We offer the courses below on a regular basis, as staffing allows. Check the "Notes" section of each course for the frequency of the course rotation. For course meeting times and locations, please check Spire. Note that updated course offerings for the fall of 2024 and the spring of 2025 are tentative and subject to change.


French 110: Elementary French I

An introduction to French with an emphasis on acquiring a basic level of proficiency in the language and an understanding of France and the francophone world. Speaking French from day one, students practice the language through listening comprehension/speaking activities, vocabulary and grammar exercises, meaningful readings, video segments, and Web activities devoted to French and francophone language and culture. Requirements: daily presence and participation, tests, compositions, and a final exam during the final exam period.

NOTES: Offered every fall and spring semester, as well as online in Summer Session 1.
PREREQUISITES: None, or UMass French Placement Test score range of 020.
CREDITS: 3
CURRENTLY OFFERED?  Yes

  • ☀️Summer 2024 - Gabrielle Sanford (Summer Session 1, May 21, 2024-July 3, 2024)
  • 🍁Fall 2024 - Staff (MWF 10:1011:00, 11:1512:05, 12:201:10, 1:252:15
  • 🌷Spring 2025 - Staff (MWF 10:1011:00, 11:1512:05, 12:201:10, 1:252:15)

French 120: Elementary French II

A second-semester elementary French course: a continuation of FREN 110 with emphasis on acquiring basic level of proficiency in the language and understanding of the culture of France and the francophone world. Speaking French from day one, students practice the language through listening comprehension/speaking activities, vocabulary and grammar exercises, meaningful readings, video segments, and Web activities devoted to French and francophone language and culture. Requirements: daily presence and participation, tests, compositions, and a final exam during the final exam period.

NOTES: Offered every fall and spring semester, as well as online in Summer Session 2.
PREREQUISITES: French 110 or UMass French Placement Test score range of 2134.
CREDITS: 3
CURRENTLY OFFERED?  Yes

  • ☀️Summer 2024 - Lexi Sweezy (Summer Session 2, July 8, 2024-August 16, 2024)
  • 🍁Fall 2024 - Staff (MWF 10:1011:00, 11:1512:05, 12:201:10, 1:252:15)
  • 🌷Spring 2025 - Staff (MWF 10:1011:00, 11:1512:05, 12:201:10, 1:252:15)

French 126: Elementary Intensive French

An intensive introduction to French with a focus on acquiring language proficiency and an understanding of the culture of France and the francophone world. This highly intensive and interactive French course is designed for very motivated and disciplined students of French who are committed to attending every class session and practicing outside of class for an absolute minimum of 12 hours per week.

NOTES: Offered occasionally. Covers the material of both French 110 and 120 in one semester.
PREREQUISITES: None, or UMass French Placement Test score range of 0-20.
CREDITS: 6
CURRENTLY OFFERED?  No


French 181: The History of French Fashion

Fashion has been an integral part of France's society and culture since the 17th century. This course proposes to survey the evolution of fashion trends and the fashion industry in France from the 15th century to the 20th century while exploring social and political events through the lens of figurative arts, literature, and film.

NOTES: Course taught in English. Offered occasionally.
PREREQUISITES: None
CREDITS: 3
CURRENTLY OFFERED?  No


French 190X: La French Touch: The Unique Art of French Animation

(New course in preparation; check back soon for course description, or contact Professor Julie Roy for further information.)

NOTES: Course taught in English. Offered occasionally.
PREREQUISITES: None
CREDITS: 3
CURRENTLY OFFERED?  No


French 230: Intermediate French I

Students review grammar points learned in elementary French and study more complex grammatical structures. The course is designed to improve: (1) listening comprehension, through class lecture and discussion; (2) speaking proficiency, through exercises on vocabulary and pronunciation; (3) reading comprehension, through analysis of cultural readings; and (4) writing ability, through frequent assignments.

NOTES: Course taught in French. Offered every fall and spring semester, as well as online in Summer Session 1.
PREREQUISITES: French 120 or 126, or UMass French Placement Test score range of 3550.
CREDITS: 3
CURRENTLY OFFERED?  Yes

  • ☀️Summer 2024 - Julie Roy (Summer Session 1, May 21, 2024-July 3, 2024)
  • 🍁Fall 2024 - Staff (MWF 10:1011:00, 11:1512:05, 12:201:10)
  • 🌷Spring 2025 - Staff (MWF 10:1011:00, 11:1512:05)

French 240: Intermediate French II - Four Skills

Practice with the four skills: reading, writing, understanding, and speaking. Readings of contemporary literary texts. Review of grammar as questions arise. Requirements: compositions, quizzes, midterm and final exam.

NOTES: Course taught in French. Offered every fall and spring semester, as well as online in Summer Session 2. Fulfills the CHFA Foreign-Language Proficiency Requirement.
PREREQUISITES: French 230, or UMass French Placement Test score range of 5165.
CREDITS: 3
CURRENTLY OFFERED?  Yes

  • ☀️Summer 2024 - Julie Roy (Summer Session 2, July 8, 2024-August 16, 2024)
  • 🍁Fall 2024 - Ena Vulor (MWF 10:1011:00) and Julie Roy (MWF 12:201:10)
  • 🌷Spring 2025 - Ena Vulor (MWF 10:1011:00, 11:1512:05) and Julie Roy (MWF 12:201:10)

French 246: Intensive Intermediate French - Four Skills

An intensive course in which students review grammar points learned in elementary French and study more complex grammatical structures in conjunction with readings in French and francophone literature. The course is designed to improve listening comprehension (through class lecture and discussion) and speaking proficiency, (through exercises on vocabulary and pronunciation) but emphasizes reading comprehension (through analysis of literary readings) and writing ability (through frequent compositions). Covers the material of both 230 and 240 in one semester.

NOTES: Course taught in French. Offered infrequently as staffing allows. Fulfills the CHFA Foreign-Language Proficiency Requirement.
PREREQUISITES: French 120 or 126, or UMass French Placement Test score range of 3550.
CREDITS: 6
CURRENTLY OFFERED?  No


French 250: Language and Literature

The course is designed to introduce students to literary and cultural analysis of short stories, plays, poems, and films, which we study in relationship to their historical, cultural, and political contexts. Relating texts to contemporary culture, we focus on improving students’ reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills in French. Review of grammar as questions arise. Requirements: written exercises, oral presentations, compositions, quizzes, and two hour exams. Active and regular participation in class is required.

NOTES: Course taught in French. Usually offered in the fall semester, and occasionally in the spring semester. Fulfills the CHFA Foreign-Language Proficiency Requirement.
PREREQUISITES: French 240, or UMass French Placement Test score range of 6170.
CREDITS: 3
CURRENTLY OFFERED?  Yes

  • 🍁Fall 2024 - Ena Vulor (MWF 12:201:10)

French 273: Advanced Conversation

Conversation practice on a large number of topics. Develops ability to use and understand spoken French in a variety of social situations and helps build vocabulary of informal French.

NOTES: Course taught in French. Usually offered every fall and spring semester.
PREREQUISITES: French 230
CREDITS: 3
CURRENTLY OFFERED?  Yes

  • 🍁Fall 2024 - Staff (MW 4:005:15)
  • 🌷Spring 2025 - Staff (TuTh 4:005:15)

French 280: Love and Sex in French Literature (GenEd: AL)

Is love a French invention? How do we explore, through literature, the substance behind the stereotypical association of love, romance, and sexual pleasure with French culture? Do sex, passion and love always unite in the pursuit of emotional fulfillment in human relations, according to this literature? What affiliations does this literature interweave between such relations of love, requited or unrequited, and pleasure, enjoyment, freedom, self-empowerment, on the one hand, and on the other hand, suffering, jealousy, crime, violence, negativity, notions of perversion, morbidity, and even death? How are problems of gender roles and human sexuality—i.e. hetero-, bi-, homo- and other forms of sexuality—approached in this literature? What connections or conflicts are revealed in this literature between human love relationships and the social norms and conventions within which they occur, as well as the forms of political governance that have been practiced in France over the centuries? Those are some of the issues that are investigated in this course, which offers a broad historical overview of selective ways in which love, passion, desire and erotic behavior in French culture have been represented and understood in literature and, more recently, in film, from the middle ages to the twentieth century. Readings from major French authors drawn from various centuries such as Marie de France, Béroul, Molière, de Sade, Flaubert, Gide, and Duras will be supplemented with screenings of optional films that are based on those texts or are pertinent to them in important ways.

