring semester of the senior year.

Departmental Honors Program. Candidates for Departmental Honors must write a thesis in addition to fulfilling the course requirements for the major described above. Students who wish to write a thesis should begin to develop a topic during their junior year and must submit a detailed thesis proposal to the Department at the beginning of the second week of fall semester classes. Subject to departmental approval of the thesis proposal, candidates for Departmental Honors will enroll in FREN 498 and 499 during their senior year. (FREN 498 and 499 will not be counted towards the eight-course requirement for the major.) Oral examinations on the thesis will be scheduled in late spring.

Foreign Study. A program of study approved by the Department for a junior year in France has the support of the Department as a significant means of enlarging the major’s comprehension of French civilization and as the most effective method of developing mastery of the language.

Exchange Fellowships. Graduating seniors are eligible for two Exchange Fellowships for study in France: one fellowship as Teaching Assistant in American Civilization and Language at the University of Dijon; the other as Exchange Fellow, Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris.

Course numbering system. FREN 101-208 are French Language and Composition courses. FREN 101-207 are numbered by degree of difficulty. FREN 207, 208 and 311 have identical prerequisites and may be taken in any order. All courses numbered 320 and above, with the exception of those courses conducted in English, list FREN 207, 208, and 311 as prerequisites. Courses numbered 320 and above are advanced courses but are not ranked by order of difficulty. They are organized, instead, by period in the following manner:

311-319: French Literature and Civilization

320-329: Medieval and Renaissance Literature and Culture

330-339: Seventeenth- and Eighteenth-Century Literature and Culture

340-349: Nineteenth-Century Literature and Culture

350-359: Twentieth- and Twenty-First Century Literature and Culture

360-369: Special Courses

470 +: Advanced Courses

498-499: Senior Departmental Honors

490: Special Topics

101 Elementary French

This course features intensive work on French grammar, with emphasis on the acquisition of basic active skills (speaking, reading, writing and vocabulary building). We will be using the multimedia program, Totem, which employs only authentic French, allowing students to use the language colloquially and creatively in a short amount of time. Three hours a week for explanation and demonstration, plus small sections with French assistants. This course prepares students for FREN 103. For students without previous training in French.

Fall and spring semesters.  Senior Lecturer Uhden and Assistants.

2017-18: Offered in Fall 2017 and Spring 2018
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Spring 2008, Fall 2008, Spring 2009, Fall 2009, Spring 2010, Fall 2010, Spring 2011, Fall 2011, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017

103 Intermediate French

Intensive review and coverage of all basic French grammar points with emphasis on the understanding of structural and functional aspects of the language and acquisition of the basic active skills (speaking, reading, writing and systematic vocabulary building). We will be using the multimedia program, Imaginez. Three hours a week for explanation and demonstration, plus small sections with French assistants. This course prepares students for FREN 205.

Requisite: FREN 101 or two years of secondary school French. Fall and spring semesters. Senior Lecturer Uhden and Assistants.

2017-18: Offered in Fall 2017 and Spring 2018
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Spring 2008, Fall 2008, Spring 2009, Fall 2009, Spring 2010, Fall 2010, Spring 2011, Fall 2011, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017

205 Language and Literature

An introduction to the critical reading of French literary and non-literary texts; a review of French grammar; training in composition, conversation and listening comprehension. Texts will be drawn from significant short stories, poetry and films. The survey of different literary genres serves also to contrast several views of French culture. Successful completion of FREN 205 prepares students for FREN 207, 208, 311 or 312. Conducted in French. Three hours a week.

Requisite: FREN 103 or three to four years of secondary school French. Fall semester: Professor de la Carrera. Spring semester: Professor Rockwell.

2017-18: Offered in Fall 2017 and Spring 2018
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Spring 2008, Fall 2008, Spring 2009, Fall 2009, Spring 2010, Fall 2010, Spring 2011, Fall 2011, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017

207 Introduction to French Literature and Culture

Through class discussion, debates, and frequent short papers, students develop effective skills in self-expression, analysis, and interpretation. Literary texts, articles on current events, and films are studied within the context of the changing structures of French society and France’s complex relationship to its recent past. Assignments include both creative and analytic approaches to writing. Some grammar review as necessary, as well as work on understanding spoken French using video materials. Highly recommended for students planning to study abroad.

Requisite: FREN 205, or completion of AP French, or four years of secondary school French in a strong program. Fall semester: Professors Katsaros and Sigal. Spring semester: Professor Sigal.

2017-18: Offered in Fall 2017 and Spring 2018
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Spring 2008, Fall 2008, Spring 2009, Fall 2009, Spring 2010, Fall 2010, Spring 2011, Fall 2011, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017

208 French Conversation

To gain as much confidence as possible in idiomatic French, we discuss French social institutions and culture, trying to appreciate differences between French and American viewpoints. Our conversational exchanges will touch upon such topics as French education, art and architecture, the status of women, the spectrum of political parties, minority groups, religion, and the position of France and French-speaking countries in the world. Supplementary work with audio and video materials.

Requisite: FREN 205, or completion of AP French, or four years of secondary school French in a strong program. Limited to 16 students. Fall semester: Professor Nader-Esfahani. Spring semester: Professors Katsaros and Nader-Esfahani. 

2017-18: Offered in Fall 2017 and Spring 2018
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Spring 2008, Fall 2008, Spring 2009, Spring 2010, Spring 2011, Spring 2012, Spring 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017

314 From Astérix to Houellebecq: Translating Contemporary French

This course aims at improving the students' knowledge of the contemporary French language and of contemporary French society through translation. We will draw from a wide variety of sources, such as fiction, poetry, film, songs, press articles, graphic novels and advertising, to gain a better understanding of idiomatic French and of the translation process. Conducted in French.

Requisite: FREN 207 or 208 or the equivalent. Limited to 17 students. Omitted 2017-18. Professor Katsaros.

2017-18: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2014, Fall 2015, Fall 2016

320 Literary Masks of the Late French Middle Ages

The rise in the rate of literacy which characterized the early French Middle Ages coincided with radical reappraisals of the nature and function of reading and poetic production. This course will investigate the ramifications of these reappraisals for the literature of the late French Middle Ages. Readings may include such major works as Guillaume de Dole by Jean Renart, the anonymous Roman de Renart, the Roman de la Rose by Guillaume de Lorris, selections from the continuation of the Roman de la Rose by Jean de Meun, anonymous Fabliaux, and poetic works by Christine de Pisan, Guillaume de Machaut, Jean Froissart, and Charles d’Orléans. Particular attention will be paid to the philosophical presuppositions surrounding the production of erotic allegorical discourse. We shall also address such topics as the relationships between lyric and narrative and among disguise, death and aging in the context of medieval discourses on love. All texts will be read in modern French. Conducted in French.

Requisite: One of the following--FREN 207, 208, 311 or equivalent. Omitted 2017-18. Professor Rockwell.

2017-18: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Spring 2010, Spring 2013, Spring 2016

321 Amor and Metaphor in the Early French Middle Ages

The eleventh and twelfth centuries witnessed social, political, and poetic innovations that rival in impact the information revolution of recent decades. Essential to these innovations was the transformation from an oral to a book-oriented culture. This course will investigate the problems of that transition, as reflected in such major works of the early French Middle Ages as: The Song of Roland, the Tristan legend, the Roman d’Eneas, the Arthurian romances of Chrétien de Troyes, anonymous texts concerning the Holy Grail and the death of King Arthur. We shall also address questions relevant to this transition, such as the emergence of medieval allegory, the rise of literacy, and the relationship among love, sex, and hierarchy. All texts will be read in modern French. Conducted in French.

Requisite: One of the following--FREN 207, 208, 311, or equivalent. Spring semester.  Professor Rockwell.

2017-18: Offered in Spring 2018
Other years: Offered in Fall 2009, Spring 2012, Spring 2015

324 Studies in Medieval Romance Literature and Culture

The study of a major author, literary problem, or question from the medieval period with a particular focus announced each time the course is offered. The topic for spring 2017 was: "Dante and the French."  We will study the social, philosophical, poetic and institutional currents that contribute to the emergence of allegorical texts in the period between the twelfth and the late-fourteenth centuries.  Readings include the Quest for the Holy Grail and works by Chrétien de Troyes, Guillaume de Lorris, Jean de Meung, Dante Alighieri, and Marie de France. All readings will be done in English translation. Conducted in English. 

Omitted 2017-18  Professor Rockwell.

 2017-18: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2008, Spring 2011, Spring 2014, Spring 2017

327 Humanism and the Renaissance

Humanists came to distrust medieval institutions and models. Through an analysis of the most influential works of the French Renaissance, we shall study the variety of literary innovations which grew out of that distrust with an eye to their social and philosophical underpinnings. We shall address topics relevant to these innovations such as Neoplatonism, the grotesque, notions of the body, love, beauty, order and disorder. Readings will be drawn from the works of such major writers as: Erasmus, Rabelais, Marguerite de Navarre, Montaigne, Ronsard, Du Bellay, Maurice Scève and Louise Labé. The most difficult texts will be read in modern French. Conducted in French.

Requisite: One of the following--FREN 207, 208, 311 or equivalent. Omitted 2017-18. Professor Rockwell.

2017-18: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008, Fall 2010, Fall 2013, Fall 2016

329 True or False: The Search for Reality in Early Modern France

The Age of Information Technology has broadened our access to material from all around the world and has connected us to people and regions that would otherwise remain in the shadows. Furthermore, the Internet has given voice to another body, that of ordinary people, that now exists alongside more conventional authorities and outlets. Social media enables every individual to publicize him or herself and become a public figure; Wikipedia now co-exists alongside scholarly journals and academic e-books; WikiLeaks and hacking bring private matters of leaders and everyday people into the public eye; and Twitter has become a formidable rival to traditional news outlets in its release of breaking news. Conversely, this same democratization of information, in both its production and its representation, has problematized the relationship between the private and the public, and it has raised questions about the truth behind these multiple and often conflicting realities. Overwhelmed by the sheer quantity of information and by myriad perspectives, how can we ever be certain of what we know? How do we distinguish the true from the false, essence from appearance?   A period marked by a flourishing print culture and the production and circulation of knowledge, by religious and political conflicts, by new discoveries, inventions and methods of scientific inquiry, and by multiple arenas for “talk” and criticism--from town squares to court, from personal correspondence to the essay, from the poem to the pamphlet--early modern France offers a compelling point of comparison as we reflect upon these questions. What constitutes a lie? How is opinion constructed, and how might it differ from truth? What, or who, is a truth-teller? What role do rumor and gossip play in creating or challenging beliefs and reputations? What happens when something private is made public? Is the public face of an individual to be trusted, or is it simply a mask? What is evidence? Why is the notion of “illusion” a central preoccupation of writers, especially at the turn of the century? In this course, we will investigate the dynamic among the false, the real, and the true, and we will examine how rumor, gossip, belief, opinion, appearance, doubt,evidence, and judgement work to create, interrogate, and even undo truths and falsehoods. Readings will draw on works of fiction and non-fiction from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and may include major figures such as Ronsard, Marguerite de Navarre, Montaigne, Descartes, Corneille, Madame de Sévigné, Madame de Lafayette, and Racine. Conducted in French.

Requisite: One of the following—FREN 207, 208, 311 or equivalent.  Spring semester.  Professor Nader-Esfahani.

2017-18: Offered in Spring 2018

330 The Doing and Undoing of Genres in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries

This course explores the formation and transformation of various genres in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century literature, with a particular focus announced each time the course is offered. The topic for 2015-16 was "The Eighteenth-Century Novel and Theater in France."  Readings included texts by Diderot, Voltaire, Marivaux, Prévost, Laclos, and Beaumarchais. Conducted in French.

Requisite: One of the following--FREN 207, 208, 311 or equivalent. Omitted 2017-18. Professor de la Carrera.

2017-18: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2008, Spring 2011, Fall 2012, Fall 2015

338 The Republic of Letters

An exploration of Enlightenment thought within the context of the collaborative institutions and activities that fostered its development, including literary and artistic salons, cafés, and the Encyclopédie.  We will read texts by Rousseau, Diderot, Voltaire, and others, drawn from the domains of literature, philosophy, memoirs, and correspondence. To get a better idea of what it might have been like to live in the eighteenth century and be a participant in the “Republic of Letters,” we will also read a variety of essays in French cultural history. Conducted in French.                                                                                                                

Requisite: One of the following—FREN 207, 208, 311 or equivalent. Fall semester. Professor de la Carrera.

2017-18: Offered in Fall 2017
Other years: Offered in Fall 2008, Fall 2011

339 Worldliness and Otherworldliness

Many eighteenth-century writers imagined and invented other, better societies. To attenuate their criticisms of the social, political, and religious structures of the ancien régime, they had recourse to the viewpoint of fictional "outsiders" who arrive in France as if for the first time and describe what they see in minute and telling detail. We will analyze the role that these "other" worlds and the "otherworldly" point of view played in the development of eighteenth-century thought and literature, as well as some of the repercussions that these questions have had in twentieth-century thought. Readings will include Montesquieu's Lettres persanes, Rousseau's Discours sur l'origine de l'inégalité, Diderot's Supplément au Voyage de Bougainville, and Madame de Graffigny's Lettres d'une Péruvienne, as well as Freud's Civilization and Its Discontents and a selection of essays by Claude Lévi-Strauss. Conducted in French.

Requisite: One of the following--FREN 207, 208, 311, or equivalent. Omitted 2017-18. Professor de la Carrera.

2017-18: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008, Fall 2009, Spring 2012, Spring 2015, Spring 2017

340 Colonial Cultures: Images of the French Colonial Empire

In the early years of the twentieth century, the French Colonial Empire stretched from Algiers to Antananarivo and from Hanoi to Cayenne. The Maghreb, French West Africa, French Equatorial Africa, the Indo-Chinese peninsula, and Madagascar all lived under French rule. This class will analyze the creation and dissemination of “colonial cultures” in the wake of French imperialism. From the early nineteenth century on, military conquest went hand in hand with the production of a diverse and wide-ranging colonial imaginary. Schoolbooks, colonial exhibitions, natural history museums, visual artefacts ranging from paintings to advertisements, literary works, songs, and films inspired by “Greater France” proliferated in French culture. Drawing from selected case studies, we will explore the many forms taken by the French colonial imagination. We will also examine critiques of colonialism, as well as strategies and modalities of resistance to the colonial imaginary.  Conducted in French.

Requisite: One of the following--FREN 207, 208, 311 or equivalent. Fall semester. Professor Katsaros.

2017-18: Offered in Fall 2017

342 Women of Ill Repute: Prostitutes in Nineteenth-Century French Literature

(Offered as FREN 342 and SWAG 342) Prostitutes play a central role in nineteenth-century French fiction, especially of the realistic and naturalistic kind. Both widely available and largely visible in nineteenth-century France, prostitutes inspired many negative stereotypes. But, as the very product of the culture that marginalized her, the prostitute offered an ideal vehicle for writers to criticize the hypocrisy of bourgeois mores. The socially stratified world of prostitutes, ranging from low-ranking sex workers to high-class courtesans, presents a fascinating microcosm of French society as a whole. We will read selections from Honoré de Balzac, Splendeur et misère des courtisanes; Victor Hugo, Les Misérables; and Gustave Flaubert, L’éducation sentimentale; as well as Boule-de-Suif and other stories by Guy de Maupassant; La fille Elisa by Edmond de Goncourt; Nana by Emile Zola; Marthe by Joris-Karl Huysmans; La dame aux camélias by Alexandre Dumas fils; and extracts from Du côté de chez Swann by Marcel Proust. Additional readings will be drawn from the fields of history (Alain Corbin, Michelle Perrot) and critical theory (Walter Benjamin, Michel Foucault, Julia Kristeva). We will also discuss visual representations of prostitutes in nineteenth-century French art (Gavarni, Daumier, C. Guys, Degas, Manet, Toulouse-Lautrec). Conducted in French.

Requisite: One of the following--FREN 207, 208, 311 or equivalent. Omitted 2017-18. Professor Katsaros.

2017-18: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2009, Fall 2012, Fall 2015

346 Enfants Terribles: Childhood in French Literature and Culture from Rousseau to the Surrealist

Images of childhood have become omnipresent in our culture. We fetishize childhood as an idyllic time, preserved from the difficulties and compromises of adult life; but the notion that children’s individual lives are worth recording is a relatively modern one.  Drawing from literature, children's literature, anthropology, philosophy, art, and film, we will try to map out the journey from the idea of childhood as a phase to be outgrown to the modern conception of childhood as a crucial moment of self-definition. We will pay particular attention to the issues of nature against nurture through the example of the "wild child" Victor. We will also discuss theories of child-rearing, the emergence of children’s literature, and the importance of childhood in avant-garde movements.  

Readings will include selections from Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s treatise on education, L’Emile; Victor de l'Aveyron by Dr. Jean Itard; Les Malheurs de Sophie by the Comtesse de Ségur; stories by Guy de Maupassant; selected poems Baudelaire and Rimbaud; Jules Vallès, L'Enfant; and the Surrealist play Victor ou les enfants au pouvoir by Roger Vitrac. We will examine nineteenth-century artists' visions of childhood, with a particular emphasis on female artists such as Elisabeth Vigée-Lebrun and Berthe Morisot. We will also discuss classic films by René Clément and François Truffaut as well as contemporary French films about childhood. Conducted in French.

Requisite: One of the following--FREN 207, 208, 311 or equivalent. Spring semester. Professor Katsaros.

2017-18: Offered in Spring 2018
Other years: Offered in Spring 2011, Fall 2013

347 Dream Worlds: Utopia and the French Imagination

In the aftermath of the French revolution, utopias proliferated in France as perhaps never before. Socialist thinkers such as Charles Fourier and Henri de Saint-Simon invented entire systems designed to improve social justice, equality, and harmony. Utopian dreams were not restricted to political thought, however: technology, science, and the arts also inspired, and gave shape to, visions of a perfect world. This class will be an introduction to utopian thinkers, designers, and artists of the nineteenth and early twentieth century and will ask why utopia had such a strong hold on the French imagination at the time. We will discuss artists’ communes, such as the Ecole de Barbizon; city planning and utopia; the development of science-fiction as a utopian genre; Georges Méliès and the beginnings of film; as well as the link between the creation of the French colonial Empire and utopia, through the example of Algeria.

