French

Professors: Elisabeth Cardonne-Arlyck, Cynthia B. Kerr, Christine Reno (Chair);Associate Professors: Mark Andrews, Patricia-Pia Célérier; Assistant Professors:Dalila Hannouche, Kathleen Hartab, Marc Lony; Visiting Assistant Professor: Susan Hiner.

ab Absent on leave for the year.

All courses are conducted in French except for the Freshman Course and 279.

Requirements for Concentration: 11 units including at least 3 units at the 300 level. All courses in French elected after the declaration of the major must be taken for a letter grade, except for those courses (French 298, 300, 399) that are offered only as ungraded work.

Senior Year Requirements: 3 units of French at the 300 level.

Teaching Certification: Students who wish to obtain Secondary Certification must complete the program of study outlined by the education department.

Advisers: The department.

Study Abroad: Vassar College and Wesleyan University sponsor jointly a program of study in Paris. Majors in French are expected to participate in this program for one or two semesters during their junior year. Students electing a correlate sequence in French are also encouraged to participate in the program. Students concentrating in other fields for whom study in Paris is advisable are accepted, within the regulations of their respective departments and the Office of the Dean of Studies. Courses offered in the Paris program are included below. Students of French who are unable to study abroad during the academic year are strongly encouraged to attend the summer program at Middlebury College French School, or other summer programs in France or French-speaking countries.

Correlate Sequence in French: Students majoring in other programs may complement their study by electing a correlate sequence in French. Course selection should be made in consultation with the chair or other advisers in the department.

Requirements: 6 units, at least 5 of which must be taken above the 100 level. At least 1 but preferably 2 units must be taken at the 300-level. All 300-level courses must be taken for a letter grade.

Study Away and summer courses may be substituted in the correlate sequence, with departmental approval. A majority of units in the correlate sequence must be taken at Vassar.


I. Introductory

Not open to students who have had or are taking work at the 200-level.

105a-106b. Elementary French (1)

Fundamentals of the language. Students learn to understand spoken French, to express simple ideas both orally and in writing, and to read French of average difficulty. The department.

Not open to students who have previously studied French.

Three 50-minute class periods, 2 hours of drill and oral practice.


II. Intermediate

205a or b. Intermediate French I (1)

Fast-paced review of the main points of basic grammar. Includes practice in speaking, listening, reading, and writing, through written exercises, short texts and compositions, and work with the audiovisual resources of the language laboratory. The department.

Prerequisite: French 105-106 or two years of French in high school.

Three 50-minute or two 75-minute periods; one hour of scheduled oral practice.

206a or b. Intermediate French II (1)

Expanded grammar study with an emphasis on more complex linguistic structures such as relative pronouns and the subjunctive. Reading, writing, and speaking skills are developed through discussion of cultural and literary texts and use of audiovisual material. This course prepares students linguistically for cultural and literary study at the intermediate level. The department.

Prerequisite: French 205 or three years of French in high school. French 105-106 by permission of instructor.

Three 50-minute or two 75-minute periods; one hour of scheduled oral practice.

212a or b. Reading French Literature and Film (1)

Introduction to the analysis of literature and film and to basic modes of interpretation through the study and discussion of short texts (poems, short stories, films, plays, essays). The department.

Prerequisite: French 206 or four years of French in high school.

213a or b. France Through Her Media (1)

An introductory study of France through current newspapers, magazines, television programs, films and the web. A strong emphasis is placed on the expansion of vocabulary and on oral and written expression. Some grammar review. The department.

Prerequisite: French 206 or four years of French in high school.

228a. Tellers and Tales (1)

Study of short stories taken from several periods of French literature. Introduction to the study of narrative forms and critical writing. Mr. Andrews.

Prerequisite: two years of college French or four years of French in high school.

230b. Medieval and Early Modern Times (1)

A study of aristocratic and popular literature and culture, from medieval legends and renaissance love poetry to the splendors and decadence of Versailles, the comic world of Moliere, and the tragic allegories of Racine.

Topic for 1999/00: The Politics of Seduction. Introduction to the literature and culture of France, with a special focus on woman as subject and object of desire. Readings include the medieval romance of Tristan and Iseult, the love poetry of Ronsard, La Princesse de Clèves, a story of illicit passion by France's first woman novelist, and classical theater's masterpieces of love and deception authored by Corneille, Racine, and Molière. Ms. Kerr.

Prerequisite: two years of college French or four years of French in high school.

[231a. Revolutionary France and Its Legacies] (1)

Studies in French literature, history, and culture in relation to the French Revolution during the Enlightenment and the Romantic period.

