Director of undergraduate studies: Thomas Connolly, Rm. 321, 82–90 Wall St., 432-4902,; language program director: Ruth Koizim, Rm. 319, 82–90 Wall St., 432-4904,;


Professors R. Howard Bloch, Edwin M. Duval, Marie-Hélène Girard (Visiting), Alice Kaplan, Christopher L. Miller, Pierre Saint-Amand, Maurice Samuels (Chair)

Assistant Professors Morgane Cadieu, Thomas C. Connolly, Jill Jarvis, Christopher Semk

Senior Lecturers Lauren Pinzka, Maryam Sanjabi

Lecturer Diane Charney

Senior Lectors Kathleen Burton, Ruth Koizim, Soumia Koundi, Matuku Ngame, Françoise Schneider, Constance Sherak, Candace Skorupa

Lector Vanessa Vysosias

The Department of French has two distinct but complementary missions: to provide instruction in the French language at all levels of competence, and to lead students to a broad appreciation and deep understanding of the literatures and cultures of France and other French-speaking countries.

The major in French is a liberal arts major, designed for those who wish to study one of the world's greatest and richest literatures in depth. The department offers courses devoted to authors, works, and literary and cultural movements that span ten centuries and four continents. The curriculum also includes interdisciplinary courses on relations between literature and other areas of study such as history, law, religion, politics, and the arts. Majors are encouraged to explore all periods and genres of literature in French, as well as a wide variety of critical approaches.

Excellent knowledge of a foreign language and a mature, informed appreciation of a foreign literature open doors to many professions. The French major provides ideal preparation for careers not only in academia but also in a wide range of fields from law and diplomacy to journalism and the arts. Recent graduates have gone on to selective law schools and graduate programs in French and comparative literature. Others work in primary and secondary education, business, government, and a variety of nongovernmental agencies and international organizations.

French can be taken either as a primary major or as one of two majors, in consultation with the director of undergraduate studies. Appropriate majors to combine with French might include, but are not limited to, African American Studies, African Studies, English, Film and Media Studies, Global Affairs, History, History of Art, Humanities, Literature, Music, Philosophy, Political Science, Theater Studies, and Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. Regulations concerning the completion of two majors can be found under Section K, Special Arrangements, in the Academic Regulations.

Study abroad Students are encouraged to spend a term or a year abroad, for which appropriate course credit is granted. Summer study abroad may also, in some cases, receive course credit. Further information may be obtained from the Center for International and Professional Experience and from Ruth Koizim, the study abroad adviser for the Department of French.

Prerequisite for the major Candidates for the major should take FREN 150 or the equivalent during the freshman or sophomore year. Prospective majors are strongly encouraged to take at least one literature course numbered 170 or above before the end of the sophomore year.

The standard major The standard major consists of ten term courses numbered 160 or above, including a one-term senior essay (see below). One of these ten courses must be FREN 170 or the equivalent, which should be completed early in a candidate's studies; at least four must be Group B courses numbered 200 or above. Students may count no more than two courses in the FREN 180–199 range and no more than two courses conducted in English (Group C) toward the major. With prior approval of the director of undergraduate studies, a maximum of four term courses taught outside the Yale Department of French but bearing directly on the student's principal interest may be counted toward the major. Up to two of these may be taken in other departments at Yale, and up to four may be taken as part of a Year or Term Abroad or summer study abroad program. However, the combined number of courses from other departments and from study abroad may not exceed four. (The director of undergraduate studies may grant exceptions to this limit for students who spend two academic terms in an approved study abroad program.) Relevant freshman seminars may count toward the major, with permission of the director of undergraduate studies.

The intensive major The intensive major is designed for students who wish to undertake a more concentrated study of literature in French. It is recommended for students considering graduate study in French or in comparative literature. The intensive major consists of twelve term courses numbered 160 or above, including a one-term or two-term senior essay (see below). At least five courses must be from Group B and numbered 200 or above. The requirement of FREN 170 and the stipulations for courses in the 180–199 range, courses conducted in English, and courses taken outside the department are identical to those for the standard major.

