Undergraduate Course Descriptions

01:420:217 - Modern Literature in French (Honors)

  • SAS Core Learning: AHo or AHp, WCd
  • Language Taught In: Taught in French
  • Credits: 3

This course (Honors version of 215) is mainly intended for students majoring or minoring in French.

Offered: Fall, Spring

Prerequisites: 01:420:132/137 or placement. Special permission required

Course Description: An intensive introduction to the history of French literature from the last quarter of the 18th century to the present. Through the study of a few complete texts and detailed comparative readings of short excerpts, a variety of genres and literary movements will be presented, along with the basic tools of critical analysis. This alternative to Aspects of French Literature (215) is oriented toward students with a solid preparation in French and a strong interest in literature. Significant prior experience with French literary texts, however, is not necessary.

Readings include narrative works by Rousseau, Flaubert, Maupassant, Proust, Camus, and Yourcenar; a play by Beckett; essays by Staël and Sartre; and poems by Hugo, Lamartine, Desbordes-Valmore, Baudelaire, Rimbaud, Apollinaire, Breton, Desnos, Ponge, and Césaire.

Personal contacts by email and/or by phone upon arrangement

Course URL - A Canvas will be available at the beginning of the semester.

 Course Learning Goals (aligned with Department Learning Goals)

  • Identify major literary movements from the French Revolution to the present
  • Enhance students’ understanding of the cultural contexts in which those earlier works were written
  • Generate critiques using basic critical terms and concepts in French for literary analysis.
  • Sharpen skills for active reading comprehension, oral communication, and essay-writing in French.
  • Examine critically philosophical and other theoretical issues concerning the nature of reality, human experience, knowledge, value, and/or cultural production
  • Analyze French literature in itself and in relation to the history of French and European culture
  • Communicate complex ideas effectively, in standard written French, to a general audience; evaluate and critically assess sources and use the conventions of attribution and citation correctly; and analyze and synthesize information and ideas from multiple sources to generate new insights.

Exams, Assignments, and Grading Policy

Students will demonstrate their mastery of said learning goals, weekly via class discussion, debate, quizzes, and/or journal entry; and at regular intervals throughout the semester via essays, oral and video presentations. A longer essay and a discussion on individual, along with a midterm and final exam will also be part of the final grade.

Course Materials

Gustave Flaubert, Un cœur simple, Garnier Flammarion (2-08-072047-3)


Albert Camus, L’étranger, Gallimard “Folio” (2-07-030602X)


Samuel Beckett, En attendant Godot, Minuit (2-7073-0148-5)

Marcel Proust, Du côté de chez Swann,  (9782070379248)

Reader to be downloaded from Canvas

Schedule of Undergraduate Courses