Fall 2013

Undergraduate Courses

FREN 3031 - Intensive Grammar and Composition

Prerequisite: Completion of FREN 2020 or 2320 or exemption from FREN 2020 by the Placement Test; or a score of 3 on the AP French language exam; or a score of at least 660 on the SAT. Required as preparation for all subsequent courses except FREN 2933 and FREN 3030.

This course offers an introduction to narrative writing in French. Emphasis is placed on writing, revision, and an intensive review of grammar rules as they apply to oral and written communication. A variety of assessment formats include compositions, presentations, short quizzes, dictations, and a mid-term and/or final exam. Preparation and active participation are essential to improve reading, writing, and speaking skills. The course is conducted in French.

FREN 3032 - The Writing and Reading of Texts

Prerequisite: French 3031. French 3032 itself is a prerequisite for all undergraduate courses on a higher level except French 2933 and French 3030.

This course will prepare students for upper-level French courses by introducing them to the skills necessary to analyze literature and to express ideas in written and oral form. Specifically, students will read literary texts from a variety of periods; they will learn to identify the elements that authors use to construct these texts; and they will learn the technical terms used to analyze poetry, prose, and theater. Grading will largely depend on the student's development of an analytical perspective on literature and on the student's ability to compose well-structured papers in correct French. The minimum writing requirement is 10-15 pages for the semester, with at least one paper assignment of 5 pages. In addition, students will be expected to participate actively in order to advance their speaking skills in French. All discussions, readings, and assignments will be in French.

FREN 3032 - The Writing and Reading of Texts (Section 6)

Prerequisite: French 3031 or a score of 4 or 5 on the AP French Exam. French 3032 itself is a prerequisite for all undergraduate courses on a higher level except French 2933 and French 3030.

This course will prepare students for upper-level French courses in literature, film, and cultural studies by introducing them to the skills necessary to analyze literature and to express ideas in written and oral form. Specifically, students will read literary texts from a variety of periods; they will learn to identify the elements that authors use to construct these texts; and they will learn the technical terms used to analyze poetry, prose, and theater. Grading will largely depend on the student's development of an analytical perspective on literature and on the student's ability to compose well-structured papers in correct French. The minimum writing requirement is 10-15 pages for the semester, with at least one paper assignment of 5 pages. In addition, students will be expected to participate actively in order to advance their speaking skills in French. All discussions, readings, and assignments will be in French. Because the course meets only one-day each week attendance and participation--both in class and in on-line discussion--are especially important.

In this section of the course we will analyze some visual texts and non-literary texts. The required books include:
Schofer, Peter, Donald Rice and William Berg. Poèmes, pieces, prose. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1973.
Beauvoir, Simone de. Les Belles images. 1966 (any French edition; easy to find in Folio paperback)
Additional required readings will be available in PDF and on line.

FREN 3034 - Advanced Oral and Written Expression in French

Prerequisite: Students must have completed French 3031 and French 3032 or their equivalent. Counts for major/minor credit.

An intensive course designed to improve more advanced students' oral and written language skills. Assignments include discussion on topics of current interest, presentations, translations, and compositions. All materials are French- or Francophone-related. The course focuses on language development in a Francophone cultural context, so students can get familiar with French and Francophone cultures and comfortable in expressing their viewpoints in French. Of course, consistent attendance and active participation are essential.

FREN 3041 - Literature of the Middle Ages & the 16th Century: Representative Literary Texts: Sinners, Saints and Storytellers

"Medieval," in current usage, frequently means reactionary, superstitious or ignorant. "Renaissance" suggests breadth of knowledge and sudden resurrection after a period of intellectual darkness. However, the periods we now call the Middle Ages (1000-1499) and the Renaissance (1500-1599) witnessed the almost continuous revival and re-evaluation of both classical texts and folk traditions. The scholars and artists of this period are responsible for reworking the ideas, stories and literary genres of earlier ages into the forms that determine our "modern" assumptions about subjects such as romantic love, common courtesy, gender, literary conventions, virtue and heroism, sport and entertainment, and truth. Readings for this course include La Chanson de Roland, La Vie de saint Alexis; texts by Chrétien de Troyes, Marie de France, Christine de Pisan, Michel de Montaigne; and a selection of lyric poetry from each century. There will be several short assignments, a five-page essay, a midterm and a final exam.