Senior requirement All majors must write a senior essay showing evidence of careful reading and research and substantial independent thought. Essays may be written in either French or English and must be prepared under the direction of a ladder faculty member in the Department of French. Students planning to pursue advanced work in French after graduation are encouraged to write their senior essay in French.

Students writing a one-term essay enroll in FREN 491 in the senior year. A one-term essay may be written in either the fall or the spring term and should be approximately thirty pages in length. A preliminary statement indicating the general area to be addressed and the name of the adviser must be submitted to the director of undergraduate studies by April 22, 2016 (fall-term essay) or November 11 (spring-term essay). A one-page prospectus and bibliography are due September 23 (fall term) or January 27 (spring term). A rough draft must be submitted to the adviser by November 4 (fall term) or March 31 (spring term). Two copies of the final essay are due in the department by December 6 (fall term) or April 25 (spring term).

Students electing a two-term essay for the intensive major must select their subject and adviser by the end of the junior year and enroll in FREN 493 and 494 during the senior year. The essay should be approximately sixty pages in length. A preliminary statement indicating the general area to be addressed and the name of the adviser must be submitted to the director of undergraduate studies by April 22, 2016. A one-page prospectus and bibliography are due September 23. Students must submit an initial rough draft to their adviser by January 27 and a complete draft by March 31. Two copies of the final essay are due in the department by April 25.

All majors Students in the major are encouraged to take as many advanced courses as possible in all historical periods from the Middle Ages to the present. Candidates for the major should consult the director of undergraduate studies as early as the beginning of the sophomore year and no later than the fall term of the junior year. Schedules must be approved and signed by the director of undergraduate studies. Students planning to study abroad or to petition for completion of two majors should contact the director of undergraduate studies during the sophomore year.

Credit/D/Fail  Courses taken Credit/D/Fail may not be counted toward the requirements of the major.

Special Divisional Major The department will support the application of qualified students who wish to pursue an interdisciplinary course in French studies. Under the provisions of the Special Divisional Major, students may combine courses offered by the French department with subjects elected from other departments. Close consultation with departmental advisers is required; candidates for a Special Divisional Major should consult the director of undergraduate studies in French by the fall term of the junior year. For further information, see under Special Divisional Majors.

Group A courses (FREN 110–159) This group consists of language courses that lead directly to courses counting toward the major. Preregistration is required for all Group A courses except FREN 125 and 145. For further details, students should consult the language program director.

Group B courses (FREN 160–449, not including Group C courses) This group contains more advanced courses that are taught in French and count toward the major. FREN 160 and 170 are gateway courses that prepare students for courses numbered FREN 200 and above. Courses in the FREN 180–199 range are advanced language courses. Courses numbered 200–449 are advanced courses in literature and culture. The 200–299 range contains courses devoted to broad, general fields defined by century or genre; the 300–449 range contains courses devoted to specific topics within or across those general fields.

Group C courses This group comprises courses taught in English; readings may be in French or English. Two term courses from this group may be counted for credit toward the major.

Placement The departmental placement exam in French is accessible online over the summer. Dates and information for the exam will be available on the French Department Web site, in the Calendar for the Opening Days of College, and on the Center for Language Study Web site.

All students who have not yet studied French at Yale (except those who have had no previous exposure to French whatsoever) are expected to take the departmental placement exam. Students who studied abroad over the summer with non-Yale programs must take the placement exam to be eligible to receive credit for their work.

Students who earned superior scores on standardized tests may be able to enroll in a course designated L5. The department strongly recommends, however, that advanced students of French take the departmental placement exam in order to be directed to the most appropriate courses. Students who earned a score of 5 on the Advanced Placement exam, a score of 6 or 7 on the Advanced-Level International Baccalaureate (IB) exam, a rating of C1 on the CEFR European test, or an A or B on the GCE A-Level exam are normally placed into a course at the 150 level and above.

Students who wish to begin taking French in the spring are advised to take the placement exam over the summer. Placement exam results remain valid for one year.


