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 French in Action 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 French 03. For students without previous training in French.
Fall and spring semesters. Lecturer Uhden and Assistants.2019-20: Offered in Fall 2019 and Spring 2020
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 French in Action, the multimedia program. Three hours a week for explanation and demonstration, plus small sections with French assistants. This course prepares students for French 05.
Requisite: French 01 or two years of secondary school French. Fall and spring semesters. Lecturer Uhden and Assistants.2019-20: Offered in Fall 2019 and Spring 2020
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. Supplementary work with audio and video materials. Successful completion of French 05 prepares students for French 07, 08, 11 or 12. Conducted in French. Three hours a week.
Requisite: French 03 or three to four years of secondary school French. Fall semester: Professors de la Carrera and Caplan. Spring semester: Professor Rockwell.2019-20: Offered in Fall 2019 and Spring 2020
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: French 05, or completion of AP French, or four years of secondary school French in a strong program. Fall and spring semesters. Fall-Professor Hewitt. Spring-Professor Caplan.2019-20: Offered in Fall 2019 and Spring 2020
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: French 05, or completion of AP French, or four years of secondary school French in a strong program. Limited to 16 students. Spring semester: Professors Hewitt and Katsaros.2019-20: Offered in Fall 2019 and Spring 2020
A survey of French civilization: literature, history, art and society. We will discuss Romanesque and Gothic art, the role of women in medieval society, witchcraft and the Church, Reformation and Counter-Reformation, the centralization of power and the emergence of absolute monarchy. Slides and films will complement lectures, reading and discussion of monuments, events and social structures. Conducted in French.
Requisite: French 05 or equivalent. Fall semester. Professor Caplan.2019-20: Not offered
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--French 07, 08, 11, 12 or equivalent. Omitted 2010-11. Professor Rockwell.2019-20: Not offered
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 follwing--French 07, 08, 11, 12 or equivalent. Omitted 2010-11. Professor Rockwell.2019-20: Not offered
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 2011 is: "The Allegorical Impulse." 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 will include the Quest for the Holy Grail and works by Chrétien de Troyes, Guillaume de Lorris, Jean de Meung, Dante Alighieri, and Guillaume de Machaut. All readings will be done in English translation. Conducted in English.
Spring semester. Professor Rockwell.2019-20: Offered in Spring 2020
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--French 07, 08, 11, 12 or equivalent. Fall semester. Professor Rockwell.2019-20: Not offered
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 2008-09 was “Comedy from Corneille and Molière to Beaumarchais.” Readings included texts by Corneille (L’Illusion comique), Molière (Le Médecin malgré lui, Le Tartuffe, Le Misanthrope, Le malade imaginaire), Marivaux (La Double Inconstance, Le Jeu de l’amour et du hasard), and Beaumarchais (Le Barbier de Séville, Le Mariage de Figaro). Conducted in French.
Requisite: One of the following--French 07, 08, 11, 12 or equivalent. Spring semester. Professor Caplan.2019-20: Not offered
Passion and the art of seduction, from Mme. de Lafayette’s La Princesse de Clèves to Stendhal’s Le Rouge et le noir. We will focus on the oppositions between romantic love and social norms, passion and seduction. Both original masterpieces and their filmic adaptions will be considered. Sample reading list: Mme. de Lafayette, La Princesse de Clèves; Prévost, Manon Lescaut; Casanova, Histoire de ma vie; Laclos, Les Liaisons dangereuses; Mozart/da Ponte, Don Giovanni; Stendhal, Le Rouge et le noir. Conducted in French.
Requisite: One of the following--French 07, 08, 11, 12 or equivalent. Omitted 2010-11. Professor Caplan.2019-20: Not offered
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 Voltaire, Rousseau, Diderot, and others, drawn from the domains of literature, 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--French 07, 08, 11, 12 or equivalent. Omitted 2010-11. Professor de la Carrera.2019-20: Offered in Fall 2019
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 also 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--French 07, 08, 11, 12 or equivalent. Omitted 2010-11. Professor de la Carrera.2019-20: Offered in Spring 2020
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--French 07, 08, 11, 12 or equivalent. Omitted 2010-11. Professor Katsaros.2019-20: Not offered
“Merdre!” This is, famously, the opening word of Alfred Jarry’s play Ubu-Roi. First performed in 1897, Ubu-Roi illuminates in retrospect a key aspect of nineteenth-century French literature. Since the Romantics, French literature had been saying “Merdre!” to its bourgeois readers with remarkable consistency. From the bohemian to the poète maudit, from the dandy to the decadent, the art of provocation reached its peak in nineteenth-century France. In this course, we will explore the various aspects, meanings, and purposes of this strategy. We will examine the various forms of literary, artistic, and theatrical provocation, as well as their historical and critical significance. We will ask how and why the artist and the bourgeois were set up as enemies, and what effect this conflict has had on theories of artistic creation. We will also try to understand why the myths of the artist invented in the nineteenth century (such as the dandy, the bohemian, and the provocateur) still form an essential part of the critical discourse on the arts today. Conducted in French.