FREN 3043 - Literature of the 19th, 20th, and 21st Centuries: Great Books

Rather than focus on any single theme, movement, motif, or overarching problematic, this seminar will examine a few of the most admired and influential novels in the history of modern and contemporary French literature: from Honoré de Balzac’s tale of a young law student’s drive to make it in the big city (Le Père Goriot, 1835) and Gustave Flaubert’s portrait of the original desperate housewife (Madame Bovary, 1856), to Alain Robbe-Grillet’s scandalously puzzling La Jalousie (1957), Georges Perec's critique of consumer society in the 1960s (Les Choses, 1965), and Jean-Philippe Toussaint's tale about TV (La Télévision, 1997). 

Required work to include: active participation in class discussion, regular response papers (1-2 pages), an oral presentation, 2 longer papers (4-5 pages), and a final exam. Course conducted in French.

FREN 3046 - African Literatures & Cultures

This course will explore aspects of African literatures and cultures. It will focus on selected issues of special resonance in contemporary African life. Oral literature and its continuing impact on all other art forms. Key issues in French colonial policy and its legacy in Africa: language, politics, education. The course will examine the image of the postcolonial state and society as found in contemporary arts, paintings, sculpture, music, and cinema. Selections from painters like Cheri Samba (Democratic Republic of Congo), Werewere Liking (Cameroun) and sculptors like Ousmane Sow, including such popular icons as Mamy Wata and forms such as Souwere glass painting; from musicians like Youssou Ndour (Senegal), Cheb Khaled (Algeria), Seigneur Rochereau, Tshala Muana (DRC), Salif Keita (Mali), and Cesaria Evora (Cape Verde); from Mande, Peul, and Kabyle oral literatures in French translation; from filmmakers D.D. Mambety, Moussa Sene Absa, and Ngangura Mweze. Visit to National Museum of African Arts depending on availability of funding. The final grade will be based on contributions to discussions, a mid-term exam, 2 papers, and a final exam.

Selections from the following texts will feature among the required reading list:
Wéréwéré Liking - Statues colons
A. Sow - La Femme, la Vache, la Foi
D.T. Niane - Soundjata ou l'épopée mandingue
Amadou Hampaté Ba - Koumen

FREN 3051 - History and Civilization of France: Revolution to 1945

Beginning with a study of the French Revolution, this course focuses on the cultural and historical influences that have shaped Modern France. We will explore the relationship between culture and political power, the changing role of government, and how ordinary men and women experienced social change. Readings will be drawn from primary documents, memoirs and secondary historical texts. Visual elements will be incorporated in this course as well as selected films.

Readings in this course will be done in both French and English. All lectures, discussions and writing will be done exclusively in French.

FREN 3585 - Topics in Cultural Studies: Literature and Culture of North Africa

La situation géographique des pays d’Afrique du Nord fait de cet ensemble un carrefour de multiples influences depuis l’antiquité. Bordé au sud par le Sahara, à l’ouest par l’océan atlantique, au nord par la mer méditerranée, il est rattaché à l’Asie à son extrémité nord-est par l’isthme de Suez.

Les cultures et populations nord-africaines reflètent cette diversité d’influences qui n’ont jamais cessé de les irriguer depuis les premières invasions à la colonisation et jusqu’aux effets récents de la mondialisation.

Nous aborderons les cultures de l’Afrique du Nord à travers des œuvres littéraires francophones qui nous mèneront de l’Egypte au Maroc, de l’histoire coloniale aux données actuelles, des religions à l’art. Books TBA.