NOTES: Course taught in English. Usually offered every fall semester, as well as online in Summer Session 1.
PREREQUISITES: None
CREDITS: 4
CURRENTLY OFFERED?  Yes


French 284: The Undead Souths: Southern Gothic and Francophone Mythologies (GenEd: AT DU)

This course will explore themes of the Southern Gothic in works of cinema and popular televisual entertainment. We will study the development of the lurid motifs of the Gothic that works affiliated with this genre often deploy to invoke a sense of horror and dread, moral corruption, and psychological abjection, all seemingly meant to assimilate the South and its citizens to the category of a degenerate and menacing otherness. The imagery of dismal landscapes, dark swamps, decaying architecture, fanatical and occult religious practices—all of which are often grotesque or monstrous figures and cultural tropes that associate the South with an imaginary medieval past—will be examined mostly as marks of an ambivalent ideological struggle surrounding the self-identity of America. Thanks to this regime of gothic tropes and insignia, America, on the one hand, heralds its own self-identity as culturally rich and historically continuous, and yet, it is, at least partly thanks to this same regimen of gothic tropes, on the other hand, that America also typically (or stereotypically) deals with anxieties arising from its attempts to define its own modern identity, and its identity as modern and exceptional. We shall also study several important ways in which the Gothic serves as an important voice for the marginalized, and as a medium that enables critical reflections on social and cultural practices of exclusion and inclusion in American life. The history of slavery, the civil war, and its aftermath, as well as literature produced by certain Southern writers (such as William Faulkner, Thomas Wolfe, Carson McCullers, Flannery O'Connor, Eudora Welty, Truman Capote, Tennessee Williams, Katherine Anne Porter, and others) since the late 19th century, will be identified as important defining contexts of emergence for the Southern Gothic, and as the indispensable conditions that have made its deployment into 20th century film and television possible. Due attention will also be paid to the influence of French colonial adventures in shaping cultures and “gothic” mythologies of the American South, and the Caribbean, as well as the role played by America’s own efforts to secure and maintain hegemonic influences on the region. The course is conducted in English, and requires no prior knowledge of the field. All films are streamed to your computer from the UMass library on demand. Required readings are provided online, and no book purchases are necessary.

NOTES: Course taught in English. Usually offered every spring semester.
PREREQUISITES: None
CREDITS: 4
CURRENTLY OFFERED?  Yes

  • ☀️Summer 2024 - Patrick Mensah (Summer Session 2, July 8, 2024-August 16, 2024)
  • 🌷Spring 2025 - Patrick Mensah (TuTh 10:0011:15)

French 286: Children's and Young Adults' Literatures: From Education to Participatory Culture

In this course we will look at French children’s and young adults’ literature from the very origins of the concept of childhood during the Enlightenment to contemporary writings. What can the genre teach us about the culture, history, and core values of France? We will study themes and genres and investigate the educational and entertainment objectives that literature for the young gives itself. In doing so, we will question the validity of the "child’s voice" created by the grown-up industry who writes and pulls the strings. Through close readings we will study and question age categories. We will also discuss representation of diversity throughout all age categories. Our reading of primary sources will be brought to light by critical, theoretical, and pedagogical texts. Finally, we will delve into the world of fandom and ponder what it means to cross back into make-believe play as an adult.

NOTES: Course taught in English. Offered occasionally.
PREREQUISITES: None
CREDITS: 3
CURRENTLY OFFERED?  No


French 289: Paris Through the Centuries (GenEd: HS)

The aim of this course is to provide an in-depth geographical, historical, and cultural perspective of the city of Paris beginning with the Gallo-Roman period and ending with the Paris of today.  Each lecture will focus on a historical event or trans-historical topic whose origins and unique aspects we learn about through an analysis of cultural, artistic, architectural, cinematographic, and literary references.

NOTES: Course taught in English. Offered every spring semester.
PREREQUISITES: None
CREDITS: 4
CURRENTLY OFFERED?  Yes

  • 🌷Spring 2025 - Staff (MW 2:303:45)

French 303: Writing on Language

Course fulfills the Junior Year Writing requirement.

Topic for spring 2024: This course will question violence tied to media and new technologies in contemporary society through the study of two anticipation novels, Acide Sulfurique (2005) by Amélie Nothomb and Demain les ombres (2023) by Noëlle Michel. We will explore the role of reality TV, its dystopian depiction, and the origin of new forms of authoritarian societies. This course will provide students with the necessary writing skills in French and in English to fulfill the university's Junior Year Writing requirement. Students will improve their written argumentation skills and will enhance their ability to write about literature from a critical perspective. The course will be taught primarily in French, though writing assignments will be in French and in English.

NOTES: Course taught in French, though writing assignments are in English. Usually offered at least once every two years.
PREREQUISITES: French 240 or equivalent, and successful completion of the College Writing requirement (or exemption from the requirement).
CREDITS: 3
CURRENTLY OFFERED?  No


French 321: Introduction to French and Francophone Science Fiction and Fantasy

Based on novels and short stories, in this course we will explore the theme of otherness, its variants, and its specificities in French and francophone science fiction and fantasy literature of the 20th and 21st centuries. Whether it is the literary treatment of science or of magic that is often at the frontiers of the human in its relationship to the other, this literature in French often conceptualizes an original vision of the future or the past, whose cultural stakes we will try to understand.

NOTES: Course taught in French. Usually offered every two to three years.
PREREQUISITES: French 240 or the equivalent
CREDITS: 3
CURRENTLY OFFERED?  No


French 322: Introduction to Critical Textual Analysis

This course offers an introductory overview of theoretical approaches to textual and literary analysis across disciplines. Students will be introduced to these approaches through a review of recent developments in the field of critical theories and methodologies such as semiotics, structuralism, post-structuralism, feminism, and cultural and postcolonial studies. The course aims to provide a valuable matrix of analytical tools, and by the end of the course, students should have a basic knowledge of each approach, understand the usefulness and limits of each approach, and grasp the practical applications of each approach for different kinds of texts and images.

NOTES: Course taught in French. Offered occasionally, generally in the fall semester.
PREREQUISITES: French 371
CREDITS: 3
CURRENTLY OFFERED?  No


French 331: French for Diplomacy and International Relations

After presenting the main characteristics of European institutions and discussing the importance of the French-speaking world for French diplomacy, the main objective of this course is to help students master the linguistic skills specific to the field of international relations. These written and oral linguistic skills, which range from speaking in a professional context to the preparation of argumentative speeches, will be inspired by recent work undertaken by French and European diplomacy in the approach and treatment of international issues, and will focus primarily on geopolitical questions. Finally, this course allows students to prepare for the Diplôme de français professionnel - Relations internationales et Diplomatie exam (level B1 or level B2).

NOTES: Course taught in French. Usually offered every two to three years.
PREREQUISITES: French 240 or the equivalent
CREDITS: 3
CURRENTLY OFFERED?  Yes


French 332: French for the Science Professions

This course will introduce students to the basics of reading and writing scientific texts in French. Students will learn the basic vocabulary of their scientific field, as well as the conventions of scientific writing in French. Students will also learn the basics of professional communication in the scientific and engineering professions. Open to all students interested in the possibility of a global scientific career, this course aims to prepare students to collaborate with colleagues from different countries and to work across linguistic and cultural differences.