Requisite: One of the following- French 07, 08, 11, 12 or equivalent. Fall semester. Professor Katsaros.2019-20: Not offered
This course will trace the evolution of the novel with respect to the broad contexts of nineteenth-century French history and culture. We will focus in particular on the rise of French realism and its relation to the development of modernity in France, examining the treatment of such themes as urban space (the street, the arcade, the barricade), revolution, the opposition between Paris and the provinces, and the formation of modern identity--along with its distinctly modern pathologies (alienation, boredom, sexual frustration). We will pay particular attention to the rising genre of the popular novel and the "roman-feuilleton," in their connection to journalism and the theatre. We will be reading fiction by Nerval, Balzac, Stendhal, Mérimée, Flaubert, Sand, Maupassant, Barbey d'Aurevilly, and Zola, as well as extracts from longer works by Hugo, Dumas and Sue. To help illuminate the problem of realism in France, we will take up the question of realist representation in the visual arts, examining relevant works by such artists and photographers as Courbet, Daumier, Manet, Degas, Nadar and Atget. We will view several film adaptations of nineteenth-century French fiction, such as Une partie de campagne and La bête humaine by Jean Renoir, as well as the timeless classic on nineteenth-century Paris, Les Enfants du Paradis by Marcel Carné. Conducted in French.
Requisite: One of the following--French 7, 8, 11, 12 or equivalent. Omitted 2010-11. Professor Katsaros2019-20: Not offered
Images of childhood have become omnipresent in our culture. We tend to 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. This course 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 examine literary works as well as historical and theoretical sources. We will also look at nineteenth-century artists’ visions of childhood, with a particular emphasis on female artists such as E. Vigée-Lebrun, Berthe Morisot, and Mary Cassatt.
Literary readings will include selections from Rousseau, Confessions; and Chateaubriand, Mémoires d’outre-tombe; Gérard de Nerval, Sylvie; Stendhal, Vie de Henry Brulard; selected poems and prose by Baudelaire; Comtesse de Ségur, Les Malheurs de Sophie; selected stories by Guy de Maupassant; Emile Zola, Une page d’amour; Jules Vallès, L’enfant; Jules Renard, Poil-de-Carotte.
Theoretical and historical readings will include essays by Philippe Ariès, Michelle Perrot, André Breton, and Jacques Lacan. Conducted in French.
Requisite: One of the following--French 07, 08, 11, 12 or equivalent. Spring semester. Professor Katsaros.2019-20: Not offered
A study of contemporary French literature and culture focusing on the twentieth-century novel. The course focuses on the long series of novelistic experiments, both narratological and ideological, which begin around the time of the First World War and continue feverishly through the existential novel and the New Novel of the seventies and eighties. Our readings will include critical theory as well as works of such major authors as Marcel Proust, André Malraux, Jean-Paul Sartre, Claude Simon, Michel Butor, Nathalie Sarraute, Marguerite Duras, Monique Wittig and Patrick Modiano. Conducted in French.
Requisite: One of the following--French 07, 08, 11, 12 or the equivalent. Omitted 2010-11. Professor Hewitt.2019-20: Not offered
This course studies the shifting notions about what constitutes “Frenchness” and reviews the heated debates about the split between French citizenship and French identity. Issues of decolonization, immigration, foreign influence, and ethnic background will be addressed as we explore France’s struggles to understand the changing nature of its social, cultural, and political identities. We will study theoretical and historical works, as well as novels, plays and films. Conducted in French.
Requisite: One of the following- French 07, 08, 11, 12 or equivalent. Spring semester. Professor Hewitt.2019-20: Not offered
(Offered as FREN 53 and BLST 22 [D].) This course will explore cross-cultural intersections and issues of identity and alienation in the works of leading writers from the French-speaking Caribbean and West Africa. Our discussions will focus on the sociopolitical positions and narrative strategies entertained in key texts of postcolonial literature (both fiction and critical essays). Issues involving nationalism, race, gender, assimilation and multilingualism will help to shape our discussion of how postcolonial subjects share in or distinguish themselves from certain tenets of Western thought. At issue, then, is the way French Caribbean and West African literatures and cultures trace their own distinctiveness and value. Conducted in French.
Requisite: One of the following--French 07, 08, 11, 12 or equivalent. Omitted 2010-11. Professor Hewitt.2019-20: Not offered
Through readings of short fiction, historical essays, drama and films, we study how the French have tried to come to terms with their role in World War II, both as individuals and as a nation. We will explore the various myths and deconstructions concerning French heroism and guilt, with particular attention paid to the way wartime memories have become a lightning rod for debate and discord in contemporary French culture and politics. No prior knowledge of the historical period of the war is necessary, but students of French history are welcome. Conducted in French.