FREN 3585 - Topics in Cultural Studies: Early Novel

This course will serve as an introduction to the French novel from its beginning to the Revolution. Readings will include chivalric romances, excerpts from the comic narratives of Rabelais and Diderot, and a variety of tales of love and adventure. We will examine the novel as an international phenomenon; specifically, we will see how foreign works such as Cervantes's novellas, the Arabian Nights, and Laurence Sterne's Tristram Shandy influenced the development of the French novel.

FREN 3585 - Topics in Cultural Studies: Non-Fiction - French Social Thought and the "Human Condition"

One of the great treasures of literature in French is the repertory of non-fiction prose: essays, letters, discourses, treatises, travel narratives and numerous other forms. This course proposes a sampling of such writings from the 16th century to today. To provide a thematic thread through the centuries, we will read mainly texts concerning society and the "human condition" in authors such as Montaigne, Descartes, Pascal, Sévigné, Rousseau, Diderot, de Staël, Tocqueville, Baudelaire, Fanon, Barthes, and Quignard. Regular participation in class discussion, quizzes, four papers, one oral presentation, final exam. 

3:30 - 4:45

FREN 3652: Modern Paris

This course will explore the history of Paris from the French Revolution to the present. The principal theater of the Revolution, Paris became over the course of the nineteenth century not only the central focus of French intellectual, political, and artistic life, but also the model of a nineteenth-century European city. Through a broad variety of written and visual texts, we will study the topography, architecture, politics and daily life of nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty-first century Paris as well as the development of the imagined city in art and literature. We will also consider how the traces of the past are inscribed on the modern urban landscape.

FREN 4031 - Grammaire et Style

Prerequisite: B+ average in FREN 331 and 332.

Grammar review through the traditional method of grammatical analysis; includes free composition.

FREN 4510 - Advanced Topics in Medieval Literature: Identity and Sexuality: the Medieval Perspective

From damsels in distress to knights in shining armor, this course will confront and challenge lingering stereotypes about men and women in medieval culture. Women writers and castrated men, female warriors and lovesick boys, cross-dressers and werewolves will serve as our guides in exploring gender, sexuality, and social identity in pre-modern Europe. We will move back and forth between medieval and modern culture: How do medieval views continue to influence modern society? How can the medieval perspective help clarify modern approaches to sexuality and identity?

Readings will include literary, spiritual, autobiographical, philosophical, scientific, and historical writings in modern French. Class conducted in French.

FREN 4520 - Advanced Topics in Renaissance Literature: Women Writers of the Renaissance

Prerequisite: Completion of a 3000-level literature course with a grade of B or better.

Against societal norms that relegated them to silence, women of the sixteenth century wrote and published more than ever before. How did women become authors in a world where authority was male? We will consider widely accepted notions of women in statements made by prominent men (Aristotle, Erasmus, Rabelais, Calvin, Montaigne, for example); and we will read a variety of literary works to see how women saw themselves and their society. Readings will include selections from literary works by Christine de Pizan, Hélisenne de Crenne, Marie Dentière, Marguerite de Navarre, Pernette du Guillet, Louise Labé, Madeleine and Catherine des Roches and Marie de Gournay. Class conducted in French. Active participation in class discussion, a mid-term exam, and three papers (15-20 pages total) will be required.

FREN 4559: New Course in French Literature and French Linguistics: Reel Life Stories

Documentary film is the opposite of fiction film. Or is it? Are the stories told in documentary film more “real” or “true” than fictional stories? Do documentary films establish a different relationship with their audiences than fiction films? Do documentarians have a moral imperative to tell the “truth,” from which fiction filmmakers are exempt?

Through what John Grierson called their “creative treatment of actuality,” documentaries seek to inform audiences’ relationship with the past, present, and future. From the very beginnings of cinema, many documentary filmmakers have understood their role as both poetic and political. This course will examine a variety of films from France and the French-speaking world that purport to tell stories that are “real.” We will also read widely in French history, film history, and film theory in order to ask questions about film, communication, truth, and reality in the broadest sense.

