Spring 2019 Course Offerings


FREN 096

Women’s Narratives of Self in Modern French Literature (Maryam Sanjabi)

The course explores women’s autobiographical literature, demonstrating their uniqueness from an individual

perspective and capturing the social, economic, religious, and ethnic themes of the period and their authors’

intellectual standpoints. The selected books represent a variety of literary genres ranging from memoir to journal,

graphic novel, and film scripts with a focus on the 20th and 21st centuries as they appear in the works of: Colette,

Simone de Beauvoir, Nathalie Sarraute, Lucie Aubrac, Hélène Berr, Assia Djebar, Ken Bugul, Agnès Varda, Marjane

Satrapi, Marguerite Duras, Annie Ernaux, and Camille Laurens among others. This course thus aims at a critical

awareness of what modernity has meant in women’s experiences and why debate about its consequences often

revolves around women’s lives. While some authors explore the coming of age of European gender awareness,

others deal with the war and resistance and more recent non-Western voices in French pose the question of

identity of the “Other.” Course readings include short theoretical essays and a number of secondary works.

Conducted in French and English, assignments in French or English, readings 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 Course

FREN 182

Advanced Writing Workshop
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 184

Business French: Communication 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 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 192

Intermediate Literary Translation
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 247

Experimental Literature, Theory and Manifestoes (Morgane Cadieu)

A survey of the French experimental prose of the 20th and 21st centuries. Corpus includes novels and plays,

literary and political manifestoes, and landmark articles on literary theory, structuralism and poststructuralism.

We will discuss: inspiration and creativity; the aesthetics of manifestoes and the politics of literature; automatic

writing and constrained prose; feminist and queer writings; urban spaces in avant-garde literary movements.

Works by: Bataille, Beauvoir, Beckett, Breton, Perec, Sarraute, Wittig. Theoretical excerpts by: Barthes, Deleuze,

Derrida, Foucault, Glissant, Malabou. Conducted in French.

Special topics courses

FREN 320

The Existentialist Café (Alice Kaplan)
The Existentialist Café examines a moment (post-war France), a condition (liberation from Nazi occupation),

a school of thought (existentialism) and a group of writers in conversation with one another (Sartre, Beauvoir,

Camus, Vian, Leduc, Duras, Sagan, Guilloux, Kofman). Specific themes include the memory of collaboration and

resistance; the shorn women; de Gaulle and his critics; the surviving Jewish community; youth culture; and

existentialist culture in Saint-Germain des Près. In addition to novels and memoirs (The Plague; Ok, Joe!; The

Bastard,  Bonjour Tristesse) students also explore representations of the period in films (Rendez-vous de juillet;

Hiroshima mon amour; La guêpe). A research component of the seminar involves primary source work in

newspapers and magazines of the period (Combat, Lettres françaises, Paris-Match). Conducted in English,

readings in French.

FREN 410

Colonial Narrative, Postcolonial Counternarrative (Christopher Miller)
Readings of paradigmatic, colonial era texts that have provoked responses and rewritings from postcolonial

writers and filmmakers. In some cases the rewriting is explicit and direct, in other cases the response is more

oblique. Both profound differences of perspective and unexpected convergences will emerge. Readings may

include: Aimé Césaire’s A Tempest after Shakespeare’s Tempest, Kamel Daoud’s The Meursault Investigation

after Camus’s The Stranger, and Claire Denis’s film Chocolat after Ferdinand Oyono’s Houseboy.

FREN 389

Lovers of the Ancien Régime (Pierre Saint-Amand)

A study of love and relationship in the literature of Old Regime France. Topics include major actors (the

libertine, the fop), spaces (the boudoir, the salon, and the garden), and social practices (conversation). Authors

include Molière, Madame de Lafayette, Crébillon fils, and Laclos. Conducted entirely in French. For students of

superior linguistic ability.

FREN 416

Social Mobility and Migration (Morgane Cadieu)

Mobility in the French social landscape and representations of class in contemporary French fiction. The

question of social change through gender, sexuality, and race; the representation of work and the workplace;

the interaction between social class and literary style. Works by Ernaux, Genet, Eribon, Louis, and Marivaux.

FREN 418

The Old French Fable and Fabliaux (Howard Bloch)  
This seminar is designed to acquaint the student with the Fables of Marie de France and a substantial portion of

the 170 fabliaux.  We will also consider the relevant secondary literature, the historical, cultural, social, religious, and

critical background of the animal and the verse comic tales, which lie at the root core of didactic and of humorous

and realistic literature in English, Italian, German, and Spanish.  Both the Fables and the fabliaux are to be read in English,

in the translations of Harriet Spiegel and Nathaniel Dubin.  Both books, which are available at the World Language

Center, contain the Old French originals and the translated texts. Conducted in English, readings in Old French or

English translation.

FREN 425

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. Works by Rimbaud, Amrouche, Sénac, Khaïr-Eddine, Laâbi, Djaout,

Jabès, Farès, Ben Jelloun, Acherchour, Negrouche, Dib, and Bekri. Conducted in French or English, readings in French.