Undergraduate Course Descriptions

01:420:218 - French Literature from the Middle Ages to the Enlightenment (Honors)

This course (Honors version of 216) 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 introduction to French literature from the Middle Ages to the Enlightenment, via the Renaissance and the Classical Age. Readings include the Medieval tale La Châtelaine de Vergy as well as fiction by Rabelais and Voltaire; excerpts from Montaigne’s Essais and the 18th-century Encyclopédie; plays by Corneille and Molière; and poems by Labé, Ronsard, and La Fontaine. Building on the experience of 215/217 (recommended but not required), this course aims to allow students to understand and enjoy major works from an earlier era, while sharpening reading comprehension and essay-writing skills. 218 puts additional emphasis on the concepts, techniques and methods of literary analysis.

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

Course objectives (aligned with Department of French Learning Goals)

  • Introduce students to major works from the Middle Ages to the Enlightenment,via the Renaissance and the Classical Age.
  • Enhance students’ understanding of the cultural contexts in which those works were written.
  • Introduce students to French 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 should expect to write a minimum of 15 pages in French during the term, as well as participate in class discussions and presentations. Midterm and final examinations monitor mastery of the readings and of elements of literary history and analysis presented in the lectures. For most students, 216/218 completes the preparation necessary for upper division classes in French literature and culture. 218 (Honors) students will be given additional material to read, as well as slightly different and longer assignments, focusing on the nature of literary works (genre, form, style, structure, narrative voice) and on the goals and methods of literary analysis.

Course Materials

216/218 Reader (shared with students via LMS)
Pierre Corneille, Le Cid. (Recommended edition Petits Classiques Larousse. ISBN-13: 978-2035865977)
Molière, Le Tartuffe. Recommended edition (Petits Classiques Larousse. ISBN-13: 978-2035859174)
Voltaire, L’Ingénu. (Recommended edition: Petits Classiques Larousse. ISBN-13: 978-2035861542)

Schedule of Undergraduate Courses