Middlebury Language Schools. 100 years of Language.

Jacques Noiray





Course List: 

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

FREN 6624 - Myth of Paris in French Lit      

This course will examine the different aspects and the numerous meanings of the literary image of Paris in French literature from its medieval origins to its contemporary achievement. We will find the first occurrences of this image in François Villon’s poetry at the end of the Middle Ages, and, two and three centuries later, in Boileau’s Satires and Prevost’s and Diderot’s novels. The literary image of Paris reached its full development in the 19th century in the fiction of Balzac, Hugo, Flaubert and Zola and in Baudelaire’s poems: we will analyze the various moral, aesthetic, political, ideological components which make up the complete image. We will follow its evolution, fifty years later, in early 20th century poetry (Apollinaire, the Surréalistes) and then, before World War II, in Celine’s novels. On the way, we will explore other kinds of arts and artists, painters, singers, photographers, filmmakers, who, like writers, contributed to the development of a collective imaginary picture of the city —the myth of Paris. Literature

Summer 2013, Summer 2014 Language Schools

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FREN 6672 - Landscape in 19&20C French Lit      

Landscape in 19th and 20th Century French Literature / le paysage dans la literature des 19 et 20ième siècles

This course will explore in the poetry and the French novel aspects and the evolution of a major theme of the literary and artistic creation of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries: the representation of landscape. We will look first at the romantic landscape, focusing on the contemplation of nature and the effects that this contemplation occurs on the spectator's soul: countryside (Lamartine), mountain (Senancour), sea (Hugo), exoticism (Chateaubriand ), etc.. Then we'll see how the interest of the observer moves from nature to the city, and how the birth of a city (Paris) supports the development of modernity (Balzac, Baudelaire, Zola, Apollinaris, etc..). This change is accompanied by the emergence of new landscapes: industrial landscape, landscape of ruins, war, etc.. We will study the links that the landscape has with psychological analysis (Proust), and we will show how the emergence of new forms of fiction (Céline, Giono, New Roman) causes a change in the representation of space. The thematic study of the landscape will be accompanied by the means of its literary representation in relation to painting: realism, impressionism, abstraction, etc. We will work on short extracts to be distributed to students in class.

Evaluation: each student will make a brief oral and written work of a dozen pages related to the topics covered during the course. Literature

Summer 2012

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FREN 6712 - Theory of the Novel      

La théorie du roman / Theory of the Novel

N.B. This course meets from June 30 to July 20, 2 hours per day

This course will examine (thru theoretical texts such as forewords, correspondences, essays, etc.), how the French novelists of the 19th and 20th centuries considered the genre and their own craft. Balzac’s, Flaubert’s, Zola’s, Proust’s works will be studied to show how the realistic novel was born and how it evolved. Then a few attempts at renewal will be looked into : Gide’s Faux Monnayeurs, Sartre’s ‘existentialist’ novel, Robbe-Grillet’s ‘Nouveau Roman’. This course will provide a general survey of the evolution of the French novel between 1830 and 1960, with a final opening onto the next period.

The course material will be short excerpts given as handouts to students. Literature

Summer 2011

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FREN 6714 - Passion in 19 & 20C French Lit      

Passion in the French Novel of the 19th & 20th centuries / La passion dans les romans des 19 et 20ième siècles

""Passion," Balzac said, "is all humanity." This course will explore different representations of the human passions in the French novel of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. We will first study in Stendhal's Le Rouge et le noir the conflict of love and ambition; then in La Curée by Emile Zola the portrait of speculators associated with that of the ""imperial party"" in the corrupt society of the Second Empire; in Un Amour de Swann by Marcel Proust the fine analysis of the evolution of passion and jealousy, and finally in a Un Roi sans divertissement by Jean Giono the quest for the absolute and its tragic outcome. These texts should be read in full.
Each student will make at least one oral presentation and a written work of a dozen pages related to the theme of the course.

Required texts:
1) Stendhal, Le Rouge et le noir, Hachette, Le Livre de poche classiques, ISBN 978 225 300 6206
2) Émile Zola, La Curée, Gallimard, Folio classique, nº 3302, ISBN 978 207 041 1412
3) Marcel Proust, Un amour de Swann, Gallimard, Folio, nº 780, ISBN 207 036 7800
4) Jean Giono, Un roi sans divertissement, Gallimard, Folio, nº 220, ISBN 978 207 036 2202 Literature

Summer 2012

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FREN 6716 - The Human Body in French Lit      

Representation of the Human Body in French Literary Texts (1800-1950)

The purpose of this course is to study how the human body was represented in French literature, especially in fiction and poetry, between 1800 and 1950. First,
we’ll insist on the influence of two previous ways of representing and exhibiting the body — painting and drama. Then we’ll see how literature takes over the genre of the portrait, of men and women, in the romantic novel (Madame de Stael) and the realistic novel (Balzac). We’ll consider a special extension of the body — the voice— and we’ll study the relationship between literature and music in Balzac’s works. We’ll then emphasize the rich erotic and aesthetic meanings of the image of the body, especially in Baudelaire’s poems (Les Fleurs du mal) and aesthetic works (Le peintre de la vie moderne) about jewels, clothing and make-up. At the same time, we’ll study the influence of caricature on the popular novel, in Eugène Sue’s and Victor Hugo’s representation of poverty. In Zola’s naturalistic novel, we’ll see how the representation of the body includes disease and death (L’Assommoir), war and its horrors (La Débâcle), and we’ll extend the study to the Grande Guerre novelists (Barbusse, Dorgelès, Genevoix). We’ll then show how Balzac’s and Zola’s representations of the body are renewed in Proust’s and Celine’s works, and we’ll finally examine some texts glorifying the body through sport (Montherlant) or a euphoric relationship with nature (Gide, Camus).

No textbooks required Literature

Summer 2014 Language Schools

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FREN 6753 - Fiction & History in 19C Lit      

Fiction and History in the 19th century (1830-1914)

The purpose of this course is to study the relationship between Fiction and History in some of the most important French novels of the 19th century. First we will examine the origins of the so-called « roman historique » around the 1830s (the influence of Walter Scott, the rise of historical drama, the development of modern historiography). We will then try to define, according to Balzac’s Avant-Propos of the Comédie humaine, what the novelist called « histoire des mœurs », taking as an example one of Balzac’s masterpieces, Illusions perdues. We will then study the main features of the historical novel —a successful genre during the whole romantic period— with for example Dumas’s Les Trois Mousquetaires. Studying Victor Hugo’s Quatre-Vingt-Treize, we will see how the historical novel deepens and assumes moral and metaphysical meanings, as it pictures the place and function of evil in history. Finally, by examining short extracts from historical texts of fiction, we will study the different ways in which history can be integrated into the novel: local color, historic scenes, representation of historic characters and facts. The relationships between historical and realistic fiction will be underlined, then we will conclude with a short survey of historical fiction throughout the 20th century.

Required text: 1) Victor Hugo, Quatrevingt-treize; ISBN 978 2070418237, Gallimard Folio classique nº 3513; 2) Balzac, Illusions perdues, ISBN 978-2-07-030989-4, Gallimard Folio classique, nº 5545 Literature

Summer 2013

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The French School

Sunderland Language Center
Middlebury College
P: 802.443.5526
F: 802.443.2075

Mailing address
French School
14 Old Chapel Road
Middlebury College
Middlebury, VT  05753

Sheila Schwaneflugel, Coordinator