NOTES: Course taught in French. Usually offered every two to three years.
PREREQUISITES: French 240 or the equivalent
CREDITS: 3
CURRENTLY OFFERED?  No


French 333: Medicine in France: From Intrigues to Ethics and Universal Healthcare

In this course we will study the French health system, from its origins to its contemporary functioning. We will develop our medical vocabulary, stage professional situations, and discuss ethical issues. We will also discover all the oddities and advances that have shaped the French medical landscape over time. The aim of this course is to provide you with the basics of medical French and to prepare you for reading medical texts and for handling medical language in everyday and professional situations. At the end of the semester, students who wish to do so will have the possibility to take the Diplôme de français professionnel Médical offered by the Chambre de Commerce et d’Industrie de Parisa certification recognized in the United States. Note that this course will count as a "discretionary elective" in fulfillment of the requirements for the UMass Certificate in Medical Humanities. It will also count as an elective for the Global Health Concentration in the Public Health Sciences major.

NOTES: Course taught in French. Usually offered at least once every two years.
PREREQUISITES: French 240 or the equivalent
CREDITS: 3
CURRENTLY OFFERED?  No


French 334: Food, Agriculture, and the Environment in France

French food and agricultural products are celebrated worldwide for their quality, diversity, and rich cultural history. French chefs have long set the standard for the high-end restaurant world; it was French winemakers, a century ago, who first gave a legal status to the concept of terroir; while French farmers are perhaps best known for their skill in staging effective displays of political force. France is also an agricultural powerhouse, a leading global exporter of agricultural goods and a key player in determining European agricultural policy. As in the United States, however, the French agri-food sector is currently facing an array of daunting challenges, from changing consumer preferences to an aging farmer demographic to an increasingly unstable climate. In this course we will learn what is distinctive about French food and agriculture and consider what the example of France has to offer environmental and food system activists in the U.S. and beyond. Topics to be covered include: French agricultural politics and the European Common Agricultural Policy (CAP); debates over livestock production in France (animal welfare, veganism, re-wilding); the world of French cheese; the history of France’s much-admired open-air produce markets; the wine sector and wine-grape production; organic farming and other efforts to reduce pesticide use in France; the nature of French agricultural education; social diversity in French agriculture; and the French government’s current campaign to bring about a large-scale “agroecological transition.” Classes will be conducted in French, although some reading and writing assignments may be in English. This course will equip you with a vocabulary specific to food, agriculture, and the environment and a strong familiarity with the institutions and dynamics underlying France’s famous agri-food system. As such, it will provide excellent preparation for students wishing to pursue future work or study in France or another francophone country.

NOTES: Course taught in French. Offered occasionally.
PREREQUISITES: French 240 or the equivalent
CREDITS: 3
CURRENTLY OFFERED?  No


French 350: French Film (GenEd: AT)

Food matters in many French movies, when it comes to meals or simply cooking culture. Indeed, food speaks about French identity. We will focus on how food and meals reflect economic realities, national obsessions, behavioral conventions, and societal transformations. At the end of this course, which will introduce a variety of French food films of different genres dating from the 1930s to the present, you will be able to analyze films and their different genres as cultural products, identify the values transmitted within these works of art, and critically discuss films with the technical vocabulary of film analysis.

NOTES: Course taught in English. Offered every fall semester.
PREREQUISITES: None
CREDITS: 4
CURRENTLY OFFERED?  Yes


French 351: Contemporary French Cinema

After the New Wave, contemporary French cinema from the 1980s to the present has not ceased to interrogate the transformations at work in France's recent history, from the periods of occupation and decolonization to societal issues such as suburban life and culture, immigration, and the French educational system. In a series of films ranging from thrillers to comedies, this course will focus on how these issues reflect economic realities, national obsessions, and social transformations. By the end of this course, students will be able to analyze contemporary French films and the different genres to which they belong, before identifying the values conveyed by these cultural productions, and critically discussing these same films using the technical vocabulary of film analysis.

NOTES: Course taught in French. Usually offered every two to three years.
PREREQUISITES: French 240 or the equivalent
CREDITS: 3
CURRENTLY OFFERED?  No


French 352: Introduction to French and Francophone Video Games

The main objective of this course is to allow you discover some recent French and French-speaking video games. Event 0 and Life is Strange are two adventure games (cinematic) with puzzles to solve, while Valiant Hearts is more of an action-platformer that requires combat and strategy. Our class discussions and your assignments will focus on your progression through these games, which have varying degrees of immersion, as well as their cultural specificities. This course will also look closely at the figure of the hero in these video games, as well as the treatment of violence and the epic nature of some form of heroization and the transmission of its values.

NOTES: Course taught in French. Usually offered every two to three years.
PREREQUISITES: French 240 or the equivalent
CREDITS: 3
CURRENTLY OFFERED?  No


French 353: African Film (GenEd: AT DG)

This course offers an introduction to African film as an aesthetic and cultural practice. Students should expect to be familiarized with the key ideas and objectives that have inspired and driven that practice since the early 1960s, and be furnished with the technical tools and methodological skills that would permit them to understand, analyze, and think critically about the artistic and thematic aspects of the films that are screened. They should also expect the course to provide them with a critical peek into several cardinal issues of social and cultural relevance in contemporary Africa and its history. Issues of interest typically include the nation-state and its declining status, imperatives of decolonization, economic dependency and structural adjustment programs, orality and changing traditional cultures, diasporic migrations, urbanization and its problems, gender relations, civil wars, child soldiers, gangs, and related themes. Filmmakers studied: Abderrahmane Sissako, Gillo Pontecorvo, Ousmane Sembène, Raoul Peck, Jean-Marie Teno, Dani Kouyaté, Mweze Ngangura, Gavin Hood, Neill Blomkamp, Moufida Tlatli, Djibril Diop Mambéty (please note that this list is subject to change, and shall be updated as future changes are made). The course is conducted in English, and requires no prior knowledge of the field. All films are streamed to your computer from the UMass library on demand. Required readings are provided online, and no book purchases are necessary.

NOTES: Course taught in English. Offered every spring semester, as well as online in Summer Session 2.
PREREQUISITES: None
CREDITS: 4
CURRENTLY OFFERED?  Yes

  • ☀️Summer 2024 - Patrick Mensah (Summer Session 2, July 8, 2024-August 16, 2024)

French 371: Advanced Grammar and Composition I

The first of two consecutive courses devoted to advanced grammar review and composition (followed by French 473). Extensive written practice with various grammatical structures, frequent short writing assignments, introduction to literary analysis.

NOTES: Course taught in French. Offered every fall and spring semester.
PREREQUISITES: French 240 with a grade of B+ or higher, or French 250, or UMass French Placement Test score of 66 or higher.
CREDITS: 3
CURRENTLY OFFERED?  Yes

  • 🍁Fall 2024 - Eva Valenta (MWF 12:201:10, 1:252:15)
  • 🌷Spring 2025 - Ena Vulor (MWF 12:201:10)

French 384: Themes in French Intellectual and Literary History

Major contributions of French writers over the centuries to an exploration of the human condition. Focus on various aspects of the relations between such intellectual inquiry and the evolution of literary forms and genres.

NOTES: Course taught in French. Offered every fall semester.
PREREQUISITES: French 371, preferably 473, or permission of instructor.
CREDITS: 3
CURRENTLY OFFERED?  No


French 386: French Civilization: Origins to 1945 (GenEd: HS)

Introduction to the way the French look at their own political, social, and cultural history; a study of some institutions, events, and figures that help understand French people today.

