Undergraduate and Graduate Courses
FREN 2933 - Oral & Written Expression in French
Prerequisite: Completion of FREN 2320 or equivalent. Permission of instructor for those having completed only FREN 2020. Students having completed French 3032 may not take this course.
An intensive course designed to give students a better command of present-day spoken and written French. Class discussion of news articles on current events (French and international), including but not limited to politics, economics, education, language, and entertainment, and including some articles which class members choose.Mastery of advanced vocabulary, weekly graded written or oral assignments including one guided short exposé, several one-two page papers, oral and written quizzes, and a final exam. Consistent attendance and ACTIVE participation constitute 30% of the semester grade.
This course is designed for students who have not had an extended stay in a French-speaking country. Students who have participated in semester study-abroad programs must confirm placement and transfer credit with the instructor to avoid duplication. Students who have studied in a French speaking country for a year should enroll in FREN 3034 or above.
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 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
The French Middle Ages and Renaissance, a period covering over 500 years, may seem like a faraway world of knights and crusaders, castles and intrigues; yet books from those centuries between 1050 and 1600 shaped ideals, tastes and cultural icons that still prevail today. From best-sellers to box-office hits, modern culture betrays its fascination with that distant past. In this course you will go beyond anachronism and learn about the real thing. We will read in modern French La Chanson de Roland, the founding epic of la douce France; Yvain ou le chevalier au lion, an Arthurian romance; some lais of Marie de France, the first woman storyteller in France; excerpts from Christine de Pizan’s utopian vision, La Cite des Dames; Marguerite de Navarre’s novella collection, the Heptaméron; and Rabelais’s Pantagruel, a fantastic tale of giants in Utopia. We will close with selections from Montaigne’s Essais, where the author reflects on the New World of America and the equally novel territory of the self. The class will be conducted in French. There will be three short papers, totaling 12-15 pages, a mid-term and a final.
FREN 3042 - Literature of the 17th & 18th Centuries: Performing the Self
Prerequisite: FREN 3032.
The 17th and 18th centuries stressed the importance of conscious self-fashioning and self-presentation in society. Many approaches to this activity appear in important literary works from the period. One might conform to existing social types or attempt to run against prevailing norms. The results of either approach might be comic or tragic, for the social world was represented as pitiless. In this course we will read works by Molière, Corneille, Lafayette, Rousseau, Laclos, and Montesquieu.
FREN 3043 - Literature of the 19th, 20th, & 21st Centuries: Great Books
Ce cours est une introduction à la littérature française moderne. Nous nous intéresserons en particulier à cinq grands romans.Bien que ce cours ait pour objectif principal de vous faire découvrir les auteurs, les mouvements, et les styles narratifs ayant marqué le paysage littéraire français, nous chercherons également à aller au delà d’une simple lecture descriptive. Ce cours implique une participation orale active ainsi qu’un travail d’écriture régulier sur les oeuvres au programme.
FREN 3046 - African Literatures & Cultures
Prerequisite: French 3032.
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 3584 - Topics in French Cinema
This course provides an introductory overview of French Cinema from the silent era to the present. Emphasis will be placed on important directors and styles as well as on acquiring the vocabulary and analytical tools needed to produce excellent written work about film in both print and digital form.
FREN 3585 - Topics in Cultural Studies: Aesthetic Revolutions and Cultural Currents
Prerequisite FREN 3032.
A course on the emergence of aesthetic and intellectual movements such as Romanticism, Naturalism, Realism, Impressionism, Symbolism, Decadence, Dadaism, Surrealism, Existentialism, and the New Wave. These movements represent engagement with or resistance to the society, culture and events of their time. We will study examples of several “isms” (in text, painting, film) while exploring how they got their name, and what they reveal about French culture. Course conducted in French.
FREN 3655 -Victor Hugo: Poète, Dramaturge, Romancier, Critique Social, Artiste
Prerequisite: FREN 3032.
A literary and political giant of nineteenth-century France, Victor Hugo was by age 25 a much-admired poet whose play Hernani ushered in the Romantic revolution in theater. A tireless social critic, Hugo argued for many causes, including educational reform and abolition of the death penalty. When not writing novels, such as Notre-Dame de Paris and Les Misérables, he was carving out an important political career and creating drawings and paintings that influenced some Surrealist artists.
In plunging into Hugo’s works, we will ask some big questions: What difference can a poète engagé make in society? How do literature and art inspire us? What is the impact of their beauty, of the emotions and new ideas they bring us, and of the author’s vision? In reading an abridged Les Misérables, Hugo’s poetry, speeches, and public letters to the world—and in considering his art work and political exile—we will talk about the universality of his themes (for instance, passionate love, familial love, justice and injustice, liberty, and God).
Our goals: appreciate Victor Hugo’s genius and literary style; discover perspectives and themes that speak to us individually; write about ideas analytically and compellingly; reflect on our personal roles in society. Course work includes discussion, essays, group work, an oral presentation, and a research project completed over the course of the semester. Taught in French. To sign up on the permissions list, please read the information and complete the form you will find on this web page: http://faculty.virginia.edu/marva/permission.htm.