We will be reading, among other sources, excerpts from Charles Fourier, Henri de Saint-Simon, and Etienne Cabet; futuristic novels by Jules Verne and Villiers de l’Isle-Adam; poetry and essays by Stéphane Mallarmé; and essays by historians Mona Ozouf, François Furet, Antoine Picon, and Michelle Riot-Sarcey. Class materials will also be drawn from film, architectural plans, and the visual arts. Conducted in French.

Requisite: One of the following--FREN 207, 208, 311 or equivalent. Omitted 2017-18. Professor Katsaros.

2017-18: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2016

352 The Space In-Between: Writing Exile and Return in the Twentieth Century

The twentieth century was a century of migrations. Many writers and poets experienced exile, whether displaced by the furious violence of history, forced out of their country by an unbearable political situation, or simply led by their literary ambition. For many, the host country becomes a problematic permanent residency; for others, it is only a passage before an often painful return to the native land. These various experiences intensely mark authors' relationship to writing: suspended between two countries, two languages and two cultures, these poets and writers form challenging conceptions of space and time. In the midst of a violent century, the book becomes a refuge against savagery, or on the contrary a place to cry out one's rage; an intimate territory in a foreign world, a space of questioning and reflection. We will read texts by Aimé Césaire, Albert Camus, Edmond Jabés, Georges Perec, Assia Djebar and Dany Laferrière, and watch films by Jean Rouch, Nurith Aviv and Manthia Diawara. Theoretical texts will include essays by Walter Benjamin, Jacques Derrida, Gilles Deleuze, Edouard Glissant and Edward Said, among others. Conducted in French.

Requisite: One of the following--FREN 207, 208, 311 or equivalent. Omitted 2017-18. Professor Sigal.

 

2017-18: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2016

356 Troubled Minds: The Self under Siege

The coincidence of the “I” and the self might seem redundant, even self-evident. But, in the twentieth century, the very act of writing one’s life, of writing about the self, is often the starting point of a quest that brings authors to express conflicted, paradoxical, even violent ideas about themselves and the world. Whether they aim at revealing the naked truth about their life, or on the contrary attempt to conceal it, they use literature as a repository for their experience, as well as an echo chamber of their convoluted thought. Confronted with such texts, we, the readers, may react with puzzlement or skepticism, rejection or envy. In other words, reading a writer telling about her or his experiences engages our own selves. This class will be the occasion to examine how we read when faced with the “I” of the other. Primary readings may include texts by Charles Baudelaire, Antonin Artaud, Driss Chraïbi, Marguerite Duras, Georges Perec, Roland Barthes and Maryse Condé. Secondary readings may include texts by Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Martin Buber, Philippe Lejeune, and Serge Doubrovsky. Students will engage with the material in three steps: writing a reading journal; presenting their work-in-progress in class; writing a final essay. Conducted in French.

Requisite: One of the following--FREN 207, 208, 311 or equivalent. Omitted 2017-18. Professor Sigal.

2017-18: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2017

359 "What's the Magic Word?" The Power of Literature

The Oxford English Dictionary defines magic as “the use of ritual activities or observances which are intended to influence the course of events or to manipulate the natural world.” Sorcerers use recipes, incantations, and actions, to bend the natural order of things. In this class, we will question why some of the most prominent writers in French modernity have engaged with magical thought in their works. In the nineteenth century, numerous authors used magic as a metaphor to express the irrationality inhibited by a culture obsessed with reason and progress. In the twentieth century, avant-garde movements embraced this trend: writers, poets and artists were avid practitioners of fortune telling, telepathy, astrology and numerology. Concurrently, magic became a prominent subject of modern ethnologists: magical thinking articulated both the dawn of science in religious societies and the persistence of religion in scientific societies, and thus allowed ethnologists to cross-examine two phenomena essential to defining modern societies. Authors took a great interest in these findings. We could link their interest to a desire to produce a language made of words that “do things.” In a way, writers are like magicians whose incantations do not function anymore, as if their language had lost its power. In this class, we will read both literature and ethnology to investigate the ways in which magical thinking infused the birth of literary modernity. We will read literary works by Flaubert (Madame Bovary), Nerval, Artaud, Breton, and Césaire; and critical and ethnographical texts by Mauss, Levi-Strauss, Métraux, De Certeau and Bailly. Conducted in French.

Requisite: One of the following--FREN 207, 208, 311 or equivalent. Fall semester. Professor Sigal.

2017-18: Offered in Fall 2017

360 Masterpieces of French Literature in Translation

A study of great works of French literature. Readings may include: Prévost's Manon Lescaut, Laclos' Dangerous Liaisons, Flaubert's Madame Bovary, Zola's The Beast Within, Huysmans' Against Nature, Proust's Swann's Way, and Camus' The Stranger. Conducted in English. Omitted 2017-18. Professor de la Carrera.

2017-18: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2009, Fall 2010, Spring 2012, Spring 2016

361 European Film

(Offered as FREN 361 and FAMS 321)  A study of some of the greatest French New Wave (1959-1963) films, as well as earlier French films that influenced the New Wave. From the New Wave we shall view Truffaut’s The 400 Blows; Godard’s Breathless, My Life to Live, and Contempt; Hiroshima mon amour and Last Year at Marienbad by Resnais. We shall also study Zero for Conduct (1933) and L’Atalante (1934) by Jean Vigo; Boudu Saved From the Waters (1932) Grand Illusion (1937), and The Rules of the Game (1939) by Jean Renoir; Jean-Pierre Melville’s Bob le Flambeur (1956) and A Man Escaped (1956) by Robert Bresson. No previous training in film analysis is required. Conducted in English.

Omitted 2017-18. Professor Caplan.

2017-18: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008, Spring 2013, Spring 2016

369 Madame Butterfly Lives: Cross-Cultural Exchanges in France and Japan

(Offered as ASLC 338 and FREN 369)  In 1867, in the waning days of the Tokugawa shogunate, the Japanese authorities dispatched several geisha to the Paris World Exposition to represent a country few Europeans knew anything about. Since these inauspicious beginnings, the culture of each country has come to have a decisive hold on the imagination of the other across a wide array of fields. By the time Jean-Paul Sartre arrived in Tokyo almost a century later, the cultural ties were so extensive that the French philosopher was greeted by a media frenzy normally reserved for celebrities. Today, Japanese comic books are widely available in French translation, and French cinema shows regularly on Japanese screens. This interdisciplinary course tracks the circulation of texts, ideas, images, and people between France and Japan from the late nineteenth century to the present, allowing us to address issues of national identity, Orientalism, exoticism, gender, media culture, and artistic modernism, among other themes. Course materials will be drawn from literature, visual art, opera, film, dance, fashion, design, philosophy, and history. The class is taught in English and requires no prior knowledge of either count

Omitted 2017-18. Professors Katsaros and Van Compernolle.

 

2017-18: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2016

410H French in Practice for Senior Majors

The course provides a forum for seniors for the practice of spoken French at the advanced level with native speakers. Students will prepare and deliver presentations; practice interviewing techniques; and learn and practice using technical vocabulary from a variety of disciplines in the sciences, social sciences, and humanities.  The choice of short readings and vocabulary sets will vary each time the course is offered and will reflect the interests of the students enrolled. Spring semester: The Department

Requisite: Senior status.  Open only to French majors.  Spring semester.  The Department.

2017-18: Offered in Spring 2018
Other years: Offered in Spring 2016, Spring 2017

473 Books That Bind

(Offered as FREN 473 and ARHA 473) This seminar stages the connections, associations, and interactions that bind together books and their users. It is premised upon the idea that books (manuscripts, printed texts, digital publications, and related media) initiate complex exchanges and relations: they enrich our world, affect our perceptions, stimulate our sensations, and trigger our emotions. Knowledge perpetuates itself in books: books are the crossroads where one consciousness pursues the consciousness of the other, the dwellings where communities are founded or dismantled, and faiths united and untied. In this seminar, we will bring together the methodologies of art history, textual analysis, ethnography, material culture, and art making and curating in order to investigate the place of books in our society and in history. Each session will be devoted to a singular aspect of the book, broadly conceived. Possible topics may include the book as an object of collection; colonial and post-colonial uses of the book; the intersection of body and codex; the book as talisman and amulet; diverse practices of reading and assembling the page; the precarious status of the author; and the materiality of the book. In parallel, throughout the semester, students will conceive an exhibition (and an exhibition catalog) about the Book, to be presented at Frost Library.  Conducted in English.

Requisite: One course in History of Art, French, Studio Art, History, Anthropology, or related discipline. Permission required for first-year students.  Limited to 20 students. Spring semester. Professors Sigal and Rice.

2017-18: Offered in Spring 2018

490 Special Topics

Independent Reading Courses. Full course.

Admission with consent of the instructor required. Fall and spring semesters.

2017-18: Offered in Fall 2017 and Spring 2018
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Fall 2008, Fall 2009, Fall 2010, Fall 2011, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017

498, 499, 499D Senior Departmental Honors

A single course.

Fall semester. The Department.

2017-18: Offered in Fall 2017
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Fall 2008, Fall 2009, Fall 2010, Fall 2011, Fall 2012, Fall 2013, Fall 2014, Fall 2015, Fall 2016

Regulations & Requirements

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French

Professors de la Carrera‡, Katsaros (Chair), Rockwell†, and Rosbottom; Assistant Professors Nader-Esfahani and Sigal; Senior Lecturer Uhden.

*On leave 2017-18.

† On leave fall semester 2017-18.

‡ On leave spring semester 2017-18.

The objective of the French major is to learn about French culture directly through its language and principally by way of its literature. Emphasis in courses is upon examination of significant authors or problems rather than on chronological survey. We read texts closely from a modern critical perspective, but without isolating them from their cultural context. To give students a better idea of the development of French culture throughout the centuries, we encourage majors to select courses from a wide range of historical periods, from the Middle Ages to the present.

Fluent and correct use of the language is essential to successful completion of the major. Most courses are taught in French. The Department also urges majors to spend a semester or a year studying in a French-speaking country. The major in French provides effective preparation for graduate work, but it is not conceived as strictly pre-professional training.

Major Program. The Department of French aims at flexibility and responds to the plans and interests of the major within a structure that affords diversity of experience in French literature and continuous training in the use of the language.

A major (both rite and with Departmental Honors) will normally consist of a minimum of eight courses, six of which must be courses that are conducted in French. Students may choose to take (a) eight courses in French literature and civilization; or (b) six courses in French literature and civilization and two related courses with departmental approval. In either case, a minimum of four courses must be taken from the French offerings at Amherst College. One of these four must be taken during the senior year. All courses offered by the Department above FREN 103 may count for the major. Among these eight courses, one must be chosen from the Middle Ages or Renaissance, and one from the seventeenth or eighteenth centuries. (FREN 311 satisfies either of these distribution requirements.) With departmental approval up to four courses taken in a study abroad program may count toward the eight required courses for the major. Comprehensive examinations must be completed no later than the seventh week of the spring semester of the senior year.

Departmental Honors Program. Candidates for Departmental Honors must write a thesis in addition to fulfilling the course requirements for the major described above. Students who wish to write a thesis should begin to develop a topic during their junior year and must submit a detailed thesis proposal to the Department at the beginning of the second week of fall semester classes. Subject to departmental approval of the thesis proposal, candidates for Departmental Honors will enroll in FREN 498 and 499 during their senior year. (FREN 498 and 499 will not be counted towards the eight-course requirement for the major.) Oral examinations on the thesis will be scheduled in late spring.

Foreign Study. A program of study approved by the Department for a junior year in France has the support of the Department as a significant means of enlarging the major’s comprehension of French civilization and as the most effective method of developing mastery of the language.

Exchange Fellowships. Graduating seniors are eligible for two Exchange Fellowships for study in France: one fellowship as Teaching Assistant in American Civilization and Language at the University of Dijon; the other as Exchange Fellow, Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris.

Course numbering system. FREN 101-208 are French Language and Composition courses. FREN 101-207 are numbered by degree of difficulty. FREN 207, 208 and 311 have identical prerequisites and may be taken in any order. All courses numbered 320 and above, with the exception of those courses conducted in English, list FREN 207, 208, and 311 as prerequisites. Courses numbered 320 and above are advanced courses but are not ranked by order of difficulty. They are organized, instead, by period in the following manner:

311-319: French Literature and Civilization

320-329: Medieval and Renaissance Literature and Culture

330-339: Seventeenth- and Eighteenth-Century Literature and Culture

340-349: Nineteenth-Century Literature and Culture

350-359: Twentieth- and Twenty-First Century Literature and Culture

360-369: Special Courses

470 +: Advanced Courses

498-499: Senior Departmental Honors

490: Special Topics

101 Elementary French

This course features intensive work on French grammar, with emphasis on the acquisition of basic active skills (speaking, reading, writing and vocabulary building). We will be using the multimedia program, Totem, which employs only authentic French, allowing students to use the language colloquially and creatively in a short amount of time. Three hours a week for explanation and demonstration, plus small sections with French assistants. This course prepares students for FREN 103. For students without previous training in French.

Fall and spring semesters.  Senior Lecturer Uhden and Assistants.

2017-18: Offered in Fall 2017 and Spring 2018
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Spring 2008, Fall 2008, Spring 2009, Fall 2009, Spring 2010, Fall 2010, Spring 2011, Fall 2011, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017

103 Intermediate French

Intensive review and coverage of all basic French grammar points with emphasis on the understanding of structural and functional aspects of the language and acquisition of the basic active skills (speaking, reading, writing and systematic vocabulary building). We will be using the multimedia program, Imaginez. Three hours a week for explanation and demonstration, plus small sections with French assistants. This course prepares students for FREN 205.

Requisite: FREN 101 or two years of secondary school French. Fall and spring semesters. Senior Lecturer Uhden and Assistants.

2017-18: Offered in Fall 2017 and Spring 2018
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Spring 2008, Fall 2008, Spring 2009, Fall 2009, Spring 2010, Fall 2010, Spring 2011, Fall 2011, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017

205 Language and Literature

An introduction to the critical reading of French literary and non-literary texts; a review of French grammar; training in composition, conversation and listening comprehension. Texts will be drawn from significant short stories, poetry and films. The survey of different literary genres serves also to contrast several views of French culture. Successful completion of FREN 205 prepares students for FREN 207, 208, 311 or 312. Conducted in French. Three hours a week.

Requisite: FREN 103 or three to four years of secondary school French. Fall semester: Professor de la Carrera. Spring semester: Professor Rockwell.

2017-18: Offered in Fall 2017 and Spring 2018
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Spring 2008, Fall 2008, Spring 2009, Fall 2009, Spring 2010, Fall 2010, Spring 2011, Fall 2011, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017

207 Introduction to French Literature and Culture

Through class discussion, debates, and frequent short papers, students develop effective skills in self-expression, analysis, and interpretation. Literary texts, articles on current events, and films are studied within the context of the changing structures of French society and France’s complex relationship to its recent past. Assignments include both creative and analytic approaches to writing. Some grammar review as necessary, as well as work on understanding spoken French using video materials. Highly recommended for students planning to study abroad.

Requisite: FREN 205, or completion of AP French, or four years of secondary school French in a strong program. Fall semester: Professors Katsaros and Sigal. Spring semester: Professor Sigal.

2017-18: Offered in Fall 2017 and Spring 2018
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Spring 2008, Fall 2008, Spring 2009, Fall 2009, Spring 2010, Fall 2010, Spring 2011, Fall 2011, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017

208 French Conversation

To gain as much confidence as possible in idiomatic French, we discuss French social institutions and culture, trying to appreciate differences between French and American viewpoints. Our conversational exchanges will touch upon such topics as French education, art and architecture, the status of women, the spectrum of political parties, minority groups, religion, and the position of France and French-speaking countries in the world. Supplementary work with audio and video materials.

Requisite: FREN 205, or completion of AP French, or four years of secondary school French in a strong program. Limited to 16 students. Fall semester: Professor Nader-Esfahani. Spring semester: Professors Katsaros and Nader-Esfahani. 

2017-18: Offered in Fall 2017 and Spring 2018
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Spring 2008, Fall 2008, Spring 2009, Spring 2010, Spring 2011, Spring 2012, Spring 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017

314 From Astérix to Houellebecq: Translating Contemporary French

This course aims at improving the students' knowledge of the contemporary French language and of contemporary French society through translation. We will draw from a wide variety of sources, such as fiction, poetry, film, songs, press articles, graphic novels and advertising, to gain a better understanding of idiomatic French and of the translation process. Conducted in French.

Requisite: FREN 207 or 208 or the equivalent. Limited to 17 students. Omitted 2017-18. Professor Katsaros.

2017-18: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2014, Fall 2015, Fall 2016

320 Literary Masks of the Late French Middle Ages

The rise in the rate of literacy which characterized the early French Middle Ages coincided with radical reappraisals of the nature and function of reading and poetic production. This course will investigate the ramifications of these reappraisals for the literature of the late French Middle Ages. Readings may include such major works as Guillaume de Dole by Jean Renart, the anonymous Roman de Renart, the Roman de la Rose by Guillaume de Lorris, selections from the continuation of the Roman de la Rose by Jean de Meun, anonymous Fabliaux, and poetic works by Christine de Pisan, Guillaume de Machaut, Jean Froissart, and Charles d’Orléans. Particular attention will be paid to the philosophical presuppositions surrounding the production of erotic allegorical discourse. We shall also address such topics as the relationships between lyric and narrative and among disguise, death and aging in the context of medieval discourses on love. All texts will be read in modern French. Conducted in French.

Requisite: One of the following--FREN 207, 208, 311 or equivalent. Omitted 2017-18. Professor Rockwell.