NOTES: Course taught in French. Offered every spring semester.
PREREQUISITES: French 240 or equivalent, preferably 371.
CREDITS: 4
CURRENTLY OFFERED?  Yes


French 387: Contemporary France

In this course, we will examine how French society has addressed political, environmental, social, cultural and historical developments, movements and transformations in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Topics of discussion may include the following: immigration, integration and inclusion; social issues in la banlieue; the French social safety net; the French concept of laicité and its impact on how the French define themselves; France’s place in the European Union and in the Francophone world; French women’s rights; the rise of populism; union activism and social unrest; the challenges of le communautarisme and the threats of terrorism. Precise topics will be determined by the instructor.

NOTES: Course taught in French. Offered occasionally.
PREREQUISITES: French 371, or French 240 or 250 with an A-level grade, or permission of instructor.
CREDITS: 3

CURRENTLY OFFERED? Yes

  • 🍁Fall 2024 - Staff (MWF 10:1011:00)

French 388: Francophone Civilization Outside of France

Introduction to culture and political forces that shaped French-speaking regions outside of Europe, and idea of francophonie. Topics may include: history and ideology of French colonialism; cultural, as distinct from political, colonialism; cultural nationalism; bilingualism and its social, cultural, and linguistic consequences.

NOTES: Course taught in French. Usually offered every two to three years.
PREREQUISITES: Flexible, consult instructor
CREDITS: 3
CURRENTLY OFFERED?  No


French 404: French Short Fiction

Our objective in this course will be both literary and cultural. Starting with the 19th century writers Flaubert and Maupassant and continuing with the short prose works of such 20th and 21st century authors as Colette, Nemirovsky, Sartre, Camus, Duras, Ernaux, Tournier, Le Clezio, Gavalda, Saumont and Schmitt, we will examine and discuss the succession and the interplay of major socio-political, intellectual and literary trends and upheavals that transformed French society from the late 19th to the early 21st century. All readings, discussion and papers will be in French.

NOTES: Course taught in French. Usually offered every two to three years.
PREREQUISITES: French 371, or permission of instructor.
CREDITS: 3
CURRENTLY OFFERED?  No


French 409: French Women Writers

In the 21st century, we think of literature produced by women, in French or in any language, as nothing out of the ordinary. In fact, even asking the question “Why do women write?” would today be considered by most of us to be as strange as it would have been to ask “Why don’t (more) women write?” in George Sand’s 19th century. Of course, French women have been writing since at least the 12th century when Marie de France wrote her Lais. Yet, when we examine a comprehensive list of French women writers, there is no denying that most of the authors’ names belong to women writers of the 20th century. So what happened in the 20th century? As we read the works of some of France’s best-known authors, who happen to be women, we will discuss, among other things, the socio-economic conditions that made it possible, and sometimes necessary, for women to write in the 20th century. Which key historical events took place in 20th century France that made writing by women possible, necessary, vital, transformative? Why did women decide to pick up the pen to write when they did, and how has this deliberate act transformed the intellectual, social, political, cultural and literary landscape of France over the course of the 20th century? As we read and discuss the novels, short stories, plays or autofictions of, for example, Colette, de Beauvoir, Nemirovsky, Sarraute, Duras, Delbo, Ernaux, Gavalda, Saumont and others, we will think about the wide-ranging impact that these unique female voices have had on literature in France since the Belle Époque.

NOTES: Course taught in French. Offered Occasionally.
PREREQUISITES: French 371, preferably 473, or permission of instructor.
CREDITS: 3
CURRENTLY OFFERED?  Yes


French 424: Renaissance Prose

The purpose of this course is to acquaint the participants with some works of late-medieval and Renaissance storytellers (French "conteurs"). We will read a variety of texts in the storytelling tradition, from Les Cent Nouvelles Nouvelles to Beroalde de Verville's Le Moyen de parvenir. We will place emphasis on genre definition, narratology, aesthetics and cultural history. Among the problems we will discuss together are the following: the relationship between ideology (courtly love, feudalism, humanism, evangelism, "Querelle des femmes", etc.) and literature; rhetoric and truth, historicity and exemplarity; imitation; intertextuality; "vraisemblance"; authority, authorship and gendered discourse; exemplarity, self-referentiality and identity.

NOTES: Course taught in French. Offered occasionally, generally in the fall semester.
PREREQUISITES: French 371, preferably 473, or permission of instructor.
CREDITS: 3
CURRENTLY OFFERED?  No


French 427: Renaissance Poetry

The purpose of this course is to examine, through a series of close textual analyses, the attempts made by poets around 1550 to find modalities for self-expression in their quest for a new poetic language. Emphasis will be placed on the problematic nature of self-identity as a key to expressivity in the cultural and historical contexts when national literatures aim at reflecting and influencing major ideological and political changes (humanism, Evangelism and the Reformation, patriotism and the rise of the absolute monarchy). We will also consider the role of gender in the shaping of poetic identities. Among the poets to be considered are Clément Marot, Marguerite de Navarre, Maurice Scève, Pernette du Guillet, Louise Labé, Joachim du Bellay, Pierre de Ronsard, and Agrippa d'Aubigné.

NOTES: Course taught in French. Usually offered every two to three years.
PREREQUISITES: French 371, preferably 473, or permission of instructor.
CREDITS: 3
CURRENTLY OFFERED?  No


French 433: French Classicism 1660-1700

The essential theoretical and aesthetic components of French classical comedy and tragedy are studied with particular reference to the theaters of Moliere and Racine. Textual readings of plays by Moliere and Racine are enhanced with video screenings of their theatrical adaptations in contemporary French culture in order to widen the interpretive horizon for each text, as well as assess its reception and impact on contemporary culture.

NOTES: Course taught in French. Usually offered every two to three years.
PREREQUISITES: French 371, preferably 473, or permission of instructor.
CREDITS: 3
CURRENTLY OFFERED?  No


French 444: Eighteenth-Century Theater and Novel

The French Enlightenment involved a critical renewal of European political and philosophical self-understanding through an iconoclastic revision of literary and philosophical representational forms associated with the ancien regime. This "renewal" entailed a rethinking of the role of reason in political and social life, a re-conception of gender relations, and a redefinition of Europe's relationship with non-European cultures. We will follow the staging of this triple agenda in the works (novels and plays) of Montesquieu, Beaumarchais, Marivaux, Rousseau, Diderot, Laclos, Prévost, Voltaire, and other luminaries of the Encyclopédie movement.

NOTES: Course taught in French. Usually offered every two to three years.
PREREQUISITES: French 371, preferably 473, or permission of instructor.
CREDITS: 3
CURRENTLY OFFERED?  Yes


French 455: 19th-Century Novel

Study of major trends in the 19th-century French novel. Specific topics will vary and may focus on a specific movement, author or theme. Current topic: The Realist Movement. Still perceived as a “minor” genre at the end of the eighteenth century, the novel quickly emerged as the modern literary form of choice in the years following the French Revolution. In this course we 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 key themes as education and initiation, revolution, money and the commodification of culture, criminality, urban spaces, the changing roles of class and gender in French society, and the emerging contours of modern identity—along with its distinctively modern pathologies (alienation, boredom, addiction). We will also look at critical debates from the period on the nature of literary realism, as well as take up the question of realist representation in the visual arts, examining relevant work by artists, caricaturists, and photographers. Taught in French, though students outside of French and Francophone Studies may write their papers in English.

NOTES: Course taught in French. Usually offered every two to three years.
PREREQUISITES: French 371, preferably 473, or permission of instructor.
CREDITS: 3
CURRENTLY OFFERED?  Yes


French 457: 19th-Century Poetry

Study of major trends in 19th-century French poetry. Specific topics will vary and may focus on a specific movement, author, or theme. Current topic: The Invention of the Modern. "Il faut être absolument moderne," writes Rimbaud in Une saison en enfer. Against the rise of the novel, which quickly established itself in the years following the French Revolution as the preeminent literary form of the "modern," French poetry had to reinvent itself to maintain its relevance in a France undergoing rapid political, social, and economic change. In this seminar, we will trace the evolution of French poetry in the nineteenth century with respect to the broader contexts of French history and culture. We will examine in particular the major poetic movements of the century (romanticism, the "Parnassian" group and the concept of "l'art pour l'art," symbolism) and their links with several key themes of modernity: revolution, nature, changing notions of the good and the beautiful, money and the commodification of culture, urban spaces (the street, the crowd, the arcade, the barricade, urbanism, and architecture), the exotic, love and desire, and the appearance of the "modern" identity, together with its distinctly modern pathologies (alienation, boredom, nostalgia, addiction). Taught in French, though students outside of French and Francophone Studies may write their papers in English.

