Courses available in French


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

— Colette

French 180C: French Civilization — The Experience of Modernity in 19th-Century Paris


Honoré de Balzac, Père Goriot (GF Flammarion no. 826/2006)

Charles Baudelaire, Le Spleen de Paris (Livre de poche/2003)

Gustave Flaubert, L’Education Sentimentale (GF-2013: isbn 9782081309425)

Emile Zola, Nana (GF 2000 ) ISBN 2-08-071106-7

Rachilde, Monsieur Venus, roman materialiste (MLA 2004/ISBN 9780873529297)

Course Description:

This course explores the experience and representation of urban modernity in 19th century Paris. Drawing on classic literature of the period along with readings in cultural criticism and art history, we will consider the novel and the poem \ as laboratories for new forms of knowledge. The works we will study address the revolutionary upheavals and cultural transformations of the period: the legacies of revolution and class struggle; the shocks of industrialization and capitalism; theories of social reform and progress; the transformation of history and urban life into spectacle; shopping, fashion and consumer culture; new forms of private and public space; scientific and medical discourses on gender, class and race. Along with major social and historical transitions of the period, we will also address key aesthetic movements such as realism, naturalism and decadence.


French 102 or consent of instructor.

Additional information: 

This course satisfies 1 “Culture” or 1  “Elective” course requirement in the French major.   Satisfies one course requirement in French minor.  This course also satisfies College of Letters and Science breadth in Arts and Literature, Historical Studies or Social and Behavioral Sciences.  Course conducted in French.


Section times and locations in the Schedule of Classes