FREN 4020 - History of the French Language
Prerequisites: the ability to read, write and speak well in French. Previous course work in phonetics, historical linguistics, and other Romance languages would be helpful. The course will be conducted in French and counts for major credit in the French and Linguistics Programs.
This course will look at some of the ways in which the French language has changed through time, with respect to vocabulary, grammar, pronunciation, orthography, meaning, discourse, and the like. Social, cultural, political, environmental, as well as purely linguistic factors that have played some part in language change will be considered. Our approach will be non-traditional and somewhat novel. We begin with an inventory of penetrating questions, for example: why does one say ‘cheval’ in the singular but ‘chevaux’ in the plural (and cf. ‘animal ~ animaux'; but ‘vache ~ vaches’); or why did ”nos ancêtres les Gaulois” ‘bequeath’ so few of their words to the French lexicon; or why does the utterance “t’as pas dix balles?” immediately strike you as being ‘non-standard’-- and when was the language conventionalized anyway? Answers to such questions will provide the impetus for a more in-depth study and discussion of some of the major (underlying) diachronic changes and currents in the language.
FREN 4035 - Tools and Techniques of Translation
Prerequesites: B+ average in FREN 3031, 3032, and 4031 or instruction permission.
Survey of the main tools and techniques of translation. Written and oral translation exercises to and from the target language. Selection of texts will vary.Taught in French.
FREN 4510 - Advanced Topics in Medieval Literature: Medieval Beasts
How are human beings related to the animal kingdom?What distinguishes them from (other) animals?What and how do humans and (other) animals learn from each other?Since long before the animal rights movement, Bugs Bunny or pet psychiatrists, writers--literary, philosophical and scientific--have recorded the human struggle with these questions.In this course, we will examine French depictions of animals in bestiaries (theological/scientific encyclopedias of the animal world), fables, allegories and romances written between 1150 and 1350.We will explore medieval views on the respective places of human beings and animals in the natural world, the treatment of creatures that problematize classification (e.g., werewolves), and animal symbolism and associations that continue to the present (e.g., the lion as symbol of God, the crafty fox).Requirements for the course include active participation, a short textual commentary, a research paper of 10-12 pages, and a final exam.
FREN 4530 - Advanced Topics in 17th Century Literature: Tragedy
Prerequisite: FREN 3032 and at least one French literature course at the 3040 level.
This course will concentrate on the tragedies of Pierre Corneille (principally Médée, Le Cid, Horace) and Jean Racine (Phèdre, Andromaque, Iphigénie). Initially, however, we will sample some earlier works by Alexandre Hardy, Jean Rotrou, and Tristan L’Hermite. There will be an oral presentation, quizzes, a mid-term paper, and a final paper.
FREN 4581 - Advanced Topics in Francophone Literature: La réécriture de l’histoire en mots en images dans la littérature et le cinéma francophone caribéen et africain
Ce cours propose d’analyser comment les écrivains et cinéastes caribéens et africains francophone revisitent le passé de la colonisation et des luttes de libérationde pays et de peuples placés sous la tutelle ou sous le joug d’un pouvoir européen, en l’occurrence la France. Nous étudierons la reconstruction en mots et en images d’une histoire principalement écrite par des chroniqueurs et historiens occidentaux, une histoire falsifiée qui demande à être réécrite, réévaluée. Cette exploration littéraire et cinématographique marque la volonté de se réapproprier une histoire obscurcie et raturée afin de restaurer la mémoire effacée et de rétablir une vérité historique qui ne soit plus celle unilatérale, linéaire et hiérarchisée du regard eurocentriste et impérialiste. Nous analyserons les œuvres d’écrivains et de réalisateurs originaires de différentes aires francophones (la Martinique avec Aimé Césaire, Frantz Fanon, Daniel Boukman et Euzhan Palcy, Haïti avec Raoul Peck et Jan J. Dominique, le Sénégal avec L.S. Senghor et Ousmane Sembène, l’Algérie avec Assia Djébar), tout en abordant des genres littéraires variés (roman, poésie, théâtre, essais) et des productions filmiques de diverses natures (documentaires et fictions ancrées dans la réalité historique). Nous verrons comment les œuvres de ces écrivains et cinéastes contribuent au rétablissement de «la chronologie tourmentée d’un temps stabilisé dans le néant d’une histoire imposée» (E. Glissant, Le discours antillais, 1981).
FREN 4811 - Francophone Literature of Africa
Prerequisite: French 3032.
Introduction to the Francophone literature of Africa; survey, with special emphasis on post- World War II poets, novelists, and playwrights of Africa. The role of cultural and literary reviews (Légitime Défense, L'Etudiant noir, and Présence Africaine) in the historical and ideological development of this literature will be examined. Special reference will be made to Caribbean writers of the Negritude movement. Documentary videos on African history and cultures will be shown and important audio-tapes will also be played regularly. Supplementary texts will be assigned occasionally. Students will be expected to present response papers on a regular basis.
