French Upper Level Courses

French 8: Exploring French Culture and Language

Practice in the active use of the language combined with an introduction to major aspects of French society. Each week students will write papers and participate in discussions based on books, articles, and films emphasizing social and historical concepts.

In the event that French 8 isn't offered, you may take French 10, with the understanding that your next French course will be French 8.

Prerequisites: French 3 or equivalent preparation.

Dist: SOC; WCult: W

FREN 10: Introduction to French Literature

These courses, offered each term by various members of the Department, deal in major figures, themes, or issues of modern French literature, and of those earlier periods which have particular relevance to today’s world. Techniques of critical reading and interpretation are studied as an approach to these topics, which reflect the interests of the teaching staff.

In the event that French 8 isn't offered, you may take French 10, with the understanding that your next French course will be French 8.

  • Prerequisite: French 8 or permission of the individual instructor.
  • Dist: LIT; WCult: W

FREN 15: Business French and the French Economy

This course will enable students to function in a French business environment. We will use departments of a company (human resources, production, sales, finance and administration) to acquire a knowledge of business terminology and practices. Using company web sites and the business press, students will become familiar with important companies and the environment in which they operate.  NOTE: This course does not count toward the major or the minor.

Prerequisite: French 8 or permission of the instructor.

FREN 20: Interpreting French Cultures

Students will acquire the analytical skills to interpret French and Francophone cultures.  To prepare students to be "culturally competent," the course will focus on how and why we read signs of culture, whether through the lenses of history, symbols, politics or class and power.  We will explore a variety of cultural objects in conjunction with the writings of authors who may include Balibar, Barthes, Baudrillard, Condé, Fanon, Foucault, Le Goff, Nora and Wieviorka.

  • Prerequisite: A course in the FREN 10 series or permission of the instructor.

FREN 21: Introduction to Francophone Literature and Culture

This course surveys the evolution of French language (Francophone) literature of the former French colonies and examines the social, political, and cultural issues it raises: race, colonialism, decolonization, revolution, independence, neo-colonialism, Négritude, Antillanité, Créolité, écriture féminine, mimetic desire, cultural hybridity, post-independence government and society. The survey will include novels, plays, poetry, film and essays by representative writers from the principal divisions of the Francophone world: the French West Indies, the Indian Ocean, Southeast Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa, North Africa; Quebec, and Francophone Canada.

  • Prerequisite: A course in the FREN 10 series or permission of the instructor.
  • Dist: LIT; WCult: NW

FREN 22: Introduction to French Literature I: the Middle Ages and the Renaissance

Medieval France - its art, architecture, technology, philosophy and literature - exerted an unparalleled influence throughout Europe. Studying the first texts written in French, as well as the manuscripts in which they circulated, will shed light on the nature of French culture. We will examine defining issues of the period: the transition from oral to written expression, the invention of printing, debates concerning the status of women, Renaissance humanism, scientific inquiry, religious reform and conflict. Texts may include La Chanson de Roland, selected poetry, and works by Chrétien de Troyes, Christine de Pizan, Marguerite de Navarre, François Rabelais, and Michel de Montaigne.

  • Prerequisite: A course in the FREN 10 series or permission of the instructor.
  • Dist: LIT; WCult: W

FREN 23: Introduction to French Literature II: Neoclassicism and the Eighteenth Century

The seventeenth and eighteenth centuries were a dynamic and volatile period characterized on the one hand by the rise to power of the most absolute of all monarchs, the Sun King Louis XIV, symbolized by Versailles, and on the other hand by the French Revolution. Fostered by royal patronage, literature and the arts flourished, yet many writers also used artistic expression to counter this royal power. The period saw the birth of the modern French novel and the development of a rich body of theatrical and philosophical literature. These centuries are recognized as major components of France's collective identity and their influence is still felt in France today. Authors may include Descartes, Corneille, Racine, Molière, Lafayette, Diderot, Rousseau, Voltaire, Graffigny, Beaumarchais and Laclos.

