Fall 2014

French 550: Origins of Modern Prose Fiction

Prof. Dejean

We will consider the development of several kinds of prose fiction in the 17th and 18th centuries: the epistolary novel, the historical novel, the psychological novel, and the memoir novel in particular.

We will read both very early examples of each form – in the case of the epistolary novel, the so-called first epistolary novel, the Lettres portugaises.  We’ll then consider how the sub-genre developed in the 18th century – for the epistolary novel there are so many options that it will be hard to choose, but we will probably read two that fall into an obvious line after the Lettres portugaises: the Lettres persanes and the Lettres d’une Péruvienne. 

Course will be taught in Engilsh; readings will be in French.


French 595: Travel Literature

Prof. Met

Within the context of the ill-defined, heterogeneous genre of the travelogue and of today’s age of globalization, CNN and the internet, this seminar will examine the poetics of travel writing based largely albeit not exclusively on travel notebooks, or journaux/carnets de voyage, spanning the previous century from beginning to end and on to our still young 21st century. One of the principal specificities of the corpus under scrutiny is that it evinces to a lesser or greater degree a paradoxical resistance both to the idea of travel(ing) per se and to the mimetic rhetoric of traditional travel narratives. We will therefore look at how these modern or postmodern texts question, revisit, subvert or reject such key notions of travel literature as exoticism, nostalgia, exile, nomadism, otherness or foreignness vs. selfhood, ethnology and autobiography etc., thereby delineating an anti-/post-/dé-voyage era or area.

Authors considered should include Segalen, Claudel, Morand, Michaux, Leiris, Lévi-Strauss, Butor, Le Clézio, Baudrillard, Bouvier, Toussaint, Jouanard.


French 601: Language Teaching/Learning

Prof. McMahon

This course is required of all Teaching Assistants in French, Italian, and Spanish in the second semester of their first year of teaching. It is designed to provide instructors with the necessary practical support to carry out their teaching responsibilities effectively, and builds on the practicum meetings held during the first semester. The course will also introduce students to various approaches to foreign language teaching as well as to current issues in second language acquisition. Students who have already had a similar course at another institution may be exempted upon consultation with the instructor.


French 630: Discourse, Identity, and Authority in Medieval French Literature

Prof. Brownlee

An introduction to Medieval French literature by close readings of key representative works from among hagiography, chanson de geste, romance, conte, theater, and “autobiography.” The course will consider the creation and the functioning of these new generic forms in the French vernacular, with particular attention to questions of authority, "truth," and language. Focus will be on the first-person authorial subject, religious and socio-political contexts (including Christian self vs. Muslim other), and representations of gender and of the erotic. Texts to be studied include La Vie de Saint Alexis, La Chanson de Roland, Chrétien de Troyes's Lancelot, Aucassin et Nicolette, Adam de la Halle’s Jeu de Robin et Marion, and Christine de Pizan's Cité des Dames.