Prerequisite FREN 150 or equivalent

Number of coursesStandard major—10 term courses numbered 160 or above; Intensive major—12 term courses numbered 160 or above

Specific course required FREN 170 or equivalent

Distribution of courses Standard major—at least 4 courses in Group B numbered 200 or above; no more than 2 courses numbered FREN 180–199; no more than 2 courses conducted in English; Intensive major—same, plus 1 addtl Group B course numbered 200 or above

Substitution permitted With prior approval of DUS, up to 4 term courses outside French dept, as specified

Senior requirement Standard major—one-term senior essay in French or English (FREN 491); Intensive major—one-term (FREN 491) or two-term (FREN 493, 494) senior essay in French or English

Group A Courses

* FREN 110a, Elementary and Intermediate French I Staff

Intensive training and practice in all the language skills, with an initial emphasis on listening and speaking. Emphasis on communicative proficiency, self-expression, and cultural insights. Extensive use of audio and video material. Conducted entirely in French. Mandatory weekly tests given on Mondays at 30-minute intervals from 5 to 8:30 p.m. To be followed by FREN 120. For students with no previous experience of French. Daily classroom attendance is required.  Credit only on completion of FREN 120.  L1RP1½ Course cr

* FREN 120b, Elementary and Intermediate French II Staff

Continuation of FREN 110. Conducted entirely in French. Only after FREN 110. To be followed by FREN 130.  L2RP1½ Course cr

* FREN 121a, Intermediate French Candace Skorupa

Designed for initiated beginners, this course develops all the language skills with an emphasis on listening and speaking. Activities include role playing, self-expression, and discussion of cultural and literary texts. Emphasis on grammar review and acquisition of vocabulary. Frequent audio and video exercises. Conducted entirely in French. Daily classroom attendance is required. Placement according to placement test score. Online preregistration required; see for details.  L2RP1½ Course cr

* FREN 125a, Intensive Elementary French Constance Sherak

An accelerated course that covers in one term the material taught in FREN 110 and 120. Practice in all language skills, with emphasis on communicative proficiency. Admits to FREN 145. Conducted entirely in French. For students of superior linguistic ability. No preregistration required.  L1, L2RP2 Course cr

* FREN 130a or b, Intermediate and Advanced French I Staff

The first half of a two-term sequence designed to develop students' proficiency in the four language skill areas. Prepares students for further work in literary, language, and cultural studies, as well as for nonacademic use of French. Oral communication skills, writing practice, vocabulary expansion, and a comprehensive review of fundamental grammatical structures are integrated with the study of short stories, novels, and films. Admits to FREN 140. Conducted entirely in French. After FREN 120, 121, or a satisfactory placement test score.  L3RP1½ Course cr

* FREN 140a or b, Intermediate and Advanced French II Staff

The second half of a two-term sequence designed to develop students' proficiency in the four language skill areas. Introduction of more complex grammatical structures. Films and other authentic media accompany literary readings from throughout the francophone world, culminating with the reading of a longer novel and in-class presentation of student research projects. Admits to FREN 150. Conducted entirely in French. After FREN 130 or a satisfactory placement test score.  L4RP1½ Course cr

* FREN 145b, Intensive Intermediate and Advanced French Candace Skorupa

An accelerated course that covers in one term the material taught in FREN 130 and 140. Emphasis on speaking, writing, and the conversion of grammatical knowledge into reading competence. Admits to FREN 150. For students of superior linguistic ability. Conducted entirely in French. After FREN 120, 121, or 125. No preregistration required.  L3, L4RP2 Course cr

* FREN 150a or b, Advanced Language Practice Staff

An advanced language course intended to improve students' comprehension of spoken and written French as well as their speaking and writing skills. Modern fiction and nonfiction texts familiarize students with idiomatic French. Special attention to grammar review and vocabulary acquisition. Conducted entirely in French. After FREN 140, 145, or a satisfactory placement test score. May not be taken after FREN 151. Online preregistration required; see for details.  L5RP

Group B Courses

Group B courses are conducted entirely in French. Courses numbered from 160 to 199 are open to students who have passed FREN 150 or the equivalent, and to others with consent of the department. Courses numbered from 200 to 449 are open to students who have passed FREN 170, or with permission of the instructor. Students who have taken a course at the 200 level or higher may not ordinarily take a 100-level course for credit, with the exception of advanced language courses numbered 185 or higher. Students may take 200-, 300-, and 400-level courses in any order. Courses in the 200–299 range are devoted to general fields; courses in the 300–449 range are devoted to specific topics.

