Bard College at Simon's Rock: the Early College
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French & Francophone Courses

Explore French courses offered at Simon’s Rock.

French Language and Context I and II

French 100-101 | Tebben,van Kerckvoorde | 4 credits

This accelerated course is designed for students with little or no previous experience of French. It enables them to fulfill the College’s language requirement in one year and prepares them for entry into upper-level courses. The class meets five hours per week.

This sequence is offered every year.

Intermediate French I & II

French 204-205 | Tebben,van Kerckvoorde | 3 credits

In Intermediate French, students build on the skills that they have acquired in their beginning classes, either at Simon’s Rock or elsewhere. The course is taught immersion-style and provides a thorough review and an expansion of grammatical structures, while paying attention to the development of oral fluency through role-play, group presentations, and work in pairs. Various homework assignments aim to improve the written command of the language, both in creative approaches and in more directed tasks. In doing so, students naturally increase their knowledge of vocabulary and idiomatic expressions. In addition, they learn about the customs and various cultures of the French-speaking world, in Europe and on other continents.

Prerequisite: French 101 or permission of the instructor based on placement test results. This sequence is offered every year.

French Grammar and Composition

French 206 | Tebben | 3 credits

A transition from language courses to more advanced courses in literature and culture, French 206 offers a thorough review of grammar (including compound tenses, conditional forms, and the subjunctive) and readings intended to stimulate discussion, writing, critical thinking, and oral presentations in French. The course includes practice in textual analysis, translation exercises, and an introduction to literature.

Prerequisite: French 205 or appropriate score on the French placement test.

French Literature of Conversation

French 215/315 | Tebben | 3/4 credits

This course explores written works that bear the imprint of oral conversation in some way. Texts from the early modern period (the Renaissance and the 17th century) incorporate conversations wholly into fictional works, while later works illustrate the evolution of conversation in literature and society as the conversational form is transformed into letters, epistolary novels, and the modern novel. To be discussed: What form does conversation take in a “written conversation”? Is “dialogue” the same as “conversation” in these works? How is the novel rooted in conversation? Is the concept of a “written conversation” consistent across these works and across history? This course is conducted entirely in French. A 300-level tutorial component may be offered in conjunction with this course for those students who are qualified. These students will meet with the instructor outside of class to discuss additional readings, such as articles by Carolyn Lougée, Elizabeth Goldsmith, Joan DeJean, and Maryann Tebben; Racine’s Andromaque or Phèdre; Castiglione’s Book of the Courtier and/or Boccaccio’s Decameron. These students will also be required to write longer papers and include a research component in their written work.

Prerequisites: French 205 or equivalent or permission of the instructor. This course is generally offered once every three or four years.

French Food, Culture, and Literature

French 216 | Tebben | 3 credits

French cuisine is an essential part of the French identity; this course will foster an appreciation of French food and will investigate why in France, according to one contemporary critic, “la cuisine est et ne cessera jamais d’être un art.” Students will work toward advanced language abilities through the reading, discussion, and analysis of authentic texts both literary and factual. The course will place special emphasis on speaking and writing practice, and will include oral presentations and a final project as well as a systematic grammar review linked to the texts. Students may choose to prepare French dishes as part of their presentations or the final project, but no cooking skills are required for the course. The course is conducted entirely in French.

Prerequisite: French 205 or equivalent or permission of the instructor. This course is generally offered once every two years.

Paris on the Page

French 217 | Tebben | 3 credits

This course will explore the city of Paris as the center of French culture and as a world capital. Course materials will investigate the physical and cultural essence of Paris, its history and architecture, its literary portrait, and its relevance in the present day. The course will cover Parisian history from the Middle Ages to the present, including images of Paris from Victor Hugo’s Notre Dame and Louis XIV’s Versailles to Haussmann’s reconception of the city. Students will read excerpts from works of French literature, history, and journalism, and will view films having Paris as a central character. In addition, students will prepare oral presentations detailing the visual character of Paris in architecture, art, maps, and films. The course is organized around reading/viewing and discussion of primary texts. Students will be required to complete daily written responses, oral presentations, two short papers, two exams, and a final project. This course is taught entirely in French.

Prerequisite: French 205 or equivalent or permission of the instructor. This course is generally offered once every two years.

Modern French Theater

French 321 | Tebben | 4

In this course covering the evolution of French theater in the 20th century, full-length plays by Anouilh, Giraudoux, Montherlant, Camus, Sartre, Beckett, Genet, Sarraute, and Ionesco are read and discussed in order to acquaint students with such major movements in modern theater as naturalism, realism, symbolism, and the theater of the absurd.

Prerequisites: French 206 or higher.

Female Writer in French Literature

French 323 | Tebben | 4 credits

This course explores works of notable female writers of French literature, philosophy, and theory since the Middle Ages, examining them in light of the concept of l’écriture féminine. Students will be asked to consider how women’s writing is defined and how this definition evolved. The course will focus on two main themes: What women do with and for authorship, and how far the designation of “female writer” can be stretched. Do women writers employ “female writing” exclusively? Can male authors act as “female writers”? The historical and cultural context of each work will be considered. The course will include texts from such authors as Christine de Pisan, Pernette du Guillet, Labé, Lafayette, Sévigné, Staël, Sand, Mariama Bâ, Beauvoir, Duras, Cixous, Scudéry, and Wittig.

Prerequisites: French 206 or higher. This course is generally offered once every three or four years.

French Tutorial

French 300/400 | Staff | 4 credits

Under these course numbers, juniors and seniors design tutorials to meet their particular interests and programmatic needs. A student should see the prospective tutor to define an area of mutual interest to pursue either individually or in a small group. A student may register for no more than one tutorial in any semester.