French 451

FREN 451: Survey of French Literature

Prerequisite: French 300, or four years of high school French

Credit Hours: (4)

A comprehensive view of French literature through analysis of selected major French works of French literature of the 19th and 20th centuries.  All work conducted in French.


Detailed Description of Content of Course

French 451 focuses on the study of the literature of the 19th and 20th centuries, encompassing the narrative, the lyric, the theater and the existential novel. The course surveys the following literary movements and their various transformations in the narrative and the lyric: romanticism, realism, naturalism, symbolism, surrealism and existentialism. In the 19th century, excerpts from the novels of Vigny, Hugo, Flaubert, Stendhal, Baizac and Zola are studied, as well as selections from the poetry of Baudelaire, Verlaine, Rimbaud and Mallarmé. In the 20th century, the poetry of Appolinaire, Valery and Prevert is studied, as well as the contribution of the surrealists. A particular emphasis is devoted to the novels of Proust, Camus and Sartre, and the new trends initiated by Butor, Sarraute, Robbe-Grillet and Le Cléio.


Detailed Description of Conduct of Course

Class lectures and discussion are conducted in French. 451 is a lecture course, requiring students to take notes and prepare each week, in advance, an assigned schedule of readings. Students’ interaction is encouraged through class discussion of the texts and of the historical material presented.


Goals and Objectives of the Course

Students develop intermediate-high speaking and writing skills and advanced skills in reading and listening. French literature is not presented in a vacuum, but rather within its socio-historical-cultural background, therefore students can discuss and write about society’s impact on each author’s life and works as well as about the literary features and representativeness of the works themselves. The students learn about French literature in the context of French history and its cultural development.


Assessment Measures

The students are given a mid-term and a final exam which test their knowledge of the readings and of the literary topics presented in lectures. A ten-page term paper in French, on a literary subject to be discussed with and approved by the instructor, is required of each student. All three assessment components are weighed equally in the determination of the final course grade.


Other Course Information

French 451 can fulfill the major requirement of taking at least 1 course above the 400-level.


Approval and Subsequent Reviews
September 2005 Reviewed Philip Sweet