2017-18: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Spring 2010, Spring 2013, Spring 2016

321 Amor and Metaphor in the Early French Middle Ages

The eleventh and twelfth centuries witnessed social, political, and poetic innovations that rival in impact the information revolution of recent decades. Essential to these innovations was the transformation from an oral to a book-oriented culture. This course will investigate the problems of that transition, as reflected in such major works of the early French Middle Ages as: The Song of Roland, the Tristan legend, the Roman d’Eneas, the Arthurian romances of Chrétien de Troyes, anonymous texts concerning the Holy Grail and the death of King Arthur. We shall also address questions relevant to this transition, such as the emergence of medieval allegory, the rise of literacy, and the relationship among love, sex, and hierarchy. All texts will be read in modern French. Conducted in French.

Requisite: One of the following--FREN 207, 208, 311, or equivalent. Spring semester.  Professor Rockwell.

2017-18: Offered in Spring 2018
Other years: Offered in Fall 2009, Spring 2012, Spring 2015

324 Studies in Medieval Romance Literature and Culture

The study of a major author, literary problem, or question from the medieval period with a particular focus announced each time the course is offered. The topic for spring 2017 was: "Dante and the French."  We will study the social, philosophical, poetic and institutional currents that contribute to the emergence of allegorical texts in the period between the twelfth and the late-fourteenth centuries.  Readings include the Quest for the Holy Grail and works by Chrétien de Troyes, Guillaume de Lorris, Jean de Meung, Dante Alighieri, and Marie de France. All readings will be done in English translation. Conducted in English. 

Omitted 2017-18  Professor Rockwell.

 2017-18: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2008, Spring 2011, Spring 2014, Spring 2017

327 Humanism and the Renaissance

Humanists came to distrust medieval institutions and models. Through an analysis of the most influential works of the French Renaissance, we shall study the variety of literary innovations which grew out of that distrust with an eye to their social and philosophical underpinnings. We shall address topics relevant to these innovations such as Neoplatonism, the grotesque, notions of the body, love, beauty, order and disorder. Readings will be drawn from the works of such major writers as: Erasmus, Rabelais, Marguerite de Navarre, Montaigne, Ronsard, Du Bellay, Maurice Scève and Louise Labé. The most difficult texts will be read in modern French. Conducted in French.

Requisite: One of the following--FREN 207, 208, 311 or equivalent. Omitted 2017-18. Professor Rockwell.

2017-18: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008, Fall 2010, Fall 2013, Fall 2016

329 True or False: The Search for Reality in Early Modern France

The Age of Information Technology has broadened our access to material from all around the world and has connected us to people and regions that would otherwise remain in the shadows. Furthermore, the Internet has given voice to another body, that of ordinary people, that now exists alongside more conventional authorities and outlets. Social media enables every individual to publicize him or herself and become a public figure; Wikipedia now co-exists alongside scholarly journals and academic e-books; WikiLeaks and hacking bring private matters of leaders and everyday people into the public eye; and Twitter has become a formidable rival to traditional news outlets in its release of breaking news. Conversely, this same democratization of information, in both its production and its representation, has problematized the relationship between the private and the public, and it has raised questions about the truth behind these multiple and often conflicting realities. Overwhelmed by the sheer quantity of information and by myriad perspectives, how can we ever be certain of what we know? How do we distinguish the true from the false, essence from appearance?   A period marked by a flourishing print culture and the production and circulation of knowledge, by religious and political conflicts, by new discoveries, inventions and methods of scientific inquiry, and by multiple arenas for “talk” and criticism--from town squares to court, from personal correspondence to the essay, from the poem to the pamphlet--early modern France offers a compelling point of comparison as we reflect upon these questions. What constitutes a lie? How is opinion constructed, and how might it differ from truth? What, or who, is a truth-teller? What role do rumor and gossip play in creating or challenging beliefs and reputations? What happens when something private is made public? Is the public face of an individual to be trusted, or is it simply a mask? What is evidence? Why is the notion of “illusion” a central preoccupation of writers, especially at the turn of the century? In this course, we will investigate the dynamic among the false, the real, and the true, and we will examine how rumor, gossip, belief, opinion, appearance, doubt,evidence, and judgement work to create, interrogate, and even undo truths and falsehoods. Readings will draw on works of fiction and non-fiction from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and may include major figures such as Ronsard, Marguerite de Navarre, Montaigne, Descartes, Corneille, Madame de Sévigné, Madame de Lafayette, and Racine. Conducted in French.

Requisite: One of the following—FREN 207, 208, 311 or equivalent.  Spring semester.  Professor Nader-Esfahani.

2017-18: Offered in Spring 2018

330 The Doing and Undoing of Genres in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries

This course explores the formation and transformation of various genres in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century literature, with a particular focus announced each time the course is offered. The topic for 2015-16 was "The Eighteenth-Century Novel and Theater in France."  Readings included texts by Diderot, Voltaire, Marivaux, Prévost, Laclos, and Beaumarchais. Conducted in French.

Requisite: One of the following--FREN 207, 208, 311 or equivalent. Omitted 2017-18. Professor de la Carrera.

2017-18: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2008, Spring 2011, Fall 2012, Fall 2015

338 The Republic of Letters

An exploration of Enlightenment thought within the context of the collaborative institutions and activities that fostered its development, including literary and artistic salons, cafés, and the Encyclopédie.  We will read texts by Rousseau, Diderot, Voltaire, and others, drawn from the domains of literature, philosophy, memoirs, and correspondence. To get a better idea of what it might have been like to live in the eighteenth century and be a participant in the “Republic of Letters,” we will also read a variety of essays in French cultural history. Conducted in French.                                                                                                                

Requisite: One of the following—FREN 207, 208, 311 or equivalent. Fall semester. Professor de la Carrera.

2017-18: Offered in Fall 2017
Other years: Offered in Fall 2008, Fall 2011

339 Worldliness and Otherworldliness

Many eighteenth-century writers imagined and invented other, better societies. To attenuate their criticisms of the social, political, and religious structures of the ancien régime, they had recourse to the viewpoint of fictional "outsiders" who arrive in France as if for the first time and describe what they see in minute and telling detail. We will analyze the role that these "other" worlds and the "otherworldly" point of view played in the development of eighteenth-century thought and literature, as well as some of the repercussions that these questions have had in twentieth-century thought. Readings will include Montesquieu's Lettres persanes, Rousseau's Discours sur l'origine de l'inégalité, Diderot's Supplément au Voyage de Bougainville, and Madame de Graffigny's Lettres d'une Péruvienne, as well as Freud's Civilization and Its Discontents and a selection of essays by Claude Lévi-Strauss. Conducted in French.

Requisite: One of the following--FREN 207, 208, 311, or equivalent. Omitted 2017-18. Professor de la Carrera.

2017-18: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008, Fall 2009, Spring 2012, Spring 2015, Spring 2017

340 Colonial Cultures: Images of the French Colonial Empire

In the early years of the twentieth century, the French Colonial Empire stretched from Algiers to Antananarivo and from Hanoi to Cayenne. The Maghreb, French West Africa, French Equatorial Africa, the Indo-Chinese peninsula, and Madagascar all lived under French rule. This class will analyze the creation and dissemination of “colonial cultures” in the wake of French imperialism. From the early nineteenth century on, military conquest went hand in hand with the production of a diverse and wide-ranging colonial imaginary. Schoolbooks, colonial exhibitions, natural history museums, visual artefacts ranging from paintings to advertisements, literary works, songs, and films inspired by “Greater France” proliferated in French culture. Drawing from selected case studies, we will explore the many forms taken by the French colonial imagination. We will also examine critiques of colonialism, as well as strategies and modalities of resistance to the colonial imaginary.  Conducted in French.

Requisite: One of the following--FREN 207, 208, 311 or equivalent. Fall semester. Professor Katsaros.

2017-18: Offered in Fall 2017

342 Women of Ill Repute: Prostitutes in Nineteenth-Century French Literature

(Offered as FREN 342 and SWAG 342) Prostitutes play a central role in nineteenth-century French fiction, especially of the realistic and naturalistic kind. Both widely available and largely visible in nineteenth-century France, prostitutes inspired many negative stereotypes. But, as the very product of the culture that marginalized her, the prostitute offered an ideal vehicle for writers to criticize the hypocrisy of bourgeois mores. The socially stratified world of prostitutes, ranging from low-ranking sex workers to high-class courtesans, presents a fascinating microcosm of French society as a whole. We will read selections from Honoré de Balzac, Splendeur et misère des courtisanes; Victor Hugo, Les Misérables; and Gustave Flaubert, L’éducation sentimentale; as well as Boule-de-Suif and other stories by Guy de Maupassant; La fille Elisa by Edmond de Goncourt; Nana by Emile Zola; Marthe by Joris-Karl Huysmans; La dame aux camélias by Alexandre Dumas fils; and extracts from Du côté de chez Swann by Marcel Proust. Additional readings will be drawn from the fields of history (Alain Corbin, Michelle Perrot) and critical theory (Walter Benjamin, Michel Foucault, Julia Kristeva). We will also discuss visual representations of prostitutes in nineteenth-century French art (Gavarni, Daumier, C. Guys, Degas, Manet, Toulouse-Lautrec). Conducted in French.

Requisite: One of the following--FREN 207, 208, 311 or equivalent. Omitted 2017-18. Professor Katsaros.

2017-18: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2009, Fall 2012, Fall 2015

346 Enfants Terribles: Childhood in French Literature and Culture from Rousseau to the Surrealist

Images of childhood have become omnipresent in our culture. We fetishize childhood as an idyllic time, preserved from the difficulties and compromises of adult life; but the notion that children’s individual lives are worth recording is a relatively modern one.  Drawing from literature, children's literature, anthropology, philosophy, art, and film, we will try to map out the journey from the idea of childhood as a phase to be outgrown to the modern conception of childhood as a crucial moment of self-definition. We will pay particular attention to the issues of nature against nurture through the example of the "wild child" Victor. We will also discuss theories of child-rearing, the emergence of children’s literature, and the importance of childhood in avant-garde movements.  

Readings will include selections from Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s treatise on education, L’Emile; Victor de l'Aveyron by Dr. Jean Itard; Les Malheurs de Sophie by the Comtesse de Ségur; stories by Guy de Maupassant; selected poems Baudelaire and Rimbaud; Jules Vallès, L'Enfant; and the Surrealist play Victor ou les enfants au pouvoir by Roger Vitrac. We will examine nineteenth-century artists' visions of childhood, with a particular emphasis on female artists such as Elisabeth Vigée-Lebrun and Berthe Morisot. We will also discuss classic films by René Clément and François Truffaut as well as contemporary French films about childhood. Conducted in French.

Requisite: One of the following--FREN 207, 208, 311 or equivalent. Spring semester. Professor Katsaros.

2017-18: Offered in Spring 2018
Other years: Offered in Spring 2011, Fall 2013

347 Dream Worlds: Utopia and the French Imagination

In the aftermath of the French revolution, utopias proliferated in France as perhaps never before. Socialist thinkers such as Charles Fourier and Henri de Saint-Simon invented entire systems designed to improve social justice, equality, and harmony. Utopian dreams were not restricted to political thought, however: technology, science, and the arts also inspired, and gave shape to, visions of a perfect world. This class will be an introduction to utopian thinkers, designers, and artists of the nineteenth and early twentieth century and will ask why utopia had such a strong hold on the French imagination at the time. We will discuss artists’ communes, such as the Ecole de Barbizon; city planning and utopia; the development of science-fiction as a utopian genre; Georges Méliès and the beginnings of film; as well as the link between the creation of the French colonial Empire and utopia, through the example of Algeria.

We will be reading, among other sources, excerpts from Charles Fourier, Henri de Saint-Simon, and Etienne Cabet; futuristic novels by Jules Verne and Villiers de l’Isle-Adam; poetry and essays by Stéphane Mallarmé; and essays by historians Mona Ozouf, François Furet, Antoine Picon, and Michelle Riot-Sarcey. Class materials will also be drawn from film, architectural plans, and the visual arts. Conducted in French.

Requisite: One of the following--FREN 207, 208, 311 or equivalent. Omitted 2017-18. Professor Katsaros.

2017-18: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2016

352 The Space In-Between: Writing Exile and Return in the Twentieth Century

The twentieth century was a century of migrations. Many writers and poets experienced exile, whether displaced by the furious violence of history, forced out of their country by an unbearable political situation, or simply led by their literary ambition. For many, the host country becomes a problematic permanent residency; for others, it is only a passage before an often painful return to the native land. These various experiences intensely mark authors' relationship to writing: suspended between two countries, two languages and two cultures, these poets and writers form challenging conceptions of space and time. In the midst of a violent century, the book becomes a refuge against savagery, or on the contrary a place to cry out one's rage; an intimate territory in a foreign world, a space of questioning and reflection. We will read texts by Aimé Césaire, Albert Camus, Edmond Jabés, Georges Perec, Assia Djebar and Dany Laferrière, and watch films by Jean Rouch, Nurith Aviv and Manthia Diawara. Theoretical texts will include essays by Walter Benjamin, Jacques Derrida, Gilles Deleuze, Edouard Glissant and Edward Said, among others. Conducted in French.

Requisite: One of the following--FREN 207, 208, 311 or equivalent. Omitted 2017-18. Professor Sigal.

 

2017-18: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2016

356 Troubled Minds: The Self under Siege

The coincidence of the “I” and the self might seem redundant, even self-evident. But, in the twentieth century, the very act of writing one’s life, of writing about the self, is often the starting point of a quest that brings authors to express conflicted, paradoxical, even violent ideas about themselves and the world. Whether they aim at revealing the naked truth about their life, or on the contrary attempt to conceal it, they use literature as a repository for their experience, as well as an echo chamber of their convoluted thought. Confronted with such texts, we, the readers, may react with puzzlement or skepticism, rejection or envy. In other words, reading a writer telling about her or his experiences engages our own selves. This class will be the occasion to examine how we read when faced with the “I” of the other. Primary readings may include texts by Charles Baudelaire, Antonin Artaud, Driss Chraïbi, Marguerite Duras, Georges Perec, Roland Barthes and Maryse Condé. Secondary readings may include texts by Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Martin Buber, Philippe Lejeune, and Serge Doubrovsky. Students will engage with the material in three steps: writing a reading journal; presenting their work-in-progress in class; writing a final essay. Conducted in French.

Requisite: One of the following--FREN 207, 208, 311 or equivalent. Omitted 2017-18. Professor Sigal.

2017-18: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2017

359 "What's the Magic Word?" The Power of Literature

The Oxford English Dictionary defines magic as “the use of ritual activities or observances which are intended to influence the course of events or to manipulate the natural world.” Sorcerers use recipes, incantations, and actions, to bend the natural order of things. In this class, we will question why some of the most prominent writers in French modernity have engaged with magical thought in their works. In the nineteenth century, numerous authors used magic as a metaphor to express the irrationality inhibited by a culture obsessed with reason and progress. In the twentieth century, avant-garde movements embraced this trend: writers, poets and artists were avid practitioners of fortune telling, telepathy, astrology and numerology. Concurrently, magic became a prominent subject of modern ethnologists: magical thinking articulated both the dawn of science in religious societies and the persistence of religion in scientific societies, and thus allowed ethnologists to cross-examine two phenomena essential to defining modern societies. Authors took a great interest in these findings. We could link their interest to a desire to produce a language made of words that “do things.” In a way, writers are like magicians whose incantations do not function anymore, as if their language had lost its power. In this class, we will read both literature and ethnology to investigate the ways in which magical thinking infused the birth of literary modernity. We will read literary works by Flaubert (Madame Bovary), Nerval, Artaud, Breton, and Césaire; and critical and ethnographical texts by Mauss, Levi-Strauss, Métraux, De Certeau and Bailly. Conducted in French.

Requisite: One of the following--FREN 207, 208, 311 or equivalent. Fall semester. Professor Sigal.

2017-18: Offered in Fall 2017

360 Masterpieces of French Literature in Translation

A study of great works of French literature. Readings may include: Prévost's Manon Lescaut, Laclos' Dangerous Liaisons, Flaubert's Madame Bovary, Zola's The Beast Within, Huysmans' Against Nature, Proust's Swann's Way, and Camus' The Stranger. Conducted in English. Omitted 2017-18. Professor de la Carrera.

2017-18: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2009, Fall 2010, Spring 2012, Spring 2016

361 European Film

(Offered as FREN 361 and FAMS 321)  A study of some of the greatest French New Wave (1959-1963) films, as well as earlier French films that influenced the New Wave. From the New Wave we shall view Truffaut’s The 400 Blows; Godard’s Breathless, My Life to Live, and Contempt; Hiroshima mon amour and Last Year at Marienbad by Resnais. We shall also study Zero for Conduct (1933) and L’Atalante (1934) by Jean Vigo; Boudu Saved From the Waters (1932) Grand Illusion (1937), and The Rules of the Game (1939) by Jean Renoir; Jean-Pierre Melville’s Bob le Flambeur (1956) and A Man Escaped (1956) by Robert Bresson. No previous training in film analysis is required. Conducted in English.

Omitted 2017-18. Professor Caplan.

2017-18: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008, Spring 2013, Spring 2016

369 Madame Butterfly Lives: Cross-Cultural Exchanges in France and Japan

(Offered as ASLC 338 and FREN 369)  In 1867, in the waning days of the Tokugawa shogunate, the Japanese authorities dispatched several geisha to the Paris World Exposition to represent a country few Europeans knew anything about. Since these inauspicious beginnings, the culture of each country has come to have a decisive hold on the imagination of the other across a wide array of fields. By the time Jean-Paul Sartre arrived in Tokyo almost a century later, the cultural ties were so extensive that the French philosopher was greeted by a media frenzy normally reserved for celebrities. Today, Japanese comic books are widely available in French translation, and French cinema shows regularly on Japanese screens. This interdisciplinary course tracks the circulation of texts, ideas, images, and people between France and Japan from the late nineteenth century to the present, allowing us to address issues of national identity, Orientalism, exoticism, gender, media culture, and artistic modernism, among other themes. Course materials will be drawn from literature, visual art, opera, film, dance, fashion, design, philosophy, and history. The class is taught in English and requires no prior knowledge of either count

Omitted 2017-18. Professors Katsaros and Van Compernolle.

