Graduate Courses - Fall 2018

Graduate Courses

Advanced undergraduate students who have earned a B+ (or higher) in at least one 4000-level course 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 5100/8510 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.

M 1:00 pm – 1:50 pm (Ogden)

FREN 5100/8510 Medieval Literature in Modern French I

Based on topics and works of both current and enduring interest to scholars, this course will allow participants to gain general knowledge of literature composed in French from 880 until about 1250 as well as to explore the most recent developments in the field. Students are encouraged to contact the professor with suggestions for texts and/or subjects.  In the course of discussing secondary readings and of preparing the assignments, we will consider matters of professional development. Reading knowledge of modern French required.

MW 2:00 pm – 3:15 pm (Ogden)


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 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 espèrent faire du théâtre un véritable forum civique, sauf Rousseau, qui n’y voit qu’un lieu d’imposture et d’aliénation.

Ce cours proposera donc une lecture en situation de pièces célèbres ou moins célèbres de  Marivaux, Voltaire, Diderot, Beaumarchais, Olympe de Gouges, Sylvain Maréchal selon les trois axes indiqués dans le sous-titre : «pratiques, poétiques, polémiques».

Du côté des pratiques, il s’agira de reconstituer le «monde» du théâtre à cette époque : agencement des salles, conditions matérielles des représentations, économie du théâtre, 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.  

Notez le format particulier du cours, qui se termine début novembre.

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. 

W 3:30 pm – 6:15 pm (Roger)

FREN 5560/8560 Topics in Nineteenth Century Literature:  Reading With Emma Bovary

In the 1857 obscenity trial against Madame Bovary, prosecutor Ernest Pinard argued that the book would corrupt the hearts and minds of its readers, particularly young marriageable women  (jeunes filles) and wives. Dangerous fiction is a dominant theme in the work itself. When Emma Bovary shows symptoms of “vaporous airs,” her husband and mother-in-law decide she must stop reading novels. This course focuses on Emma Bovary’s reading habits, and on what they say about Flaubert’s aesthetic project; the social and medical discourses that Madame Bovary reflects and reinforces; and the education of women. What did Emma Bovary read, how did she read it, and how have critics in the 19th-21st centuries read her reading?

  • Open to graduate students with reading knowledge of French
  • Course conducted in French and English (depending on students’ background)
  • Written work in French (for French MA or PhD students), and English
  • Most readings in French

M 3:30 – 6:00 pm (Krueger)

FREN 5570/8570 Topics in 20th & 21st Century Literature:  French Literature Now!

Since the turn of the century, a number of critics have suggested that French literature is in crisis.  In his incendiary rant La littérature sans estomac (2002), for example, Pierre Jourde laments the lack of aesthetic standards in the production of contemporary French fiction, claiming instead that the market has been overrun by mediocrity.  Similarly, Jean-Philippe Domecq created a stir when he attacked a certain cadre of literary critics who, he claims, do nothing but elevate the vast array of livres de divertissement to the status of “high art.”  Acclaimed (and now highly provocative) author Richard Millet, in L’Enfer du roman: Réflexions sur la postlittérature (2010), issues a scathing critique of the contemporary novel, lashing out against its role in the degradation of the French language.  And in an article for the New York Times, Alan Riding ponders the curious state of “French” literature in 2006, a year in which not only were the winners of four of the country’s most esteemed literary prizes awarded to “foreign” authors (American Jonathan Littel, to cite one example, won both the Prix Goncourt and the Prix de l’Académie française for Les Bienveillantes), but one of the most popular novels of the year (in France as well as in the US) was actually written in the 1940s by a Russian-born émigré who would later disappear in the camps (Irène Nemirovsky, Suite française).  All of which seems to beg the question, as Riding asks: “Is French literature burning?”

Rather than propose a definitive answer to such an expressly problematic question, this survey of some of the most acclaimed and/or widely read prose works of the last 20 years (more or less) invites students to judge for themselves. The last few weeks of the course will focus in on a few of the most remarkable of “extremely contemporary“ books published within the last 3-5 years.  The course will also introduce students to a number of essential and readily available resources for scholars and enthusiasts of contemporary French literature, including the major journals, anthologies, radio programs, websites, blogs, and works of criticism that consider that contemporary cultural scene more broadly.

Course taught in French and English.  All required reading in French. Students can expect a healthy but not unreasonable dose of weekly reading. Required work also includes an oral presentation, a few book reviews, and a final paper.

R 3:30 pm – 6:00 pm (Blatt)

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 those theories to their own teaching experience and goals. Assignments include readings and case studies on the teaching of French, development and critique of pedagogical materials, peer observation and analysis, and a portfolio project for collecting, sharing, and reflecting on teaching methods.

Required for all GTAs teaching French at UVa for the first time. Restricted to Graduate Teaching Assistants in French. 3 credits. Students will register for the graded (letter grade) option in the SIS. Graduate exchange instructors will take the course as auditors.

T 3:30 pm 6:00 pm (James)

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