French Studies
Term:    Level:  

Fall 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.
French and Francophone texts of contemporary literary or social interest, films, art, and the media provide the focus for more advanced conversation, reading, and composition. Classes are conducted entirely in French. Prerequisite: normally three years of high school French or one year of college French.
Tutoring Program in which advanced French students provide assistance to students at a lower level. One hour of tutoring per week.

Grading Option: Pass/no pass only.

Repeatability: May be taken for credit 4 times.
Review of grammar taught in FRENCH 2A-B-C. Students gain facility in writing French and increase reading comprehension. Short texts and films are introduced to generate substantive discussion, and multiple short writing exercises are assigned to solidify skills. Formerly FRENCH 60.
This class focuses on the literature of an era that experienced many modernist transformations. We will address primarily the transformations of the genres of the novel and of poetry through the close-reading and textual analysis of excerpts from books by Hugo, Balzac, Stendhal, Sand, Flaubert, Zola, Verlaine, Rimbaud, and Baudelaire. Students are also expected to read one French novel of their choice in full throughout the quarter.  The course is conducted in French.
Focuses on the literature of the 19th Century, an era that experienced many modernist transformations.
We call absurd a system in which the inferences we draw from a certain set of premises contradict those very premises. Yet, what would happen if human existence were itself part of such a system? How would the life and the condition of humans be any different from the one we experience? In post-WW2 France these questions became so central in art, literature and philosophy, that the substantive “the absurd” was invented to refer to the works of a heterogeneous set of writers and/or philosophers which featured among others Samuel Beckett, Albert Camus, Jean-Paul Sartre, Eugène Ionesco and Jean Genet.
Indeed, they did not and could not rally around a cause that was not one, and therefore they did not form a movement. Yet they did take part in a diverse philosophical, literary and aesthetic moment, which was marked by the traumatic experience of the two world wars and characterized by a profound sense of collapse of all the metaphysical foundations of the European continent's self-defining ideals of religion, culture, civilization and historical progress. They shared a somewhat common experience of impossible metaphysical reconciliation between the brutish factuality of existence and the human desire for rationality and meaning — a common experience of the inherent absurdity and irremediable sense of alienation of the human condition.
This course sets out to explore how this metaphysical experience of the absurd resulted paradoxically in one of the most fecund and creative periods in artistic and literary forms. While we will focus primarily on essays, novels and plays by the afore-mentioned writers, we will also discuss the philosophical background of these works and their relations with influential precursors such as Dostoevsky and Kafka among others. The course is conducted in English.