Prerequisite: two years of college French or four years of French in high school.

Not offered in 1999/00.

[232b. The Modern Age] (1)

The course explores literary, artistic, social, or political manifestations of modern French society and its relation to the French-speaking world from the Napoleonic Empire to the present.

Prerequisite: two years of college French or four years of French in high school.

Not offered in1999/00.

235a. Contemporary France (1)

A study of French society and culture from WWII to the present. Starting with the 1939 German occupation and its enduring marks on the French, the course draws on a variety of texts (historical documents, novels and short stories, special issues of selected French magazines and journals, movies and documentaries) to examine the impact on society and culture of the major historical events that have shaped France. Attention is given to Metropolitan France, its colonies and its Départements d'Outre-Mer (Martinique, Guadeloupe, Guiana, and Reunion). Ms. Hannouche.

Prerequisite: two years of college French or four years of French in high school.

[236b. Theater Workshop] (1)

A production course designed to give students the opportunity to select and stage a major French dramatic text taken from the classical or the contemporary repertory. Ms. Kerr.

Prerequisite: two years of college French or four years of French in high school.

Not offered in 1999/00.

242b. Studies in Genre I (1)

Study of narrative and prose forms including the novel, autobiography, and the essay.

Topic for 1999/00: Fictions of France. The course examines novelistic representations of life in France from the Belle Époque to the present. Fictionalized versions of actual events and situations constitute the primary focus of the course. Attention is also given to allegorical and experimental reworkings of history and to radical transformations of the novel form over the course of the century. Authors may include Barrès, Céline, Colette, Camus, Butor, Modiano, Sebbar. Mr. Andrews.

Prerequisite: another 200-level course above French 206 or equivalent.

243a. Studies in Genre II (1)

Study of dramatic and lyric forms including theater, poetry, and song. Topic for 1999/2000: French Drama of the Twentieth Century: From Existentialism to the Theater of the Absurd. A study of modern drama in the French-speaking world, highlighting the psychological, political, and artistic functions of theater. Thematic concerns range from gender relations and identities to national self-consciousness. Authors include Jean-Paul Sartre, Jean Genet, Aimé Césaire, Anne Hébert, Eugène Ionesco, and Marie Redonnet. Special focus is placed on oral readings and dramatic plays. Ms. Kerr.

Prerequisite: another 200-level course above French 206 or equivalent.

247a. Constructions of Identity (1)

Focusing on events, institutions, or movements, on expressions of "high" or "low" culture, on important figures, or on issues of class, gender, race, or religious differences, this course explores the changing conceptions of what constitutes identity in France or the French-speaking world.

Topic for 1999/2000: French Women of Letters. This course is an introduction to the life, literary production, and philosophy of Simone de Beauvoir, Marguerite Duras, and Nathalie Sarraute, three major women writers of 20th-century French literature. We analyze the construction of the (young) woman as writer, her perception of the act or writing, and her understanding of the role of the writer in her times. We study the relationship of the female writer to the intellectuals around her, her literary friendships and feuds, and her comments on the works of authors who influenced her. Works studied areMémoires d'une jeune-fille rangée and La Cérémonie des adieux (Entretiens avec Jean-Paul Sartre, août-septembre 1974) by S. de Beauvoir, L'Amant and Ecrire by M. Duras, Enfance and Tropismes by N. Sarraute. Ms. Célérier.

Prerequisite: another 200-level course above French 206 or equivalent.

[263b. Studies in French Film] (1)

The course focuses on the evolution of narrative forms in French film, from the silent era to the present. Ms. Cardonne-Arlyck.

Prerequisite: another 200-level course above French 206 or by permission.

Not offered in 1999/00.

266b. French-Speaking Cultures and Literatures of Africa and the (1)
Caribbean

Topic for 1999/00: Between Two Continents: Contemporary African and Caribbean Writers. In this course, we study the current literary production of Francophone writers of African origin who live or have lived in France. We come to an understanding of how their narrative worlds conjure up an artistic and cultural duality that translates into a complex understanding of our times. We read works by Jean-Luc Raharimanana (Madagascar), Gisèle Pineau (Guadeloupe), Monique Agénor (Reunion), Fatou Keïta (Ivory Coast), and Daniel Biyaoula (Congo-Brazzaville). Ms. Célérier.

Prerequisite: another 200-level course above French 206 or equivalent.

270a. Study of French Grammar (1)

In-depth study of major aspects of French grammar. Grammar exercises, compositions, and oral practice.