 

2017-18: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2016

410H French in Practice for Senior Majors

The course provides a forum for seniors for the practice of spoken French at the advanced level with native speakers. Students will prepare and deliver presentations; practice interviewing techniques; and learn and practice using technical vocabulary from a variety of disciplines in the sciences, social sciences, and humanities.  The choice of short readings and vocabulary sets will vary each time the course is offered and will reflect the interests of the students enrolled. Spring semester: The Department

Requisite: Senior status.  Open only to French majors.  Spring semester.  The Department.

2017-18: Offered in Spring 2018
Other years: Offered in Spring 2016, Spring 2017

473 Books That Bind

(Offered as FREN 473 and ARHA 473) This seminar stages the connections, associations, and interactions that bind together books and their users. It is premised upon the idea that books (manuscripts, printed texts, digital publications, and related media) initiate complex exchanges and relations: they enrich our world, affect our perceptions, stimulate our sensations, and trigger our emotions. Knowledge perpetuates itself in books: books are the crossroads where one consciousness pursues the consciousness of the other, the dwellings where communities are founded or dismantled, and faiths united and untied. In this seminar, we will bring together the methodologies of art history, textual analysis, ethnography, material culture, and art making and curating in order to investigate the place of books in our society and in history. Each session will be devoted to a singular aspect of the book, broadly conceived. Possible topics may include the book as an object of collection; colonial and post-colonial uses of the book; the intersection of body and codex; the book as talisman and amulet; diverse practices of reading and assembling the page; the precarious status of the author; and the materiality of the book. In parallel, throughout the semester, students will conceive an exhibition (and an exhibition catalog) about the Book, to be presented at Frost Library.  Conducted in English.

Requisite: One course in History of Art, French, Studio Art, History, Anthropology, or related discipline. Permission required for first-year students.  Limited to 20 students. Spring semester. Professors Sigal and Rice.

2017-18: Offered in Spring 2018

490 Special Topics

Independent Reading Courses. Full course.

Admission with consent of the instructor required. Fall and spring semesters.

2017-18: Offered in Fall 2017 and Spring 2018
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Fall 2008, Fall 2009, Fall 2010, Fall 2011, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017

498, 499, 499D Senior Departmental Honors

A single course.

Fall semester. The Department.

2017-18: Offered in Fall 2017
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Fall 2008, Fall 2009, Fall 2010, Fall 2011, Fall 2012, Fall 2013, Fall 2014, Fall 2015, Fall 2016

Amherst College Courses

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French

Professors de la Carrera‡, Katsaros (Chair), Rockwell†, and Rosbottom; Assistant Professors Nader-Esfahani and Sigal; Senior Lecturer Uhden.

*On leave 2017-18.

† On leave fall semester 2017-18.

‡ On leave spring semester 2017-18.

The objective of the French major is to learn about French culture directly through its language and principally by way of its literature. Emphasis in courses is upon examination of significant authors or problems rather than on chronological survey. We read texts closely from a modern critical perspective, but without isolating them from their cultural context. To give students a better idea of the development of French culture throughout the centuries, we encourage majors to select courses from a wide range of historical periods, from the Middle Ages to the present.

Fluent and correct use of the language is essential to successful completion of the major. Most courses are taught in French. The Department also urges majors to spend a semester or a year studying in a French-speaking country. The major in French provides effective preparation for graduate work, but it is not conceived as strictly pre-professional training.

Major Program. The Department of French aims at flexibility and responds to the plans and interests of the major within a structure that affords diversity of experience in French literature and continuous training in the use of the language.

A major (both rite and with Departmental Honors) will normally consist of a minimum of eight courses, six of which must be courses that are conducted in French. Students may choose to take (a) eight courses in French literature and civilization; or (b) six courses in French literature and civilization and two related courses with departmental approval. In either case, a minimum of four courses must be taken from the French offerings at Amherst College. One of these four must be taken during the senior year. All courses offered by the Department above FREN 103 may count for the major. Among these eight courses, one must be chosen from the Middle Ages or Renaissance, and one from the seventeenth or eighteenth centuries. (FREN 311 satisfies either of these distribution requirements.) With departmental approval up to four courses taken in a study abroad program may count toward the eight required courses for the major. Comprehensive examinations must be completed no later than the seventh week of the spring semester of the senior year.

Departmental Honors Program. Candidates for Departmental Honors must write a thesis in addition to fulfilling the course requirements for the major described above. Students who wish to write a thesis should begin to develop a topic during their junior year and must submit a detailed thesis proposal to the Department at the beginning of the second week of fall semester classes. Subject to departmental approval of the thesis proposal, candidates for Departmental Honors will enroll in FREN 498 and 499 during their senior year. (FREN 498 and 499 will not be counted towards the eight-course requirement for the major.) Oral examinations on the thesis will be scheduled in late spring.

Foreign Study. A program of study approved by the Department for a junior year in France has the support of the Department as a significant means of enlarging the major’s comprehension of French civilization and as the most effective method of developing mastery of the language.

Exchange Fellowships. Graduating seniors are eligible for two Exchange Fellowships for study in France: one fellowship as Teaching Assistant in American Civilization and Language at the University of Dijon; the other as Exchange Fellow, Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris.

Course numbering system. FREN 101-208 are French Language and Composition courses. FREN 101-207 are numbered by degree of difficulty. FREN 207, 208 and 311 have identical prerequisites and may be taken in any order. All courses numbered 320 and above, with the exception of those courses conducted in English, list FREN 207, 208, and 311 as prerequisites. Courses numbered 320 and above are advanced courses but are not ranked by order of difficulty. They are organized, instead, by period in the following manner:

311-319: French Literature and Civilization

320-329: Medieval and Renaissance Literature and Culture

330-339: Seventeenth- and Eighteenth-Century Literature and Culture

340-349: Nineteenth-Century Literature and Culture

350-359: Twentieth- and Twenty-First Century Literature and Culture

360-369: Special Courses

470 +: Advanced Courses

498-499: Senior Departmental Honors

490: Special Topics

101 Elementary French

This course features intensive work on French grammar, with emphasis on the acquisition of basic active skills (speaking, reading, writing and vocabulary building). We will be using the multimedia program, Totem, which employs only authentic French, allowing students to use the language colloquially and creatively in a short amount of time. Three hours a week for explanation and demonstration, plus small sections with French assistants. This course prepares students for FREN 103. For students without previous training in French.

Fall and spring semesters.  Senior Lecturer Uhden and Assistants.

2017-18: Offered in Fall 2017 and Spring 2018
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Spring 2008, Fall 2008, Spring 2009, Fall 2009, Spring 2010, Fall 2010, Spring 2011, Fall 2011, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017

103 Intermediate French

Intensive review and coverage of all basic French grammar points with emphasis on the understanding of structural and functional aspects of the language and acquisition of the basic active skills (speaking, reading, writing and systematic vocabulary building). We will be using the multimedia program, Imaginez. Three hours a week for explanation and demonstration, plus small sections with French assistants. This course prepares students for FREN 205.

Requisite: FREN 101 or two years of secondary school French. Fall and spring semesters. Senior Lecturer Uhden and Assistants.

2017-18: Offered in Fall 2017 and Spring 2018
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Spring 2008, Fall 2008, Spring 2009, Fall 2009, Spring 2010, Fall 2010, Spring 2011, Fall 2011, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017

205 Language and Literature

An introduction to the critical reading of French literary and non-literary texts; a review of French grammar; training in composition, conversation and listening comprehension. Texts will be drawn from significant short stories, poetry and films. The survey of different literary genres serves also to contrast several views of French culture. Successful completion of FREN 205 prepares students for FREN 207, 208, 311 or 312. Conducted in French. Three hours a week.

Requisite: FREN 103 or three to four years of secondary school French. Fall semester: Professor de la Carrera. Spring semester: Professor Rockwell.

2017-18: Offered in Fall 2017 and Spring 2018
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Spring 2008, Fall 2008, Spring 2009, Fall 2009, Spring 2010, Fall 2010, Spring 2011, Fall 2011, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017

207 Introduction to French Literature and Culture

Through class discussion, debates, and frequent short papers, students develop effective skills in self-expression, analysis, and interpretation. Literary texts, articles on current events, and films are studied within the context of the changing structures of French society and France’s complex relationship to its recent past. Assignments include both creative and analytic approaches to writing. Some grammar review as necessary, as well as work on understanding spoken French using video materials. Highly recommended for students planning to study abroad.

Requisite: FREN 205, or completion of AP French, or four years of secondary school French in a strong program. Fall semester: Professors Katsaros and Sigal. Spring semester: Professor Sigal.

2017-18: Offered in Fall 2017 and Spring 2018
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Spring 2008, Fall 2008, Spring 2009, Fall 2009, Spring 2010, Fall 2010, Spring 2011, Fall 2011, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017

208 French Conversation

To gain as much confidence as possible in idiomatic French, we discuss French social institutions and culture, trying to appreciate differences between French and American viewpoints. Our conversational exchanges will touch upon such topics as French education, art and architecture, the status of women, the spectrum of political parties, minority groups, religion, and the position of France and French-speaking countries in the world. Supplementary work with audio and video materials.

Requisite: FREN 205, or completion of AP French, or four years of secondary school French in a strong program. Limited to 16 students. Fall semester: Professor Nader-Esfahani. Spring semester: Professors Katsaros and Nader-Esfahani. 

2017-18: Offered in Fall 2017 and Spring 2018
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Spring 2008, Fall 2008, Spring 2009, Spring 2010, Spring 2011, Spring 2012, Spring 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017

314 From Astérix to Houellebecq: Translating Contemporary French

This course aims at improving the students' knowledge of the contemporary French language and of contemporary French society through translation. We will draw from a wide variety of sources, such as fiction, poetry, film, songs, press articles, graphic novels and advertising, to gain a better understanding of idiomatic French and of the translation process. Conducted in French.

Requisite: FREN 207 or 208 or the equivalent. Limited to 17 students. Omitted 2017-18. Professor Katsaros.

2017-18: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2014, Fall 2015, Fall 2016

320 Literary Masks of the Late French Middle Ages

The rise in the rate of literacy which characterized the early French Middle Ages coincided with radical reappraisals of the nature and function of reading and poetic production. This course will investigate the ramifications of these reappraisals for the literature of the late French Middle Ages. Readings may include such major works as Guillaume de Dole by Jean Renart, the anonymous Roman de Renart, the Roman de la Rose by Guillaume de Lorris, selections from the continuation of the Roman de la Rose by Jean de Meun, anonymous Fabliaux, and poetic works by Christine de Pisan, Guillaume de Machaut, Jean Froissart, and Charles d’Orléans. Particular attention will be paid to the philosophical presuppositions surrounding the production of erotic allegorical discourse. We shall also address such topics as the relationships between lyric and narrative and among disguise, death and aging in the context of medieval discourses on love. All texts will be read in modern French. Conducted in French.

Requisite: One of the following--FREN 207, 208, 311 or equivalent. Omitted 2017-18. Professor Rockwell.

2017-18: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Spring 2010, Spring 2013, Spring 2016

321 Amor and Metaphor in the Early French Middle Ages

The eleventh and twelfth centuries witnessed social, political, and poetic innovations that rival in impact the information revolution of recent decades. Essential to these innovations was the transformation from an oral to a book-oriented culture. This course will investigate the problems of that transition, as reflected in such major works of the early French Middle Ages as: The Song of Roland, the Tristan legend, the Roman d’Eneas, the Arthurian romances of Chrétien de Troyes, anonymous texts concerning the Holy Grail and the death of King Arthur. We shall also address questions relevant to this transition, such as the emergence of medieval allegory, the rise of literacy, and the relationship among love, sex, and hierarchy. All texts will be read in modern French. Conducted in French.

Requisite: One of the following--FREN 207, 208, 311, or equivalent. Spring semester.  Professor Rockwell.

2017-18: Offered in Spring 2018
Other years: Offered in Fall 2009, Spring 2012, Spring 2015

324 Studies in Medieval Romance Literature and Culture

The study of a major author, literary problem, or question from the medieval period with a particular focus announced each time the course is offered. The topic for spring 2017 was: "Dante and the French."  We will study the social, philosophical, poetic and institutional currents that contribute to the emergence of allegorical texts in the period between the twelfth and the late-fourteenth centuries.  Readings include the Quest for the Holy Grail and works by Chrétien de Troyes, Guillaume de Lorris, Jean de Meung, Dante Alighieri, and Marie de France. All readings will be done in English translation. Conducted in English. 

Omitted 2017-18  Professor Rockwell.

 2017-18: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2008, Spring 2011, Spring 2014, Spring 2017

327 Humanism and the Renaissance

Humanists came to distrust medieval institutions and models. Through an analysis of the most influential works of the French Renaissance, we shall study the variety of literary innovations which grew out of that distrust with an eye to their social and philosophical underpinnings. We shall address topics relevant to these innovations such as Neoplatonism, the grotesque, notions of the body, love, beauty, order and disorder. Readings will be drawn from the works of such major writers as: Erasmus, Rabelais, Marguerite de Navarre, Montaigne, Ronsard, Du Bellay, Maurice Scève and Louise Labé. The most difficult texts will be read in modern French. Conducted in French.

Requisite: One of the following--FREN 207, 208, 311 or equivalent. Omitted 2017-18. Professor Rockwell.

2017-18: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008, Fall 2010, Fall 2013, Fall 2016

329 True or False: The Search for Reality in Early Modern France

The Age of Information Technology has broadened our access to material from all around the world and has connected us to people and regions that would otherwise remain in the shadows. Furthermore, the Internet has given voice to another body, that of ordinary people, that now exists alongside more conventional authorities and outlets. Social media enables every individual to publicize him or herself and become a public figure; Wikipedia now co-exists alongside scholarly journals and academic e-books; WikiLeaks and hacking bring private matters of leaders and everyday people into the public eye; and Twitter has become a formidable rival to traditional news outlets in its release of breaking news. Conversely, this same democratization of information, in both its production and its representation, has problematized the relationship between the private and the public, and it has raised questions about the truth behind these multiple and often conflicting realities. Overwhelmed by the sheer quantity of information and by myriad perspectives, how can we ever be certain of what we know? How do we distinguish the true from the false, essence from appearance?   A period marked by a flourishing print culture and the production and circulation of knowledge, by religious and political conflicts, by new discoveries, inventions and methods of scientific inquiry, and by multiple arenas for “talk” and criticism--from town squares to court, from personal correspondence to the essay, from the poem to the pamphlet--early modern France offers a compelling point of comparison as we reflect upon these questions. What constitutes a lie? How is opinion constructed, and how might it differ from truth? What, or who, is a truth-teller? What role do rumor and gossip play in creating or challenging beliefs and reputations? What happens when something private is made public? Is the public face of an individual to be trusted, or is it simply a mask? What is evidence? Why is the notion of “illusion” a central preoccupation of writers, especially at the turn of the century? In this course, we will investigate the dynamic among the false, the real, and the true, and we will examine how rumor, gossip, belief, opinion, appearance, doubt,evidence, and judgement work to create, interrogate, and even undo truths and falsehoods. Readings will draw on works of fiction and non-fiction from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and may include major figures such as Ronsard, Marguerite de Navarre, Montaigne, Descartes, Corneille, Madame de Sévigné, Madame de Lafayette, and Racine. Conducted in French.

Requisite: One of the following—FREN 207, 208, 311 or equivalent.  Spring semester.  Professor Nader-Esfahani.

2017-18: Offered in Spring 2018

330 The Doing and Undoing of Genres in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries

This course explores the formation and transformation of various genres in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century literature, with a particular focus announced each time the course is offered. The topic for 2015-16 was "The Eighteenth-Century Novel and Theater in France."  Readings included texts by Diderot, Voltaire, Marivaux, Prévost, Laclos, and Beaumarchais. Conducted in French.

Requisite: One of the following--FREN 207, 208, 311 or equivalent. Omitted 2017-18. Professor de la Carrera.

2017-18: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2008, Spring 2011, Fall 2012, Fall 2015

338 The Republic of Letters

An exploration of Enlightenment thought within the context of the collaborative institutions and activities that fostered its development, including literary and artistic salons, cafés, and the Encyclopédie.  We will read texts by Rousseau, Diderot, Voltaire, and others, drawn from the domains of literature, philosophy, memoirs, and correspondence. To get a better idea of what it might have been like to live in the eighteenth century and be a participant in the “Republic of Letters,” we will also read a variety of essays in French cultural history. Conducted in French.                                                                                                                

Requisite: One of the following—FREN 207, 208, 311 or equivalent. Fall semester. Professor de la Carrera.

2017-18: Offered in Fall 2017
Other years: Offered in Fall 2008, Fall 2011

339 Worldliness and Otherworldliness

Many eighteenth-century writers imagined and invented other, better societies. To attenuate their criticisms of the social, political, and religious structures of the ancien régime, they had recourse to the viewpoint of fictional "outsiders" who arrive in France as if for the first time and describe what they see in minute and telling detail. We will analyze the role that these "other" worlds and the "otherworldly" point of view played in the development of eighteenth-century thought and literature, as well as some of the repercussions that these questions have had in twentieth-century thought. Readings will include Montesquieu's Lettres persanes, Rousseau's Discours sur l'origine de l'inégalité, Diderot's Supplément au Voyage de Bougainville, and Madame de Graffigny's Lettres d'une Péruvienne, as well as Freud's Civilization and Its Discontents and a selection of essays by Claude Lévi-Strauss. Conducted in French.

Requisite: One of the following--FREN 207, 208, 311, or equivalent. Omitted 2017-18. Professor de la Carrera.