FREN 4582 - Advanced Topics in French Poetry: Baudelaire et la modernité

Nous lirons *Les fleurs du mal* et d'autres écrits en prose de Baudelaire. Nous explorerons ce qui est "moderne" dans la modernité de Baudelaire, et, d'une façon plus générale, nous nous intéresserons à la nature et au pouvoir du langage poétique ainsi qu'à la relation entre la poésie et la réalité/ la vie. Prérequisite: One 400-level French literature, culture, or film course.

FREN 4585 - Topics in Cultural Studies: La laicité : The Secular Tradition in France

Arguably, France is the most adamantly secular country in Europe today. Yet, the French tradition of secularism--known as la laicité--continues to spark heated discussion and debate. A recent law has banned the wearing of the burqa—and other articles of clothing that cover the face- from all public places in France. In 2004, the Islamic headscarf and other religious symbols were forbidden in public schools. How can we, as Americans, understand this debate? What can we learn about French culture and history if we analyse it closely? Beginning with a discussion of the main themes of this contemporary debate, we will take a longer view and study the historical, cultural, and philosophical context that shaped this distinctive form of secularism.

Topics of study will include: the history of church/state relations in France; the legacy of the French revolution; anticlericalism; immigration and the evolution of public versus private identities; the defense and (re)definition of the secular state in modern France.

FREN 4743 - Africa in Cinema

This course is a study of the representation of Africa in American, Western European and African films. It deals with the representations of African cultures by filmmakers from different cultural backgrounds and studies the ways in which their perspectives on Africa are often informed by their own social and ideological positions as well as the demands of exoticism. It also examines the constructions of the African as the "other" and the kinds of responses such constructions have elicited from Africa's filmmakers. These filmic inventions are analyzed through a selection of French, British, American, and African films by such directors as John Huston, S. Pollack, J-J Annaud, M. Radford, Ngangura Mweze, Jean-Pierre Bekolo, Souleymane Cisse, Gaston Kabore, Amadou Seck, Dani Kouyate, Brian Tilley, Jean-Marie Teno on a variety of subjects relative to the image of Africa in cinema. The final grade will be based on one mid-semester paper (select a film by an African filmmaker and provide a sequential reconstruction of the story based on the methods of P. S. Vieyra and of F.Boughédir), a final paper (7-10 pages), an oral presentation and contributions to discussions. Each oral presentation should contribute to the mid-semester paper and to the final research paper. The final paper should be analytical, well documented and written in clear, grammatical French using correct film terminology.

Graduate Courses

Advanced undergraduate students may enroll in graduate level courses with instructor permission.

FREN 5510/8510 – Topics in Medieval Literature: Medieval Saints' Lives

How does one both please and teach? For medieval writers of saints' Lives, delighting the audience served the vital purpose of saving souls. Reading Lives written between 880 and the late thirteenth century, we will investigate the ways in which medieval hagiographers engaged with a variety of literary, social, and philosophical problems that fascinated contemporary audiences. 


Please note that since Professor Roger is not on grounds for the entire semester, this class will meet from the beginning of the term until he leaves in early November.

Dans la France du XVIIIe siècle, le théâtre est au cœur de la vie sociale, artistique et intellectuelle. À Paris surtout, mais aussi en province, où les salles se multiplient. La société de Cour et la classe de loisir en attendent des plaisirs quotidiens. À Paris comme en province, les gens «bien nés» côtoient un public de bourgeois et d’artisans ; et ils ne dédaignent pas de se mêler au petit peuple pour jouir des spectacles de la Foire. L’engouement touche toutes les couches de la société, en dépit des fulminations des théologiens et des moralistes. L’Église refuse aux comédiens la sépulture religieuse, mais les Jésuites font une place d’honneur au théâtre dans leurs méthodes pédagogiques. Les Philosophes, enfin, à de notables exceptions près —Rousseau—, voient dans le théâtre un véritable forum civique.

Ce cours proposera donc une lecture en situation des meilleurs dramaturges français du XVIIIe siècle (Marivaux, Voltaire, Diderot, Beaumarchais) selon les trois axes résumés par sous sous-titre.