Gateway Courses

* FREN 160a or b, Advanced Culture and Conversation Staff

Intensive oral practice designed to further skills in listening comprehension, speaking, and reading through the use of videos, films, fiction, and articles. Emphasis on contemporary French and francophone cultures. Conducted entirely in French. Prerequisites: FREN 150, 151, or a satisfactory placement test score, or with permission of the course director. May be taken concurrently with or after FREN 170.  L5RP

* FREN 170a or b, Introduction to the Study of Literature in French Staff

Introduction to close reading and analysis of literary texts written in French. Works by authors such as Marie de France, Molière, Balzac, Hugo, Baudelaire, Duras, Proust, and Genet. May not be taken after FREN 171.  L5, HU

Advanced Language Courses

* FREN 195a, Advanced Writing Workshop Lauren Pinzka

An advanced writing course for students who wish to work intensively on perfecting their written French. Frequent compositions of varying lengths, including creative writing, rédactions (compositions on concrete topics), and dissertations (critical essays). Recommended for prospective majors. Conducted entirely in French. After FREN 150 or higher, or a satisfactory placement test score. May be taken after courses in the 200–449 range.  L5

* FREN 198b, Applied Advanced French Grammar Constance Sherak

In-depth study of grammar and discourse strategies. Advanced grammar exercises, linguistic analysis of literary selections, and English-to-French translation. Intended to improve students' written command of French and to prepare them for upper-level courses; recommended for prospective majors. After FREN 150 or higher, or a satisfactory placement test score. May be taken after courses in the 200–449 range.  L5

General Fields

* FREN 215a / MMES 165a, Introduction to Maghrebi Literature and Culture Jill Jarvis

Introduction to the literature and cultures of the Maghreb (Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia) from independence through the Arab Spring. Close analysis of fiction, poetry, and film. Focus on anticolonialism, decolonization, violence, multilingualism, Islam, feminism, migration, and social justice.  HU

* FREN 233a, French Fiction since the 1990s Morgane Cadieu and Alice Kaplan

Exploration of literary life in contemporary France. Literature in the media; the figure of the writer, including prizes, publishing houses, and literary quarrels; the legal status of texts, trials for plagiarism, and violation of privacy; new literary movements and genres. Works by Modiano, Ernaux, Guibert, Angot, Houellebecq, Darrieussecq, NDiaye, Garréta, Toussaint, and Echenoz.  L5, HU

FREN 240b / HUMS 201b / LITR 214b, The Modern French Novel Alice Kaplan and Maurice Samuels

A survey of major French novels, considering style and story, literary and intellectual movements, and historical contexts. Writers include Balzac, Flaubert, Proust, Camus, and Sartre. Readings in translation. One section conducted in French.  HUTr

* FREN 245b / THST 245b, Twentieth-Century French Theater Christopher Semk

An introduction to the works of major twentieth-century playwrights, including Anouilh, Ionesco, Beckett, Sartre, and Genet. Special emphasis on theater of the absurd. The social, cultural, and political contexts of the plays; questions relating to theater in performance.  L5, HU

FREN 270a / LITR 284a, Mad Poets of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Century Thomas Connolly

Nineteenth- and twentieth-century French (and some German) poetry explored through the lives and works of poets whose ways of behaving, creating, and perceiving the world might be described as insane. Authors include Hölderlin, Nerval, Baudelaire, Rimbaud, Verlaine, Mallarmé, Lautréamont, Apollinaire, Breton, Artaud, and Celan. Lectures in English; readings available both in original language and in English translation.  WR, HU

Special Topics

* FREN 300b / ENGL 203b / HUMS 161b, Medieval Shorts Ardis Butterfield and R. Howard Bloch

