Undergraduate Course Descriptions

01:420:281 - French and Francophone Text(s) and Image(s) - "French Writers and Modern Art"

  • SAS Core Learning: AHp, WCr, WCd
  • Language Taught In: Taught in English
  • Instructor: Serrano, Richard
  • Credits: 3

Offered: Spring (no prerequisites)

Course Description: How did French novelists, poets and journalists of the 19th and 20th centuries write about paintings that would go on to become the foundation of modern art?  How do we in the 21st century think about these paintings and these wirters?  In this course we will work together to make sense of paintings in their immediate historical and cultural context as well as discuss what they mean to us today.  Short essays and journalistic accounts by French writers about these works will instruct us in how to think and write about these paintings.  We will also read selections from poetry related to the paintings and a novel that represents the life of artists in the nineteenth century.

Course Satisfies Learning Goals

ANALYZE works of modern art produced in France and the attempts of French writers to account for them.
COMPOSE and REVISE essays about these artworks informed by past attempts to make sense of them.

Satisfies SAS Core Learning Goals

AHp: Analyze arts and/or literatures in themselves and in relation to specific histories, values, languages, cultures, and technologies
WCr: Communicate complex ideas effectively, in standard written English, to a general audience, and respond effectively to editorial feedback from peers, instructors &/or supervisors through successive drafts & revision.
WCd: Communicate effectively in modes appropriate to a discipline or area of inquiry; 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 learning goals weekly via in-class writing assignments, presentations, and short writing assignments to be completed between class sessions. There is no mid-term or final examination.

Final grade: In-class writing assignments (30%),  presentations (30%), at-home writing assignments (40%).

Materials: Zola, Émile.  The Masterpiece.  Oxford University Press.  ISBN: 978-0199536917
All additional readings will be available through Canvas

Faculty: Richard Serrano