Courses available in French


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

—La Bruyère

French 210A: Studies in Medieval Literature — The Romance of the Rose and the Tradition of Medieval Allegory

Course Description:

This course will combine a detailed reading of the Roman de la Rose and its critical heritage with a study of the medieval tradition of allegorical writing.  Annex texts will include those written by some of the great predecessors of Guillaume de Lorris and Jean de Meun, including selections from Saint Augustine, Macrobius, Boethius and Alain de Lille.  The latter few weeks of the course will concentrate on extended passages from the fourteenth-century Ovide moralisé, which not only illustrates the move to translation in the later Middle Ages, but also exemplifies a type of exegetical reading, issuing from the theological tradition, applied to a manifestly secular (and frankly immoral) text, Ovid’s Metamorphoses.  Additional topics will include the rhetorical mode of personification, verbal and visual modes of allegorical representation, Biblical exegesis, and symbol vs. allegory.  Work for the course will include a class presentation and a substantial research paper or alternate written assignment.  Class will be conducted in English and no knowledge of medieval French is presupposed, though reading knowledge of modern French will be helpful, as the Rose will be read in a dual-language edition, with facing page Old French and modern French translation.  Since the class will center on close readings, a certain amount of class time will be reserved for discussion of linguistic and translation issues.

Section times and locations in the Schedule of Classes