Prerequisite: another 200-level course above French 201 or equivalent.

271b. Composition and Conversation (1)

A course designed to improve written and oral expression, through the study and practice of various forms of writing, and the discussion of readings on contemporary issues.

Prerequisite: another 200-level course above French 201 or equivalent.

[279b. Intersections] (1)

This course examines points of contact among the disciplines, concentrating on a theme, a movement, or a problematic in French cultural or intellectual history.

In English. Open to all classes. May not be counted towards the French major or correlate sequence.

Not offered in 1999/00.

298a or b. Independent Work (1/2 or 1)

Permission required.


III. Advanced

Prerequisite for all advanced courses: 1 unit of 200-level work above French 236, or Study Abroad in France or in a French-speaking country, or by permission.

300a. Senior Thesis (1)

Open only to majors. The department.

Permission required.

301a or b. Senior Translation (1/2 or 1)

Open only to majors. One unit of credit given in exceptional cases only and by permission of the Chair. The department.

[332a. Literature and Society in Pre-Revolutionary France] (1)

Not offered in 1999/00.

348a. Modernism and Its Discontent (1)

Topic for 1999/00: Modern Myths of Paris. The course examines the creation of a mythology of Paris as the modern "capital of the nineteenth century." From the haunted Paris of the Restoration, the capitalist phenomenon of the Second Empire, to the glittering society of the fin de siècle, changing literary representations of the city chart and parallel the emergence of modernism. Paris is considered in its successive artistic manifestations as the privileged space and rich symbolic object of the modern metropolis. Authors include: Balzac, Baudelaire, Flaubert, Zola, Proust, Apollinaire. Ms. Hiner.

355b. Cross-Currents in French Culture (1)

Topic for 1999/00: Clandestine Literature of France. Which of France's greatest masterpieces have been banned? Why? By whom? And with what effect? This seminar examines the politics and modalities of censorship from the seventeenth to the twentieth century. We read the forbidden works-the salacious and the treasonousexplore the cultural and historical significance of each illegal book and analyze the courtroom transcripts of major literary trials. Authors read include Molière, the Marquis de Sade, Flaubert, Baudelaire, and Sartre. Ms. Kerr.

366a. Francophone Literature and Cultures (1)

Topic for 1999/00: Writing the Americas. The course retraces the history and geography of the French-speaking Americas through an examination of representative works by Canadian and Caribbean authors. The creation of a linguistic and cultural heritage and identity, Creole or Quebecois, is considered, as is the ongoing inscription of migrations and exiles in the text and territory of the New World. Authors may include Chamoiseau, Juminer, Étienne, Tremblay, Poulin, Hébert. Mr. Andrews.

370a. Stylistics and Translation (1)

A study of different modes of writing and of the major problems encountered when translating from English to French, and vice versa. Practice with a broad range of both literary and nonliterary texts. Ms. Reno.

380b. Special Seminar (1)

Topic for 1999/00: The Contemporary Francophone Detective Novel. The French detective novel is a genre with a strong literary tradition that has gained particular strength since the end of WWII. Deeply rooted in France's history, it is a tool to capture and analyze that country's political and cultural evolution. Since the 80's, the French-speaking detective novel has undergone many interesting changes: the publishing world has been increasingly welcoming; women writers have moved into the field; the traditional heroes have become heroines; Francophone writers, from Africa, the Caribbean, Quebec, Switzerland, and Belgium, have brought in the richness of their respective heritage and helped renew the genre along the lines of our postmodern world. Authors studied in the course are Chrystine Brouillet (Quebec), Jypé Carraud (France/Guadeloupe), Didier Daeninckx (France), Yasmina Khadra (Algeria), Achille F. Ngoye (Congo Kinshasa), and Fred Vargas (France). Ms. Célérier.

399a or b. Senior Independent Work (1/2 or 1)

One unit of credit given only in exceptional cases and by permission of the Chair. The department.


Vassar-Wesleyan Program in Paris

Courses are subject to change. For information, please consult the French department.

250a. "Poète maudit": Birth and Death of the Myth (1)

How did the poet, a key figure at the Renaissance court, come to be considered by the end of the nineteenth century as a rebel, a literary outlaw? How does the modern poet define himself in this century and beyond under the shadow of this stereotype? After highlighting various milestones of poetry's liberation from the constraints of literary patronage (D'Aubigné's engaged epics, La Fontaine's contradictory verse, Hugo's Romanticism) the course focuses on the major "poètes maudits" of the post-Romantic period: Baudelaire, Rimbaud, Verlaine and Lautréamont. Ms. Garcia.

