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More than 274 million people around the world speak French, and it’s the world's second most frequently studied language. Thousands of corporations have invested in France. What’s more, in the United States, French companies employ more than 650,000 workers.

The French program at Saint Louis University offers a wide range of courses aimed at the mastery of the French language and at the understanding of French and Francophone cultures. A diverse curriculum includes courses in Francophone studies, film, women writers, French for the professional, as well as courses in French literature. Students in the graduate program can find more information in the graduate student handbook

Coordinator: Annie Smart, Ph.D.


Courses on French language, literature and culture, including French films and the history of France, are offered by the Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures.

  • FREN 1010: Communicating in French I
    Introduction to French language and culture: reading, writing, speaking and listening. The course emphasizes the acquisition of communicative skills.
  • FREN 1020: Communicating in French II
    Prerequisite: FREN 1010 or placement.
    Continuation of FREN 1010. Expansion of oral and written communication skills in areas of immediate needs, personal interests and written communication skills in areas of immediate needs, personal interests and daily life.
  • FREN 2010: Intermediate French Language and Culture
    Prerequisite: FREN 1020 or placement.
    Continued practice in and development of all language skills, enabling the student to function in an increased number of areas. Materials and discussion relating to French culture.
  • FREN 2930: Special Topics
  • FREN 2980: Independent Study
    Prerequisite: Prior approval required of sponsoring professor and department chairperson.
  • FREN 3010: Discovering the French-Speaking World
    Prerequisite: FREN 2010 or placement.
    Students discover varied aspect of the French-speaking world, both locally and internationally, while raising their proficiency in French to a level at which they can communicate with increasing ease and accuracy. Emphasis on oral expression and listening comprehension, reinforced by writing skills.
  • FREN 3020: Text, Voice and Self-Expression
    Prerequisite: FREN 2010 or placement.
    Students discover varied aspects of the French-speaking world, both locally and internationally, while raising their proficiency in French to a level at which they can communicate with increasing ease and accuracy. Emphasis on oral expression and listening comprehension, reinforced by writing skills. Lab required.
  • FREN 3030: 21st-century France
    Prerequisite: FREN 3010
    Students extend their knowledge of contemporary French and Francophone cultures, while strengthening their communication skills and ability to talk about unfamiliar and abstract topics. Special focus on current issues. Emphasis on oral expression and listening comprehension. Lab required.
  • FREN 3040: Society, Nation, and the Arts in Pre-Revolutionary France
    Prerequisite: FREN 3010, FREN 3020
    Through studying important historical figures, concepts, and literary movements of French civilization from the Middle Ages to the French Revolution, students learn to write extended analyses on abstract topics. Emphasis on mastering various writing styles. Lab required.
  • FREN 4110: Language and Linguistics
    Cross listed with GER 4210, RUSS 4210 and SPAN 4210. An introduction to the basic concepts and application of linguistic studies. Presentation and discussion of three main aspects of language: linguistic structures, language as a social dimension and language as a mirror of cognitive processes.
  • FREN 4160: French for the Professional
    For students interested in developing the proficiency needed in business-orientated activities.
  • FREN 4170: French and the Sciences
    Students in this course will extend their knowledge of scientific advances and issues in contemporary French and Francophone cultures, while strengthening their communication skills and ability to talk and write about unfamiliar and abstract topics. Students will study current issues in science and technology, including scientific, medical, and technological research being done in France and other Francophone countries. The course will also discuss health issues, particularly in French-speaking Africa, as well as other global issues. Taught in French.
  • FREN 4180: French and International Relations
    This performance-based course culminates in a global simulation project of international conferences. Learn more about international relations through the Francophone world's lens; become familiar with key events, institutions and actors of international relations; acquire cultural and linguistic skills to function effectively in international settings.
  • FREN 4200: Perceiving other U.S. and France
    The study of French and American cultures, perceptions of each other and frequent cultural misunderstandings, placed in the perspective of their development in history and of current events. Taught in French.
  • FREN 4220: French and Francophone Media: Qu'est-ce qui se passe?