NOTES: Course taught in French. Usually offered every two to three years.
PREREQUISITES: French 371, preferably 473, or permission of instructor.
CREDITS: 3
CURRENTLY OFFERED?  No


French 465: 20th-Century Novel

Characterized by experimentation and by the crisis of representation, the French novel underwent numerous transformations in form, content, and boundaries throughout the 20th century. In this course, we will place these transformations in context as we discuss movements such as modernism, existentialism, the nouveau roman, and postmodernism.

NOTES: Course taught in French. Offered occasionally, generally in the spring semester.
PREREQUISITES: French 371, preferably 473, or permission of instructor.
CREDITS: 3
CURRENTLY OFFERED?  No


French 469: 20th-Century Theater

A study of major movements in twentieth-century French theater focusing on how playwrights address key social, political, and ethical issues such as the two World Wars and the nuclear age.

NOTES: Course taught in French. Offered infrequently, as staffing allows.
PREREQUISITES: French 371, preferably 473, or permission of instructor.
CREDITS: 3
CURRENTLY OFFERED?  No


French 473: Advanced Grammar and Composition II

The second of two consecutive courses devoted to advanced grammar review and composition (following French 371). Extensive written practice with various grammatical structures; frequent short writing assignments; introduction to literary analysis.

NOTES: Course taught in French. Offered every fall and spring semester.
PREREQUISITES: French 371 with a grade of C or higher, or equivalent.
CREDITS: 3
CURRENTLY OFFERED?  Yes


French 475: Business French

This course accommodates a range of proficiency levels: from intermediate high to advanced. It provides students with useful and practical tools to communicate in French in a professional setting. This course will focus on several topics of the French/Francophone business world, including the following:

  • administrative structures of selected French-speaking countries, with greater emphasis on France;
  • aspects of the French economy;
  • the organization and structure of French companies;
  • the principles of marketing;
  • banking and financial industries; and, 
  • job searches: design, compose a CV, a letter of interest for a position in a French company; develop strategy for an effective and successful job interview in French.

For students who are interested: Preparation for the Diplôme de français professionnel offered by the Chambre de Commerce et d'Industrie Paris Ile-de-France.

NOTES: Course taught in French. Usually offered every two to three years.
PREREQUISITES: French 371, or permission of instructor.
CREDITS: 3
CURRENTLY OFFERED?  Yes

  • 🍁Fall 2024 - Ena Vulor (MWF 11:1512:05)

French 485: Jules Verne and French Steampunk

This course, open to all students with an advanced level of French, will focus on a few contemporary steampunk stories inspired by Jules Verne's novels 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and The Mysterious Island and will concentrate on the main characteristics of French steampunk fiction in the 20th and 21st centuries through the study of an anthology of short stories, two comic books, and two video games. The representation of the Nautilus, the submarine imagined by Jules Verne, will be a common thread in all these stories to question the ideas of progress and civilization before addressing, still from a fictional perspective, the way the relationship between Jules Verne and the United States is perceived.

NOTES: Course taught in French. Offered occasionally.
PREREQUISITES: French 371, preferably 473, or permission of instructor.
CREDITS: 3
CURRENTLY OFFERED?  No


French 487: Introduction to French and Francophone Science Fiction and Fantasy

Based on novels and short stories, in this course, we will explore the theme of otherness, its variants, and its specificities in French and francophone science fiction and fantasy literature of the 20th and 21st centuries. Whether it is the literary treatment of science or magic that is often at the frontiers of the human in its relationship to the other, this literature in French often conceptualizes an original vision of the future or the past, whose cultural stakes we will try to understand.

NOTES: Course taught in French. Usually offered every two to three years.
PREREQUISITES: French 371, preferably 473, or permission of instructor.
CREDITS: 3
CURRENTLY OFFERED?  Yes


French 494SI: Senior Seminar

The Senior Seminar offers advanced undergraduate students the opportunity to practice all the language and critical reading and thinking skills that they have acquired so far in order to examine one of several specific rotating topics. Students do so in the company of a small group of peers whose skills closely align with their own. Through the study of a variety of literary texts, plays, documents, and films the students take part in a semester-long discussion of a particular literary topic and its political, social, and/or cultural contexts. The Senior Seminar satisfies the Integrative Experience requirement for majors in French and Francophone Studies, who are usually expected to take the course in their last semester of the program. In particular, it aims to provide advanced students of French the opportunity to reflect upon the entirety of their experience as French majors and to discuss the relevance of their French major to their broader university education as well as to all of the learning opportunities, ideally including study abroad, in which they have engaged in the last few years.

Topic for Spring 2025: (Check back soon)

NOTES: Course taught in French. Offered every spring semester.
PREREQUISITES: French 473 and 384, or permission of French Undergraduate Program Director
CREDITS: 3
CURRENTLY OFFERED?  Yes


French 501: Colette, Duras, Sarraute

By any measure, Colette, Marguerite Duras and Nathalie Sarraute are three of the most influential French women writers of the 20th century.  Each writer created her own recognizably unique writing voice quite unlike that of any other writer of her time, male or female. While each had her own imperative that made writing a necessity, all three women enriched French literature of the twentieth century with their unmistakably original writing styles. In this course, we will examine selected texts of these three writers in order to gain better insights into each writer’s uniqueness of voice, purpose, and place within French twentieth-century literature. We will also discuss the extent to which the writing voices of these literary women have contributed to the transformation not only of literature but of the image and the role of French women (as daughters, adolescents, mothers, artists, writers, thinkers, self-supporting, independent and active members of French society) from the turn of the century, with Colette, up to the last years of the twentieth century, with Duras and Sarraute. All work (reading, discussion, writing) will take place entirely in French.

NOTES: Course taught in French. Offered occasionally, generally in the spring semester.
PREREQUISITES: Open to both graduate and advanced undergraduate students, or by instructor permission.
CREDITS: 3
CURRENTLY OFFERED?  No


French 522: Montaigne, Descartes, Pascal

The purpose of this course is to acquaint the participants with some of Montaigne's, Descartes's, and Pascal's writings in the context of the emergence of modern subjectivity. We will consider a set of problems relative to the constitution of the self, especially in terms of historical, rhetorical, and epistemological paradigms. Particular attention will be given to Montaigne's Essays as well as the problem of Descartes's and Pascal's self-appropriation of Montaigne's text.

NOTES: Course taught in French. Offered occasionally, generally in the fall semester.
PREREQUISITES: Open to both graduate and advanced undergraduate students, or by instructor permission.
CREDITS: 3
CURRENTLY OFFERED?  No


French 525: Late Medieval and Renaissance Storytellers

The purpose of this seminar is to acquaint the participants with some works of late-medieval and Renaissance storytellers (French "conteurs"). We will read a variety of texts in the storytelling tradition, from Les Cent Nouvelles Nouvelles to Béroalde de Verville's Le Moyen de parvenir. We will place emphasis on genre definition, narratology, aesthetics and cultural history. Among the problems we will discuss together are the following: the relationship between ideology (courtly love, feudalism, humanism, evangelism, etc.) and literature; rhetoric and truth; historicity and exemplarity; imitation, intertextuality and "vraisemblance"; authority, authorship and gendered discourse, self-referentiality and identity.

