Courses available in French


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

— Colette

French 126: Senior Seminar — Flaubert’s Modernity Then and Now


Madame Bovary, L’Education Sentimentale, SalammbĂŽ, Trois contes, Bouvard et PĂ©cuchet, Le Dictionnaire des idĂ©es recues

Course Description:

In this seminar, we will read the works of classic 19th-century French author Gustave Flaubert. We will attempt to grasp what was considered ‘modern’ about Flaubert’s novels. Was it his innovative style, his experiments with form and perspective, his ambition to write un livre sur rien? Was it his ability to convey the unfulfillable desires of life in the modern city under capitalism (Madame Bovary was put on trial for obscenity)? To capture the disillusionment of a generation that lived through the 1848 revolution? To conjure the Orient as an escape from the banality of bourgeois existence? As we read deeply into this canonical oeuvre and situate it within its cultural setting, we will at the same time speculate on the ways in which Flaubert remains our contemporary in the 21st -century.  With the help of theoretical writings on and around this monumental oeuvre, we will tease out the ways in which it illuminates the workings of subjectivity, ideology and violence in our own historical horizon.


French 102 or equivalent.

Additional Information:

This course satisfies 1 “Literature/Genre” or 1 “Elective” course requirement in the French major. Satisfies College of Letters and Science breadth in Arts and Literature.  Senior standing recommended, but not required.

Section times and locations in the Schedule of Classes