Undergraduate Courses
Graduate Courses

Undergraduate Courses

FREN 3030 - Phonetics: The Sounds of French

French 3030 is an introductory course in French phonetics, intended to present basic concepts in phonetic theory and teach students techniques for improving their own pronunciation. It includes an examination of the physical characteristics of individual French sounds, the relationship between these sounds and their written representations, the rules governing the pronunciation of "standard French", the most salient phonological features of selected regional varieties (e.g. le français méridional), and much more. Taught in French. Counts for major credit in French and in Linguistics.

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. This course 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 a 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 a total of 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 discussion, 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 3042 - Royalty and Revolution

This course will present an overview of literature from the Ancien Régime period, most commonly associated with the reigns of Louis XIV and Marie Antoinette. Sometimes rebelling against church and state, sometimes flattering these institutions, the writers of this period sought above all to show the workings of human nature. In elegant and witty language, they explored the many possible outcomes that arose from conflicts between love, hypocrisy, family, vanity, and religion, among other factors. Readings for this course will include plays by Corneille and Molière, poems by La Fontaine and Voltaire, and other writings by the marquise de La Fayette, Pascal, and Diderot.Prerequisite: FREN 3032.

FREN 3043 - Introduction to 19th-20th Century French Literature: Passion Disorders (Berard)

A survey of major literary works from the 19th and 20th centuries, this course will explore multiple representations of passion disorders, and more specifically of jealousy, in modern works of prose, poetry, theater, and film. What are the causes and effects of jealousy on a love relationship? From the suffering of a desperate lover to a the ridiculous behavior of a hysterical jealous husband, from desire to hatred, this course will examine the various psychological and physiological manifestations of jealousy on men and women, while focusing on the stylistic features of passion disorders.

May include literary works by Maupassant, Mérimée, Hugo, Baudelaire, Proust, Robbe-Grillet, Annie Ernaux.

FREN 3051 - Histoire et Civilisation de la France Contemporaine

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 3509 - Topics in French Linguistics

This course will explore a wide range of sociolinguistic issues relating to the French language and its role in societies around the world. Topics to be studied include: the diversity of the French-speaking world; the function of French in particular countries and regions (including Belgium, Canada, and Switzerland); the status of French in relation to other languages; individual language features; the "social meaning" of different styles and levels of language; French used by immigrants; and controversies affecting the French language, particularly in France itself. Requirements: group project; mid-term exam; term paper; attendance and daily oral participation. A sound knowledge of practical French is expected but no prior knowledge of socio-linguistics is assumed. The course will be taught exclusively in French. Some readings, however, will be done in English. FREN 3509 counts for major credit in French and in Linguistics Program.

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 print and digital formats. FREN 3585 - French 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. Four papers, one oral presentation, regular participation in class discussion. Prerequisite: FREN 3032.

FREN 3753 - L'Immigration en France

L'immigration est un sujet de premier plan dans l'actualité quotidienne en Europe et en France en particulier ; c'est aussi un sujet de polémique au cœur du débat politique et social. Le fait que la majorité de l'immigration récente vienne d'Afrique (du Nord et Subsaharienne) et se revendique de l'Islam entraîne des interrogations sur l'identité nationale et sur les principes fondateurs de la République comme celui de la Laïcité. En abordant le thème de l'immigration, on traite divers domaines qui facilitent la compréhension de la France d'aujourd'hui l'histoire à laquelle l'immigration est liée, ses conséquences sociales, culturelles, économiques, politiques et parfois humanitaires. Des œuvres littéraires, des articles de presse et des films illustreront le cours.
Livres : Pascal Blanchard, La fracture coloniale ; Claire Etcherelli, Elise ou la vraie vie ; Jean-Marie Le Clesio, Poisson d'Or; Jean-Marie LeClesio Dese. FREN 4031 - Grammaire et Style (Zunz)

Prerequisite: B+ average in FREN 331 and 332. Grammar review through the traditional method of grammatical analysis; includes free composition.

FREN 4540 - Advanced Topics in Eighteenth-Century Literature: The Fictional Orient

Eighteenth-century France created an imaginary Orient filled with harems, genies, princes, and crafty merchants -- a place of fantastic luxury and excessive cruelty. In this faraway dreamland, which included countries as disparate as Persia, Turkey, India, and China, the expectations of realistic writing were temporarily suspended. The perspective of fictional foreigners also allowed French writers to discuss controversial political and moral issues without openly criticizing their own country.

In this course we will examine the ways in which "the Orient" is depicted in French literature of the eighteenth century. The readings will include fiction by Voltaire (La Princesse de Babylone, Mahomet), Crébillon fils (Le Sopha), Montesquieu (Lettres persanes), as well as excerpts from travel narratives and works from the visual arts.

