Spring 2022 Courses


Conducted entirely in French

fren 120: elementary and intermediate french ii

Continuation of FREN 110. Open only to students who took FREN 110 (L1) at Yale.  

french 130:  intermediate and advanced french i

The first half of a two-term sequence designed to develop students’ proficiency in the four language skill areas. Prepares students for further work in literary, language, and cultural studies, as well as for nonacademic use of French. Oral communication skills, writing practice, vocabulary expansion, and a comprehensive review of fundamental grammatical structures are integrated with the study of short stories, novels, and films. 

french 140: intermediate and advanced french ii

The second half of a two-term sequence designed to develop students’ proficiency in the four language skill areas. Introduction of more complex grammatical structures. Films and other authentic media accompany literary readings from throughout the francophone world, culminating with the reading of a longer novel and in-class presentation of student research projects. 

french 145: intensive intermediate and advanced french

An accelerated course that covers in one term the material taught in FREN 130 and 140. Emphasis on speaking, writing, and the conversion of grammatical knowledge into reading competence. 

french 150: advanced language practice

An advanced language course intended to improve students’ comprehension of spoken and written French as well as their speaking and writing skills. Modern fiction and nonfiction texts familiarize students with idiomatic French. Special attention to grammar review and vocabulary acquisition.


Gateway courses

fren 160: advanced conversation through culture, film, and media

Intensive oral practice designed to further skills in listening comprehension, speaking, and reading through the use of videos, films, fiction, and articles. Emphasis on contemporary French and francophone cultures. Prerequisites: FREN 150, or a satisfactory placement test score, or with permission of the course director. May be taken concurrently with or after FREN 170. Conducted in French.

fren 170: introduction to the study of literature in french

Introduction to close reading and analysis of literary texts written in French. Works by authors such as Marie de France, Molière, Balzac, Hugo, Baudelaire, Duras, Proust, and Genet. Conducted in French.

Advanced Language Courses

fren 182b: creative and critical writing workshop (lauren pinzka)

An advanced writing course for students who wish to work intensively on perfecting their written French. Frequent compositions of varying lengths, including creative writing, rédactions (compositions on concrete topics), and dissertations (critical essays). Recommended for prospective majors. Conducted in French.

fren 184b: business french: communication and culture (léo tertrain)

An advanced language course emphasizing verbal communication and culture.  Designed to foster the acquisition of the linguistic and cultural skills required to evolve within a French business environment.  Discussions, in-class activities and group projects in simulated professional situations.  Topics such as the liberalization of the French economy, trading in the European Union, new forms of business organizations, globalization are explored through a business textbook, articles, video clips, radio shows, films, documentaries, and excerpts from essays and literary texts.  Conducted in French.

fren 192b: intermediate literary translation (alyson waters)

A continuation of FREN 191a for students who wish to work on a longer project and to deepen their reading in translation theory. Conducted in English, readings in French.

General Fields Courses

fren 240: the modern french novel (alice kaplan and maurice samuels)

A survey of major French novels, considering style and story, literary and intellectual movements, and historical contexts. Writers include Balzac, Flaubert, Proust, Camus, and Sartre. Conducted in English, readings in French or English translation, one section conducted in French.

Special Topics Courses

fren 307: France by Rail: Trains in French Literature, Film, and History (morgane cadieu)

Exploration of the aesthetics of trains in French and Francophone literature and culture, from the end of the nineteenth-century and the first locomotives, to the automatically driven subway in twenty-first century Paris. Focus on the role of trains in industrialization, colonization, deportation, decolonization, and immigration. Corpus includes novels, poems, plays, films, paintings, graphic novels, as well as theoretical excerpts on urban spaces and public transportation. Activities include: building a train at the CEID and visiting the Beinecke collections and the Art Gallery.

fren 371: Fictions of Canada: Colonialism, Nationalism, Postcolonialism (Katie Trumpener)

This seminar explores the literature(s) of Canada in its long history, its considerable linguistic and cultural range, and its complex relationship to political history. Like Canada itself, its literature represents a “contact zone” between First Nations peoples, French and British settlers, and immigrants from Eastern Europe, East and South Asia, and the Caribbean. Particular focus on Canada’s diverse early literatures (from Jesuit hymn to epistolary novel); on the prominent role of women writers across Canadian literature history; on the emergence of an experimental Québécois literature (utilizing Montreal patois as a new literary language) in an era also marked by secularization, modernization and political separatism; of English Canadian attempts to rethink colonial history, and the critiques of Canada’s ongoing decolonization process by new generations of indigenous, immigrant and ethnic writers. This course explores both literary history and literary form; the work of internationally famous novelists and poets (Leonard Cohen, Marie-Claire Blais, Margaret Atwood, Alice Munro, Michael Ondaatje) and their innovative local counterparts. Throughout the semester, moreover, our discussion of written literary texts (poems, novels, plays) is supplemented by primarily oral texts, Canadian anthems, ballads, folk, rock and punk songs in a range of Canadian languages). We will thus listen to even as we read Canada.

