French Literature and Film

FL 214

Professor Christine Renaudin
Department of Modern Languages & Literatures
T-TH 5:00-6:50pm
Nichols 173

Office: Stevenson 3016C
Telephone: 707.664.3159
Fax: 707.664.2363
Office Hours: Tuesdays and Thursdays 3:30pm to 4:30pm, or by appointment.

Course Description
Course Calendar
Christine's Homepage


Course Objectives
Readings &
Reading Quizzes
Presence & Participation
Writing Assignments
Oral Presentation
Grading Policy
Disability Policy
Rules of Courtesy


This course will focus on masterpieces of French literature that have inspired film-makers to adapt them for the screen. Our objectives are:

  • to sample the vast and rich French literary production;
  • to explain and contextualize its existence;
  • to appreciate its development and evolution from the Middle Ages to the 20th century;
  • to develop analytical skills as they pertain to the study of literary form and meaning;
  • to develop analytical skills as they pertain to the study of cinematographic form and meaning;
  • to understand and appreciate the diversity of the French culture;
  • to expose writing as a tool for individual and cultural identity building;
  • to expand our knowledge of world literature and diversity;
  • to develop reading, speaking, writing, and research skills.

Prerequisite: English 101.

Important note: FLIE 214 satisfies GE, category C2



Required texts available at the University Bookstore or on line, as indicated below:

  • Chrétien de Troyes, Perceval.
  • Jeanne-Marie LePrince de Beaumont, Beauty and the Beast.
  • Choderlos de Laclos, Dangerous Liaisons.
  • Gustave Flaubert, Madame Bovary.
  • Marguerite Duras, Hiroshima, mon Amour, Moderato Cantabile. The Lover.



In this course we will read and discuss seven masterpieces of French literature in English translation. We will also view a number of cinematographic adaptations of these works.
Insofar as is possible with a group of this size, class will be conducted, in the form of a seminar, with short lectures and presentations on the part of the instructor, along with extensive group work and discussion amongst the students.
It is important that all students read the texts to be discussed before class. Please consult the reading calendar to make sure that you come to class prepared. To insure full class cooperation in this regard, there will be a short reading or viewing quiz at the beginning of most meetings. There will be no make-up quizzes. Should you miss a quiz, due to absence or tardiness, you will receive a failing grade for that quiz. However, when calculating your final grade, I will drop the worst two grades.
Twice in the semester, groups will be assigned a particular task, which will provide the basis for oral presentations and discussion in class. Consult the assignment page to know what your particular group should focus on for each reading.



Your presence and participation are crucial and will make up 20% of your grade in the course. You are allowed only two excused absence over the course of the semester; any additional absence will decrease your participation grade dramatically.



You will be responsible for two major writing assignments over the course of the semester.

The midterm paper (3-4 pages) will be due on March 20. The final paper is due on May 15. Complete instructions for these papers are posted on the assignments page.



There will be a final exam to test the following:

  • your knowledge of the texts and authors explored in class;
  • your understanding of the various cinematographic adaptations of these texts;
  • your understanding and interpretation of them;
  • your understanding of the culture which supports them and which they express;
  • your technical skills (writing, spelling, quoting, vocabulary, etc.)

The final will be comprehensive, covering all texts and adaptations studied in class. The final exam will take place on Tuesday May 20, 2008, 5:00pm to 6:50pm. Please plan your departure from campus at the end of the semester taking this late date into account. There will be no make-up exams without a verifiable doctor's excuse.



Twice during the semester, you will be asked to participate in group oral presentations of a scene analysis. Once again, consult the calendar and assignment pages for details.

Complete instructions for these presentations may be found on the assignments page.



Your final grade in the class will be calculated as follows:

Presence/Participation: 10%
Quizzes: 10%
Oral presentations: 20%
Midterm paper: 20%
Final paper: 20%
Final exam: 20%

Late work will not be accepted; please consult the course calendar regularly for due dates and other important information.
Also, please note that any instance of plagiarism (defined as the use of another's words or ideas without adequate citation or acknowledgement) will result in a grade of "F" for the class.



PLEASE NOTE: Students should be aware of a wide variety of important University policies, such as the add/drop policy; cheating and plagiarism policy, grade appeal procedures; and the diversity vision statement. Go to this URL to find them.

ALSO NOTE: If you have a disability that requires accommodation in this class, you must notify the instructor before the end of the second week of class regarding the nature of the accommodation(s) you require. You must register with the campus office of Disabled Student Services, located in Salazar Hall, phone 664-2677. DSS will provide you with written confirmation of your verified disability and authorize recommended accommodations. This authorization must be presented to the instructor before any accommodations can made.



Please turn off all cell phones upon entering the classroom. Disruption due to cell phone usage will not be tolerated. Moreover, please have the courtesy not to text-message friends while class is in session. Anyone discovered texting friends will be asked to leave the class and will forfeit participation credit and the quiz for that day.

If you are going to be absent and have a valid excuse (serious illness, death in the family), please make every effort to inform the professor of your absence and of your efforts to make up the work you missed.

If you need to talk to me, please come to my office hours, or call, or e-mail me, or make an appointment.


Course Homepage
Course Description
Course Calendar
Christine's Homepage

Page last updated January 9, 2008