The grade for the course will be based on one short paper (5 pages), one longer research paper (10-12 pages), an oral presentation, and a final exam.

FREN 4583 - The Frogs and the Eagle: (Mis)representations of America in French Literature

While France and America historically stood as allies from the very birth of the United States, anti-Americanism also has a long tradition in France, shaped and nurtured by generations of intellectuals and writers. As early as the 18th century, prominent French philosophers and scientists such as Buffon dwelled upon America's «weaknesses» as a continent, prompting Thomas Jefferson's counter-attack in his Notes on the State of Virginia. In the course of the 19th century, anti-Americanism moved to new topics, ranging from the lack of cultural life to economic greed and military imperialism. From Baudelaire, who coined the French word "américanisation" in the 1850s to Jean Baudrillard, who in 1986 described America as a non-entity, French poets, novelists and writers played a decisive part in the elaboration and diffusion of anti-American stereotypes.

The seminar will explore this tradition, which accounts for a great number of French attitudes towards the US today.

The first four weeks will be devoted to a presentation of the most salient features of French anti-Americanism, in connection with specific historical periods (from the 18th to the 21st century): «L'Amérique invivable», «L'Amérique inculte», «L'Amérique impériale» et «L'Amérique introuvable».

The second half of the seminar will be organized thematically, each week being devoted to a selected, significant topic : «La ville», «La violence», «La voracité», «Le vice et la vertu».

Readings will include an array of sources, ranging from natural history and philosophy to poetry and from short story to political pamphlet. We will discuss pages or chapters in Buffon, De Pauw, Jefferson, Baudelaire, André Siegfried, Luc Durtain, Georges Duhamel, Céline, Sartre, Marcel Aymé, Jean Baudrillard, Bernard-Henri Lévy. We will also have a look at representations of the US in French popular culture : serialized fiction (La Conspiration des milliardaires), comic books (Tintin en Amérique), cartoons (Plantu).

Students will be expected to participate in discussions on the readings; possibly give an oral presentation (in French or in English) in the second half of the seminar; define a research topic and write a paper (10-15 pages) due at the end of the semester. THIS COURSE IS CONDUCTED IN FRENCH.

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. FREN 4813 - Introduction to the Francophone Caribbean (Martinique, Guadeloupe, and Haiti)

This course focuses on the literature, culture and arts of the Francophone Caribbean (Martinique, Guadeloupe, Haiti). Issues of colonialism and postcolonialism, slavery and freedom, exile and immigration, race and gender will be examined through poetry, novels, storytelling, theater, music and film analysis. May include works by Césaire, Condé, Chamoiseau, Trouillot, and films by Palcy, Deslauriers, Peck. FREN 4857– Comedy in France (Lyons)

French comedy from the Middle Ages to the twentieth century, including the continuation of the comic tradition in cinema. Topics will include the relationship between comedy and humor, "low" and "high" comic styles, character types and their evolution, the link between comedy and specific historical and social situations, verbal and non-verbal comic gestures, and the relationship between comedy and other dramatic forms such as "tragi-comedy" and "theatre of the absurd." Texts studied will be chosen from among works by authors such as Molière, Corneille, Regnard, Feydeau, Jarry, Tati, Ionesco, and Beckett. Three papers and an oral presentation and several other smaller assignments. Prerequisites: FREN 3032 and at least one additional FREN course 3041 or above.

Graduate Courses

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

FREN 5011 - Old French

Introduction to reading Old French, with consideration of its main dialects (Ile-de-France, Picard, Anglo-Norman) and paleographical issues. May be taken in conjunction with FREN 512/810 or independently. Weekly reading exercises, a transcription and translation exercise, and a final open-book exam. Prerequisite: good reading knowledge of modern French, Latin or another romance language. Taught in English.

FREN 5410/8540 - Literature of the Eighteenth Century II - Formes brèves et invention littéraire au 18e siècle

Pour être lu, «il faut être très court et un peu salé», écrit Voltaire en 1763. Ailleurs, il insiste sur l’importance des «brochures à quatre sous» : ce sont elles qui «changeront les choses», et non les gros livres que personne ne lit.

Ce que Voltaire recommande, le 18e siècle français l’a beaucoup pratiqué. Dans tous les genres, la «forme brève» triomphe. Elle correspond à de nouvelles demandes de la part des lecteurs et lectrices. Elle vise aussi de nouveaux publics. Surtout, elle traduit un renouvellement des écritures : écrivains et philosophes des Lumières misent sur la rapidité, la surprise, la désinvolture élégante ou le trait acéré. La vitesse devient une composante centrale de l’art littéraire. Elle l’est restée depuis : c’est la «Quickness» décrite par Italo Calvino dans ses Leçons américaines.