  • Prerequisite: A course in the FREN 10 series or permission of the instructor.
  • Dist: LIT; WCult: W

FREN 24: Introduction to French Literature and Culture III: Nineteenth Century

This course examines the nineteenth-century renewal of literary form and vision from the French Revolution to the First World War. We will study the social and historical developments of French culture as they are reflected in various literary genres (narrative, poetry, dramatic theory and practice), literary criticism, philosophy, historiography, and the other arts. Emphasis will be placed on France's growing self-awareness as a nation and on the analysis of aesthetic and intellectual issues represented in the major literary movements of this period including romanticism, realism, symbolism, art for art's sake, naturalism, fin de siècle decadence, and modernism. Readings may include works by such authors as Chateaubriand, de Staël, Stendhal, Hugo, Musset, Sand, Balzac, Baudelaire, Flaubert, Michelet, Zola, and Huysmans.

  • Prerequisite: A course in the FREN 10 series or permission of the instructor.
  • Dist: LIT; WCult: W

FREN 25: Introduction to French Literature and Culture IV: Twentieth and Twenty-First Centuries

This course examines the radical transformations of literary form and vision that characterize twentieth-century France with its two World Wars, its colonial conflicts, and the challenges to French identity posed by immigration and globalization. We will use lyric poetry, fiction, drama, autobiography, and film to explore literary movements such as surrealism, existentialism, the new novel, the theater of the absurd and écriture féminine, as well as the recent impact of immigrant and minority writers. Readings and films may include works by Proust, Breton, Colette, Beauvoir, Sartre, Camus, Robbe-Grillet, Duras, Delbo, Cixous, Sebbar, Resnais, Malle, and Kassovitz.

  • Prerequisite: A course in the FREN 10 series or permission of the instructor.
  • Dist: LIT; WCult: W

FREN 35: The French Language: Introduction to Linguistics and Rhetoric

This course will explore the French language by means of the linguistic analysis of texts. Its purpose is a) to familiarize the student with the constraints and freedoms of the French language as these are revealed by linguistic analysis, and b) to develop the student’s spontaneity of expression. The course will include the study of structural linguistics and recent rhetorical systems such as those of Genette or Riffaterre. 

  • Prerequisites: A course in the FREN 10 series or permission of the instructor.
  • Dist: SOC; WCult: W

FREN 40: French Literature: The Approach through Genre

This course will be devoted to significant examples of a particular literary genre. Genres may be defined historically: thus epic is recognized in its medieval form; tragedy receives its normative definition during classicism. Genres may also be defined formally so that narrative may be studied as it evolves across several centuries. Issues to be considered may include the way genre shapes the production and reception of literary texts and the relationship between historical and generic determinants of a given work.

  • Prerequisite: A course in the FREN 10 series or permission of the instructor.
  • Dist: LIT; WCult: W

FREN 45: French Literature: The Approach through Periodization

French literature has traditionally been divided into chronological blocks that receive descriptive names: classicism for the seventeenth century; Enlightenment for the eighteenth century; etc. In this course, one or more periods will be selected for intensive study in the light of fundamental questions about the historical process. 

  • Prerequisite: A course in the FREN 10 series or permission of the instructor
  • Distributive: LIT; WCult:W

 

FREN 50: French Literature: Major Figures

This course will be devoted to the study of a single author or to a group of authors who have exercised a decisive influence on French, European or world literature or who are deserving of concentrated attention because of the quality or originality of their literary production.

  • Prerequisite: A course in the FREN 10 series or permission of the instructor
  • Dist: LIT; WCult: W

FREN 53: French Thought: Philosophical Issues

This course will study texts which have shaped influential views of human nature, scientific knowledge, social and moral values. Its focus may be on the philosophers and moralists of the classical period (such as Pascal and La Rochefoucauld), the social and political thinkers of the Enlightenment (Diderot and Rousseau) or contemporary thinkers (Beauvoir, Foucault, Lévi-Strauss).