2017-18: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008, Fall 2009, Spring 2012, Spring 2015, Spring 2017

340 Colonial Cultures: Images of the French Colonial Empire

In the early years of the twentieth century, the French Colonial Empire stretched from Algiers to Antananarivo and from Hanoi to Cayenne. The Maghreb, French West Africa, French Equatorial Africa, the Indo-Chinese peninsula, and Madagascar all lived under French rule. This class will analyze the creation and dissemination of “colonial cultures” in the wake of French imperialism. From the early nineteenth century on, military conquest went hand in hand with the production of a diverse and wide-ranging colonial imaginary. Schoolbooks, colonial exhibitions, natural history museums, visual artefacts ranging from paintings to advertisements, literary works, songs, and films inspired by “Greater France” proliferated in French culture. Drawing from selected case studies, we will explore the many forms taken by the French colonial imagination. We will also examine critiques of colonialism, as well as strategies and modalities of resistance to the colonial imaginary.  Conducted in French.

Requisite: One of the following--FREN 207, 208, 311 or equivalent. Fall semester. Professor Katsaros.

2017-18: Offered in Fall 2017

342 Women of Ill Repute: Prostitutes in Nineteenth-Century French Literature

(Offered as FREN 342 and SWAG 342) Prostitutes play a central role in nineteenth-century French fiction, especially of the realistic and naturalistic kind. Both widely available and largely visible in nineteenth-century France, prostitutes inspired many negative stereotypes. But, as the very product of the culture that marginalized her, the prostitute offered an ideal vehicle for writers to criticize the hypocrisy of bourgeois mores. The socially stratified world of prostitutes, ranging from low-ranking sex workers to high-class courtesans, presents a fascinating microcosm of French society as a whole. We will read selections from Honoré de Balzac, Splendeur et misère des courtisanes; Victor Hugo, Les Misérables; and Gustave Flaubert, L’éducation sentimentale; as well as Boule-de-Suif and other stories by Guy de Maupassant; La fille Elisa by Edmond de Goncourt; Nana by Emile Zola; Marthe by Joris-Karl Huysmans; La dame aux camélias by Alexandre Dumas fils; and extracts from Du côté de chez Swann by Marcel Proust. Additional readings will be drawn from the fields of history (Alain Corbin, Michelle Perrot) and critical theory (Walter Benjamin, Michel Foucault, Julia Kristeva). We will also discuss visual representations of prostitutes in nineteenth-century French art (Gavarni, Daumier, C. Guys, Degas, Manet, Toulouse-Lautrec). Conducted in French.

Requisite: One of the following--FREN 207, 208, 311 or equivalent. Omitted 2017-18. Professor Katsaros.

2017-18: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2009, Fall 2012, Fall 2015

346 Enfants Terribles: Childhood in French Literature and Culture from Rousseau to the Surrealist

Images of childhood have become omnipresent in our culture. We fetishize childhood as an idyllic time, preserved from the difficulties and compromises of adult life; but the notion that children’s individual lives are worth recording is a relatively modern one.  Drawing from literature, children's literature, anthropology, philosophy, art, and film, we will try to map out the journey from the idea of childhood as a phase to be outgrown to the modern conception of childhood as a crucial moment of self-definition. We will pay particular attention to the issues of nature against nurture through the example of the "wild child" Victor. We will also discuss theories of child-rearing, the emergence of children’s literature, and the importance of childhood in avant-garde movements.  

Readings will include selections from Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s treatise on education, L’Emile; Victor de l'Aveyron by Dr. Jean Itard; Les Malheurs de Sophie by the Comtesse de Ségur; stories by Guy de Maupassant; selected poems Baudelaire and Rimbaud; Jules Vallès, L'Enfant; and the Surrealist play Victor ou les enfants au pouvoir by Roger Vitrac. We will examine nineteenth-century artists' visions of childhood, with a particular emphasis on female artists such as Elisabeth Vigée-Lebrun and Berthe Morisot. We will also discuss classic films by René Clément and François Truffaut as well as contemporary French films about childhood. Conducted in French.

Requisite: One of the following--FREN 207, 208, 311 or equivalent. Spring semester. Professor Katsaros.

2017-18: Offered in Spring 2018
Other years: Offered in Spring 2011, Fall 2013

347 Dream Worlds: Utopia and the French Imagination

In the aftermath of the French revolution, utopias proliferated in France as perhaps never before. Socialist thinkers such as Charles Fourier and Henri de Saint-Simon invented entire systems designed to improve social justice, equality, and harmony. Utopian dreams were not restricted to political thought, however: technology, science, and the arts also inspired, and gave shape to, visions of a perfect world. This class will be an introduction to utopian thinkers, designers, and artists of the nineteenth and early twentieth century and will ask why utopia had such a strong hold on the French imagination at the time. We will discuss artists’ communes, such as the Ecole de Barbizon; city planning and utopia; the development of science-fiction as a utopian genre; Georges Méliès and the beginnings of film; as well as the link between the creation of the French colonial Empire and utopia, through the example of Algeria.

We will be reading, among other sources, excerpts from Charles Fourier, Henri de Saint-Simon, and Etienne Cabet; futuristic novels by Jules Verne and Villiers de l’Isle-Adam; poetry and essays by Stéphane Mallarmé; and essays by historians Mona Ozouf, François Furet, Antoine Picon, and Michelle Riot-Sarcey. Class materials will also be drawn from film, architectural plans, and the visual arts. Conducted in French.

Requisite: One of the following--FREN 207, 208, 311 or equivalent. Omitted 2017-18. Professor Katsaros.

2017-18: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2016

352 The Space In-Between: Writing Exile and Return in the Twentieth Century

The twentieth century was a century of migrations. Many writers and poets experienced exile, whether displaced by the furious violence of history, forced out of their country by an unbearable political situation, or simply led by their literary ambition. For many, the host country becomes a problematic permanent residency; for others, it is only a passage before an often painful return to the native land. These various experiences intensely mark authors' relationship to writing: suspended between two countries, two languages and two cultures, these poets and writers form challenging conceptions of space and time. In the midst of a violent century, the book becomes a refuge against savagery, or on the contrary a place to cry out one's rage; an intimate territory in a foreign world, a space of questioning and reflection. We will read texts by Aimé Césaire, Albert Camus, Edmond Jabés, Georges Perec, Assia Djebar and Dany Laferrière, and watch films by Jean Rouch, Nurith Aviv and Manthia Diawara. Theoretical texts will include essays by Walter Benjamin, Jacques Derrida, Gilles Deleuze, Edouard Glissant and Edward Said, among others. Conducted in French.

Requisite: One of the following--FREN 207, 208, 311 or equivalent. Omitted 2017-18. Professor Sigal.

 

2017-18: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2016

356 Troubled Minds: The Self under Siege

The coincidence of the “I” and the self might seem redundant, even self-evident. But, in the twentieth century, the very act of writing one’s life, of writing about the self, is often the starting point of a quest that brings authors to express conflicted, paradoxical, even violent ideas about themselves and the world. Whether they aim at revealing the naked truth about their life, or on the contrary attempt to conceal it, they use literature as a repository for their experience, as well as an echo chamber of their convoluted thought. Confronted with such texts, we, the readers, may react with puzzlement or skepticism, rejection or envy. In other words, reading a writer telling about her or his experiences engages our own selves. This class will be the occasion to examine how we read when faced with the “I” of the other. Primary readings may include texts by Charles Baudelaire, Antonin Artaud, Driss Chraïbi, Marguerite Duras, Georges Perec, Roland Barthes and Maryse Condé. Secondary readings may include texts by Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Martin Buber, Philippe Lejeune, and Serge Doubrovsky. Students will engage with the material in three steps: writing a reading journal; presenting their work-in-progress in class; writing a final essay. Conducted in French.

Requisite: One of the following--FREN 207, 208, 311 or equivalent. Omitted 2017-18. Professor Sigal.

2017-18: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2017

359 "What's the Magic Word?" The Power of Literature

The Oxford English Dictionary defines magic as “the use of ritual activities or observances which are intended to influence the course of events or to manipulate the natural world.” Sorcerers use recipes, incantations, and actions, to bend the natural order of things. In this class, we will question why some of the most prominent writers in French modernity have engaged with magical thought in their works. In the nineteenth century, numerous authors used magic as a metaphor to express the irrationality inhibited by a culture obsessed with reason and progress. In the twentieth century, avant-garde movements embraced this trend: writers, poets and artists were avid practitioners of fortune telling, telepathy, astrology and numerology. Concurrently, magic became a prominent subject of modern ethnologists: magical thinking articulated both the dawn of science in religious societies and the persistence of religion in scientific societies, and thus allowed ethnologists to cross-examine two phenomena essential to defining modern societies. Authors took a great interest in these findings. We could link their interest to a desire to produce a language made of words that “do things.” In a way, writers are like magicians whose incantations do not function anymore, as if their language had lost its power. In this class, we will read both literature and ethnology to investigate the ways in which magical thinking infused the birth of literary modernity. We will read literary works by Flaubert (Madame Bovary), Nerval, Artaud, Breton, and Césaire; and critical and ethnographical texts by Mauss, Levi-Strauss, Métraux, De Certeau and Bailly. Conducted in French.

Requisite: One of the following--FREN 207, 208, 311 or equivalent. Fall semester. Professor Sigal.

2017-18: Offered in Fall 2017

360 Masterpieces of French Literature in Translation

A study of great works of French literature. Readings may include: Prévost's Manon Lescaut, Laclos' Dangerous Liaisons, Flaubert's Madame Bovary, Zola's The Beast Within, Huysmans' Against Nature, Proust's Swann's Way, and Camus' The Stranger. Conducted in English. Omitted 2017-18. Professor de la Carrera.

2017-18: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2009, Fall 2010, Spring 2012, Spring 2016

361 European Film

(Offered as FREN 361 and FAMS 321)  A study of some of the greatest French New Wave (1959-1963) films, as well as earlier French films that influenced the New Wave. From the New Wave we shall view Truffaut’s The 400 Blows; Godard’s Breathless, My Life to Live, and Contempt; Hiroshima mon amour and Last Year at Marienbad by Resnais. We shall also study Zero for Conduct (1933) and L’Atalante (1934) by Jean Vigo; Boudu Saved From the Waters (1932) Grand Illusion (1937), and The Rules of the Game (1939) by Jean Renoir; Jean-Pierre Melville’s Bob le Flambeur (1956) and A Man Escaped (1956) by Robert Bresson. No previous training in film analysis is required. Conducted in English.

Omitted 2017-18. Professor Caplan.

2017-18: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008, Spring 2013, Spring 2016

369 Madame Butterfly Lives: Cross-Cultural Exchanges in France and Japan

(Offered as ASLC 338 and FREN 369)  In 1867, in the waning days of the Tokugawa shogunate, the Japanese authorities dispatched several geisha to the Paris World Exposition to represent a country few Europeans knew anything about. Since these inauspicious beginnings, the culture of each country has come to have a decisive hold on the imagination of the other across a wide array of fields. By the time Jean-Paul Sartre arrived in Tokyo almost a century later, the cultural ties were so extensive that the French philosopher was greeted by a media frenzy normally reserved for celebrities. Today, Japanese comic books are widely available in French translation, and French cinema shows regularly on Japanese screens. This interdisciplinary course tracks the circulation of texts, ideas, images, and people between France and Japan from the late nineteenth century to the present, allowing us to address issues of national identity, Orientalism, exoticism, gender, media culture, and artistic modernism, among other themes. Course materials will be drawn from literature, visual art, opera, film, dance, fashion, design, philosophy, and history. The class is taught in English and requires no prior knowledge of either count

Omitted 2017-18. Professors Katsaros and Van Compernolle.

 

2017-18: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2016

410H French in Practice for Senior Majors

The course provides a forum for seniors for the practice of spoken French at the advanced level with native speakers. Students will prepare and deliver presentations; practice interviewing techniques; and learn and practice using technical vocabulary from a variety of disciplines in the sciences, social sciences, and humanities.  The choice of short readings and vocabulary sets will vary each time the course is offered and will reflect the interests of the students enrolled. Spring semester: The Department

Requisite: Senior status.  Open only to French majors.  Spring semester.  The Department.

2017-18: Offered in Spring 2018
Other years: Offered in Spring 2016, Spring 2017

473 Books That Bind

(Offered as FREN 473 and ARHA 473) This seminar stages the connections, associations, and interactions that bind together books and their users. It is premised upon the idea that books (manuscripts, printed texts, digital publications, and related media) initiate complex exchanges and relations: they enrich our world, affect our perceptions, stimulate our sensations, and trigger our emotions. Knowledge perpetuates itself in books: books are the crossroads where one consciousness pursues the consciousness of the other, the dwellings where communities are founded or dismantled, and faiths united and untied. In this seminar, we will bring together the methodologies of art history, textual analysis, ethnography, material culture, and art making and curating in order to investigate the place of books in our society and in history. Each session will be devoted to a singular aspect of the book, broadly conceived. Possible topics may include the book as an object of collection; colonial and post-colonial uses of the book; the intersection of body and codex; the book as talisman and amulet; diverse practices of reading and assembling the page; the precarious status of the author; and the materiality of the book. In parallel, throughout the semester, students will conceive an exhibition (and an exhibition catalog) about the Book, to be presented at Frost Library.  Conducted in English.

Requisite: One course in History of Art, French, Studio Art, History, Anthropology, or related discipline. Permission required for first-year students.  Limited to 20 students. Spring semester. Professors Sigal and Rice.

2017-18: Offered in Spring 2018

490 Special Topics

Independent Reading Courses. Full course.

Admission with consent of the instructor required. Fall and spring semesters.

2017-18: Offered in Fall 2017 and Spring 2018
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Fall 2008, Fall 2009, Fall 2010, Fall 2011, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017

498, 499, 499D Senior Departmental Honors

A single course.

Fall semester. The Department.

2017-18: Offered in Fall 2017
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Fall 2008, Fall 2009, Fall 2010, Fall 2011, Fall 2012, Fall 2013, Fall 2014, Fall 2015, Fall 2016

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French

Professors de la Carrera‡, Katsaros (Chair), Rockwell†, and Rosbottom; Assistant Professors Nader-Esfahani and Sigal; Senior Lecturer Uhden.

*On leave 2017-18.

† On leave fall semester 2017-18.

‡ On leave spring semester 2017-18.

The objective of the French major is to learn about French culture directly through its language and principally by way of its literature. Emphasis in courses is upon examination of significant authors or problems rather than on chronological survey. We read texts closely from a modern critical perspective, but without isolating them from their cultural context. To give students a better idea of the development of French culture throughout the centuries, we encourage majors to select courses from a wide range of historical periods, from the Middle Ages to the present.

Fluent and correct use of the language is essential to successful completion of the major. Most courses are taught in French. The Department also urges majors to spend a semester or a year studying in a French-speaking country. The major in French provides effective preparation for graduate work, but it is not conceived as strictly pre-professional training.

Major Program. The Department of French aims at flexibility and responds to the plans and interests of the major within a structure that affords diversity of experience in French literature and continuous training in the use of the language.

A major (both rite and with Departmental Honors) will normally consist of a minimum of eight courses, six of which must be courses that are conducted in French. Students may choose to take (a) eight courses in French literature and civilization; or (b) six courses in French literature and civilization and two related courses with departmental approval. In either case, a minimum of four courses must be taken from the French offerings at Amherst College. One of these four must be taken during the senior year. All courses offered by the Department above FREN 103 may count for the major. Among these eight courses, one must be chosen from the Middle Ages or Renaissance, and one from the seventeenth or eighteenth centuries. (FREN 311 satisfies either of these distribution requirements.) With departmental approval up to four courses taken in a study abroad program may count toward the eight required courses for the major. Comprehensive examinations must be completed no later than the seventh week of the spring semester of the senior year.

Departmental Honors Program. Candidates for Departmental Honors must write a thesis in addition to fulfilling the course requirements for the major described above. Students who wish to write a thesis should begin to develop a topic during their junior year and must submit a detailed thesis proposal to the Department at the beginning of the second week of fall semester classes. Subject to departmental approval of the thesis proposal, candidates for Departmental Honors will enroll in FREN 498 and 499 during their senior year. (FREN 498 and 499 will not be counted towards the eight-course requirement for the major.) Oral examinations on the thesis will be scheduled in late spring.

Foreign Study. A program of study approved by the Department for a junior year in France has the support of the Department as a significant means of enlarging the major’s comprehension of French civilization and as the most effective method of developing mastery of the language.

Exchange Fellowships. Graduating seniors are eligible for two Exchange Fellowships for study in France: one fellowship as Teaching Assistant in American Civilization and Language at the University of Dijon; the other as Exchange Fellow, Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris.

Course numbering system. FREN 101-208 are French Language and Composition courses. FREN 101-207 are numbered by degree of difficulty. FREN 207, 208 and 311 have identical prerequisites and may be taken in any order. All courses numbered 320 and above, with the exception of those courses conducted in English, list FREN 207, 208, and 311 as prerequisites. Courses numbered 320 and above are advanced courses but are not ranked by order of difficulty. They are organized, instead, by period in the following manner:

311-319: French Literature and Civilization

320-329: Medieval and Renaissance Literature and Culture

330-339: Seventeenth- and Eighteenth-Century Literature and Culture

340-349: Nineteenth-Century Literature and Culture

350-359: Twentieth- and Twenty-First Century Literature and Culture

360-369: Special Courses

470 +: Advanced Courses

498-499: Senior Departmental Honors

490: Special Topics

101 Elementary French

This course features intensive work on French grammar, with emphasis on the acquisition of basic active skills (speaking, reading, writing and vocabulary building). We will be using the multimedia program, Totem, which employs only authentic French, allowing students to use the language colloquially and creatively in a short amount of time. Three hours a week for explanation and demonstration, plus small sections with French assistants. This course prepares students for FREN 103. For students without previous training in French.

Fall and spring semesters.  Senior Lecturer Uhden and Assistants.

2017-18: Offered in Fall 2017 and Spring 2018
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Spring 2008, Fall 2008, Spring 2009, Fall 2009, Spring 2010, Fall 2010, Spring 2011, Fall 2011, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017

103 Intermediate French

Intensive review and coverage of all basic French grammar points with emphasis on the understanding of structural and functional aspects of the language and acquisition of the basic active skills (speaking, reading, writing and systematic vocabulary building). We will be using the multimedia program, Imaginez. Three hours a week for explanation and demonstration, plus small sections with French assistants. This course prepares students for FREN 205.