    This course will introduce students to a variety of French and Francophone media with an emphasis on national and regional variations. It will expand students' knowledge and understanding of Francophone societies and cultures throughout the world through analysis of media coverage of current and recent events. Conducted in French.
  • FREN 4290: Women and Global Issues
    In this course, we explore globalization from various theoretical perspectives (historical, cultural, literary and economic). Through literary and visual narratives, we examine how the increased interconnectedness that comes with globalization affects feminist discourses and how global culture shapes women, their experiences, their lives and their bodies within the public/cultural spheres.
  • FREN 4310: Contemporary Women Writers in France and Quebec
    20th Century Feminine Literature fiction in French examined in light of French and Québequois feminist theory. De Beauvoir, Duras, Sarraute, Brossard, Maillet, Cixous, Irigaray, Redonnet. In French.
  • FREN 4320: French Short Story
    The study of themes, techniques, and perspectives as seen in a diversity of French short stories. Texts may include selections from as early as the Medieval fabliau through contemporary writings by Michel Tournier and J.M.G. Le Clezio.
  • FREN 4330: Studies in French Prose: Rabelais through 17th Century
    Humanism, preciosity, classicism, Montaigne, Rabelais, Descartes, Pascal, Sevigné, LaFayette and La Bruyère. In French.
  • FREN 4340: Studies in 18th-century French Prose 
    A course on society, literature, art, and revolution in 18th-century France. A focus on how the concepts of society and social change are articulates in the novels and essays of writers such as Montesquieu, Voltaire, Rousseau, Diderot, Olympe de Gouges, Condorcet
  • FREN 4350: Studies in 19th-century Novel
    The development of the novel in 19th century France, as seen in representative works of the period from Romanticism to Naturalism. Authors studied may include: Chateaubriand, Hugo, Stendhal, Balzac, Flaubert, Zola.
  • FREN 4360: Paris in 19th-century Literature
    Paris in the 19th century was a city in transition- politically, economically, culturally. This course deals with some of the great writers of the period who, as visionaries of their time, were able to grasp the true meaning underlying the ever-changing Parisian panorama. Texts include works by Hugo, Balzac, Gautier and Murger.
  • FREN 4370: Literature of the Fantastic
    This course examines a literary genre known as the conte fantastique (fantastic short story) that emerged in 19th century France and whose legacy is still seen in today's literature, cinema and art. Fantastic tales by well-known authors such as Balzac, Gautier, Maupassant, Merimee and German writer Hoffmann are analyzed from a theoretic perspective and for the underlying questions of identity, universal values and the unconscious that they contain.
  • FREN 4380: Hugo and the Misérables
    Victor Hugo, celebrated poet, playwright, novelist, was also one of the most socially and politically engaged writers of his time. This course examines Hugo's deep commitment to society's misérables and the global implications of his monumental undertaking to sensitize readers to problems of misery, poverty, and social justice in our own time. At the same time, students develop a critical eye for identifying what kind of critical strategies enable Hugo to inspire audiences throughout the world to identify with his ideas and to appropriate the spirit of his work for the development of their own initiatives, from art and film production to causes involving political reform and social justice. Satisfies Global Citizenship requirement.
  • FREN 4390: Studies in 20th Century French Prose
    Examines the new directions taken by French fiction in the 20th century. Beginning with Proust, through the Existentialists and the post-war nouveau roman, ending with an evaluation of recent literary trends in the light of the concepts of modernity and post-modernity.
  • FREN 4410: French Poetry : Middle Ages to 17th Century
    A study of the evolution of French poetry from its medieval origins through the seventeenth century, exploring poetic techniques, devices and forms.
  • FREN 4420: French Poetry : Romanticism to Baudelaire
    An examination of Symbolism of the Romantic period as a moment of explosive creative activity in poetry and art during a time of profound social and economic change. Selections may include works by Lamartine, Vigny, Hugo, Musset, Gautier, Nerval, Baudelaire.
