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Amherst College French for 2016-17

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 a new 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.

2016-17: Offered in Fall 2016 and Spring 2017
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

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 a new 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 semester: Visiting Lecturer Tapley and Assistants. Spring semester: Senior Lecturer Uhden and Assistants.

2016-17: Offered in Fall 2016 and Spring 2017
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

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 Sigal

2016-17: Offered in Fall 2016 and Spring 2017
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

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: Professor Rockwell and  Senior Lecturer Uhden. Spring semester: Professors Rockwell and de la Carrera.

2016-17: Offered in Fall 2016 and Spring 2017
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

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 and spring semesters. Visiting Instructor Alquier.

2016-17: Offered in Fall 2016 and Spring 2017
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

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. Fall semester. Professor Katsaros.

2016-17: Offered in Fall 2016
Other years: Offered in Spring 2014, Fall 2015

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 2016-17. Professor Rockwell.

2016-17: 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. Omitted 2016-17. Professor Rockwell.

2016-17: Not offered
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 is: "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. 

Spring semester.  Professor Rockwell.

2016-17: Offered in Spring 2017
Other years: Offered in Fall 2008, Spring 2011, Spring 2014

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. Fall semester. Professor Rockwell.

2016-17: Offered in Fall 2016
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008, Fall 2010, Fall 2013

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 2016-17. Professor de la Carrera.

2016-17: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2008, Spring 2011, Fall 2012, Fall 2015

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. Spring semester. Professor de la Carrera.

2016-17: Offered in Spring 2017
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008, Fall 2009, Spring 2012, Spring 2015

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 2016-17. Professor Katsaros.

2016-17: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2009, Fall 2012, Fall 2015

346 Enfants Terribles: Childhood in Nineteenth-Century French Literature and Culture

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 vs. nurture through the example of  the "wild child" Victor, to nineteenth-century theories of child-rearing, and to the symbolic importance of children in avant-garde art.

Readings will include selections from J.J. Rousseau; Victor de l'Aveyron by J. Itard; selected poems and prose by Baudelaire; Les Malheurs de Sophie by the Comtesse de Ségur; selected stories by Guy de Maupassant; selected poems by Arthur Rimbaud; Jules Vallès, L'Enfant; and the Surrealist play Victor ou les enfants au pouvoir by Roger Vitrac. We will look at 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 films by Clement, Truffaut, Bresson, and Jeunet, among others. Conducted in French.

Requisite: One of the following--FREN 207, 208, 311 or equivalent. Omitted 2016-17.  Professor Katsaros.

2016-17: Not offered
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. Fall semester. Professor Katsaros.

2016-17: 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 2016-17. Professor Sigal.

 

2016-17: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2016

354 War and Memory

(Offered as FREN 354 and EUST 354.) 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 concerning French heroism and guilt, as well as the challenges to those myths, 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--FREN 207, 208, 311, or equivalent. Omitted 2016-17. 

2016-17: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2010, Fall 2014

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. Taught in French.

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

2016-17: Offered in Spring 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 2016-17. Professor de la Carrera.

2016-17: 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 2016-17. Professor Caplan.

2016-17: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008, Spring 2013, Spring 2016

365 Toward the New Wave

(Offered as FREN  365 and FAMS 327.)  The class 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; Les 400 Coups by François Truffaut and Agnès Varda's  Cléo de 5 à 7, as well as Zero de conduite and L'Atalante by Jean Vigo; Boudu sauvé des eaux, la Grande Illusion and La Règle du jeu by Jean Renoir; Jean-Pierre Melville's Bob le flambeur; and Robert Bresson's Un Condamné à mort s'est echappé.  This course will also provide basic training in the analysis of films.  Conducted in French.

Requisite:  One of the following--FREN 207, 208, 311, or equivalent.  Omitted 2016-17.  Professor Caplan.

2016-17: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2010, Fall 2011, Fall 2014

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 country.

Omitted 2016-17. Professors Katsaros and Van Compernolle.

 

2016-17: 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.

2016-17: Offered in Spring 2017
Other years: Offered in Spring 2016

490 Special Topics

Independent Reading Courses. Full course.

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

2016-17: Offered in Fall 2016 and Spring 2017
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

499, 499D, 498 Senior Departmental Honors

A single course.

Spring semester. The Department.

2016-17: Offered in Spring 2017
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008, Spring 2009, Spring 2010, Spring 2011, Spring 2012, Spring 2013, Spring 2014, Spring 2015, Spring 2016