Requisite: FREN 101 or two years of secondary school French. Fall and spring semesters. Senior Lecturer Uhden and Assistants.

2017-18: Offered in Fall 2017 and Spring 2018
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Spring 2008, Fall 2008, Spring 2009, Fall 2009, Spring 2010, Fall 2010, Spring 2011, Fall 2011, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017

205 Language and Literature

An introduction to the critical reading of French literary and non-literary texts; a review of French grammar; training in composition, conversation and listening comprehension. Texts will be drawn from significant short stories, poetry and films. The survey of different literary genres serves also to contrast several views of French culture. Successful completion of FREN 205 prepares students for FREN 207, 208, 311 or 312. Conducted in French. Three hours a week.

Requisite: FREN 103 or three to four years of secondary school French. Fall semester: Professor de la Carrera. Spring semester: Professor Rockwell.

2017-18: Offered in Fall 2017 and Spring 2018
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Spring 2008, Fall 2008, Spring 2009, Fall 2009, Spring 2010, Fall 2010, Spring 2011, Fall 2011, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017

207 Introduction to French Literature and Culture

Through class discussion, debates, and frequent short papers, students develop effective skills in self-expression, analysis, and interpretation. Literary texts, articles on current events, and films are studied within the context of the changing structures of French society and France’s complex relationship to its recent past. Assignments include both creative and analytic approaches to writing. Some grammar review as necessary, as well as work on understanding spoken French using video materials. Highly recommended for students planning to study abroad.

Requisite: FREN 205, or completion of AP French, or four years of secondary school French in a strong program. Fall semester: Professors Katsaros and Sigal. Spring semester: Professor Sigal.

2017-18: Offered in Fall 2017 and Spring 2018
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Spring 2008, Fall 2008, Spring 2009, Fall 2009, Spring 2010, Fall 2010, Spring 2011, Fall 2011, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017

208 French Conversation

To gain as much confidence as possible in idiomatic French, we discuss French social institutions and culture, trying to appreciate differences between French and American viewpoints. Our conversational exchanges will touch upon such topics as French education, art and architecture, the status of women, the spectrum of political parties, minority groups, religion, and the position of France and French-speaking countries in the world. Supplementary work with audio and video materials.

Requisite: FREN 205, or completion of AP French, or four years of secondary school French in a strong program. Limited to 16 students. Fall semester: Professor Nader-Esfahani. Spring semester: Professors Katsaros and Nader-Esfahani. 

2017-18: Offered in Fall 2017 and Spring 2018
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Spring 2008, Fall 2008, Spring 2009, Spring 2010, Spring 2011, Spring 2012, Spring 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017

314 From Astérix to Houellebecq: Translating Contemporary French

This course aims at improving the students' knowledge of the contemporary French language and of contemporary French society through translation. We will draw from a wide variety of sources, such as fiction, poetry, film, songs, press articles, graphic novels and advertising, to gain a better understanding of idiomatic French and of the translation process. Conducted in French.

Requisite: FREN 207 or 208 or the equivalent. Limited to 17 students. Omitted 2017-18. Professor Katsaros.

2017-18: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2014, Fall 2015, Fall 2016

320 Literary Masks of the Late French Middle Ages

The rise in the rate of literacy which characterized the early French Middle Ages coincided with radical reappraisals of the nature and function of reading and poetic production. This course will investigate the ramifications of these reappraisals for the literature of the late French Middle Ages. Readings may include such major works as Guillaume de Dole by Jean Renart, the anonymous Roman de Renart, the Roman de la Rose by Guillaume de Lorris, selections from the continuation of the Roman de la Rose by Jean de Meun, anonymous Fabliaux, and poetic works by Christine de Pisan, Guillaume de Machaut, Jean Froissart, and Charles d’Orléans. Particular attention will be paid to the philosophical presuppositions surrounding the production of erotic allegorical discourse. We shall also address such topics as the relationships between lyric and narrative and among disguise, death and aging in the context of medieval discourses on love. All texts will be read in modern French. Conducted in French.

Requisite: One of the following--FREN 207, 208, 311 or equivalent. Omitted 2017-18. Professor Rockwell.

2017-18: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Spring 2010, Spring 2013, Spring 2016

321 Amor and Metaphor in the Early French Middle Ages

The eleventh and twelfth centuries witnessed social, political, and poetic innovations that rival in impact the information revolution of recent decades. Essential to these innovations was the transformation from an oral to a book-oriented culture. This course will investigate the problems of that transition, as reflected in such major works of the early French Middle Ages as: The Song of Roland, the Tristan legend, the Roman d’Eneas, the Arthurian romances of Chrétien de Troyes, anonymous texts concerning the Holy Grail and the death of King Arthur. We shall also address questions relevant to this transition, such as the emergence of medieval allegory, the rise of literacy, and the relationship among love, sex, and hierarchy. All texts will be read in modern French. Conducted in French.

Requisite: One of the following--FREN 207, 208, 311, or equivalent. Spring semester.  Professor Rockwell.

2017-18: Offered in Spring 2018
Other years: Offered in Fall 2009, Spring 2012, Spring 2015

324 Studies in Medieval Romance Literature and Culture

The study of a major author, literary problem, or question from the medieval period with a particular focus announced each time the course is offered. The topic for spring 2017 was: "Dante and the French."  We will study the social, philosophical, poetic and institutional currents that contribute to the emergence of allegorical texts in the period between the twelfth and the late-fourteenth centuries.  Readings include the Quest for the Holy Grail and works by Chrétien de Troyes, Guillaume de Lorris, Jean de Meung, Dante Alighieri, and Marie de France. All readings will be done in English translation. Conducted in English. 

Omitted 2017-18  Professor Rockwell.

 2017-18: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2008, Spring 2011, Spring 2014, Spring 2017

327 Humanism and the Renaissance

Humanists came to distrust medieval institutions and models. Through an analysis of the most influential works of the French Renaissance, we shall study the variety of literary innovations which grew out of that distrust with an eye to their social and philosophical underpinnings. We shall address topics relevant to these innovations such as Neoplatonism, the grotesque, notions of the body, love, beauty, order and disorder. Readings will be drawn from the works of such major writers as: Erasmus, Rabelais, Marguerite de Navarre, Montaigne, Ronsard, Du Bellay, Maurice Scève and Louise Labé. The most difficult texts will be read in modern French. Conducted in French.

Requisite: One of the following--FREN 207, 208, 311 or equivalent. Omitted 2017-18. Professor Rockwell.

2017-18: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008, Fall 2010, Fall 2013, Fall 2016

329 True or False: The Search for Reality in Early Modern France

The Age of Information Technology has broadened our access to material from all around the world and has connected us to people and regions that would otherwise remain in the shadows. Furthermore, the Internet has given voice to another body, that of ordinary people, that now exists alongside more conventional authorities and outlets. Social media enables every individual to publicize him or herself and become a public figure; Wikipedia now co-exists alongside scholarly journals and academic e-books; WikiLeaks and hacking bring private matters of leaders and everyday people into the public eye; and Twitter has become a formidable rival to traditional news outlets in its release of breaking news. Conversely, this same democratization of information, in both its production and its representation, has problematized the relationship between the private and the public, and it has raised questions about the truth behind these multiple and often conflicting realities. Overwhelmed by the sheer quantity of information and by myriad perspectives, how can we ever be certain of what we know? How do we distinguish the true from the false, essence from appearance?   A period marked by a flourishing print culture and the production and circulation of knowledge, by religious and political conflicts, by new discoveries, inventions and methods of scientific inquiry, and by multiple arenas for “talk” and criticism--from town squares to court, from personal correspondence to the essay, from the poem to the pamphlet--early modern France offers a compelling point of comparison as we reflect upon these questions. What constitutes a lie? How is opinion constructed, and how might it differ from truth? What, or who, is a truth-teller? What role do rumor and gossip play in creating or challenging beliefs and reputations? What happens when something private is made public? Is the public face of an individual to be trusted, or is it simply a mask? What is evidence? Why is the notion of “illusion” a central preoccupation of writers, especially at the turn of the century? In this course, we will investigate the dynamic among the false, the real, and the true, and we will examine how rumor, gossip, belief, opinion, appearance, doubt,evidence, and judgement work to create, interrogate, and even undo truths and falsehoods. Readings will draw on works of fiction and non-fiction from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and may include major figures such as Ronsard, Marguerite de Navarre, Montaigne, Descartes, Corneille, Madame de Sévigné, Madame de Lafayette, and Racine. Conducted in French.

Requisite: One of the following—FREN 207, 208, 311 or equivalent.  Spring semester.  Professor Nader-Esfahani.

2017-18: Offered in Spring 2018

330 The Doing and Undoing of Genres in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries

This course explores the formation and transformation of various genres in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century literature, with a particular focus announced each time the course is offered. The topic for 2015-16 was "The Eighteenth-Century Novel and Theater in France."  Readings included texts by Diderot, Voltaire, Marivaux, Prévost, Laclos, and Beaumarchais. Conducted in French.

Requisite: One of the following--FREN 207, 208, 311 or equivalent. Omitted 2017-18. Professor de la Carrera.

2017-18: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2008, Spring 2011, Fall 2012, Fall 2015

338 The Republic of Letters

An exploration of Enlightenment thought within the context of the collaborative institutions and activities that fostered its development, including literary and artistic salons, cafés, and the Encyclopédie.  We will read texts by Rousseau, Diderot, Voltaire, and others, drawn from the domains of literature, philosophy, memoirs, and correspondence. To get a better idea of what it might have been like to live in the eighteenth century and be a participant in the “Republic of Letters,” we will also read a variety of essays in French cultural history. Conducted in French.                                                                                                                

Requisite: One of the following—FREN 207, 208, 311 or equivalent. Fall semester. Professor de la Carrera.

2017-18: Offered in Fall 2017
Other years: Offered in Fall 2008, Fall 2011

339 Worldliness and Otherworldliness

Many eighteenth-century writers imagined and invented other, better societies. To attenuate their criticisms of the social, political, and religious structures of the ancien régime, they had recourse to the viewpoint of fictional "outsiders" who arrive in France as if for the first time and describe what they see in minute and telling detail. We will analyze the role that these "other" worlds and the "otherworldly" point of view played in the development of eighteenth-century thought and literature, as well as some of the repercussions that these questions have had in twentieth-century thought. Readings will include Montesquieu's Lettres persanes, Rousseau's Discours sur l'origine de l'inégalité, Diderot's Supplément au Voyage de Bougainville, and Madame de Graffigny's Lettres d'une Péruvienne, as well as Freud's Civilization and Its Discontents and a selection of essays by Claude Lévi-Strauss. Conducted in French.

Requisite: One of the following--FREN 207, 208, 311, or equivalent. Omitted 2017-18. Professor de la Carrera.

2017-18: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008, Fall 2009, Spring 2012, Spring 2015, Spring 2017

340 Colonial Cultures: Images of the French Colonial Empire

In the early years of the twentieth century, the French Colonial Empire stretched from Algiers to Antananarivo and from Hanoi to Cayenne. The Maghreb, French West Africa, French Equatorial Africa, the Indo-Chinese peninsula, and Madagascar all lived under French rule. This class will analyze the creation and dissemination of “colonial cultures” in the wake of French imperialism. From the early nineteenth century on, military conquest went hand in hand with the production of a diverse and wide-ranging colonial imaginary. Schoolbooks, colonial exhibitions, natural history museums, visual artefacts ranging from paintings to advertisements, literary works, songs, and films inspired by “Greater France” proliferated in French culture. Drawing from selected case studies, we will explore the many forms taken by the French colonial imagination. We will also examine critiques of colonialism, as well as strategies and modalities of resistance to the colonial imaginary.  Conducted in French.

Requisite: One of the following--FREN 207, 208, 311 or equivalent. Fall semester. Professor Katsaros.

2017-18: Offered in Fall 2017

342 Women of Ill Repute: Prostitutes in Nineteenth-Century French Literature

(Offered as FREN 342 and SWAG 342) Prostitutes play a central role in nineteenth-century French fiction, especially of the realistic and naturalistic kind. Both widely available and largely visible in nineteenth-century France, prostitutes inspired many negative stereotypes. But, as the very product of the culture that marginalized her, the prostitute offered an ideal vehicle for writers to criticize the hypocrisy of bourgeois mores. The socially stratified world of prostitutes, ranging from low-ranking sex workers to high-class courtesans, presents a fascinating microcosm of French society as a whole. We will read selections from Honoré de Balzac, Splendeur et misère des courtisanes; Victor Hugo, Les Misérables; and Gustave Flaubert, L’éducation sentimentale; as well as Boule-de-Suif and other stories by Guy de Maupassant; La fille Elisa by Edmond de Goncourt; Nana by Emile Zola; Marthe by Joris-Karl Huysmans; La dame aux camélias by Alexandre Dumas fils; and extracts from Du côté de chez Swann by Marcel Proust. Additional readings will be drawn from the fields of history (Alain Corbin, Michelle Perrot) and critical theory (Walter Benjamin, Michel Foucault, Julia Kristeva). We will also discuss visual representations of prostitutes in nineteenth-century French art (Gavarni, Daumier, C. Guys, Degas, Manet, Toulouse-Lautrec). Conducted in French.

Requisite: One of the following--FREN 207, 208, 311 or equivalent. Omitted 2017-18. Professor Katsaros.

2017-18: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2009, Fall 2012, Fall 2015

346 Enfants Terribles: Childhood in French Literature and Culture from Rousseau to the Surrealist

Images of childhood have become omnipresent in our culture. We fetishize childhood as an idyllic time, preserved from the difficulties and compromises of adult life; but the notion that children’s individual lives are worth recording is a relatively modern one.  Drawing from literature, children's literature, anthropology, philosophy, art, and film, we will try to map out the journey from the idea of childhood as a phase to be outgrown to the modern conception of childhood as a crucial moment of self-definition. We will pay particular attention to the issues of nature against nurture through the example of the "wild child" Victor. We will also discuss theories of child-rearing, the emergence of children’s literature, and the importance of childhood in avant-garde movements.  

Readings will include selections from Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s treatise on education, L’Emile; Victor de l'Aveyron by Dr. Jean Itard; Les Malheurs de Sophie by the Comtesse de Ségur; stories by Guy de Maupassant; selected poems Baudelaire and Rimbaud; Jules Vallès, L'Enfant; and the Surrealist play Victor ou les enfants au pouvoir by Roger Vitrac. We will examine nineteenth-century artists' visions of childhood, with a particular emphasis on female artists such as Elisabeth Vigée-Lebrun and Berthe Morisot. We will also discuss classic films by René Clément and François Truffaut as well as contemporary French films about childhood. Conducted in French.

Requisite: One of the following--FREN 207, 208, 311 or equivalent. Spring semester. Professor Katsaros.

2017-18: Offered in Spring 2018
Other years: Offered in Spring 2011, Fall 2013

347 Dream Worlds: Utopia and the French Imagination

In the aftermath of the French revolution, utopias proliferated in France as perhaps never before. Socialist thinkers such as Charles Fourier and Henri de Saint-Simon invented entire systems designed to improve social justice, equality, and harmony. Utopian dreams were not restricted to political thought, however: technology, science, and the arts also inspired, and gave shape to, visions of a perfect world. This class will be an introduction to utopian thinkers, designers, and artists of the nineteenth and early twentieth century and will ask why utopia had such a strong hold on the French imagination at the time. We will discuss artists’ communes, such as the Ecole de Barbizon; city planning and utopia; the development of science-fiction as a utopian genre; Georges Méliès and the beginnings of film; as well as the link between the creation of the French colonial Empire and utopia, through the example of Algeria.

We will be reading, among other sources, excerpts from Charles Fourier, Henri de Saint-Simon, and Etienne Cabet; futuristic novels by Jules Verne and Villiers de l’Isle-Adam; poetry and essays by Stéphane Mallarmé; and essays by historians Mona Ozouf, François Furet, Antoine Picon, and Michelle Riot-Sarcey. Class materials will also be drawn from film, architectural plans, and the visual arts. Conducted in French.

Requisite: One of the following--FREN 207, 208, 311 or equivalent. Omitted 2017-18. Professor Katsaros.

2017-18: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2016

352 The Space In-Between: Writing Exile and Return in the Twentieth Century

The twentieth century was a century of migrations. Many writers and poets experienced exile, whether displaced by the furious violence of history, forced out of their country by an unbearable political situation, or simply led by their literary ambition. For many, the host country becomes a problematic permanent residency; for others, it is only a passage before an often painful return to the native land. These various experiences intensely mark authors' relationship to writing: suspended between two countries, two languages and two cultures, these poets and writers form challenging conceptions of space and time. In the midst of a violent century, the book becomes a refuge against savagery, or on the contrary a place to cry out one's rage; an intimate territory in a foreign world, a space of questioning and reflection. We will read texts by Aimé Césaire, Albert Camus, Edmond Jabés, Georges Perec, Assia Djebar and Dany Laferrière, and watch films by Jean Rouch, Nurith Aviv and Manthia Diawara. Theoretical texts will include essays by Walter Benjamin, Jacques Derrida, Gilles Deleuze, Edouard Glissant and Edward Said, among others. Conducted in French.

Requisite: One of the following--FREN 207, 208, 311 or equivalent. Omitted 2017-18. Professor Sigal.

 

2017-18: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2016

356 Troubled Minds: The Self under Siege

The coincidence of the “I” and the self might seem redundant, even self-evident. But, in the twentieth century, the very act of writing one’s life, of writing about the self, is often the starting point of a quest that brings authors to express conflicted, paradoxical, even violent ideas about themselves and the world. Whether they aim at revealing the naked truth about their life, or on the contrary attempt to conceal it, they use literature as a repository for their experience, as well as an echo chamber of their convoluted thought. Confronted with such texts, we, the readers, may react with puzzlement or skepticism, rejection or envy. In other words, reading a writer telling about her or his experiences engages our own selves. This class will be the occasion to examine how we read when faced with the “I” of the other. Primary readings may include texts by Charles Baudelaire, Antonin Artaud, Driss Chraïbi, Marguerite Duras, Georges Perec, Roland Barthes and Maryse Condé. Secondary readings may include texts by Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Martin Buber, Philippe Lejeune, and Serge Doubrovsky. Students will engage with the material in three steps: writing a reading journal; presenting their work-in-progress in class; writing a final essay. Conducted in French.