251a. Love and Tragedy in French Theater (1)

This course first studies the nature of seventeenth-century tragedy as transformed by Corneille and Racine, who grafted a love story onto the core of myth. We then move to the twentieth century's reshaping of the notion of the tragic through the influence of various philosophical currents. Questions of style (baroque and classical) and philosophy (existentialism and the absurd) are foregrounded, with emphasis both on the continuity of tragic literature and on formal variations from the seventeenth century to the present. Plays are chosen in light of the Paris theatrical season, so as to allow the analysis of a number of live performances. Mr. Clément.

252a. Special Topics (1)

This course is taught by the resident director. Topics vary each year.

253a. Contemporary French History (1)

This course focuses on French political history since 1958 and salient features of France's political institutions: strengths and weaknesses of the 1958 Constitution; the shared leadership of president and prime minister; the evolving role of the Assemblée Nationale and the constitutional and state councils. We analyze the strategies of the various political parties and the two recent major transformations in civil society: the urban crisis and the increasing visibility of women and minority groups (youths and immigrants) in the political arena. Franco-American relations and France's emerging role in the European Community are examined in depth. Ms. Sanson.

255a. France and the European Union (1)

This course examines the place of France in the European Union. It looks at the problems arising from economic restructuring, involving the lifting of trade barriers and the adoption of a common European currency. Finally, it analyses the consequences of such changes for French national identity: shifts in education policy, social and political disparities, the exacerbation of historical animosities. Ms. Balleix-Banerjee.

256b. The Enlightenment (1)

An introduction to the nature and spirit of the French Enlightenment through some of the major literary and philosophical works of the period. The course involves a historical presentation of the eighteenth century as well as a study of great individual works to which we still refer today in our thinking about art, science, politics, and love: Montesquieu's Lettres persanes; Rousseau's Discours; Diderot's Rêve de d'Alembertand Pardoxe sur le Comédien; Voltaire's polemical writings. Mr. Chartier.

257b. Representations of Women in the Nineteenth Century Novel (1)

Women are troubling "others" in the imaginary world of the nineteenth century novel: seductresses either divinized or vilified, adoring mothers, victims or aggressors. Three mythical types of women take shape in the pages of nineteenth century literature: Mary, virgin mother and wife, inaccessible ideal and saving benefactress; the temptress Eve; Salomé, dancer and actress both innocent and cruel, femme fatale par excellence. In addition to numerous excerpts, we read in entirety Flaubert's Madame Bovary andLégende de saint ]ulien l'hospitalier and Zola's Nana. The course ends with a look at the early twentieth century reaction to these stereotypes in Colette's La Vagabonde. Ms. Garcia.

258b. Ideologies and Social Movements in France (1789-1914) (1)

A study of political and social ideologies and their connection with political movements and upheavals from the French Revolution to World War I: Enlightenment philosophies and Jacobinism; liberalism and the Revolution of 1830; utopian socialisms and the Revolution of 1848; 19th-century liberal Catholicism; bourgeois and working class ideologies during the Second Empire (1852-1870); political radicalism and the birth of unions (1880-1914); 20th-century socialism, anarchism, and Boulangist nationalism. Mr. Ostenc.

259b. Social Classes and Political Parties in Contemporary France (1)

An in-depth study of France's ideological and political traditions and its economic, political and social structures. By tracing the historical development of these traditions since the Revolution and by comparing the French system with that of other European nations and the U.S., we come to understand the specificity of what many call "l'exception française" as well as the complexity of several major problems facing French institutions and society as France moves toward integration in the European Community. Ms. Berger.

260a. Classics of French Cinema (1)

A study of fifty years of great French classic films, from Duvivier's "La belle équipe" (1936), Renoir's "La grande illusion" (1937) and "Marseillaise" (1938) to Lanzmann's "Shoah" (1980), Truffaut's "Le dernier métro" (1980) and Varda"s "Sans toit ni loi" (1985). Ms. Goldmann.

261a. Paris Through its Monuments (1)

This course offers a panorama of the history of Paris art and architecture. Students visit monuments and sections of the city chosen to illustrate particular periods of its development. Oral reports, slide viewing, written work and readings on the periods under study are required of course participants. Ms. Pêcheur.

262b. Special Topics (1)

This course is taught by the resident director. Topics vary each year. Topic for 1999/2000: French Women Filmmakers. This course examines the contribution of women to the development of French cinema, from the pioneers Alice Guy Blaché and Germaine Dulac to contemporary innovators such as Agnès Varda and Claire Denis. The last part of the course focuses on the remarkable presence and success of women in French cinema today. Ms. Cardonne-Arlyck.