NOTES: Course taught in French. Offered occasionally, generally in the fall semester.
PREREQUISITES: Open to both graduate and advanced undergraduate students, or by instructor permission.
CREDITS: 3
CURRENTLY OFFERED?  No


French 541: Rousseau and the Enlightenment

At first sight, the work of J.-J. Rousseau appears to be marked by generic diversity and myriad self-contradictions, seemingly reflecting the multifaceted intellectual career of the man who composed it: the adventurer, dreamer, bel esprit, cultural theorist and critic, philosopher, antiphilosopher, literary artist, anti-artist, moralist, immoralist, feminist, anti-feminist, musician, political theorist, misanthrope, pessimist, idealist, and so on. But does this diversity render all questions of a unified vision impertinent? Broadly speaking, the weaving together in one corpus of political theory and instances of "pure" literary invention, of metaphysical speculations on the origins and destiny of human society and institutions, and complex and usually moving accounts of his own personal, unique, if problematic, involvement in that destiny: these factors act in concert to give Rousseau's work its enduring challenging and stimulating quality. It is hardly surprising then that his work continues to engage the attention of some of the most prominent minds—structuralists (e.g. Levi-Strauss), philosophers (Gouhier, Derrida), literary theorists (De Man, Starobinski), and feminist critics (Kofman, Irigaray), to name only a few—in the human and social sciences today. More interestingly for our purposes, the work combines a theory and radical critique of language and representation in general with an unrelenting "existentialist" reflection on issues of political and social ethics. How do these two movements interact? Adopting a primarily "literary" approach to this corpus, we shall attempt—through readings selected from both theoretical and fictional works—to arrive at an understanding of how the two challenge and/or complement each other. We shall also attempt to trace the extent of their involvement with the French Enlightenment movement in its ideological struggle with the Ancien Regime, and identify ways in which they bear on theoretical issues in our contemporary literary culture.

NOTES: Course taught in French. Offered occasionally.
PREREQUISITES: Open to both graduate and advanced undergraduate students, or by instructor permission.
CREDITS: 3
CURRENTLY OFFERED?  No


French 551: Bohemians and Dandies in 19th-Century France

A study of several interrelated figures of counter-cultural modernity that gained prominence in 19th-century French literature: bohemians, dandies, addicts, insurgents, gourmands, poètes maudits, and others. We will examine the cultural and political contexts of their emergence and explore how and why they became productive literary types. In studying their aesthetic implications, we will examine in particular to what extent they constituted a challenge (or not) to various forms of authority in nineteenth-century France. Readings from Balzac, Mérimée, Vigny, Gautier, Baudelaire, Desbordes-Valmore, Rimbaud, Verlaine, Murger, Vallès and Brillat-Savarin. Requirements: active participation in class, several medium-length papers, midterm, final.

NOTES: Course taught in French. Offered occasionally, generally in the spring semester.
PREREQUISITES: Open to both graduate and advanced undergraduate students, or by instructor permission.
CREDITS: 3
CURRENTLY OFFERED?  No


French 552: Introduction to French and Francophone Video Games

The main objective of this course is to allow you to discover some recent French and French-speaking video games. Event 0 and Life is Strange are two adventure games (cinematic) with puzzles to solve, while Valiant Hearts is more of an action-platformer that requires combat and strategy. Our class discussions and your assignments will focus on your progression through these games, which have varying degrees of immersion, as well as their cultural specificities. This course will also look closely at the figure of the hero in these video games, as well as the treatment of violence and the epic nature of some form of heroization and the transmission of its values.

NOTES: Course taught in French. Usually offered every two to three years.
PREREQUISITES: Open to both graduate and advanced undergraduate students, or by instructor permission.
CREDITS: 3
CURRENTLY OFFERED?  No


French 554: The Exotic Imaginary

This course will examine the exotic imaginary in nineteenth-century French literature and culture. We will explore various aesthetic and epistemological functions of exoticism and the problems and paradoxes it raises in its evolution as a romantic, realist, and decadent topos. We will pay particular attention to the problems of representing difference and the unknown, the role of the exoticizing gaze with respect to subjectivity and nineteenth-century discourses of identityracial, gender, class, and nationaland the broader cultural and political uses and abuses of exoticism in a globalizing nineteenth-century France. Taught in French, though students outside of French and Francophone Studies may write their papers in English.

NOTES: Course taught in French. Offered occasionally, generally in the spring semester.
PREREQUISITES: Open to both graduate and advanced undergraduate students, or by instructor permission.
CREDITS: 3
CURRENTLY OFFERED?  No


French 561: Literary Childhoods

This seminar will explore the literary works that have shaped our understanding of childhood in French culture. We will study the cultural and historical contexts in which literatures on and for children were created, as well as how they reflected and shaped the values and attitude of French society towards childhood. Our study will include works such as the following: Saint Exupéry, Le Petit Prince; Perrault’s Contes de ma mère l’Oye; Vallès, L’Enfant; Goscinny, Le Petit Nicolas; Cocteau, Les Enfants terribles; Christiane Rochefort, Les Petits enfants du siècle; Mourlevat, L’Enfant océan. We will analyze how these texts were influenced by their time and how they themselves influenced children’s literature and the idea of childhood in France. We will examine recurring themes such as innocence, self-discovery, imagination, and the relationship between the child and the adult world. We will also explore the various techniques used by the authors to convey their messages and how these techniques have evolved over time. Students will develop an understanding of the intersections between childhood, language, and identity in French literature. Selected critical texts drawing on a variety of theoretical perspectives will allow students to analyze the way in which French literary childhood reflects and shapes broader discourses related to education, socialization, the concept of the self, and that of family, as well as to critically examine the ways in which these discourses perpetuate or challenge prevalent structures. Taught in French, though students outside of French and Francophone Studies may write their papers in English.

NOTES: Course taught in French. Offered occasionally.
PREREQUISITES: Open to both graduate and advanced undergraduate students, or by instructor permission.
CREDITS: 3
CURRENTLY OFFERED?  Yes

  • 🌷Spring 2025 - Julie Roy (MW 2:30–3:45)

French 564: Literature of Africa and the Caribbean

Cultural colonization and decolonization, the Négritude movement, contemporary writing in francophone West Africa, Haiti, and the French West Indies.

NOTES: Course taught in French. Usually offered every two to three years.
PREREQUISITES: Open to both graduate and advanced undergraduate students, or by instructor permission.
CREDITS: 3
CURRENTLY OFFERED?  No


French 568: Surrealism

An exploration of Surrealism as the major revolutionary movement in 20th-century art and literature. The course will trace the historical sweep of the surrealist movement, from its 19th-century precursors to the contemporary influence of surrealist techniques and perspectives, emphasizing central surrealist issues (liberty, the creative imagination, dreams and the unconscious, the “marvelous,” the erotic, anti-art and anti-rationality, the question of political commitment) as understood through the study of major works in prose, poetry, and the visual arts.

NOTES: Course taught in French. Offered occasionally.
PREREQUISITES: Open to both graduate and advanced undergraduate students, or by instructor permission.
CREDITS: 3
CURRENTLY OFFERED?  No


French 572: Basic Methods of Teaching Foreign Languages

This course will explore the teaching of foreign/second languages from theoretical, historical, and practical perspectives. Students will engage in a range of activities designed to reinforce their understanding of the material and guide its application to their developing language teaching practices. The course is intended for both experienced and inexperienced language teachers.

NOTES: Course taught in English. Usually offered once every two years.
PREREQUISITES: Designed primarily for teacher education students, but open to all interested graduate and advanced undergraduate students.
CREDITS: 3
CURRENTLY OFFERED?  Yes


French 579: The Teacher in the Middle and High School Classroom

French 579 is a two-credit support seminar that was created for student teachers of French who are simultaneously completing their full-time student teaching practicum (FrenchEd 500U) in a public middle or high school in Massachusetts. The purpose of this seminar is to provide a supportive place where initial licensure candidates reflect upon and articulate their developing identity as teachers, and explore and reflect upon the complexities of teaching within their particular classrooms and communities, as well as within the broader social context of education. The seminar informs teaching candidates of the responsibilities and requirements of the student teaching practicum; provides a space of confidentiality in which candidates reflect on and discuss issues specifically related to their student teaching experiences; supports them in developing their required student teaching portfolios (on Tk20), and guides them in locating a suitable teaching position upon completion of the program.