Requisite: One of the following--French 07, 08, 11, 12 or equivalent. Omitted 2010-11. Professor Hewitt.2019-20: Not offered
A study of major French works from the eighteenth century to the present. Readings may include Diderot’s The Nun, Laclos’Dangerous Liaisons, Hugo’s The Hunchback of Notre-Dame, Stendhal’s The Red and the Black, Flaubert’s Madame Bovary, Zola’s The Beast Within, Camus’s The Plague, and Duras’s Hiroshima My Love. We will pay close attention to the genesis of these influential works, taking into consideration questions of autobiographical inspiration and historical debates. We will also consider why most of these works were judged politically or morally scandalous when they came out. In addition, we will view some of the films inspired by these texts. Conducted in English.
Fall semester. Professor de la Carrera.2019-20: Not offered
(Offered as EUST 36, ENGL 48, and FREN 62.) Why was reading novels considered dangerous in the eighteenth century, especially for young girls?
This course will examine the development, during this period, of the genre of the novel in England and France, in relation to the social and moral dangers it posed and portrayed. Along with the troublesome question of reading fiction itself, we will explore such issues as social class and bastardy, sexuality and self-awareness, the competing values of genealogy and character, and the important role of women--as novelists, readers, and characters--in negotiating these questions. We will examine why the novel was itself considered a bastard genre, and engage formal questions by studying various kinds of novels: picaresque, epistolary, gothic, as well as the novel of ideas. Our approach will combine close textual analysis with historical readings about these two intertwined, yet rival, cultures, and we will pair novels in order to foreground how these cultures may have taken on similar social or representational problems in different ways. Possible pairings might include Prévost and Defoe, Laclos and Richardson, Voltaire and Fielding, Sade and Jane Austen. French novels will be read in translation. Two class meetings per week.
Fall semester. Professors Frank and Rosbottom.2019-20: Not offered
This course will study films from the French New Wave (1959-63), as well as earlier French films that influenced many New Wave directors. These films will include: Jean-Luc Godard's A bout de souffle, Vivre sa vie, and Le Mépris; Alain Resnais' Hiroshima Mon Amour and L'annee dernière à Marienbad; Jean Vigo's Zero de Conduite and L'Atalante; Jean Renoir's Boudu sauvé des eaux, La Grande Illusion and La Règle du Jeu; Jean-Pierre Melville's Bob le flambeur; and Robert Bresson's Un condamné à mort s'est échappé. This course will also provide basic training in the analysis of films. Conducted in French.
Requisite: One of the following--French 7, 11, 12 or equivalent. Omitted 2010-11. Professor Caplan.2019-20: Not offered
An in-depth study of a major author or literary problem. The topic for spring 2011 is "Diderot's Lumières." Denis Diderot, the genial philosophe at the center of the French Enlightenment, was the author of novels, plays, art criticism, music theory, and works on mathematics, politics, and philosophy. As co-editor of the Encyclopédie, the French Enlightenment’s most ambitious intellectual project and a “machine de guerre” for propagating its ideas, he recruited contributions from the most distinguished thinkers, artists, and artisans of his time, while writing scores of articles on subjects ranging from botany and law to mythology and carpentry. We will explore a variety of texts drawn from Diderot’s oeuvre, beginning with La Religieuse, a fictional portrait of eighteenth-century convent life, and Le Rêve de d'Alembert, a philosophical dialogue in which Diderot reveals his dangerously materialist views. We will subsequently read brief selections on politics and religion from the Encyclopédie; excerpts from the Salons, Diderot’s critiques of the French Academy of Art and Sculpture’s exhibitions; and the Supplément au Voyage de Bougainville, a depiction of a utopian Tahiti whose social and sexual customs produce harmonious relationships not just among Tahitians but between Tahitians and their natural environment. In conjunction with our reading of the novel Jacques le fataliste, we will view Robert Bresson’s Les Dames du Bois de Boulogne, taken from an episode in Jacques. Excerpts from Diderot’s letters to his lover, the Lettres à Sophie Volland, acclaimed as a masterpiece of its genre, will provide yet another perspective on this most versatile and fascinating man. As we become capable of seeing the commonalities across Diderot’s writings we will give special attention to Le Neveu de Rameau--a novel whose impact on nineteenth-century writers and thinkers was profound, and which is still startling in its modernity. Conducted in French. Requisite: One 300-level French course or equivalent. Limited to 15 students. Spring semester. Professor de la Carrera.2019-20: Not offered
A single course.
Fall semester. The Department.2019-20: Offered in Fall 2019
Double course. Fall semester.2019-20: Offered in Fall 2019
Independent Reading Courses. Full course.
Instructor consent required. Fall semester.2019-20: Offered in Fall 2019 and Spring 2020