  • Prerequisite: A course in the FREN 10 series or permission of the instructor
  • Dist: TMV; WCult: W

FREN 55: French Culture and Politics

This course will study the broad field of French civilization with a variety of approaches. Literary texts may be studied for their political influence; literature may be seen as a way of changing history or a reflection of history. Writings on cultural or political issues, by such figures as Montaigne, Diderot or de Staël, may also be included as may more current works from the field of cultural criticism.

  • Prerequisite: A course in the FREN 10 series or permission of the instructor
  • Dist: SOC; WCult: W

FREN 60: Gender and French Literature

Intersections of gender and literary expression will be studied from a variety of perspectives: gender and authorship (women writers, écriture féminine, comparative analysis of masculine/feminine treatments of genres or themes); gender and reading (do men and women read differently? do certain texts address a specifically gendered readership?); gender and literary form (the lyric, the romance plot); representations of men and women in certain movements or periods (the female body, women/men as subjects or objects of representation).

  • Prerequisite: A course in the FREN 10 series or permission of the instructor
  • Dist: LIT; WCult: W

 

FREN 70: Francophone Literature

This course will involve the study of Francophone literature outside Europe. This may include the literature of Africa, the Caribbean, Québec and Southeast Asia.

  • Prerequisite: A course in the FREN 10 series or permission of the instructor
  • Dist: LIT; WCult: Varies

FREN 75: French Film

This course will focus on one of the following: an individual filmmaker, a significant movement or period, or a major theme in French cinema. Students will become familiar with aspects of French cinematic history as well as with important concepts in film analysis.

  • Prerequisite: A course in the French 10 series or permission of the instructor
  • Dist: ART; WCult: W

 

FREN 78: Senior Major Workshop: Methods in Reading, Writing and Cultural Analysis

As part of this culminating experience, each major will work on an independent project, either a senior thesis or expanding upon work begun in a previous course. The independent project will be developed within the framework of this course using a selection of critical texts that can be viewed as models of literary, cultural, and historical analysis. Lectures by a variety of faculty members will supplement the readings. Students will gain mastery in literary and cultural analysis, close analytical reading skills and composition in French.  French 78 may be used to continue research on your honors thesis.

The course is open only to French and Italian Department senior majors or by petition, which is due by the fifth day of classes of Fall term.

  • Dist: LIT; WCult: W

FREN 80: French Literature and the Other Arts

Literary works (poetry, theater, the novel, the essay) will be examined in their relationship to the other arts. This will include music, painting, the plastic arts, architecture, etc. Sample topics: opera and melodrama; symbolism and Impressionist painting; surrealism in poetry and collage; art criticism by such writers as Baudelaire, Apollinaire, Ponge.

  • Prerequisite: A course in the FREN 10 series or permission of the instructor
  • Dist: ART; WCult: W

FREN 81: Seminar

  • Prerequisite: A course in the FREN 10 series or permission of the instructor
  • Dist: LIT; WCult: W

 

FREN 87: Independent Reading and Research

All terms: Arrange

A program of individual study directed by a member of the staff. Open only to French, French Studies and Romance Language Majors. By special permission this course may be taken more than once. A proposal, signed by the faculty advisor, must be submitted to the Departmental Committee on Independent Studies and Honors Theses for approval by the fifth day of classes of the term.

FREN 89: Honors Seminar

All terms: Arrange

Honors students will arrange a program of study and research during any term of the senior year on a tutorial basis with individual faculty members. A thesis, written in French, and a public presentation are the normal culmination of this course. A proposal, signed by the faculty advisor, must be submitted to the Departmental Committee on Independent Studies and Honors Theses for approval by the fifth day of classes of the term. For information about application procedures, please review the Honors Program section.