NOTES: Course taught in English. Offered every spring semester.
PREREQUISITES: Open to MAT students and to undergraduate and post-baccalaureate teacher education students. Must be taken concurrently with FrenchEd 500U: Student Teaching Practicum.
CREDITS: 2
CURRENTLY OFFERED?  Yes

  • 🌷Spring 2025 - Julie Roy (W 4:00–5:15)

French 584: French Canadian Literature

The purpose of this course is to acquaint the participants with some novelistic, poetic, and dramatic texts from Quebec with emphasis on the problematic of identity (national, cultural, and sexual). We will study the development of national literature in Quebec and its relation to ideological and political identity from the colonial era, "la Conquête" (1760), to the contemporary period. We shall mainly study the works of Quebec's novelists, poets, and playwrights in conjunction with the works of essayists and filmmakers.

Fall 2020: Survey of Québec’s theatrical productions from the beginning of the 18th century to the contemporary period, with an emphasis on performance. Plays studied through the lens of the social context of their creation in conjunction with contemporary cinematic and literary productions.

NOTES: Course taught in French. Offered occasionally, generally in the fall semester.
PREREQUISITES: Open to both graduate and advanced undergraduate students, or by instructor permission.
CREDITS: 3
CURRENTLY OFFERED?  No


French 592S: Microteaching: Pre-Practicum

The purpose of this two-credit Pre-Practicum Seminar is to prepare second-year teacher licensure students for the upcoming full-time student teaching experience, both pedagogically and psychologically. The seminar is designed for those licensure students who are currently interning with the individual who will become their supervising practitioner in the spring semester. Students attend weekly cohort meetings to discuss and reflect on their experiences and observations in the public schools; discuss ideas presented in pertinent articles and films; teach mini-lessons; refine their personal philosophy of education, and begin to work on the assessments required for initial teacher licensure by the French and Francophone Studies Program and by the State Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

NOTES: Course taught in English. Offered every fall semester.
PREREQUISITES: Open to MAT students and to undergraduate and post-baccalaureate teacher education students completing their pre-practicum requirements.
CREDITS: 2
CURRENTLY OFFERED?  Yes

  • 🍁Fall 2024 - Julie Roy (W 1:25–2:40)

French 624: Renaissance Prose

The purpose of this course is to acquaint the participants with some works of late-medieval and Renaissance storytellers (French "conteurs"). We will read a variety of texts in the storytelling tradition, from Les Cent Nouvelles Nouvelles to Beroalde de Verville's Le Moyen de parvenir. We will place emphasis on genre definition, narratology, aesthetics, and cultural history. Among the problems we will discuss together are the following: the relationship between ideology (courtly love, feudalism, humanism, evangelism, "Querelle des femmes", etc.) and literature; rhetoric and truth, historicity, and exemplarity; imitation; intertextuality; "vraisemblance"; authority, authorship, and gendered discourse; exemplarity, self-referentiality, and identity.

NOTES: Course taught in French. Offered occasionally, generally in the fall semester.
PREREQUISITES: Open to graduate students (usually cross-listed with French 424 for undergraduates).
CREDITS: 3
CURRENTLY OFFERED?  No


French 627: Renaissance Poetry

The purpose of this course is to examine, through a series of close textual analyses, the attempts made by poets around 1550 to find modalities for self-expression in their quest for a new poetic language. Emphasis will be placed on the problematic nature of self-identity as a key to expressivity in the cultural and historical contexts when national literatures aim at reflecting and influencing major ideological and political changes (humanism, Evangelism and the Reformation, patriotism and the rise of the absolute monarchy). We will also consider the role of gender in the shaping of poetic identities. Among the poets to be considered are Clément Marot, Marguerite de Navarre, Maurice Scève, Pernette du Guillet, Louise Labé, Joachim du Bellay, Pierre de Ronsard, and Agrippa d'Aubigné.

NOTES: Course taught in French. Offered occasionally, generally in the fall semester.
PREREQUISITES: Open to graduate students (usually cross-listed with French 427 for undergraduates).
CREDITS: 3
CURRENTLY OFFERED?  No


French 631: 17th-Century Comic Vision

A cross-generic study of the representation of the writer at work and the interrelationship between literature and society in Molière's time. Emphasis on works by Molière, La Fontaine, Bussy-Rabutin, Mme de Sévigné.

NOTES: Course taught in French. Offered occasionally.
PREREQUISITES: Open to graduate students, or by instructor permission to undergraduates.
CREDITS: 3
CURRENTLY OFFERED?  No


French 632: 17th-Century Tragic Vision

(Check back soon for course description.)

NOTES: Course taught in French. Offered occasionally.
PREREQUISITES: Open to graduate students, or by instructor permission to undergraduates.
CREDITS: 3
CURRENTLY OFFERED?  No


French 644: 18th-Century Literature

Variable topics, including chief writers and thinkers of the Age of Enlightenment; the satirical novel and the sentimental novel, and readings in the French theater from LeSage to Beaumarchais.

NOTES: Course taught in French. Usually offered every two to three years.
PREREQUISITES: Open to graduate students (usually cross-listed with French 444 for undergraduates).
CREDITS: 3
CURRENTLY OFFERED?  Yes


French 655: 19th-Century Novel

Study of major trends in the 19th-century French novel. Specific topics will vary and may focus on a specific movement, author, or theme. Current topic: The Realist Movement. Still perceived as a “minor” genre at the end of the eighteenth century, the novel quickly emerged as the modern literary form of choice in the years following the French Revolution. In this course, we 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 key themes as education and initiation, revolution, money and the commercialization of culture, criminality, urban spaces, the changing roles of class and gender in French society, and the emerging contours of modern identity—along with its distinctively modern pathologies (alienation, boredom, addiction). We will also look at critical debates from the period on the nature of literary realism, as well as take up the question of realist representation in the visual arts, examining relevant work by artists, caricaturists, and photographers. Taught in French, though students outside of French Studies may write their papers in English.

NOTES: Course taught in French. Usually offered every two to three years.
PREREQUISITES: Open to graduate students (usually cross-listed with French 455 for undergraduates).
CREDITS: 3
CURRENTLY OFFERED?  Yes


French 657: 19th-Century Poetry

Study of major trends in 19th-century French poetry. Specific topics will vary and may focus on a specific movement, author, or theme. Current topic: The Invention of the Modern. "Il faut être absolument moderne," writes Rimbaud in Une saison en enfer. Against the rise of the novel, which quickly established itself in the years following the French Revolution as the preeminent literary form of the "modern," French poetry had to reinvent itself to maintain its relevance in a France undergoing rapid political, social, and economic change. In this seminar, we will trace the evolution of French poetry in the nineteenth century with respect to the broader contexts of French history and culture. We will examine in particular the major poetic movements of the century (romanticism, the "Parnassian" group and the concept of "l'art pour l'art," symbolism) and their links with several key themes of modernity: revolution, nature, changing notions of the good and the beautiful, money and the commodification of culture, urban spaces (the street, the crowd, the arcade, the barricade, urbanism, and architecture), the exotic, love and desire, and the appearance of the "modern" identity, together with its distinctly modern pathologies (alienation, boredom, nostalgia, addiction). Taught in French, though students outside of French and Francophone Studies may write their papers in English.

