Courses available in French


Tout est dit, et l'on vient trop tard.

—La Bruyère

French 180B: French Civilization — “Les animots”: The Culture of the Creature in Early Modern France


Aristotle, History of Animals; Pliny, Natural History (selections); Ovid, Metamorphoses (selections) ; Marie de France, Lais, Fables ; Montaigne, “Apologie pour Raimond Sébond,” Marguerite de Navarre, Heptaméron ; Du Bellay, Ronsard, (selected poems) ; Perrault, Contes de la mère l’oye ; La Fontaine, Fables ; J. Derrida, L’animal que donc je suis

Course Description:

Interest in the role of animals in early European culture has intensified in the past decade, opening fresh perspectives on the literary representation of fauna in the 16th and 17th centuries. This development allows us to compare and contrast the traditional role of animal-as-symbol in the Middle Ages (in myth, beast fable, exempla, heraldry) with an increasingly nuanced understanding of animals-as-teachers in the Renaissance and beyond. In this course we will study the ways in which the depiction of animals changes over time, first reading a selection of foundational texts from antiquity and tracing their influence in medieval literature, then examining the sometimes alarming (tricksters, hybrids, scapegoats), often alluring (companions, spiritual guides) depiction of animals in early modern French culture.


French 102 or consent of instructor.

Additional Information:

Satisfies 1 “Culture” or 1 “Elective” requirement in the French major.  Satisfies 1 Historical Period requirement in French major.  Satisfies College of Letters and Science breadth in Arts and Literature or in  Social and Behavioral Sciences or in Historical Studies.  Priority enrollment for declared French majors.

Section times and locations in the Schedule of Classes