Courses available in French


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

— La Bruyère

French 103B: Language and Culture — Discourses of Love in the Middle Ages and the Early Modern Period


Readings will include a series of brief narrative texts from the Middle Ages (lais of Marie de France, fabliaux [comic tales, often quite ribald], various novellas and short stories, and dialogued works such as Alain Chartier’s Belle Dame sans Mercy), as well as two early modern novels, the Lettres portugaises and Prévost’s Manon Lescaut.

Course Description:

Since the beginnings of French literature, authors and poets have been fascinated by the human and spiritual dimensions of love, sometimes conflicting relations between emotional attachment and carnality, between human love and love of God, between private desires and the constraints of society, between fidelity in marriage and the temptations of adultery.  Through reading and discussion of a broad variety of works extending from the twelfth to the eighteenth century, we will attempt to sort out some of the major aspects of this seemingly inexhaustible theme while at the same time seeing how different eras and authors diverged in their treatment of it.


Students must have either previously completed French 102 or its equivalent, or be concurrently enrolled in French 102. For additional placement information please see Placement Guidelines.

Additional information:

Knowledge of Old French not required; readings in modern French translation. This course satisfies 1 French Major course requirement in the “Elective” category. This course also satisfies 1 Historical Period Requirement in the French major. Priority enrollment for declared French majors.  Satisfies College of Letters and Science breadth in Arts and Literature.

Section times and locations in the Schedule of Classes