fren 385: reading rabelais’s gargantua(dominique brancher)

How should the modern man be educated? Which virtues should a Christian prince possess in times of war? Can you be serious and funny at the same time? Gargantua, the life-story of a giant born from his mother’s ear, published two years after Pantagruel in 1534, has surprising answers to these questions and more. It is with this work of excess, in form as much as in content, in which giants consume material and spiritual goods with equal enthusiasm, and in which received ideas are subject to harsh critical and comic scrutiny, that Rabelais invents the modern novel. Students undertake a close reading of the text in its modern French translation, alongside relevant secondary sources. All readings, discussions, and assignments in French.

fren 391: Fake News and True Stories (Christophe Schuwey)

The rise of newspapers and the development of the information culture in the age of Versailles deeply transformed French literature and the relationship of readers to truth and fiction. On the one hand, reading the news became a leisure activity, which created issues surprisingly similar to our contemporary ‘fake news’ phenomenon. On the other hand, realism became the new paradigm for literature, as audiences craved stories and plays depicting their own world. Authors turned information, rumors, and gossip into novels, comedies, and tragedies. Through works by Molière, La Fayette, Donneau de Visé, Scudéry, Racine, and Corneille as well as the first newspapers, we explore this critical moment that built our modern relationship to fiction and information.

fren 414: Afterlives of Algeria’s Revolution (jill Jarvis)

The Algerian War for Independence from France was the longest and most violent decolonizing war of the 20th century. This war and its aftermath transformed political, social, intellectual, and artistic life on both sides of the Mediterranean–and it became a model for other decolonizing and civil rights movements across the world. Memory of this war continues to shape current debates in Europe and North Africa about state violence, terrorism, racism, censorship, immigration, feminism, human rights, and justice. Through study of fiction, film, testimonies, graphic novels, and theater, this seminar charts the war’s surprising and enduring legacies. Films may include Pontecorvo’s The Battle of Algiers, Haneke’s Caché, and Panijel’s Octobre à Paris. Literary works by Djebar, Camus, Sebbar, Etcherelli, Dib, Cixous, Kateb, Fanon, De Beauvoir, Mechakra.

The course is conducted in French. If you have any questions about your French ability, contact the instructor.

Fren 416: Social Mobility and Migration (morgane cadieu)

Exploration of mobility in the French social landscape and its representations in contemporary French and Francophone texts and films; the intersectionality of class, race, gender, and sexuality; emancipation, migration, demotion, and precarity; labor and the workplace; the interaction between social class and literary style. Works by: Angot, Eribon, Ernaux, Kechiche, Louis, Mukasonga, NDiaye, Taïa. Theoretical excerpts by: Berlant, Bourdieu, Delphy, Fraser, Rancière, Piketty. Students have the possibility to put the corpus in dialogue with the literature of other countries. 

FREN 419: The Myths of Versailles (Christophe Schuwey)

The mythical castle of Louis XIV epitomizes the continuous grasp that the French 17th-century has on the collective imagination. Attracting millions of tourists every year, welcoming expensive Versailles-labeled masked parties, it incarnates the French Classicism of legendary authors including Molière, Corneille, Racine, La Fontaine, Sévigné, and La Fayette. However, just as the castle was once simply a hunting lodge, literature in the age of Louis XIV was not always considered classical: it became such. This course explores and deconstructs the myths of Versailles, from the 17th century to present days. Through literature, music, painting, as well as modern novels and films, we study canonical and less-canonical works, inquiring how the mythical image was built, integrated into national identity and maintained, reading the resistance it raised then and now against this cultural hegemony and understanding how some authors (especially women writers) were dismissed by history while being genuine superstars back then. In the shadows of the monument appears a vivid world, full of fascinating cultural, commercial, and political struggles.

FREN 425:  North African French Poetry (Thomas Connolly)

Introduction to North African poetry composed in French during the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Works explored within the broader context of metropolitan French, Arabic, and Berber cultures; juxtaposition with other modes of expression including oral poetry, painting, dance, music, the Internet, and film. The literary, aesthetic, political, religious, and philosophical significance of poetic discourse.