Du côté des pratiques, il s’agira de reconstituer le «monde» du théâtre à cette époque : agencement des salles, conditions matérielles des représentations, statut des troupes et des comédiens, techniques de jeu des acteurs, attitude du public.

Du côté des poétiques, on étudiera la remise en question des règles édictées au siècle précédent et la longue marche vers une nouvelle poétique théâtrale : celle du «drame».

Du côté des polémiques, enfin, on étudiera comment la querelle du théâtre en vient à diviser les philosophes eux-mêmes (c’est à propos du théâtre à Genève que Rousseau se dresse contre d’Alembert, Voltaire et Diderot), avant de cristalliser, pendant la Révolution, les antagonismes idéologiques.  

Travaux : un (bref) exposé oral en classe sur un sujet choisi par l’étudiant(e) et un «final paper» d’une quinzaine de pages (en français).




Les textes de théâtre posent souvent des problèmes d’accessibilité : beaucoup sont épuisés et non réédités. Les titres ci-dessous sont suivis de recommandations qui correspondent aux éditions de poche les meilleures et/ou les plus commodes. Les ouvrages de travail indispensables sont précédés du signe * (en tout : 5 livres de poche).

( Si vous disposez déjà de ces textes dans d’autres éditions, il est évidemment inutile de les racheter…)



- * La Fausse Suivante et La Mère confidente (Garnier-Flammarion n° 712)

- * L’Epreuve et La Dispute (Garnier-Flammarion n° 616).


- Œdipe

- Zaïre

- Mahomet

- Lettres philosophiques (lettres 18 et 19)

- «La mort de Mlle Lecouvreur» (poème)

(NB : on travaillera Voltaire sur des extraits photocopiés et sur les exemplaires mis en réserve à la bibliothèque)

D’ALEMBERT, Encyclopédie, article «Genève»

ROUSSEAU : * Lettre à d’Alembert sur les spectacles

(de préférence Garnier-Flammarion, n° 1165 ; cette édition —Buffat— est la seule à donner aussi l’article «Genève» de d’Alembert)


            - Le Fils naturel et Entretiens sur le Fils naturel

(Utile mais pas indispensable, le Garnier-Flammarion n° 164 réunit le Discours sur la poésie dramatique et les Entretiens, mais pas la pièce Le Fils naturel !  L’ensemble sera à la réserve.)

- * Paradoxe sur le comédien (Livre de Poche n° 16084, éd. Goulemot, 2001)

(N-B : les amateurs de Diderot peuvent préférer acquérir le tome 4 de ses Œuvres en collection «Bouquins» chez Laffont, qui contient tous les textes théâtraux).


  • * Le Barbier de Séville, Le Mariage de Figaro, La Mère coupable (Garnier-Flammarion, éd. Pomeau, n° 76)
  • Essai sur le genre dramatique sérieux (sera reproduit)


  • Du théâtre (extraits)
  • Nouvel Examen de la tragédie française (extraits)

FREN 5584/8584 Topics in Cinema

This course explores the development of French cinema (both documentary and fiction) from the 1990s to the present, with particular attention to genre, film esthetics, narrative form, and political engagement. We will read widely in film history, theory, and cultural history. Students will be expected to acquire a working knowledge of film vocabulary in French, to write a publishable seminar paper on cinema in French or English, and to complete a digital video project in French.

FREN 7040 – Theories & Methods of Language Teaching

An introduction to pedagogical approaches currently practiced in second-language courses at the university level. Students will examine critically the theories behind various methodologies, and the relation of these theories to their own teaching experience. Assignments include readings, exercises, and case studies on the teaching of French; development and critique of pedagogical materials; peer observation and analysis; and drafts of materials for an eventual teaching portfolio.

Required for all GTAs teaching French at UVa for the first time. Restricted to Graduate Teaching Assistants in French. Please register for CR/NC grade option, three credits. If you have already taken a similar course contact Karen James about registering for partial credit. Exchange Assistants will register as auditors.