Jennifer L. Tamas

Jennifer Tamas arrived at Middlebury in 2013. She left France in 2006 when she was granted a Fulbright fellowship to study in the USA. She now holds a PhD from Stanford University (A Revolution in Rhetoric: Claiming the Authority to Speak in Early Modern France (1643-1793)) in which she studies the intersection between politic, religious and theatrical texts through the lens of “declaration”. Agrégée de Lettres Modernes, she also holds a PhD in Literature and Stylistics from Paris IV Sorbonne (Dire et ne pas dire. Du silence éloquent à l’énonciation tragique des déclarations d’amour chez Racine). This study focuses on the implications of the unsaid in Racine’s dramaturgy.

Her teaching interests range from the Old Regime to the French Revolution and explore the boundaries between passions and politics, as well as 17th and 18th century theater, speech act theory, language and the human, the eloquence of silence, the tribune as a theatrical stage for human rights and political declarations, the rhetoric of emancipation movements (slaves and women). She also nurtures a deep passion for teaching French (especially grammar, lexicology and stylistics).

She published numerous articles on passions and theater. She is currently working on a volume about the eloquence of silence in 17th and 18th century French theater. In addition, her main project aims at writing a book about Racine’s dramaturgy of silence.



Course List: 

Courses offered in the past four years.
indicates offered in the current term
indicates offered in the upcoming term[s]

FREN0101 - Beginning French Part One      

Intensive Beginning French
For students who have not previously studied French, an introduction to listening, speaking, reading, and writing in French, providing the syntactic and semantic foundation of the French language in a concentrated program of grammar presentation, drills, laboratory work, and discussion. Primary emphasis will be placed on the student's active use of the language, and weekly attendance at the French language table will be required. This course does not fulfill the foreign language distribution requirement. Students are expected to continue with FREN 0102 in the winter term after successfully completing FREN 0101, and with FREN 0201in the spring. 6 hrs. lect./disc.

Fall 2013

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FREN0102 - Beginning French Part Two      

Beginning French
This course is a continuation of FREN 0101, dealing with more complex French. Oral skills are stressed and students participate in the French language table at lunch. This course does not fulfill the foreign language distribution requirement. (FREN 0101) WTR

Winter 2014

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FREN0205 - Toward Liberated Expression      

Toward Liberated Expression
A course designed to increase and perfect the ability to express oneself in spoken and written French. Emphasis on precision, variety, and vocabulary acquisition. Sections limited to 15 students. (FREN 0203 or placement) This requirement for the major and the minor may be satisfied by placement at a higher level. 3 hrs. lect./disc. LNG

Spring 2014

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FREN0210 - Identity in French Literature      

Identity in French Literature
Exploration of differing views of the self, society, and the world in major works of French poetry, drama, and prose. This course is designed to develop students' ability to read and critique literature in French, as a transition from FREN 0205 to more advanced literature courses. (FREN 0205 or by placement) 3 hrs. lect./disc. EUR LIT LNG

Spring 2014

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FREN0388 - Love & Death French Revolution      

Dangerous Liaisons: Love and Death before the French Revolution
Laclos's famous book Les Liaisons dangereuses highlights the dangerous collusion between love and death, but this unexpected association is not exclusive to 18th-century libertinism. Since the Middle Ages, the Tristan myth has defined love as a fatal passion. Is a sense of fatality necessarily associated with love? How did the conception of love evolve, and what does it say about power relations and gender tensions? In this course we will study texts that are critical to understanding the mentalities and sensibilities of French society. Readings include texts by Béroul, Labé, Guilleragues, Racine, Cazotte, and Laclos. We will also watch three films, L'Éternel retour by Jean Delannoy, La Religieuse portugaise by Eugène Green, and Cruel Intentions by Roger Kumble. (FREN 0221 or by waiver) 3 hrs.lect./disc. EUR LIT LNG

Fall 2013

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FREN0500 - Independent Projects      

Independent Project
Qualified students may be permitted to undertake a special project in reading and research under the direction of a member of the department. Students should seek an advisor and submit a proposal to the department well in advance of registration for the term in which the work is to be undertaken. (Approval required)

Fall 2013, Winter 2014, Spring 2014

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FREN0700 - Senior Honors Essay      

Senior Honors Essay
(Approval required).

Fall 2013, Winter 2014, Spring 2014

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Recent Publications


L’éloquence du silence sur la scène théâtrale du 17e et 18e siècles, Hélène BILIS et Jennifer TAMAS (eds.), European Drama and Performance Studies ( Paris: Classiques Garnier, 2014).

Madame de Sévigné: les Lettres de 1671, Frédéric CALAS, Nathalie FREIDEL, Cécile LIGNEREUX, Jennifer TAMAS (Paris: Nathan, coll. Atlande, 2012).


“Racine: une dramaturgie de l’indicible,” European Drama and Performance Studies, (Paris: Classiques Garnier, 2014). 

“Valmont ou la sémiotique du corps au service d’une séditieuse séduction,” in Corps et Séduction, du charme à la manipulation. Proceedings of the International Conference on Seduction, University of Versailles, Forthcoming.
“Dire et ne pas dire l’amour : formes discursives et effets pragmatiques des aveux dans Mithridate de Racine,” in Genres, Styles, Auteurs 2010 (Paris: Presses Universitaires Paris-Sorbonne, 2010), 119-142.

“La déclaration d’amour chez Racine : un discours emphatique qui oscille entre épanchement et brièveté,” in L’emphase: entre copia et brevitas, 16e et 17e siècles (Paris: Presses Universitaires Paris-Sorbonne, 2010), 85-98.

“L’imaginaire de la clôture à travers le cloître et la maison close au 17e siècle: la femme et la mise au ban de la société française,” La Licorne n°94: Le Bannissement et l'exil en Europe aux 16e et 17e siècles, (2010): 85-99.

“La Médée d’Anouilh : entre drame intime et vision mythique d’une France blessée,” Revue du Paon d’Héra n°5 (2009): 187-194.

Department of French

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Middlebury College
Middlebury, VT 05753