  • FREN 4440: French Poetry: Symbolist to Present
    Analysis of Symbolism and subsequent schools (from Naturism to Simultaneism). Apollinaire, Aragon, Breton, Cendrars, Char, Saint John Perse, Senghor, Supervielle, Toulet. In French.
  • FREN 4510: Early Modern French Theatre: Comedy, Tragedy and Mystery
    Nature of tragedy and comedy; seventeenth-century drama in the context of classical theories and modern criticism. Corneille, Racine, and Molière. In French.
  • FREN 4520: French Drama: 18th Century to the Romantics
    A course on theater and theatricality for Neo-Classicism to the Romantics focusing both on the themes of the family romance and on the creation of the Artist. Text include works by Marivaux, Beaumarchais, Hugo, Musset and Vigny.
  • FREN 4540: French Drama: 20th Century
    Theatre of commitment, art, the absurd, cruelty, and alienation. Taught in French.
  • FREN 4550: Writers of Memory
    Personal memory, family memory, cultural memory, Holocaust memory, colonial memory, anthropological memory, genetic memory, etc. What surfaces today in French literature (as well as in other domains, such as cinema and art) is a resurgence of multiple forms of memory, often read as challenging the longstanding predominance of historical memory. This course explores the reasons for the surge of memory narratives, as well the various kinds of memory that they conjure up and the various forms that they take in current French literature. 
  • FREN 4610: French Cinema
    A history of French Cinema by movements and authors. Bunuel, Vigo, Gance, Renoir, Clouzot, Cocteau, Tati, Truffaut, Godard, Rohmer. In French.
  • FREN 4620: The Prose Literature of Quebec
    Examines 20th century Quebecois Literature, focusing on the genres of the tale, the short story, and the novel. Brulotte, Ducharme, Hebert, Godbout, Ferron. In French.
  • FREN 4630: Themes in French or Francophone Literature
  • FREN 4640: Studies in Francophone Literature
    An overview of Francophone literature of Africa and the Caribbean. Focusing on themes of imperialism, de-colonization, and negritude as seen in the words of authors such as Césaire, Senghor, Ba, Schwartz-Bart.
  • FREN 4650: French Cinema II ‘80s-’90s
    A look at French cinema since 1980 as indicative of a French identity and value crisis. Examines new genres: Ciné du look, memory films, heritage films, post-modern parody and satire. Directors studied include young directors (Besson, Carox), older directors (Truffaut, Malle) women (Varda, Kurys), minority (Kassowitz) and foreign directors (Kieslowski).
  • FREN 4660/5660: Nation, Identity and Culture
    This course promotes an understanding of the dynamics at play in contemporary French culture by examining how the State has shaped society from the Revolution of 1789 to now. Through various texts and films, students explore the shifting notions of Nation, Identity, and Culture during this period. 
  • FREN 4670/5670: Postcolonialism and Violence
    After examining socio-political conditions that produced violence in individual francophone cultures and countries, we will analyze ways in which texts (novels, plays, life narratives and testimonies) and films arouse horror, discomfort, denial, or connection in readers and spectators. 
  • FREN 4700/5700: Love and Honor in Early Modern France
    An exploration of the evolution of the concept of honor, as well as the depiction and expression of romantic love, in French literature throughout the early modern period. Students analyze the literary representation of the heroic figure and examine the voice and the depiction of the beloved, considering the relationship in terms of gender and power.
  • FREN 4710/5710: Women and Writing in Early Modern France
    An examination of the role of women in early modern French literature as symbol/image and as writer. Students explore the representation of identity and power, gender differences in writing, and the textual strategies underpinning these considerations.
  • FREN 4850: Seminar on Molière
    This seminar endeavors through a thorough analysis of Molière's plays, to recapture the time, the life and the literary theories of one of the world's best playwrights. Video cassettes make it possible to first view the plays, then analyze them in light of Aristotelian and modern criticism.
  • FREN 4900: Film Series Internship
  • FREN 4930: Special Topics
  • FREN 4960: Senior Inquiry - Research Project
  • FREN 4980: Advanced Independent Study