In addition to the required reading material, 2 essays (60%), regular class attendance, and contribution to discussions (10%), and a final exam (30%) constitute the course requirements. Papers are due on the dates indicated on the syllabus.
Diop, Birago. Les contes d’Amadou Koumba .
Chevrier, J.Anthologie Africaine: Poésie
Bâ, Mariama. Une si longue lettre.
Assia Djebar. Femmes d’Alger dans leur appartement (Toolkit).
Boudjedra, Rachid. L'escargot entêté.
FREN 4838 - French Society and Civilization
Prerequisite: successful completion of at least one 3000-level course in literature or cultural studies beyond 3032.
French 4838 is designed to provide students with a background in social, cultural, political, and institutional aspects of contemporary French society in the context of recent history. We will first examine the role of geography, history, education, and politics in shaping contemporary French attitudes, cultural practices, and institutions since the Second World War. We will then focus on important social questions facing contemporary France: changing family structures, the role of women, religion, immigration, and France¹s place in the European union. Course materials include readings from the French press and other published sources, films, music, internet exploration, and radio and television broadcasts. The course strongly emphasizes oral participation and discussion, and students are expected to follow current events throughout the semester.
Advanced undergraduate students may enroll in graduate level courses with instructor permission.
FREN 5530/8530 Topics in 17th –Century Literature – Littérature française du XVIIe siècle : Femmes et culture littéraire
Depuis une dizaine d’années les phénomènes littéraires et culturels entrelacés des « salons » (ou « ruelles »), de la galanterie, de la préciosité, et de l’honnêteté attirent de plus en plus l’attention critique et érudite. Il s’agit d’une importante reconfiguration de la production et des pratiques culturelles dans laquelle les femmes écrivains ont un rôle décisif. La « galanterie » émerge comme phénomène littéraire et social important et dynamique dès les années 1650, surtout dans le cercle de Madeleine de Scudéry et de Paul Pellisson, mais cette éclosion est annoncée par d’illustres précurseurs comme Guez de Balzac. C’est après la Fronde que ce phénomène—un style, un air ou un complexe de valeurs—s’impose comme marque quasi-officielle de la jeune monarchie de Louis XIV. Notre séminaire, qui sera guidé par les importants travaux historiques et critiques de Delphine Denis, d’Emmanuel Bury, de Myriam Maître, d’Alain Viala, et de Stephanie Bung, consistera en la lecture attentive d’un certain nombre des principaux textes « galants ». Parmi les auteurs lus pourront figurer Scudéry, Pellisson, Balzac, Lafayette, Voiture, Sarrasin, Sévigné, Villedieu, Méré, et Racine.
FREN 5570/8570 – Topics in 20th & 21st Century Literature : Thinking the Visual/Writing
the Image in Modern and Contemporary France
Conceived as an introduction to the field of word and image studies, this seminar invites graduate students to examine some of the most intriguing points of intersection to have emerged between literature and visual culture in France over the course of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. We will begin by exploring how the development of new visual technologies in the middle of the nineteenth century sparked new ways of seeing, and of writing about, the world. Students will investigate the impact of the proliferation of “the visual” in modernity, and its role in shaping a variety of literary modes (like Realism, Symbolism, and Surrealism). Throughout the semester we will call on major works of narrative, poetry, cinema, photography, painting, criticism, and theory (a term that implies how sight might lead to insight) to help us ponder the distinctive pull of intermedial or interart hybridization (to invoke just a few of the many terms currently à la mode). What happens when cinema “thinks” photography, when poetry “dreams” of film, or when literature “envisions” painting? How do French writers, filmmakers, thinkers, and visual artists engage with vision and the act of seeing? How have critics devised new ways of reading the aesthetic sparks that fly from the interdisciplinary convergence of the image-text?
Course taught in French and English. Featuring work by authors, artists, and thinkers including, but not limited to: Baudelaire, Poe, Zola, Buñuel, Mallarmé, Alféri, Godard, Resnais, Viel, Daeninckx, Varda, Eustache, Marker, Ozon, Perec, Modiano, Michon, Barthes, Crary, Foucault, Virilio, Sontag, Bazin, Benjamin, Krauss, and Bellour. Required reading in French, though much of the material is available in English translation.
FREN 5585/ 8585: France in the Long Nineteenth Century, 1789-1918
This course focuses on the cultural and historical influences that have shaped Modern France. We will explore the essential relationship between culture and political power in France, the changing role of government, and how ordinary men and women experienced social change.
Topics to be studied include: the French Revolution and its legacy; French literary and political culture; the writing of history in the 19th century; the role of caricature, public art and visual culture; the expansion of empire; religion and republicanism; Paris versus the provinces; regional migration and immigration; the rise of a commercial mass society; the Dreyfus Affair and the Belle Époque; changing gender relations; and the cataclysmic effects of the First World War.
Readings, in English and in French, will be drawn from primary historical and literary sources, memoirs, and secondary historical texts. Course discussion and writing will be done in French, unless otherwise arranged with the instructor.