Requisite: One of the following--FREN 207, 208, 311 or equivalent. Omitted 2017-18. Professor Sigal.

2017-18: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2017

359 "What's the Magic Word?" The Power of Literature

The Oxford English Dictionary defines magic as “the use of ritual activities or observances which are intended to influence the course of events or to manipulate the natural world.” Sorcerers use recipes, incantations, and actions, to bend the natural order of things. In this class, we will question why some of the most prominent writers in French modernity have engaged with magical thought in their works. In the nineteenth century, numerous authors used magic as a metaphor to express the irrationality inhibited by a culture obsessed with reason and progress. In the twentieth century, avant-garde movements embraced this trend: writers, poets and artists were avid practitioners of fortune telling, telepathy, astrology and numerology. Concurrently, magic became a prominent subject of modern ethnologists: magical thinking articulated both the dawn of science in religious societies and the persistence of religion in scientific societies, and thus allowed ethnologists to cross-examine two phenomena essential to defining modern societies. Authors took a great interest in these findings. We could link their interest to a desire to produce a language made of words that “do things.” In a way, writers are like magicians whose incantations do not function anymore, as if their language had lost its power. In this class, we will read both literature and ethnology to investigate the ways in which magical thinking infused the birth of literary modernity. We will read literary works by Flaubert (Madame Bovary), Nerval, Artaud, Breton, and Césaire; and critical and ethnographical texts by Mauss, Levi-Strauss, Métraux, De Certeau and Bailly. Conducted in French.

Requisite: One of the following--FREN 207, 208, 311 or equivalent. Fall semester. Professor Sigal.

2017-18: Offered in Fall 2017

360 Masterpieces of French Literature in Translation

A study of great works of French literature. Readings may include: Prévost's Manon Lescaut, Laclos' Dangerous Liaisons, Flaubert's Madame Bovary, Zola's The Beast Within, Huysmans' Against Nature, Proust's Swann's Way, and Camus' The Stranger. Conducted in English. Omitted 2017-18. Professor de la Carrera.

2017-18: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2009, Fall 2010, Spring 2012, Spring 2016

361 European Film

(Offered as FREN 361 and FAMS 321)  A study of some of the greatest French New Wave (1959-1963) films, as well as earlier French films that influenced the New Wave. From the New Wave we shall view Truffaut’s The 400 Blows; Godard’s Breathless, My Life to Live, and Contempt; Hiroshima mon amour and Last Year at Marienbad by Resnais. We shall also study Zero for Conduct (1933) and L’Atalante (1934) by Jean Vigo; Boudu Saved From the Waters (1932) Grand Illusion (1937), and The Rules of the Game (1939) by Jean Renoir; Jean-Pierre Melville’s Bob le Flambeur (1956) and A Man Escaped (1956) by Robert Bresson. No previous training in film analysis is required. Conducted in English.

Omitted 2017-18. Professor Caplan.

2017-18: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008, Spring 2013, Spring 2016

369 Madame Butterfly Lives: Cross-Cultural Exchanges in France and Japan

(Offered as ASLC 338 and FREN 369)  In 1867, in the waning days of the Tokugawa shogunate, the Japanese authorities dispatched several geisha to the Paris World Exposition to represent a country few Europeans knew anything about. Since these inauspicious beginnings, the culture of each country has come to have a decisive hold on the imagination of the other across a wide array of fields. By the time Jean-Paul Sartre arrived in Tokyo almost a century later, the cultural ties were so extensive that the French philosopher was greeted by a media frenzy normally reserved for celebrities. Today, Japanese comic books are widely available in French translation, and French cinema shows regularly on Japanese screens. This interdisciplinary course tracks the circulation of texts, ideas, images, and people between France and Japan from the late nineteenth century to the present, allowing us to address issues of national identity, Orientalism, exoticism, gender, media culture, and artistic modernism, among other themes. Course materials will be drawn from literature, visual art, opera, film, dance, fashion, design, philosophy, and history. The class is taught in English and requires no prior knowledge of either count

Omitted 2017-18. Professors Katsaros and Van Compernolle.

 

2017-18: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2016

410H French in Practice for Senior Majors

The course provides a forum for seniors for the practice of spoken French at the advanced level with native speakers. Students will prepare and deliver presentations; practice interviewing techniques; and learn and practice using technical vocabulary from a variety of disciplines in the sciences, social sciences, and humanities.  The choice of short readings and vocabulary sets will vary each time the course is offered and will reflect the interests of the students enrolled. Spring semester: The Department

Requisite: Senior status.  Open only to French majors.  Spring semester.  The Department.

2017-18: Offered in Spring 2018
Other years: Offered in Spring 2016, Spring 2017

473 Books That Bind

(Offered as FREN 473 and ARHA 473) This seminar stages the connections, associations, and interactions that bind together books and their users. It is premised upon the idea that books (manuscripts, printed texts, digital publications, and related media) initiate complex exchanges and relations: they enrich our world, affect our perceptions, stimulate our sensations, and trigger our emotions. Knowledge perpetuates itself in books: books are the crossroads where one consciousness pursues the consciousness of the other, the dwellings where communities are founded or dismantled, and faiths united and untied. In this seminar, we will bring together the methodologies of art history, textual analysis, ethnography, material culture, and art making and curating in order to investigate the place of books in our society and in history. Each session will be devoted to a singular aspect of the book, broadly conceived. Possible topics may include the book as an object of collection; colonial and post-colonial uses of the book; the intersection of body and codex; the book as talisman and amulet; diverse practices of reading and assembling the page; the precarious status of the author; and the materiality of the book. In parallel, throughout the semester, students will conceive an exhibition (and an exhibition catalog) about the Book, to be presented at Frost Library.  Conducted in English.

Requisite: One course in History of Art, French, Studio Art, History, Anthropology, or related discipline. Permission required for first-year students.  Limited to 20 students. Spring semester. Professors Sigal and Rice.

2017-18: Offered in Spring 2018

490 Special Topics

Independent Reading Courses. Full course.

Admission with consent of the instructor required. Fall and spring semesters.

2017-18: Offered in Fall 2017 and Spring 2018
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Fall 2008, Fall 2009, Fall 2010, Fall 2011, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017

498, 499, 499D Senior Departmental Honors

A single course.

Fall semester. The Department.

2017-18: Offered in Fall 2017
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Fall 2008, Fall 2009, Fall 2010, Fall 2011, Fall 2012, Fall 2013, Fall 2014, Fall 2015, Fall 2016

Honors & Fellowships

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French

Professors de la Carrera‡, Katsaros (Chair), Rockwell†, and Rosbottom; Assistant Professors Nader-Esfahani and Sigal; Senior Lecturer Uhden.

*On leave 2017-18.

† On leave fall semester 2017-18.

‡ On leave spring semester 2017-18.

The objective of the French major is to learn about French culture directly through its language and principally by way of its literature. Emphasis in courses is upon examination of significant authors or problems rather than on chronological survey. We read texts closely from a modern critical perspective, but without isolating them from their cultural context. To give students a better idea of the development of French culture throughout the centuries, we encourage majors to select courses from a wide range of historical periods, from the Middle Ages to the present.

Fluent and correct use of the language is essential to successful completion of the major. Most courses are taught in French. The Department also urges majors to spend a semester or a year studying in a French-speaking country. The major in French provides effective preparation for graduate work, but it is not conceived as strictly pre-professional training.

Major Program. The Department of French aims at flexibility and responds to the plans and interests of the major within a structure that affords diversity of experience in French literature and continuous training in the use of the language.

A major (both rite and with Departmental Honors) will normally consist of a minimum of eight courses, six of which must be courses that are conducted in French. Students may choose to take (a) eight courses in French literature and civilization; or (b) six courses in French literature and civilization and two related courses with departmental approval. In either case, a minimum of four courses must be taken from the French offerings at Amherst College. One of these four must be taken during the senior year. All courses offered by the Department above FREN 103 may count for the major. Among these eight courses, one must be chosen from the Middle Ages or Renaissance, and one from the seventeenth or eighteenth centuries. (FREN 311 satisfies either of these distribution requirements.) With departmental approval up to four courses taken in a study abroad program may count toward the eight required courses for the major. Comprehensive examinations must be completed no later than the seventh week of the spring semester of the senior year.

Departmental Honors Program. Candidates for Departmental Honors must write a thesis in addition to fulfilling the course requirements for the major described above. Students who wish to write a thesis should begin to develop a topic during their junior year and must submit a detailed thesis proposal to the Department at the beginning of the second week of fall semester classes. Subject to departmental approval of the thesis proposal, candidates for Departmental Honors will enroll in FREN 498 and 499 during their senior year. (FREN 498 and 499 will not be counted towards the eight-course requirement for the major.) Oral examinations on the thesis will be scheduled in late spring.

Foreign Study. A program of study approved by the Department for a junior year in France has the support of the Department as a significant means of enlarging the major’s comprehension of French civilization and as the most effective method of developing mastery of the language.

Exchange Fellowships. Graduating seniors are eligible for two Exchange Fellowships for study in France: one fellowship as Teaching Assistant in American Civilization and Language at the University of Dijon; the other as Exchange Fellow, Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris.

Course numbering system. FREN 101-208 are French Language and Composition courses. FREN 101-207 are numbered by degree of difficulty. FREN 207, 208 and 311 have identical prerequisites and may be taken in any order. All courses numbered 320 and above, with the exception of those courses conducted in English, list FREN 207, 208, and 311 as prerequisites. Courses numbered 320 and above are advanced courses but are not ranked by order of difficulty. They are organized, instead, by period in the following manner:

311-319: French Literature and Civilization

320-329: Medieval and Renaissance Literature and Culture

330-339: Seventeenth- and Eighteenth-Century Literature and Culture

340-349: Nineteenth-Century Literature and Culture

350-359: Twentieth- and Twenty-First Century Literature and Culture

360-369: Special Courses

470 +: Advanced Courses

498-499: Senior Departmental Honors

490: Special Topics

101 Elementary French

This course features intensive work on French grammar, with emphasis on the acquisition of basic active skills (speaking, reading, writing and vocabulary building). We will be using the multimedia program, Totem, which employs only authentic French, allowing students to use the language colloquially and creatively in a short amount of time. Three hours a week for explanation and demonstration, plus small sections with French assistants. This course prepares students for FREN 103. For students without previous training in French.

Fall and spring semesters.  Senior Lecturer Uhden and Assistants.

2017-18: Offered in Fall 2017 and Spring 2018
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Spring 2008, Fall 2008, Spring 2009, Fall 2009, Spring 2010, Fall 2010, Spring 2011, Fall 2011, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017

103 Intermediate French

Intensive review and coverage of all basic French grammar points with emphasis on the understanding of structural and functional aspects of the language and acquisition of the basic active skills (speaking, reading, writing and systematic vocabulary building). We will be using the multimedia program, Imaginez. Three hours a week for explanation and demonstration, plus small sections with French assistants. This course prepares students for FREN 205.

Requisite: FREN 101 or two years of secondary school French. Fall and spring semesters. Senior Lecturer Uhden and Assistants.

2017-18: Offered in Fall 2017 and Spring 2018
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Spring 2008, Fall 2008, Spring 2009, Fall 2009, Spring 2010, Fall 2010, Spring 2011, Fall 2011, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017

205 Language and Literature

An introduction to the critical reading of French literary and non-literary texts; a review of French grammar; training in composition, conversation and listening comprehension. Texts will be drawn from significant short stories, poetry and films. The survey of different literary genres serves also to contrast several views of French culture. Successful completion of FREN 205 prepares students for FREN 207, 208, 311 or 312. Conducted in French. Three hours a week.

Requisite: FREN 103 or three to four years of secondary school French. Fall semester: Professor de la Carrera. Spring semester: Professor Rockwell.

2017-18: Offered in Fall 2017 and Spring 2018
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Spring 2008, Fall 2008, Spring 2009, Fall 2009, Spring 2010, Fall 2010, Spring 2011, Fall 2011, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017

207 Introduction to French Literature and Culture

Through class discussion, debates, and frequent short papers, students develop effective skills in self-expression, analysis, and interpretation. Literary texts, articles on current events, and films are studied within the context of the changing structures of French society and France’s complex relationship to its recent past. Assignments include both creative and analytic approaches to writing. Some grammar review as necessary, as well as work on understanding spoken French using video materials. Highly recommended for students planning to study abroad.

Requisite: FREN 205, or completion of AP French, or four years of secondary school French in a strong program. Fall semester: Professors Katsaros and Sigal. Spring semester: Professor Sigal.

2017-18: Offered in Fall 2017 and Spring 2018
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Spring 2008, Fall 2008, Spring 2009, Fall 2009, Spring 2010, Fall 2010, Spring 2011, Fall 2011, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017

208 French Conversation

To gain as much confidence as possible in idiomatic French, we discuss French social institutions and culture, trying to appreciate differences between French and American viewpoints. Our conversational exchanges will touch upon such topics as French education, art and architecture, the status of women, the spectrum of political parties, minority groups, religion, and the position of France and French-speaking countries in the world. Supplementary work with audio and video materials.

Requisite: FREN 205, or completion of AP French, or four years of secondary school French in a strong program. Limited to 16 students. Fall semester: Professor Nader-Esfahani. Spring semester: Professors Katsaros and Nader-Esfahani. 

2017-18: Offered in Fall 2017 and Spring 2018
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Spring 2008, Fall 2008, Spring 2009, Spring 2010, Spring 2011, Spring 2012, Spring 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017

314 From Astérix to Houellebecq: Translating Contemporary French

This course aims at improving the students' knowledge of the contemporary French language and of contemporary French society through translation. We will draw from a wide variety of sources, such as fiction, poetry, film, songs, press articles, graphic novels and advertising, to gain a better understanding of idiomatic French and of the translation process. Conducted in French.

Requisite: FREN 207 or 208 or the equivalent. Limited to 17 students. Omitted 2017-18. Professor Katsaros.

2017-18: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2014, Fall 2015, Fall 2016

320 Literary Masks of the Late French Middle Ages

The rise in the rate of literacy which characterized the early French Middle Ages coincided with radical reappraisals of the nature and function of reading and poetic production. This course will investigate the ramifications of these reappraisals for the literature of the late French Middle Ages. Readings may include such major works as Guillaume de Dole by Jean Renart, the anonymous Roman de Renart, the Roman de la Rose by Guillaume de Lorris, selections from the continuation of the Roman de la Rose by Jean de Meun, anonymous Fabliaux, and poetic works by Christine de Pisan, Guillaume de Machaut, Jean Froissart, and Charles d’Orléans. Particular attention will be paid to the philosophical presuppositions surrounding the production of erotic allegorical discourse. We shall also address such topics as the relationships between lyric and narrative and among disguise, death and aging in the context of medieval discourses on love. All texts will be read in modern French. Conducted in French.

Requisite: One of the following--FREN 207, 208, 311 or equivalent. Omitted 2017-18. Professor Rockwell.

2017-18: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Spring 2010, Spring 2013, Spring 2016

321 Amor and Metaphor in the Early French Middle Ages

The eleventh and twelfth centuries witnessed social, political, and poetic innovations that rival in impact the information revolution of recent decades. Essential to these innovations was the transformation from an oral to a book-oriented culture. This course will investigate the problems of that transition, as reflected in such major works of the early French Middle Ages as: The Song of Roland, the Tristan legend, the Roman d’Eneas, the Arthurian romances of Chrétien de Troyes, anonymous texts concerning the Holy Grail and the death of King Arthur. We shall also address questions relevant to this transition, such as the emergence of medieval allegory, the rise of literacy, and the relationship among love, sex, and hierarchy. All texts will be read in modern French. Conducted in French.

Requisite: One of the following--FREN 207, 208, 311, or equivalent. Spring semester.  Professor Rockwell.

2017-18: Offered in Spring 2018
Other years: Offered in Fall 2009, Spring 2012, Spring 2015

324 Studies in Medieval Romance Literature and Culture

The study of a major author, literary problem, or question from the medieval period with a particular focus announced each time the course is offered. The topic for spring 2017 was: "Dante and the French."  We will study the social, philosophical, poetic and institutional currents that contribute to the emergence of allegorical texts in the period between the twelfth and the late-fourteenth centuries.  Readings include the Quest for the Holy Grail and works by Chrétien de Troyes, Guillaume de Lorris, Jean de Meung, Dante Alighieri, and Marie de France. All readings will be done in English translation. Conducted in English. 

Omitted 2017-18  Professor Rockwell.

 2017-18: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2008, Spring 2011, Spring 2014, Spring 2017

327 Humanism and the Renaissance

Humanists came to distrust medieval institutions and models. Through an analysis of the most influential works of the French Renaissance, we shall study the variety of literary innovations which grew out of that distrust with an eye to their social and philosophical underpinnings. We shall address topics relevant to these innovations such as Neoplatonism, the grotesque, notions of the body, love, beauty, order and disorder. Readings will be drawn from the works of such major writers as: Erasmus, Rabelais, Marguerite de Navarre, Montaigne, Ronsard, Du Bellay, Maurice Scève and Louise Labé. The most difficult texts will be read in modern French. Conducted in French.

Requisite: One of the following--FREN 207, 208, 311 or equivalent. Omitted 2017-18. Professor Rockwell.

