Show The Graduate Center Menu



Fall 2015 Courses


French 73000

Orientalisms in the Seventeenth Century
Professor Domna Stanton

Course conducted in English.

GC 4:15-6:15pm
Room 4202.11, 2/4 credits

French 77010

Techniques of Literary Research I
Professor Ali Nematollahy

Course conducted in French.
First-year Ph.D. Program in French students only.

GC 6:30-8:30pm
Room 4202.11, 4 credits


French 76000

Le genre romanesque en France au 20e siècle
Professor Royal Brown

Course conducted in French.

GC 2:00-4:00pm
Room 4202.11, 2/4 credits

French 87200

Art and Text: Mannerism to Modernism
Professor Mary Ann Caws

Course conducted in English.

GC 4:15-6:15pm
Room 4202.11, 2/4 credits


French 71110

Problems in French Literary History: The Novel
Professor Bettina Lerner

Course conducted in French.

GC 6:30-8:30pm
Room 4202.11, 4 credits

See Also

History Department: Intellectual Politics of the French Revolution
Professor Helena Rosenblatt

Course conducted in English.

Course Descriptions

FRENCH 73000

Orientalisms in the Seventeenth Century (in English)
GC: Tuesdays, 4:15-6:15pm, 2/4 credits, Professor Domna Stanton

This course will focus on Orientalisms in France's relations with the Ottoman empire in the context of globality. Beginning with 16th-century orientalists such as Postel (long before Said's Orientalism begins to track these figures), we will examine theories of Orientalisms as well as a number of discourses, including cartographic representations and travel narratives and letters; commercial relations (and the European desire for oriental luxury items); pilgrimages; conversion narratives from Christian to Muslim to Christian; phantasms of oriental harems and baths and the gendering of the Orient itself as feminine and effeminate, despite the coincident stereotypy of Turks as militaristic, violent, and cruel. We will consider closely theatrical works produced in France (Paris and the port city of Rouen) in the period 1600-1680, when openness and "tolerance" of alterity ( Manfray, La rhodienne (1621), Scudéry, L'amant libéral (1638), Desfontaines, Perside [1644]) seem to close down during the reign of Louis XIV (e.g. Molière, Le bourgeois gentilhomme; Racine, Bajazet),just when the Ottoman threat to Europe is temporarily ended by the European victory at Vienna in l683. We will examine the nature of the perceived threat (and desire) of Oriental despotism during the long reign of Louis XIV.

The course will be conducted in English. A reading knowledge of early-modern French is important, but translations, where they exist, will be made available. In addition to close readings of primary as well as historical and theoretical texts, work for the course will include an in-class presentation of one primary reading and a final exam. After consultation with the instructor, those taking the course for four credits will submit a 25-page research paper; those taking it for three credits, will produce a 10-12-page research paper. Those who wish to take the course for two credits will turn in their class presentation and take the final exam.

The research papers can deal with sites other than early-modern France, including ones bordering the Mediterranean or then England and Northern Europe.

The syllabus for the course will be posted on line by August 15. Readings for the course will appear on Blackboard before the first class.

Please address any questions to Domna Stanton at

FRENCH 77010

Techniques of Literary Research I (in French)
GC: Tuesdays, 6:30-8:30pm, 4 credits, Professor Ali Nematollahy

L’objectif de ce cours est double : étudier quelques textes fondateurs de la théorie littéraire et rédiger un mémoire en français d’une quarantaine de pages.

L’étude des textes marquants de la critique littéraire écrits ou traduits en français initiera les étudiants aux multiples façons de penser la littérature. Nous commencerons par les Anciens, à savoir des passages de La République et de Cratyle de Platon, La Poétique d’Aristote et L’Epître aux Pisons d’Horace. Nous lirons ensuite des extraits de L’Art poétique de Boileau, Du beau et du sublime de Kant et Du Laocoon de Lessing. Parmi les théoriciens du XIXème siècle nous retiendrons Taine et sa conception déterministe de l’œuvre littéraire ainsi que Baudelaire et sa vision de la modernité. Nous aborderons le XXème siècle par « Contre Sainte-Beuve » de Proust, Le Rire de Bergson et des passages tirés du Cours de linguistique générale de Ferdinand de Saussure. Nous étudierons ensuite des courants de pensée qui ont marqué la première moitié du XXème siècle : la théorie marxiste (G. Lukacs), les formalistes russes (Chklovski et Eichenbaum), les structuralistes (Jakobson et Lévi-Strauss).

Students will gain knowledge of most important schools of thought in the history of literary criticism.

Students will become skilled in employing methodologies based on theories of literature to research a topic of their choice.

Students will learn to apply literary theory to the analysis of literary texts.

Students will write a 40 page graduate level research paper.

FRENCH 76000

Le genre romanesque en France au 20e siècle (in French)
GC: Wednesdays, 2:00-4:00pm, 2/4 credits, Professor Royal Brown

In this course we will examine major 20th century French novels that appeared following Proust’s A la recherche du temps perdu. These will include Gide: Les Faux-monnayeurs; Céline: Voyage au bout de la nuit; Malraux: La Condition humaine; Sartre: La Nausée; Camus: La Peste; Duras: Moderato cantabile; and Robbe-Grillet: La Jalousie. We will also screen and discuss L’Éden et après, one of the films written and directed by Robbe-Grillet.

Goals of the course:

  1. An understanding of the important aesthetic, political, and philosophical currents that manifest themselves in the 20th-century French novel;
  2. The ability to analyze both orally and in writing the currents mentioned above.

FRENCH 87200

Art and Text: Mannerism to Modernism
GC: Wednesdays, 4:15am-6:15pm, 2/4 credits, Professor Mary Ann Caws

An informal treatment of a few examples of various movements, schools, and groups of like-visioned creations from the baroque to the contemporary periods. Probable inclusions of mannerist and baroque paintings and texts, both in prose and in poetry, of verbal and visual rococo design, symbolist, futurist, Dada, surrealist figures, writings, and art, concluding with such contemporary views as those of Yves Bonnefoy, Daniel Arasse, Jacques Derrida, and Guy Davenport. The readings, literary and theoretical, will be in French and English, the final papers can be in either language, while the class discussions and oral reports will be in English, all of it ranging greatly in style and substance.

Learning Goal: To further our shared perception of certain relations between art and text in France and beyond.

FRENCH 71110

Problems in French Literary History: The Novel (In French)
GC: Thursdays, 6:30-8:30pm, 2/4 credits, Professor Bettina Lerner

In this seminar we will examine the evolution of the French novel from the early modern to the modern period. We will begin with a brief overview of theoretical challenges posed by the novel as a literary genre that has repeatedly redefined itself. We will then explore how this protean narrative form developed into a privileged site for cultural struggle. Over the course of the semester, we will see how each novel frames and negotiates a number of tensions that structure the literary field including sentimentality and realism, politics and aesthetics, high and low, individual and society, history and memory. These readings will be paired with critical texts to which students will be asked to respond through bi-weekly response papers. In addition to these informal writing assignments, students will also redact a final paper on a topic of their choosing, and complete an in-class final exam. Discussion will be in French. Students in the French department must write their final papers in French. Students from other departments may choose to write their final papers in English. Novels will most likely include: La Princesse de Clèves, Les liaisons dangereuses, Indiana, L'Éducation Sentimentale, Du côté de chez Swann and W, ou le souvenir d'enfance. At the end of this course, students should be able to meet the following learning goals:

  1. be able to articulate a historical and theoretical overview of the novel as a literary genre;
  2. gain in-depth familiarity with a number of key French novels from the early modern to modern period;
  3. think and write critically about theoretical and literary texts.