264b Medieval Art (1)

An introduction to Romanesque and Gothic architecture and medieval painting and sculpture. Guided visits to Saint-German-des-Prés, the Musée de Cluny, Notre-Dame, the basilica of Saint-Denis, the Conciergerie, the Sainte-Chapelle, the Louvre, Saint-Séverin, Saint-Etienne-du-Mont and the Sainte Geneviève area complement scholarly readings on French medieval art and study of notable medieval monuments outside of Paris. Ms Pêcheur.

265a. Franco-African Relations (1)

Beginning with a survey of precolonial kingdoms in Africa and the implantation of Islam, the course proceeds to an analysis of European intervention and of the structure of European colonial administration. Various phases of the African independence movement are highlighted: the formation of an African elite, the spread of African nationalisms, Panafricanism, and "Négritude." Finally, we examine French policies in the post-colonial period and the U.S.'s emerging role in African affairs. Mr. Amégan.

267a, 268b. History of Art (1)

This course focuses, each semester, on a different period in the history of French art, with special emphasis on the works of one or several of the major artists of the period, or of one school of art. Class visits to the Louvre, the Musée d'Orsay, the Orangerie, the Picasso Museum, or other museums containing works by artists under study are an integral part of the course.

Topic for Fall 1999: Primitivism in Modern Art. Modern art in the West has been profoundly shaped by the influence of both the art and culture of primitive societies in Africa, Oceania and the Americas. Major modern artists and movements: Gauguin, Matisse, Picasso, Brancusi, Modigliani, Klee, Giacomett, Dubuffet, Fauvism, German Expressionism, Surrealism and Dada all largely defined themselves in relation to "the primitive." The course seeks to trace the history of modern artists' interest in primitive societies as well as the esthetic ramifications of that interest. Classes are integrated with guided visits to the Musée Picasso, the Musée de l'Homme, the Musée Dapper, and Brancusi's workshop. Ms. Kraguly.

Topic for Spring 2000: From Object to Work of Art. Our 20th-century world has become increasingly object-centered, and the proliferation of objects has led to corresponding economic and cultural changes. Many modern artists attempt to break down barriers between life and art and take a dynamic stance vis-à-vis objects, which they lift from their everyday framework in a dynamic of alineation. The course examines several key artistic movements notable for their innovations with objects: Cubism, Dada, Surrealism, New Realism as well as recent works by Manzoni, Broodthaers, Beuys, Raynaud, Lavel, and Oldenburg. Visits to Beaubourg, the Louvre, the Musée Picasso, the Grand Palais, the Jeu de Paume, and the Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris form an essential part of the program. Ms. Kraguly.

269a. Baroque Music in France: Spirit and Grandeur of an Age (1)
(1600-1750)

The history of 17th and 18th-century French music reflects European social and political history of the Grand Siècle. The course places baroque music in its historical context and studies its links with literature and painting. Major topics include the fusion of poetry and music at the court of Henry IV; Mazarin's patronage; the creation of the Academie de danse; art at the court of Louis XIV; Lully and the birth of French opera; forms of religious music; Parisian organ music and the rivalry of Italian and French styles. Visits to the Musée de l'Opéra, the Musée de la Musique, the Musée Instrumental and attendance at various concerts and operas enhance class presentations. Mr. Memed.

272a or b. Writing Workshop (1/2)

This half-credit course is required of all students. Those attending the Vassar-Wesleyan Program for the full year take the workshop during the first semester only. It prepares students to write papers for their classes. It covers common problems encountered in writing French and introduces students to the organization and style of written assignments in France. Students meet individually with a tutor once a week for an additional half-hour.

273a, 274b. Special Topics: University of Paris (1)

Students in the Paris Program have the opportunity to enroll in French university courses under the supervision of the resident director and receive Vassar credit.

275a. Arab Culture in France (1)

The influence of Arab culture in France is portrayed as the intermingling of the Cartesian host culture and an Oriental world rich in sensations and emotions. We study the notion of alterity both theoretically and on a practical level through cultural visits, literary works by Mohamed Dib, Naguib Mahfouz, Kateb Yacine, Saleh Stétié and films such as "Les silences du palais," "Alexandrie, pourquoi?," "Vent de sable," "La Citadelle," "Le péché," and the exploration of Arabic calligraphy, music and cuisine. Mr. Chebel.