Nous lirons une douzaine de textes (courts) dans une double perspective : mieux comprendre «l’esprit» du siècle des Lumières et réfléchir, de manière théorique, sur le statut des formes brèves, alors et aujourd’hui.

Programme des lectures :

les contes (contes de fées, contes philosophiques, contes moraux, contes galants) : Riquet à la houppe de Mlle Bernard ; Riquet à la houppe de Charles Perrault ; Micromégas de Voltaire ; Ceci n’est pas un conte de Diderot ; Point de lendemain de Vivant-Denon.

les lettres : Lettres anglaises ou Lettres philosophiques de Voltaire

les discours : Rousseau, Discours sur les sciences et les arts

les dialogues : Diderot, La Suite d’un entretien entre M. d’Alembert et M. Diderot, Le Rêve de d’Alembert, Suite de l’entretien précédent

les dictionnaires : Voltaire, Dictionnaire philosophique, article «Abbé» ;

les vers : «Le Mondain» de Voltaire ; épigrammes ;

journalisme et écriture fragmentaire : Marivaux, articles parus dans le Mercure ; Louis-Sébastien Mercier, extraits du Tableau de Paris.

FREN 5510/8510 - ARH/ARAH 9510 - Medieval Encounters

This interdisciplinary seminar will use both primary sources and visual culture to explore the concept of encounters in medieval society . Encounters between different groups within medieval society will be discussed such as pilgrimage, the Norman Conquest of England or the Crusades. Confrontation, confluence and dialogue are all ways of considering the various interactions across medieval society between groups perceived as disparate. These issues will be considered from the perspective of textual and visual evidence. The encounters between text and image represented by objects such as the Bayeux Tapestry will also be discussedClass meetings will center on the discussion of related texts and student presentations. A brief introduction to related medieval art, architecture and literature will be provided at the beginning of the semester.

Requirements: weekly readings and preparations for class discussions, and one major research project, which will be presented to the class and submitted as a paper. Each student will be asked to give one major presentation (30 minutes) on a topic developed in conjunction with the instructors and submit a final paper on the same topic. Several short assignments will also be given throughout the semester. Attendance is mandatory. Grades will be based on the quality of participation in class discussions, the class presentation, and the final paper. Each student must submit questions related to each week’s reading to the course Collab site. The instructors reserve the right to revise reading assignments based on issues raised in seminar discussions.

FREN 5520/8520 - Montaigne

Montaigne's Essais records the birth of an author at a time when history was recording the failure of humanism. Writers struggled to defend and illustrate the French language and French nation -- as civil war and aristocratic decadence devastated France. Against that background we will observe the Essais pondering the search for knowledge while constructing a literary self and a new genre of prose writing. Montaigne’s gestures toward his predecessors, both Ancient and recent, will help us to appreciate the Renaissance practice of imitatio. Each student will analyze and present orally one passage from the Essais as well as defining and completing a written term project. Reaction papers and a mid-term writing assignment for M.A. students will help us to profit from what Montaigne learned: writing generates thought.

FREN 5570/8570 -The Occupation and Its Ambiguous Legacies

The Nazi occupation of France from 1940-44 was one of the most consequential periods in the nation’s history, one that left an indelible mark on the French national psyche that continues to rouse the country’s collective memory to this day. After an initial examination of the political and social conditions in France under the Nazi regime, this seminar proposes to explore the enduring legacy of those “Dark Years” by investigating how the complex (and traumatic) history of the Occupation has impacted French culture during the last half of the twentieth century. Discussions will focus on a variety of documentary and narrative sources—novels and films, primarily—that attest to what historians refer to as contemporary France’s collective “obsession” with the past.

Readings and films may include (but are not limited to) work by Némirovsky, Vercors, Perec, Duras, Modiano, Salvayre, Claudel, Sartre, Clouzot, Melville, Resnais, Ophüls, Berri, Malle, Chabrol, and Audiard. 

FREN 5581/8581 - Topics in African Literature

This course is a survey of 20th century Francophone literature of Africa. Colonial literature and Assimilation; Negritude, Nationalism and Identity; Postcolonial literature; Feminism; Literature and Censorship; Language and Literature; Theatre and ritual performance; and Oral literature as a major intertext will all be examined through novels, poems, and plays by contemporary African writers in French. Authors will include Senghor, B. Diop, C. Beyala, M. Beti, A. Laabi, Djebar, Mimouni, Utamsi, Rabemanjara, R. Boudjedra, and Ken Bugul.

FREN 7040 - Theories and 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 Assistant(e)s will register as auditor.

FREN 7500 - Topics in Theory and Criticism

An examination of various literary theories and practices from antiquity to the 20th-century.