Courses available in French


La poétique de la durée s'efforce d'apaiser l'hier fiévreux, de tramer ce lointain devenir.


French 121A: Literary Themes, Genres, Structures — L’imaginaire urbain: cité, ville, banlieue


Selected readings; See Description


Paris est le plus délicieux des monstres…

–Balzac, Ferragus

This course will examine representations of the city, from the Renaissance to the present. From tensions between the city and the country, to the emergence of the city as metropolis, we will explore the various identities and associations tied to the idea of the city in French literature. Is the city the center of intellectual culture and refinement, or of vice and decadence? Is it a place imbued with the traces of history and memory, or is it the paragon of progress and modernity? How has the city been depicted as a site of struggle, as well as a site of creation, across various upheavals, revolutions, and transformations? How do representations of the city negotiate with its limits, both real and imagined?

Readings will include works and selections from authors such as: Joachim du Bellay (Antiquités de Rome); Molière (Le bourgeois gentilhomme); Montesquieu (Lettres Persanes); Honoré de Balzac (Ferragus); Victor Hugo (Notre-Dame de Paris) ; Eugène Sue (Les mystères de Paris) ; Gustave Flaubert (Madame Bovary); Charles Baudelaire (Spleen de Paris) ; Emile Zola (Au bonheur des dames) ; Marcel Proust (A la recherche du temps perdu) ; Louis Aragon (Le paysan de Paris) ; Raymond Queneau (Zazie dans le métro) ; Patrick Modiano (Rue des boutiques obscures) ; and François Bon (Paysage fer).

Additionally, we will study filmic representations of the city, including : Paris qui dort (Clair, 1925) ; Cléo de 5 à 7 (Varda, 1962) ; and La haine (Kassovitz, 1995).


French 102 or consent of Instructor.

Additional Information:

Satisfies Literary/Genre or Elective course requirement in French major.  Satisfies Letters and Science breadth requirement in Arts and Literature.

Section times and locations in the Schedule of Classes