NOTES: Course taught in French. Usually offered every two to three years.
PREREQUISITES: Open to graduate students (usually cross-listed with French 457 for undergraduates).
CREDITS: 3
CURRENTLY OFFERED?  No


French 665: 20th-Century Novel

Characterized by experimentation and by the crisis of representation, the French novel underwent numerous transformations in form, content, and boundaries throughout the 20th century. In this course, we will place these transformations in context as we discuss movements such as modernism, existentialism, the nouveau roman, and postmodernism.

Topis for Spring 2025: "French Women Writers" In the 21st century, we think of literature produced by women, in French or in any language, as nothing out of the ordinary. In fact, even asking the question “Why do women write?” would today be considered by most of us to be as strange as it would have been to ask “Why don’t (more) women write?” in George Sand’s 19th century. Of course, French women have been writing since at least the 12th century when Marie de France wrote her Lais. Yet, when we examine a comprehensive list of French women writers, there is no denying that most of the authors’ names belong to women writers of the 20th century. So what happened in the 20th century? As we read the works of some of France’s best-known authors, who happen to be women, we will discuss, among other things, the socio-economic conditions that made it possible, and sometimes necessary, for women to write in the 20th century. Which key historical events took place in 20th century France that made writing by women possible, necessary, vital, transformative? Why did women decide to pick up the pen to write when they did, and how has this deliberate act transformed the intellectual, social, political, cultural and literary landscape of France over the course of the 20th century? As we read and discuss the novels, short stories, plays or autofictions of, for example, Colette, de Beauvoir, Nemirovsky, Sarraute, Duras, Delbo, Ernaux, Gavalda, Saumont and others, we will think about the wide-ranging impact that these unique female voices have had on literature in France since the Belle Époque.

NOTES: Course taught in French. Offered occasionally, generally in the spring semester.
PREREQUISITES: Open to graduate students (usually cross-listed with French 409 or 465 for undergraduates).
CREDITS: 3
CURRENTLY OFFERED?  Yes


French 667: 20th-Century Poetry

An exploration of interactions between 20th-century French poetry and the visual arts, with emphasis on the first half of the century.  Topics include calligrams; the connections between art and poetry in works by Apollinaire, Reverdy, Cendrars, and Desnos; the illustrated book, in which poems are accompanied by artists' renditions or in which artists' drawings are then "illustrated" by poems; the representation of objects in Breton and Ponge; Eluard's poems describing painters; and the ekphrastic poetry of Michaux and Heather Dohollau.

NOTES: Course taught in French. Offered infrequently, as staffing allows.
PREREQUISITES: Open to graduate students, or by instructor permission to undergraduates.
CREDITS: 3
CURRENTLY OFFERED?  No


French 670: Expository Prose

The purpose of the course is to improve the ability to write effective French prose, in particular for the purposes of literary and cultural analysis. Coursework includes discussions of short literary works in French, regular compositions on these works (including rewrites), stylistic exercises, vocabulary-building exercises, and short translations.

NOTES: Course taught in French. Offered every fall semester.
PREREQUISITES: Open to graduate students, or by instructor permission to undergraduates.
CREDITS: 3
CURRENTLY OFFERED?  No


French 672: Teaching Assistant Workshop

A weekly workshop/class for all graduate students teaching French language classes for the first time. The course will introduce current methods and ideas of language teaching and testing and will focus on the courses they are actually teaching. There are no exams or papers but there will be biweekly presentations.

NOTES: Course taught in English. Offered every fall semester.
PREREQUISITES: Open to first-semester French M.A. and M.A.T. students, as well as other graduate students teaching French for the first time.
CREDITS: 2
CURRENTLY OFFERED?  Yes


French 679: Teaching French and Francophone Culture to Middle and High School Students

This course is designed to prepare French teacher education candidates to teach French and francophone literature and culture at the secondary level. We will examine different approaches to integrating cultural content and language learning, how to select appropriate cultural materials for different levels of student proficiency, how to make use of technology to enhance cultural learning, and other relevant topics. Designed primarily to provide French M.A.T. students with the opportunity to gain practical experience in teaching French cultural material, the course is also open to all interested graduate students (and advanced undergraduates with instructor permission).

NOTES: Course taught in French. Usually offered once every two years.
PREREQUISITES: Designed primarily for M.A.T. students, but open to all interested graduate students (and advanced undergraduates with instructor permission).
CREDITS: 3
CURRENTLY OFFERED?  No


French 683: Textual and Literary Analysis

Combines theory and practice. Explores the potential for textual analysis based on literary texts from several different periods and genres, and in relation to a number of contemporary theoretical perspectives: feminism; Marxism, postcolonial studies; psychoanalysis; reader-response and reception theory; structuralist poetics, and semiotics. Of particular interest to graduate students in the humanities and social sciences.

NOTES: Course taught in French. Offered occasionally.
PREREQUISITES: Open to graduate students, or by instructor permission to undergraduates.
CREDITS: 3
CURRENTLY OFFERED?  No


French 685: Jules Verne and French Steampunk

This course, open to all students with an advanced level of French, will focus on a few contemporary steampunk stories inspired by Jules Verne's novels 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and The Mysterious Island and will concentrate on the main characteristics of French steampunk fiction in the 20th and 21st centuries through the study of an anthology of short stories, two comic books, and two video games. The representation of the Nautilus, the submarine imagined by Jules Verne, will be a common thread in all these stories to question the ideas of progress and civilization before addressing, still from a fictional perspective, the way the relationship between Jules Verne and the United States is perceived.

NOTES: Course taught in French. Offered occasionally.
PREREQUISITES: Open to graduate students (usually cross-listed with French 497J for undergraduates).
CREDITS: 3
CURRENTLY OFFERED?  No


French 687: Introduction to French and Francophone Science Fiction and Fantasy

Based on novels and short stories, in this course, we will explore the theme of otherness, its variants, and its specificities in French and francophone science fiction and fantasy literature of the 20th and 21st centuries. Whether it is the literary treatment of science or of magic that is often at the frontiers of the human in its relationship to the other, this literature in French often conceptualizes an original vision of the future or the past, whose cultural stakes we will try to understand.

NOTES: Course taught in French. Usually offered every two to three years.
PREREQUISITES: Open to graduate students (usually cross-listed with French 497SF for undergraduates).
CREDITS: 3
CURRENTLY OFFERED?  Yes


French 728: La Pléiade & l'École de Lyon

The purpose of this seminar is to examine the evolution of two of the main "poetic schools" active through the mid-sixteenth century in France: l'École de Lyon and La Pléiade. We will explore the poetics of these groups through the works of their "leaders": main representatives such as Joachim du Bellay and Ronsard for La Pléiade, and Maurice Scève and Louise Labé for l'École de Lyon, but also through the poetry of various of their satellites and lesser-known figures. We will examine the fluctuations in the evolution of the expression of self-identity in the cultural and historical contexts when national literatures aim at reflecting and influencing major ideological and political changes.

NOTES: Course taught in French. Offered occasionally, generally in the fall semester.
PREREQUISITES: Open to graduate students, or by instructor permission to undergraduates.
CREDITS: 3
CURRENTLY OFFERED?  No


French 801: Contemporary Critical Theory

(Check back soon for course description.)

NOTES: Course taught in French. Offered occasionally.
PREREQUISITES: Open to graduate students, or by instructor permission to undergraduates.
CREDITS: 3
CURRENTLY OFFERED?  No


French 809: Genre Course: Theater

A diachronic study of French and Francophone theater from Medieval Drama to the contemporary stage, with reference to a wide range of theoretical approaches. The course will examine major movements in the rich history of French theater, including classicism, romanticism, realism, surrealism, and the theater of the absurd. Theater as social commentary; relationships between theater and religion, political movements, postcolonialism, and questions of gender and race. Team-taught, drawing on the expertise of the French and Francophone Studies faculty.

NOTES: Course taught in French. Offered occasionally.
PREREQUISITES: Open to graduate students, or by instructor permission to undergraduates.
CREDITS: 3
CURRENTLY OFFERED?  No