Department of French and Italian
Director of Graduate Studies
Assistant Professor Kathryn A. Chenoweth
The aim of the Department of French and Italian is to train students to become effective teachers and scholars of French language and literature. (The department does not offer a graduate program in Italian; it does, however, teach graduate-level courses in Italian literature for suitably qualified students in this and other departments.) Instruction and supervision are so arranged as to ensure that students acquire a broad understanding of the whole field of French studies as well as a specialized grasp of its sub-fields, and are well-prepared to develop independently as scholars.
Students must demonstrate an acceptable level of proficiency in two modern languages other than French and English or in one other modern language and Latin, normally before th e end of the second year. Students are urged, however, to fulfill these requirements in the first year of residence. All language requirements must be satisfied in order for the student to be authorized to take the general examination.
Course of Study
The program combines courses (or seminars) with independent study and research, and is punctuated by periodic examinations.
The first two years are primarily devoted to taking courses (normally, a total of 12, distributed as broadly as possible), satisfying language requirements, and preparing and taking the general examination. Upon satisfactory completion of these program components, students are awarded the M.A. (There is no self-contained M.A. in either French or Italian at Princeton.) At the end of the second year, they are expected to choose a field of concentration in which to specialize.
In the spring of their first year, students are also trained to teach the French language; in the fall of their second year, they teach one language course. In the third, fourth, and fifth years, they normally teach one course per semester, although schedules vary depending on student or departmental needs and on fellowships that provide relief from teaching duties.
The third through fifth years are devoted to the conceptualization and writing of the dissertation. In their third year, students will continue to take a limited number of courses as they prepare their special field examination and then present their dissertation proposal. It is not uncommon for students to spend the fourth year conducting research abroad, for example in Paris where we have guaranteed studentships at the Ecole Normale Supérieure . It is hoped that students will proceed to the defense at the end of the fifth year.
Fields of Concentration
As early as the end of the second term, but no later than the end of the fourth, students select a field of concentration from among those listed below. A program of study is established in consultation with the director of graduate studies. The fields are:
- The Middle Ages and the Renaissance
- The Ancien Régime (Classicism and Enlightenment)
- The Revolution to the Present
The department expects students to enroll in some courses or seminars in each of the fields. Normally, by the end of their fifth term of study, students should have taken a total of 15 courses or seminars. In the general examination, which is based on a comprehensive reading list, students are examined both on their field of concentration and on their general knowledge of the other fields. The dissertation is in the chosen field. Students may, however, choose to bridge fields in selecting a dissertation topic.
Schedule of Exercises and Examinations
Oral Presentation. The oral presentation, required of all first-year students at the end of the first term, consists of a brief, critical reading of a literary text in French, followed by questioning on the subject. This examination is not graded, but comments are recorded and presented to the student in an interview with his or her director of graduate studies.
General Examination. The general examination is usually taken at the end of the second year. Its purpose is to test students’ knowledge of and capacity to conduct research across the six periods taught in the department (Middle Ages, Renaissance, 17th century, 18th century, 19th century, and 20th–21st century including “francophonie”).
In consultation with the director of graduate studies and with the assistance of specialist faculty in the relevant fields, students will formulate three topics, each with an accompanying reading list, which will form the basis of these examinations. It is expected that, across these topics, each period will be represented at least once, that a diversity of genres will be covered, and that there will not be excessive overlap with seminars already taken. The individual reading lists must include a reasonable proportion of works/authors from the Departmental Reading List and should be one to two pages long, single-spaced, not including secondary literature. It is submitted for approval by the Graduate Studies Committee, which will ensure parity between candidates and maintain breadth of coverage.
The examination takes the form of three essays, one per topic (Generals I), and an oral discussion of all three topics (Generals II). Students have one week in which to write their essays, during which they may consult notes, books, and other resources. At least one essay is written in French and one in English, none to exceed 4,000 words. The discussion takes place three days after completion of written work. There are three examiners for both parts.
Special Field Examination. A dissertation topic with an accompanying reading list will be decided upon in consultation with the adviser. Students have one week in which to write a paper in response to questions approved by the adviser. The examiners are the adviser and two other faculty members.
