Spring 2018 Courses

French 601: Language Teaching and Learning

Prof. McMahon
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This course is required of all Teaching Assistants in French and Italian 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 640: Theater and Polemics in Renaissance France

Prof. Scott Francis
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The sixteenth-century is commonly regarded as a turning point for French theater, a transitional period between “medieval” theatrical genres (farce, sottie, mystery and morality plays, etc.) and the classical theater that reached its apogee in the seventeenth century. As such, theater is inherently tied to the literary debates that characterized the Renaissance, and in particular the Pléiade’s militant call to abandon medieval genres and return to classical sources, even though these genres continued to be popular and influential well into the second half of the sixteenth century. At the same time, theater was a privileged medium for religious and political polemics throughout the sixteenth century in France, and provides invaluable insights into subjects such as Gallicanism (the independence of the French crown and French church from Rome) or the Reformation. This course will examine French theater from the beginning to the end of the sixteenth century with these polemics as its guiding principles, and will consider plays alongside major works in other genres with similar polemical orientations. We will learn how theater evolved from the Middle Ages to the Classical Era, how the tumultuous political and religious landscape of the French Renaissance left an indelible mark on literary production, and how authors appropriate and adapt theatrical conventions for polemical purposes. All primary readings are in French, as are many of the secondary readings, but the course will be conducted in English, and students may choose between French and English for written and oral assignments.


French 675: Science and Literature in 19th Century France

Prof. Andrea Goulet
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Le dix-neuvième siècle a vu un épanouissement de théories et de techniques scientifiques qui ont frappé l'imagination romanesque en France.  Plusieurs romanciers de l'époque ont puisé dans des sources scientifiques non seulement pour y trouver des thèmes et des lexiques mais aussi pour mettre en relation le projet scientifique avec la création littéraire elle-même.  Ce cours propose d'étudier les entrecroisements de la science et de la littérature à travers les textes de Balzac, Zola, Flaubert, Maupassant, Villiers, et Verne.  Il mettra en dialogue les courants romanesques (réalisme, naturalisme, le fantastique) avec les débats contemporains dans plusieurs domaines de la science (la chimie, la biologie, la psychopathologie) et de la "pseudo-science" (la physiognomie, le mesmerisme, l'anthropométrie).


French 681: Modern French Poetry, From Baudelaire to Jaccottet

Prof. Samuel Martin
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Comment s’en sortir sans sortir? Ghérasim Luca’s playfully paradoxical question will serve as our guiding thread through the labyrinth of poetic modernity, as we see how a series of radical breaks with formal and thematic convention in the works of Baudelaire, Rimbaud, and Mallarmé come to provide an ever-shifting framework for subsequent generations of poets writing in French. How is it that the 19th-century advent of the prose poem and the Mallarmean crise de vers seem at once to open up infinite possibilities in poetic practice and to call poetic language itself into question?  This course will put some of the major figures of the 20th century (Apollinaire, Ponge, Jaccottet) in dialogue with other, less frequently heard voices from outside the Hexagon (Supervielle, Schehadé, Roud); texts on the M.A. and PhD exam reading lists will nevertheless be given especial priority.