Study of the medieval verse tales that are at the root core of humorous, realistic, and idealist literature in English, French, Italian, and Spanish. Readings include a wide range of short works such as French fabliaux, fables and lais, novella from Boccaccio’s Decameron, English short tales and lyrics. English translations will be available for all texts, which will also be studied alongside their original languages.  WR, HU

* FREN 318a, Renaissance Crises of Faith Edwin Duval

Literary expressions of sixteenth-century religious ferment from late medieval mysticism to the wars of religion. Popular songs and plays, satires, epics, and polemics by Renaissance writers such as Marguerite de Navarre, Marot, Rabelais, Ronsard, d'Aubigné, and Montaigne.  L5, HU

* FREN 333b / WGSS 357b, Women Vagabonds in Literature and Film Morgane Cadieu

Examination of various representations of women vagabonds (beggar, flâneuse, runaway, migrant, gleaner, homeless, shopper). Analyzation of how these representations deconstruct the traditional spatialization of sex and gender. French and Francophone literature by Duras, Bouraoui, Modiano, NDiaye and Colette. Films by Varda, Rivette, Denis, and Sciamma. Theoretical excerpts on feminism and space theory.  L5, HU

* FREN 335b / HUMS 235b, Orientalism in French Literature and Art Marie-Hélène Girard and Maryam Sanjabi

Examination of Oriental influences in French prose, theater, poetry, travel literature, and art from the seventeenth century to the twentieth. Topics include the problems of Orientalism; encounters with peoples, monuments, and cultures of the Muslim Middle East; social and political critique; and the popular lure of Oriental exoticism. Readings in English.  HU

* FREN 347b / HSAR 280b, Ekphrasis Thomas Connolly

An exploration of ekphrasis, understood both as the verbal representation of visual representation and, more broadly, as the way in which one artistic discourse represents, critiques, or transgresses another. Manifestations of this rhetorical device in both Western and non-Western cultures from antiquity to the present. Readings and discussion in English.  HUTr

* FREN 367a, Disclosures of Marie Antoinette Pierre Saint-Amand

An examination of the life of the last queen of France, Marie-Antoinette, through memoirs, pamphlets, correspondence, and films. Readings include critical literature that has dealt with her legacy in historiography (Hunt, Thomas) and fiction (Chantal Thomas). Conducted entirely in French.  L5

* FREN 368a, Reasoning with Voltaire Pierre Saint-Amand

An investigation of the French Enlightenment through its principal representative philosopher, Voltaire. An examination of Voltaire's preoccupations, including philosophy, religion, tolerance, freedom, and human rights. Readings include Voltaire's contes, major plays, entries from the Dictionnaire philosophique, treatises, and pamphlets. Conducted entirely in French.  L5

* FREN 388a / HUMS 162a, Feminine Voices in French Literature R. Howard Bloch

An exploration of women's voices in French literature from the Middle Ages to the mid-twentieth century. The specificity of the feminine voice, the plurality of feminine voices, love and sexuality, and social and professional identity. Authors include Marie de France, Marguerite de Navarre, George Sand, Maryse Condé, and Marguerite Duras.   Readings and discussion in English.  WR, HU

* FREN 389b, Lovers and Libertines of the Ancien Régime Pierre Saint-Amand

A study of love and relationship in the literature of Old Regime France. Topics include major actors (the libertine, the fop), spaces (the boudoir, the salon, and the garden), and social practices (conversation). Authors include Molière, Madame de Lafayette, Crébillon fils, and Laclos. Conducted entirely in French.  L5

* FREN 398a / FILM 415a, Seventeenth-Century France in Cinema Christopher Semk

Introduction to seventeenth-century French literature and culture through cinematic adaptations of literary works and representations of the period in film. The influence of seventeenth-century France on contemporary French culture; ways in which the period and its literature continue to capture the imagination of film directors.  L5, HU

* FREN 410a / AFAM 379a / LITR 299a, Colonial Narrative, Postcolonial Counternarrative Christopher Miller

Readings of paradigmatic, colonial era texts that have provoked responses and rewritings from postcolonial writers and filmmakers. In some cases the rewriting is explicit and direct, in other cases the response is more oblique. Both profound differences of perspective and unexpected convergences will emerge. Readings may include: Aimé Césaire’s A Tempest after Shakespeare’s Tempest, Kamel Daoud’s The Meursault Investigation after Camus’s The Stranger, and Claire Denis’s film Chocolat after Ferdinand Oyono’s Houseboy.

