Courses available in French


Le voyage n’est nĂ©cessaire qu’aux imaginations courtes.

— Colette

French 183A: Configurations of Crisis — Crises of Convention in Pre-revolutionary France

Readings :

See Course Description below.

Course Description:

This class will study a sequence of high-profile literary quarrels, debates and causes cĂ©lèbres, extending from the Middle Ages to the late seventeenth century, that served to crystallize prevailing notions of propriety, decency, verisimilitude and what might generally be called the “natural”–in the face of works that seemed to flout convention through their promotion of what their critics deemed obscene, unnatural or unrealistic.  In each case we will proceed through the reading of a text and a critical analysis of documents surrounding that text.  Cases will include: the Quarrel over the Romance of the Rose instigated by Christine de Pizan (15th century); the fictional “trial” of the Belle Dame sans Mercy of Alain Chartier (15th century); Du Bellay’s DĂ©fense et illustration de la langue française as a polemical rejection of the language and poetry of the Middle Ages, one of numerous treatises spread across the first half of the sixteenth century that set the stage for the codification of the French language as we have come to know it; Corneille’s Le Cid and the ensuing debate involving the recently formed AcadĂ©mie Française, which helped to set the foundations for “classical” theater; Mme de Lafayette’s Princesse de Clèves and the polemical responses it elicited. Readings and class discussions will be in French (Medieval works in modern French translation; later works in the original language).

Prerequisites: French 102 or consent of Instructor.

Additional information: This course satisfies one “Culture” or one “Elective” requirement in the French major.  Satisfies on Historical Period requirement in the French major.  This course also satisfies College of Letters and Science breadth in Historical Studies or in Social and Behavioral Sciences.   Priority enrollment for declared French majors.

Section times and locations in the Schedule of Classes