Oral Examination on the Dissertation Proposal. Taken no later than February of the sixth term, the oral examination on the dissertation proposal consists of a 60-minute exercise comprising (1) a 20-minute presentation in French of the student’s dissertation proposal and (2) comprehensive questioning dealing with the implications of the proposal and the student’s general program of study. The questions focus on matters such as literary history and bibliography as well as on critical methods. In order to be admitted to this oral examination, students are required to submit, no later than one week prior to the exercise, a written text of the proposal outlining the issues they propose to explore, the methods of analysis they propose to adopt, and the bibliography of the topic. Students may not sustain the oral examination on the dissertation proposal until they have successfully passed the special field examination. The faculty will make suggestions concerning the proposal, and can approve it, recommend that it be revised and resubmitted, or, in accordance with University regulations, recommend that the candidate be awarded a terminal master’s degree.
In the event of failure to sustain the oral examination, students may present themselves on one further occasion, within a time period determined by the director of graduate studies. Departmental recommendation of graduate students for a fourth year of study is contingent on their having sustained the oral examination on the dissertation proposal.
Especially well-qualified students who have completed the language prerequisites may, upon successful application to the department’s Committee on Graduate Studies, be authorized to present themselves early for the general examination and the oral examination on the dissertation proposal.
M.A. Requirements. After passing the first-year Oral Examination and Generals I and II and meeting course work and language requirements, students will be awarded the M.A.
Final Public Oral Examination. After the completed dissertation has been recommended for acceptance by the two appointed readers, the examination is set for a date convenient to the candidate and the department. The examination consists of a formal public lecture of 30 minutes in length, describing the work undertaken and achieved in the writing of the dissertation. The lecture may be delivered in English or French. The candidate’s examining committee then initiates a question period, taking the doctoral dissertation and related areas as the point of departure. No grade is given for this examination, other than a pass or fail.
Teaching Requirement and Assistantships
As a matter of policy, the department requires its graduate students to gain experience in undergraduate teaching. Most students are appointed as part-time teaching assistants each year they are in residence. Normally, students do not teach during their first term of residence or in their fourth term, when they are preparing for the general examination. In the third, fourth, and fifth years, students normally teach three hours per week for each term in elementary or advanced language classes. Opportunities to teach in literature courses sometimes arise. This teaching is guided and supervised by a faculty member who confers with the student and reports to the department chair on his or her classroom performance.
French and Italian
Christine M. Sagnier
FRE 502 Language and Style
FRE 506 French Medieval Literature and Culture
FRE 509 The Troubadours and the Occitan Tradition
FRE 510 Seminar in Medieval French Literature
FRE 511 Humanism and the French Renaissance
FRE 512 Lyric Poetry of the French Renaissance
FRE 513 Seminar in French Literature of the Renaissance
FRE 515 The Classical Tradition
FRE 516 Seminar in 17th-Century French Literature
FRE 517 Forms of Neoclassicism
FRE 518 The Literature of Enlightenment
Natasha C. Lee
FRE 519 Enlightenment and Romanticism
FRE 521 Romanticism
Göran M. Blix
FRE 522 19th-Century Lyric Poetry
FRE 524 20th-Century French Narrative Prose
FRE 525 20th-Century French Poetry or Theater
FRE 526 Seminar in 19th- and 20th-Century French Literature
Thomas A. Trezise
FRE 527 Seminar in French Civilization
Göran M. Blix
FRE 528 Francophone Literature and Culture Outside of France
FRE 563/COM 563 Studies in Forms of Narrative
Peter P. Brooks
FRE 581 Introduction to Romance Linguistics and Cultures
Grace M. Armstrong
Thomas A. Trezise
ITA 551 Medieval Italian Literature
ITA 552 Medieval Italian Literature
ITA 553 Literature of the Italian Renaissance
ITA 554 Literature of the Italian Renaissance
ITA 555 Modern Italian Literature: Pirandello's Generic Transformation: From Short Story to Theater
ITA 556 Topics in Modern Italian Literature
ITA 557/MUS 515 Topics in the History of Opera
Wendy Heller, Pietro Frassica