2017-18: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008, Fall 2010, Fall 2013, Fall 2016

329 True or False: The Search for Reality in Early Modern France

The Age of Information Technology has broadened our access to material from all around the world and has connected us to people and regions that would otherwise remain in the shadows. Furthermore, the Internet has given voice to another body, that of ordinary people, that now exists alongside more conventional authorities and outlets. Social media enables every individual to publicize him or herself and become a public figure; Wikipedia now co-exists alongside scholarly journals and academic e-books; WikiLeaks and hacking bring private matters of leaders and everyday people into the public eye; and Twitter has become a formidable rival to traditional news outlets in its release of breaking news. Conversely, this same democratization of information, in both its production and its representation, has problematized the relationship between the private and the public, and it has raised questions about the truth behind these multiple and often conflicting realities. Overwhelmed by the sheer quantity of information and by myriad perspectives, how can we ever be certain of what we know? How do we distinguish the true from the false, essence from appearance?   A period marked by a flourishing print culture and the production and circulation of knowledge, by religious and political conflicts, by new discoveries, inventions and methods of scientific inquiry, and by multiple arenas for “talk” and criticism--from town squares to court, from personal correspondence to the essay, from the poem to the pamphlet--early modern France offers a compelling point of comparison as we reflect upon these questions. What constitutes a lie? How is opinion constructed, and how might it differ from truth? What, or who, is a truth-teller? What role do rumor and gossip play in creating or challenging beliefs and reputations? What happens when something private is made public? Is the public face of an individual to be trusted, or is it simply a mask? What is evidence? Why is the notion of “illusion” a central preoccupation of writers, especially at the turn of the century? In this course, we will investigate the dynamic among the false, the real, and the true, and we will examine how rumor, gossip, belief, opinion, appearance, doubt,evidence, and judgement work to create, interrogate, and even undo truths and falsehoods. Readings will draw on works of fiction and non-fiction from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and may include major figures such as Ronsard, Marguerite de Navarre, Montaigne, Descartes, Corneille, Madame de Sévigné, Madame de Lafayette, and Racine. Conducted in French.

Requisite: One of the following—FREN 207, 208, 311 or equivalent.  Spring semester.  Professor Nader-Esfahani.

2017-18: Offered in Spring 2018

330 The Doing and Undoing of Genres in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries

This course explores the formation and transformation of various genres in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century literature, with a particular focus announced each time the course is offered. The topic for 2015-16 was "The Eighteenth-Century Novel and Theater in France."  Readings included texts by Diderot, Voltaire, Marivaux, Prévost, Laclos, and Beaumarchais. Conducted in French.

Requisite: One of the following--FREN 207, 208, 311 or equivalent. Omitted 2017-18. Professor de la Carrera.

2017-18: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2008, Spring 2011, Fall 2012, Fall 2015

338 The Republic of Letters

An exploration of Enlightenment thought within the context of the collaborative institutions and activities that fostered its development, including literary and artistic salons, cafés, and the Encyclopédie.  We will read texts by Rousseau, Diderot, Voltaire, and others, drawn from the domains of literature, philosophy, memoirs, and correspondence. To get a better idea of what it might have been like to live in the eighteenth century and be a participant in the “Republic of Letters,” we will also read a variety of essays in French cultural history. Conducted in French.                                                                                                                

Requisite: One of the following—FREN 207, 208, 311 or equivalent. Fall semester. Professor de la Carrera.

2017-18: Offered in Fall 2017
Other years: Offered in Fall 2008, Fall 2011

339 Worldliness and Otherworldliness

Many eighteenth-century writers imagined and invented other, better societies. To attenuate their criticisms of the social, political, and religious structures of the ancien régime, they had recourse to the viewpoint of fictional "outsiders" who arrive in France as if for the first time and describe what they see in minute and telling detail. We will analyze the role that these "other" worlds and the "otherworldly" point of view played in the development of eighteenth-century thought and literature, as well as some of the repercussions that these questions have had in twentieth-century thought. Readings will include Montesquieu's Lettres persanes, Rousseau's Discours sur l'origine de l'inégalité, Diderot's Supplément au Voyage de Bougainville, and Madame de Graffigny's Lettres d'une Péruvienne, as well as Freud's Civilization and Its Discontents and a selection of essays by Claude Lévi-Strauss. Conducted in French.

Requisite: One of the following--FREN 207, 208, 311, or equivalent. Omitted 2017-18. Professor de la Carrera.

2017-18: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008, Fall 2009, Spring 2012, Spring 2015, Spring 2017

340 Colonial Cultures: Images of the French Colonial Empire

In the early years of the twentieth century, the French Colonial Empire stretched from Algiers to Antananarivo and from Hanoi to Cayenne. The Maghreb, French West Africa, French Equatorial Africa, the Indo-Chinese peninsula, and Madagascar all lived under French rule. This class will analyze the creation and dissemination of “colonial cultures” in the wake of French imperialism. From the early nineteenth century on, military conquest went hand in hand with the production of a diverse and wide-ranging colonial imaginary. Schoolbooks, colonial exhibitions, natural history museums, visual artefacts ranging from paintings to advertisements, literary works, songs, and films inspired by “Greater France” proliferated in French culture. Drawing from selected case studies, we will explore the many forms taken by the French colonial imagination. We will also examine critiques of colonialism, as well as strategies and modalities of resistance to the colonial imaginary.  Conducted in French.

Requisite: One of the following--FREN 207, 208, 311 or equivalent. Fall semester. Professor Katsaros.

2017-18: Offered in Fall 2017

342 Women of Ill Repute: Prostitutes in Nineteenth-Century French Literature

(Offered as FREN 342 and SWAG 342) Prostitutes play a central role in nineteenth-century French fiction, especially of the realistic and naturalistic kind. Both widely available and largely visible in nineteenth-century France, prostitutes inspired many negative stereotypes. But, as the very product of the culture that marginalized her, the prostitute offered an ideal vehicle for writers to criticize the hypocrisy of bourgeois mores. The socially stratified world of prostitutes, ranging from low-ranking sex workers to high-class courtesans, presents a fascinating microcosm of French society as a whole. We will read selections from Honoré de Balzac, Splendeur et misère des courtisanes; Victor Hugo, Les Misérables; and Gustave Flaubert, L’éducation sentimentale; as well as Boule-de-Suif and other stories by Guy de Maupassant; La fille Elisa by Edmond de Goncourt; Nana by Emile Zola; Marthe by Joris-Karl Huysmans; La dame aux camélias by Alexandre Dumas fils; and extracts from Du côté de chez Swann by Marcel Proust. Additional readings will be drawn from the fields of history (Alain Corbin, Michelle Perrot) and critical theory (Walter Benjamin, Michel Foucault, Julia Kristeva). We will also discuss visual representations of prostitutes in nineteenth-century French art (Gavarni, Daumier, C. Guys, Degas, Manet, Toulouse-Lautrec). Conducted in French.

Requisite: One of the following--FREN 207, 208, 311 or equivalent. Omitted 2017-18. Professor Katsaros.

2017-18: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2009, Fall 2012, Fall 2015

346 Enfants Terribles: Childhood in French Literature and Culture from Rousseau to the Surrealist

Images of childhood have become omnipresent in our culture. We fetishize childhood as an idyllic time, preserved from the difficulties and compromises of adult life; but the notion that children’s individual lives are worth recording is a relatively modern one.  Drawing from literature, children's literature, anthropology, philosophy, art, and film, we will try to map out the journey from the idea of childhood as a phase to be outgrown to the modern conception of childhood as a crucial moment of self-definition. We will pay particular attention to the issues of nature against nurture through the example of the "wild child" Victor. We will also discuss theories of child-rearing, the emergence of children’s literature, and the importance of childhood in avant-garde movements.  

Readings will include selections from Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s treatise on education, L’Emile; Victor de l'Aveyron by Dr. Jean Itard; Les Malheurs de Sophie by the Comtesse de Ségur; stories by Guy de Maupassant; selected poems Baudelaire and Rimbaud; Jules Vallès, L'Enfant; and the Surrealist play Victor ou les enfants au pouvoir by Roger Vitrac. We will examine nineteenth-century artists' visions of childhood, with a particular emphasis on female artists such as Elisabeth Vigée-Lebrun and Berthe Morisot. We will also discuss classic films by René Clément and François Truffaut as well as contemporary French films about childhood. Conducted in French.

Requisite: One of the following--FREN 207, 208, 311 or equivalent. Spring semester. Professor Katsaros.

2017-18: Offered in Spring 2018
Other years: Offered in Spring 2011, Fall 2013

347 Dream Worlds: Utopia and the French Imagination

In the aftermath of the French revolution, utopias proliferated in France as perhaps never before. Socialist thinkers such as Charles Fourier and Henri de Saint-Simon invented entire systems designed to improve social justice, equality, and harmony. Utopian dreams were not restricted to political thought, however: technology, science, and the arts also inspired, and gave shape to, visions of a perfect world. This class will be an introduction to utopian thinkers, designers, and artists of the nineteenth and early twentieth century and will ask why utopia had such a strong hold on the French imagination at the time. We will discuss artists’ communes, such as the Ecole de Barbizon; city planning and utopia; the development of science-fiction as a utopian genre; Georges Méliès and the beginnings of film; as well as the link between the creation of the French colonial Empire and utopia, through the example of Algeria.

We will be reading, among other sources, excerpts from Charles Fourier, Henri de Saint-Simon, and Etienne Cabet; futuristic novels by Jules Verne and Villiers de l’Isle-Adam; poetry and essays by Stéphane Mallarmé; and essays by historians Mona Ozouf, François Furet, Antoine Picon, and Michelle Riot-Sarcey. Class materials will also be drawn from film, architectural plans, and the visual arts. Conducted in French.

Requisite: One of the following--FREN 207, 208, 311 or equivalent. Omitted 2017-18. Professor Katsaros.

2017-18: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2016

352 The Space In-Between: Writing Exile and Return in the Twentieth Century

The twentieth century was a century of migrations. Many writers and poets experienced exile, whether displaced by the furious violence of history, forced out of their country by an unbearable political situation, or simply led by their literary ambition. For many, the host country becomes a problematic permanent residency; for others, it is only a passage before an often painful return to the native land. These various experiences intensely mark authors' relationship to writing: suspended between two countries, two languages and two cultures, these poets and writers form challenging conceptions of space and time. In the midst of a violent century, the book becomes a refuge against savagery, or on the contrary a place to cry out one's rage; an intimate territory in a foreign world, a space of questioning and reflection. We will read texts by Aimé Césaire, Albert Camus, Edmond Jabés, Georges Perec, Assia Djebar and Dany Laferrière, and watch films by Jean Rouch, Nurith Aviv and Manthia Diawara. Theoretical texts will include essays by Walter Benjamin, Jacques Derrida, Gilles Deleuze, Edouard Glissant and Edward Said, among others. Conducted in French.

Requisite: One of the following--FREN 207, 208, 311 or equivalent. Omitted 2017-18. Professor Sigal.

 

2017-18: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2016

356 Troubled Minds: The Self under Siege

The coincidence of the “I” and the self might seem redundant, even self-evident. But, in the twentieth century, the very act of writing one’s life, of writing about the self, is often the starting point of a quest that brings authors to express conflicted, paradoxical, even violent ideas about themselves and the world. Whether they aim at revealing the naked truth about their life, or on the contrary attempt to conceal it, they use literature as a repository for their experience, as well as an echo chamber of their convoluted thought. Confronted with such texts, we, the readers, may react with puzzlement or skepticism, rejection or envy. In other words, reading a writer telling about her or his experiences engages our own selves. This class will be the occasion to examine how we read when faced with the “I” of the other. Primary readings may include texts by Charles Baudelaire, Antonin Artaud, Driss Chraïbi, Marguerite Duras, Georges Perec, Roland Barthes and Maryse Condé. Secondary readings may include texts by Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Martin Buber, Philippe Lejeune, and Serge Doubrovsky. Students will engage with the material in three steps: writing a reading journal; presenting their work-in-progress in class; writing a final essay. Conducted in French.

Requisite: One of the following--FREN 207, 208, 311 or equivalent. Omitted 2017-18. Professor Sigal.

2017-18: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2017

359 "What's the Magic Word?" The Power of Literature

The Oxford English Dictionary defines magic as “the use of ritual activities or observances which are intended to influence the course of events or to manipulate the natural world.” Sorcerers use recipes, incantations, and actions, to bend the natural order of things. In this class, we will question why some of the most prominent writers in French modernity have engaged with magical thought in their works. In the nineteenth century, numerous authors used magic as a metaphor to express the irrationality inhibited by a culture obsessed with reason and progress. In the twentieth century, avant-garde movements embraced this trend: writers, poets and artists were avid practitioners of fortune telling, telepathy, astrology and numerology. Concurrently, magic became a prominent subject of modern ethnologists: magical thinking articulated both the dawn of science in religious societies and the persistence of religion in scientific societies, and thus allowed ethnologists to cross-examine two phenomena essential to defining modern societies. Authors took a great interest in these findings. We could link their interest to a desire to produce a language made of words that “do things.” In a way, writers are like magicians whose incantations do not function anymore, as if their language had lost its power. In this class, we will read both literature and ethnology to investigate the ways in which magical thinking infused the birth of literary modernity. We will read literary works by Flaubert (Madame Bovary), Nerval, Artaud, Breton, and Césaire; and critical and ethnographical texts by Mauss, Levi-Strauss, Métraux, De Certeau and Bailly. Conducted in French.

Requisite: One of the following--FREN 207, 208, 311 or equivalent. Fall semester. Professor Sigal.

2017-18: Offered in Fall 2017

360 Masterpieces of French Literature in Translation

A study of great works of French literature. Readings may include: Prévost's Manon Lescaut, Laclos' Dangerous Liaisons, Flaubert's Madame Bovary, Zola's The Beast Within, Huysmans' Against Nature, Proust's Swann's Way, and Camus' The Stranger. Conducted in English. Omitted 2017-18. Professor de la Carrera.

2017-18: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2009, Fall 2010, Spring 2012, Spring 2016

361 European Film

(Offered as FREN 361 and FAMS 321)  A study of some of the greatest French New Wave (1959-1963) films, as well as earlier French films that influenced the New Wave. From the New Wave we shall view Truffaut’s The 400 Blows; Godard’s Breathless, My Life to Live, and Contempt; Hiroshima mon amour and Last Year at Marienbad by Resnais. We shall also study Zero for Conduct (1933) and L’Atalante (1934) by Jean Vigo; Boudu Saved From the Waters (1932) Grand Illusion (1937), and The Rules of the Game (1939) by Jean Renoir; Jean-Pierre Melville’s Bob le Flambeur (1956) and A Man Escaped (1956) by Robert Bresson. No previous training in film analysis is required. Conducted in English.

Omitted 2017-18. Professor Caplan.

2017-18: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008, Spring 2013, Spring 2016

369 Madame Butterfly Lives: Cross-Cultural Exchanges in France and Japan

(Offered as ASLC 338 and FREN 369)  In 1867, in the waning days of the Tokugawa shogunate, the Japanese authorities dispatched several geisha to the Paris World Exposition to represent a country few Europeans knew anything about. Since these inauspicious beginnings, the culture of each country has come to have a decisive hold on the imagination of the other across a wide array of fields. By the time Jean-Paul Sartre arrived in Tokyo almost a century later, the cultural ties were so extensive that the French philosopher was greeted by a media frenzy normally reserved for celebrities. Today, Japanese comic books are widely available in French translation, and French cinema shows regularly on Japanese screens. This interdisciplinary course tracks the circulation of texts, ideas, images, and people between France and Japan from the late nineteenth century to the present, allowing us to address issues of national identity, Orientalism, exoticism, gender, media culture, and artistic modernism, among other themes. Course materials will be drawn from literature, visual art, opera, film, dance, fashion, design, philosophy, and history. The class is taught in English and requires no prior knowledge of either count

Omitted 2017-18. Professors Katsaros and Van Compernolle.

 

2017-18: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2016

410H French in Practice for Senior Majors

The course provides a forum for seniors for the practice of spoken French at the advanced level with native speakers. Students will prepare and deliver presentations; practice interviewing techniques; and learn and practice using technical vocabulary from a variety of disciplines in the sciences, social sciences, and humanities.  The choice of short readings and vocabulary sets will vary each time the course is offered and will reflect the interests of the students enrolled. Spring semester: The Department

Requisite: Senior status.  Open only to French majors.  Spring semester.  The Department.

2017-18: Offered in Spring 2018
Other years: Offered in Spring 2016, Spring 2017

473 Books That Bind

(Offered as FREN 473 and ARHA 473) This seminar stages the connections, associations, and interactions that bind together books and their users. It is premised upon the idea that books (manuscripts, printed texts, digital publications, and related media) initiate complex exchanges and relations: they enrich our world, affect our perceptions, stimulate our sensations, and trigger our emotions. Knowledge perpetuates itself in books: books are the crossroads where one consciousness pursues the consciousness of the other, the dwellings where communities are founded or dismantled, and faiths united and untied. In this seminar, we will bring together the methodologies of art history, textual analysis, ethnography, material culture, and art making and curating in order to investigate the place of books in our society and in history. Each session will be devoted to a singular aspect of the book, broadly conceived. Possible topics may include the book as an object of collection; colonial and post-colonial uses of the book; the intersection of body and codex; the book as talisman and amulet; diverse practices of reading and assembling the page; the precarious status of the author; and the materiality of the book. In parallel, throughout the semester, students will conceive an exhibition (and an exhibition catalog) about the Book, to be presented at Frost Library.  Conducted in English.

Requisite: One course in History of Art, French, Studio Art, History, Anthropology, or related discipline. Permission required for first-year students.  Limited to 20 students. Spring semester. Professors Sigal and Rice.

2017-18: Offered in Spring 2018

490 Special Topics

Independent Reading Courses. Full course.

Admission with consent of the instructor required. Fall and spring semesters.

2017-18: Offered in Fall 2017 and Spring 2018
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Fall 2008, Fall 2009, Fall 2010, Fall 2011, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017

498, 499, 499D Senior Departmental Honors

A single course.

Fall semester. The Department.

2017-18: Offered in Fall 2017
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Fall 2008, Fall 2009, Fall 2010, Fall 2011, Fall 2012, Fall 2013, Fall 2014, Fall 2015, Fall 2016