* FREN 414b / MMES 261b, The Algerian War of Independence and Its Literature Jill Jarvis

Survey of literature about the Algerian war of independence written in both France and Algeria since 1954. The role of women in the insurgency; the construction of an Algerian national identity; the issue of political commitment for intellectuals; debates on terrorism and the use of torture. Some attention to film. Readings from works by Fanon, Kateb, Djebar, Dib, Feraoun, Etcherelli, Sebbar, Camus, Sartre, De Beauvoir, Stora.  L5, HURP

* FREN 416a, Social Mobility and Migration Morgane Cadieu

Mobility in the French social landscape and representations of class in contemporary French fiction. The question of social change through gender, sexuality, and race; the representation of work and the workplace; the interaction between social class and literary style. Works by Ernaux, Genet, Eribon, Louis, and Marivaux.  L5, HU

Special Tutorial and Senior Courses

* FREN 470a and FREN 471b, Special Tutorial for Juniors and Seniors Staff

Special projects set up by the student in an area of individual interest with the help of a faculty adviser and the director of undergraduate studies. Intended to enable the student to cover material not offered by the department. The project must terminate with at least a term paper or its equivalent and must have the approval of the director of undergraduate studies. Only one term may be offered toward the major, but two terms may be offered toward the bachelor's degree. For additional information, consult the director of undergraduate studies.

* FREN 491a or b, The Senior Essay Thomas Connolly

A one-term research project completed under the direction of a ladder faculty member in the Department of French and resulting in a substantial paper in French or English. For additional information, consult the director of undergraduate studies.

* FREN 493a and FREN 494b, The Senior Essay in the Intensive Major Thomas Connolly

A yearlong research project completed under the direction of a ladder faculty member in the Department of French and resulting in a paper of considerable length, in French or English. For additional information, consult the director of undergraduate studies.

Group C

Courses in this group are conducted in English; readings may be in French or English. Group C courses numbered above 100 are open to all students in Yale College.

* FREN 005a / HUMS 060a, Tragedy Christopher Semk

Exploration of representative works of tragedy from ancient Greece to the twenty-first century. The relationship between tragedy as a literary form and the tragic as a philosophical concept. Tragedy as a way to give meaning to catastrophe, trauma, and loss. The ethical and political implications of tragedy and the question of tragedy's relevance today. Enrollment limited to freshmen. Preregistration required; see under Freshman Seminar Program.  HU

* FREN 012a / LITR 020a, French Literature in Global Context Jill Jarvis

Introduction to contemporary French fiction in a global perspective. Close readings of prizewinning novels by writers of the former French Empire—in Africa, the Middle East, Southeast Asia, and the Caribbean—alongside key manifestos and theoretical essays that define or defy the notion of world literature. Enrollment limited to freshmen. Preregistration required; see under Freshman Seminar Program.  HU

* FREN 013b / HUMS 074b / LITR 011b, The Major Works of Albert Camus Alice Kaplan

An exploration of the major works—fiction, theater, political essays—of French writer Albert Camus (1913–1960). Enrollment limited to freshmen. Preregistration required; see under Freshman Seminar Program.  WR, HU

Reading Course

* FREN 109a or b, French for Reading Maryam Sanjabi

Fundamental grammar structures and basic vocabulary are acquired through the reading of texts in various fields (primarily humanities and social sciences, and others as determined by student interest). Intended for students who either need a reading knowledge of French for research purposes or are preparing for French reading examinations and who have had no (or minimal) prior study of French. No preregistration required. Conducted in English. Does not satisfy the language requirement.