Fall 2018 Courses

Freshman Seminars
FREN 090

Scandals under the Sun (Christophe Schuwey)

The shining gold of Versailles and the triumph of Molière in 17th-century France are inseparable from the

culture of scandals and controversy that underlie the reign of Louis XIV. Some victims fell, but authors and

booksellers took advantage of the trending topics and hot stories, turning them into literature, both to fight

and to entertain.

Through the lens of scandals, this course explores a century that shaped our modern relationship to

entertainment, celebrity and news. How is scandal written and propagated, and how can controversy be a

marketing or literary strategy? From discussion about women’s rights to dark magic affairs, from authors’

strategies to religious issues, each work will reveal the vibrant and complex nature of the cultural and

political life under the Sun King.

Group B & C Advanced and Literature Courses in French
Gateway Courses
FREN 160

Advanced Culture and Conversation
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.

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.


Advanced Language Courses

FREN 181

Applied Advanced French Grammar
In-depth study of grammar and discourse strategies. Advanced grammar exercises, linguistic analysis of

literary selections, and English-to-French translation. Intended to improve students’ written command of

French and to prepare them for upper-level courses; recommended for prospective majors.

FREN 183

Medical French: Conversation and Culture
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 Francophone medical environment. 

Discussions, in-class activities and group projects in simulated professional situations.  Topics such as the

hospital, family physicians and nurse practitioners, medicine in Francophone Africa, humanitarian NGOs are

explored through a medical textbook, articles, video clips, radio shows, films, documentaries, and excerpts from

essays and literary texts.

FREN 191

An introduction to the practice and theory of literary translation, conducted in workshop format. Stress on

close reading, with emphasis initially on grammatical structures and vocabulary, subsequently on stylistics and

aesthetics. Translation as a means to understand and communicate cultural difference in the case of French,

African, Caribbean, and Québécois authors. Texts by Benjamin, Beckett, Borges, Steiner, and others. Conducted

in English, readings in French.

General fields courses

FREN 211

French Poetry: The First Five Hundred Years (Ned Duval)

A survey of the first half-millennium of French poetry, from courtly love songs by the Trouvères of the late

twelfth century to satirical verse by the Libertins of the early seventeenth. Special focus on the great flowering

of lyric poetry during the Renaissance. The musical origins and aspirations of lyric poetry in France. Emphasis on

close readings of representative works by major poets. Conducted in French.

FREN 240

The Modern French Novel (Maurice Samuels, Alice Kaplan)
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 321

Disclosures of Marie Antoinette (Pierre Saint-Amand)
An examination of the life of the last queen of France, Marie-Antoinette, through memoirs, pamphlets,

correspondence, and films. Readings will include critical literature that has dealt with her legacy in

historiography (Hunt, Thomas) and fiction (Ch. Thomas). Taught in French.

FREN 345

The Prose Poem (Thomas Connolly)
An examination of the poème en prose, from its beginnings as a response to the inadequacy of French verse

forms through its emergence as an independent genre. Authors include Bertrand, Baudelaire, Mallarmé,

Rimbaud, Lautréamont, Jacob, Jabès, Ponge, Maulpoix. Conducted in French.

FREN 347

Ekphrasis (Thomas Connolly)

An exploration of ekphrasis, understood both as the verbal representation of visual representation and, more

broadly, as the way in which one artistic discourse represents, critiques, or transgresses another. Manifestations

of this rhetorical device in both Western and non-Western cultures from antiquity to the present. Includes

works by Philostratus, Daniel, Greenaway, Baudelaire, Rimbaud, Rilke, Apollinaire, Le Corbusier, Chagall, McCabe,

Gilboa, Ben Jelloun, Kiarostami. Conducted in English.

FREN 403

Proust Interpretations: Reading ‘Remembrance of Things Past’ (Howard Bloch, Pierre Saint-Amand)

A close reading (in English) of Marcel Proust’s masterpiece, Remembrance of Things Past, with emphasis upon

major themes: time and memory, desire and jealousy, social life and artistic experience, sexual identity and

personal authenticity, class and nation. Portions from Swann’s Way, Within a Budding Grove, Cities of the Plain,

Time Regained considered from biographical, psychological/psychoanalytic, gender, sociological, historical, and

philosophical perspectives. Conducted in English.

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 forother 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. Conducted in French.

FREN 421

Intercultural Literary Hoaxes (Christopher Miller)
Study of literary works that test the bounds of propriety by borrowing or stealing an alien identity and passing

the imposture off as authentic. Cases in Anglo-American and French-Francophone literature, ranging from the

hilarious to the reprehensible. Attention to issues in the ethics of representation. Works include Diderot,

Mérimée, George Eliot, pseudo-slave narratives, Camara Laye, Romain Gary, Forrest Carter, JT LeRoy, Paul Smaïl,

Margaret B. Jones, Misha Defonseca. Conducted in English, French L4 level reading knowledge required.