French Culture and Literature at Trent

The French Studies program offers several courses in French Literature, from the 1000 to the 4000 level (Honours Program).  Here is a list of the courses offered in French culture and literature (specific to France):


Introduction to French Studies I (FREN 1101H)

An introduction to textual comprehension, providing a basis for the critical appraisal of francophone literary discourse.  Review of French grammar.

Introduction to French Studies II (FREN 1102H)

Study of literary genres.  An examination of selected works and excerpts to provide training in textual analysis and writing of critical essays on francophone literature.  Review of French grammar.

French and Quebec Civilization (FREN 2451H/2452H)

A survey of the social and cultural histories of France from the seventeenth century to the present (2451H). A survey of the development of culture from la Nouvelle-France to present day Quebec. (2452H)

Passages to Modernity: From the Italian Wars to the Founding of the Académie française (FREN 3161H)

Focuses on texts illustrating the institution of French as a national language, the recuperation of classical genres, and the modernity of invention. Modernity will be considered as a universal cultural tendency and as a construct of occidental historiography.


Renaissance Reconstructions (FREN 3162H)

Examines the ambition to break with the past and reconstruct the present in Rabelais, Ronsard and Montaigne. The challenges of this project will be studies in the reflexivity, return and revisions that characterize their texts as well as in the invention and critique of "the Renaissance."


The Pre-Recolutionary Novel: From Honoré d'Urfe to the Marquis de Sade (FREN 3171H)

A review of the medieval and classical sources of the French novelistic tradition and study of the diverse currents - pastoral, picaresque, precious, comic, psychological and libertine - which contribute to the development of the French novel.

Ambiguities of Classicism (FREN 3172H)

Beginning with a study of competing movements and critical approaches (mannerism, baroque, etc.), and comparing literary representations to examples drawn from the fine arts, the seminar will focus on the tensions - between the individual and power, reason and passion, clarity and concision - that characterize the classical aesthetic.

From the Libertines to the Enlightenment (FREN 3181H)

Beginning with a review of classical traditions transmitted by the

Renaissance (skepticism, stoicism, Epicureanism), this seminar studies

the development of critical discourse, principally through contestation of

Christian orthodoxy, and explores connections between skepticism and

rationalism; absolutism and tolerance; sexual and political liberation;

universalism and imperialism; romanticism and revolution.


Fiction and Reason in the Works of the Philosophes (FREN 3182H)

Study of the discourse of reason, freedom, and authenticity in works by Voltaire, Diderot, and Rousseau. Juxtaposes philosophical and fictional works to focus on the connections between depictions of reason in the fictional works and the understanding of fiction that emerges from the philosophical texts.

Nineteenth Century French Novel (FREN 3191H)

This survey will show how the French novel in the nineteenth century shaped a critical vision of post-revolutionary French capitalist society.  From the Romantics to the Decadents.

Nineteenth Century French Poetry (FREN 3192H)

A study of poetry as an agent and reflection of social change in nineteenth-century France.  An examination of selected works from Chateaubriand and Lamartine to Rimbaud and Mallarmé.

Life and Literature in Twentieth Century France (FREN 3200Y)

Modern and contemporary trends in literature: poetry, novels, theatre. Offered only in Nantes.

The French Novel of the Twentieth Century (3201H)

A survey of the French novel in the twentieth century and its relation the notion of nouveau, from modernism to modernity to postmodernity and beyond.

The French Theater of the Twentieth Century (3202H)

A survey of a century of French theater, from the théâtre de boulevard to the théâtre de l'absurde to contemporary forms.

Literary Criticism (FREN 4200Y)

Examines the various methods of literary criticism and studies relevant critical texts by French writers and literary critics.

Creative Writing (FREN 4201H)

A creative writing workshop.  Various writing techniques will be applied; genres (poetry, short story, etc.) will be explored through writing.

French Literary Theory (FREN 4202H)

Covers French theory with a strong emphasis on twentieth century theories: formalism, structuralism, social criticism, narratology, psychoanalytic criticism, semiotics, feminism.

Writing Being in the French Tradition I, II (FREN 4601H/4602H)

Examines the canonical models of selfhood transmitted to the Occident in the texts of French authors whose writings shaped and reflected their respective ages.  The (re)invention of selfhood will be studied as a process of reaction and repetition.  Focus is on "early" writers such as Augustine, Montaigne, and Pascal in 4601H and focuses on writers from the eighteenth to the twentieth century.


Additional courses are being offered at Trent in the French Program.  To obtain a complete list of course offerings for this academic year, as well as prerequisites for admissions into each of these courses, please consult the Academic Calendar and the Academic Timetable.

If you have any questions concerning French culture and literature courses, please contact the department directly.