Course Offerings | French

Division of Humanities

Ken Keffer (chair), Karin Ciholas, Werner Klimke, Marie Manheim, Patrice Mothion; students: Josh Brockwell, Sarah Eskridge, Kate Lacy



When the Medici family sought a motto to express their optimism and humanism, they chose "Le Temps Revient," a French expression meaning "The Great Age Returns." Their choice of French was not accidental, for the study of this language offers a royal path to discovering the complexity of human experience from the Oaths of Strasbourg in the ninth century to the present. The French major and minor programs at Centre help students discover the will to be scholar-citizens informed about the literature, art, music, and history of France, curious about international affairs relating to Francophone countries, and desirous of communicating with French-speaking people here and abroad.


Recommended Freshman-Sophomore Preparation

Students considering a major in French are encouraged to plan their academic program to include as wide a distribution of courses as possible regardless of their professional or vocational objectives. Prospective majors should consider taking courses in literature, history, philosophy, and the fine arts.


Requirements for the Major

FRE 210, 220, 260, 270 or equivalent;
Any six FRE courses numbered 300 or higher.

Note: It is strongly recommended that majors and minors participate in a term abroad in our Centre-in-Europe program in Strasbourg, France, as an integral component of their French studies.


Requirements for the Minor

FRE 260, 270, and any three FRE courses numbered above 300. One course numbered 250-259 taken at Strasbourg may be substituted for one of the junior-senior courses.


French Courses

FRE 110, 120 Fundamentals-I, II (four credit hours each)
An introductory sequence developing all four basic communication skills (speaking, listening, writing, reading) and acquainting the student with all fundamental structures of the language. Prerequisite: 110 for 120.

FRE 150 Fundamentals-IV
This course is designed for students in Strasbourg who have met the minimum proficiency level in French but have not studied French since entering Centre. The course uses materials comparable to FRE 110 but students are given additional assignments dependent on their individual capabilities.

FRE 210, 220 Intermediate-I, II
An intermediate sequence which strengthens and develops basic communication skills and uses contemporary culture as a focus for the study of language. Prerequisite: FRE 120 or placement.

FRE 260, 270 Culture, Composition, and Phonetics
Refinement of language skills in a course designed to introduce the student to France’s historical and cultural background. The course deals, in chronological order, with topics such as the origins of the French language, Gothic architecture, the Wars of Religion, French versification, the Court at Versailles, Voltaire, the French Revolution, Napoleon, Romanticism, Impressionist painting, La Belle Epoque, Surrealism, and World Wars I and II. Prerequisite: FRE 220 for 260; 260 for 270; or placement.

FRE 310 Actualite Fancaise: The News from France
A course stressing advanced oral competency with current events in France, especially Strasbourg. Students learn how to inform themselves daily about the social, political, and cultural climate in France through the use of on-line French newspapers, radio and television broadcasts, through conversations with our French language assistant, and through contacts with alumni and Centre students currently residing in France. Prerequisite: FRE 260 or placement.

FRE 330 Medieval and Renaissance Literature
A study of the evolution of the French vernacular and its oral and written traditions through the study of lyrical, narrative, and dramatic genres from the age of the crusades to the dawn of the Renaissance. Readings include courtly lyric poetry, the Chanson de Roland, Tristan et Iseult (Béroul), Maître Pathelin, Fabliaux, and selected texts by Chrétien de Troyes, Marie de France, Adam de la Halle, Christine de Pizan, Marguerite de Navarre, and Rabelais. Prerequisite: FRE 260.

FRE 340 Humanism and Classicism
A study of humanism and of the origins of Classicism in the works of the Pléiade poets; of the philosophical writings of Montaigne, Pascal, and Descartes; and of the major writers of 17th-century French Classicism: Corneille, Molière, Racine, La Fontaine, Sévigné, La Rochefoucauld, and La Fayette. Prerequisite: FRE 260.

FRE 350 Contemporary French Culture
A systematic study of Modern France and its social institutions. Offered in Strasbourg. Prerequisite: FRE 270.

FRE 360 The Enlightenment
A study of works by the major philosophes of the 18th century: Montesquieu, Voltaire, Diderot, and Rousseau and an analysis of the evolution of the novel in the works of LeSage, Prévost, and Laclos. Prerequisite: FRE 260.

FRE 370 Romanticism and Realism
A study of 19th-century French literature focusing on the Romantic movement as seen in the works of Lamartine, Hugo, Musset, Vigny, Sand, and Stendhal and in the Realist movement of Balzac, Flaubert, Maupassant, and Zola. Prerequisite: FRE 270.

FRE 380 From Symbolism to Proust
A study of the major writers of late 19th- and early 20th-century France to include Baudelaire, Verlaine, Rimbaud, Mallarmé, Valéry, Proust, Apollinaire, Breton, Aragon, Prévert, and Queneau. Prerequisite: FRE 270.

FRE 390 Modern and Contemporary Literature
A study of major works by Gide, Malraux, Sartre, Camus, Beckett, Ionesco, Robbe-Grillet, Duras, and selected contemporary writers. Prerequisite: FRE 270.


Special Topics Offered 1998-2001

FRE 25 Contemporary French Culture
A systematic study of Modern France and its social institutions. Offered in Strasbourg. Prerequisite: FRE 17.

FRE 25, 45 French Impressionism
A study of a group of paintings at the Art Institute of Chicago illustrating major themes of "impressionism" in late 19th-century France. The course includes readings on the lives and works of the artists (Monet, Renoir, Cassat, Van Gogh, and others), a painting workshop at Centre, and a museum visit in Chicago. Prerequisite: FRE 17 for 25; FRE 21 for 45; or permission of the instructor.

FRE 25, 45 Le Cinema Francais
A course designed to increase language skills through active modes of learning. Special emphasis is given to the study of French films. Students view, discuss, and write about the works of Renoir, Godard, Truffaut, Pialet, and others. The films are considered as works of art and as documents reflecting the values of French society. Prerequisite: FRE 17 for 25; FRE 21 for 45.