French Studies
Term:    Level:  

Winter Quarter

Dept Course No and Title Instructor
Students are taught to conceptualize in French as they learn to understand, read, write, and speak. Students develop an awareness of and sensibility to French and Francophone life and culture through reading, film, the media, and class discussion. Classes are conducted in French and meet daily.
Accelerated first half of first-year French. Students are taught to conceptualize in French as they learn to read, write, and speak. Students develop an awareness of and sensibility to French and Francophone life and culture through reading, viewing, and discussion.
Students review and develop their knowledge of French language and culture. Extensive reading and writing assignments are complemented by classroom discussion and small-group activities. Classes are conducted in French only.
Prerequisite: French 2A or equivalent.
No image has more commonly symbolized the human condition in the Western cannon than that of falling. Indeed, stories of falls in literature often revisit the tale of humanity’s expulsion from Eden and fall from grace, and as such they are stories of depravation, perdition and/or salvation. But, falls are often as well allegories of the human condition in less moral and vertical terms. Sometimes, the point is to compare how high humanity originally was to how low it has fallen, or to discuss how guilty, responsible or shameful humanity should feel for betraying God. Sometimes, falls address more directly the frail, material, unstable—at times violent and dramatic, while at others comical and benign—features of our terrestrial existence. They may teach us something about the human condition simply by unexpectedly disrupting the ordinary course of our existence and producing new experiences that make us question from a different angle the possible meaning(s) of living the human life.

In this course, we will explore a variety of texts and representations of human falls primarily (but not exclusively) in French literature and culture, and discuss how they can be interpreted as allegories of the human condition. Readings will include excerpts from works by Plato, Montaigne, Milton, Rousseau, Proust, and Camus.
Introduction to essay writing with an emphasis on strategies for identifying a problem, developing an original argument, and organizing evidence. Introduces idioms and vocabulary to prepare students for advanced courses on French and Francophone literature, culture, and cinema.
An introduction to 20th-Century French literature through close readings in texts of Péguy, Apollinaire, Éluard, Bataille, Ponge, Sartre, Duras, and Fanon. Reading, writing, and class discussion in French. 
The 19th century in France saw the beginning of a literature focused on urban life. Discussion will focus on the new roles accorded women in the works. We will consider the characters as representations of real-life women, in their new cultural functions as laboring women, saleswomen, prostitutes, actresses, consumers, style-setters, etc. But we will also consider them as models for what is desirable about urban literature itself (as distinct, say, from a Romantic literature usually set in rural landscapes). Texts by Duras, Balzac, Zola, Maupassant and Baudelaire.
The Renaissance not only rediscovered the artistic, literary and philosophical creations of the Ancients which still haunt our modernity, but it also revived our knowledge of the human body. It was the time of both decisive innovations in modern medicine – especially anatomy – and fantastic re-imaginations of the human form and the aesthetic, social and philosophical orders it represents. This course will focus on how early modern writers (namely Rabelais and Montaigne) as well as artists (Da Vinci, Bosch, Brueghel), thinkers (Erasmus) and physicians (Vesalius, Paré) recreated the human body and its forms in order to figure (out) the new world to which the Renaissance gave birth.  Course materials will be made available on Canvas at the beginning of the quarter. 

French 150/Euro St 101A

“Self-love is more skillful than the most skillful man in the world”, writes La Rochefoucauld in his Maximes. Indeed no passion is more capable of disguising itself behind the mask of virtue, altruism or charity, than this opaque selfishness, which makes the human soul impenetrable to others as well as to oneself. However, beyond the critique of the moral ambiguity of this passion, there is also room for positive reappraisal, for if self-love is capable of such perfect disguise under the appearance of virtue or charity, although it is most contrary to virtue or charity by its nature, it may be very similar by its effects on moral, social and political life. Some moralistes suggested provocatively, after La Rochefoucauld that encouraging men to be unrelentingly selfish in a free-market society might be better than educating them to be virtuous. These reflections directly influenced Bernard Mandeville’s controversial and paradoxical motto “Private vices. Public benefits” and they paved the way for Adam Smith’s metaphor of an “Invisible Hand”: the greed of the rich may result in creating more wealth, and more distribution of this wealth to the poor, than charity will have been able to. In this course we will examine the genealogy of such claims and the important moral, political, theological, and aesthetic debates that they raised in 17th-and-18th-Century France and in Europe.

(cross-listed with Euro St 103)