grenouille1-spaced 980x120px

  • Language Taught In: Taught in French
  • Credits: 3

Prerequisites: 420:215 or 420:217 or 420:216 or 420:218

Course Description: The modern reader can only be surprised by the importance of consent and female desire in early modern theater when marriages and alliances were forced upon women and decided by families - especially fathers. Using performative tools, theatrical technique and literary analysis, this course invites you to act and think as characters of the past. How do you choose your partner? Which qualities do you deem essential? Which strategies can you embrace as a young person when facing the tyrannical choices of your father, your entire family or even your king? And what can you do if you are not attracted to the opposite sex?

By exploring famous plays that belong to multiple genres (i.e. comedy, tragicomedy and tragedy) and by comparing the solutions envisioned by both female and male playwrights, we will embark on a journey with Molière, Villedieu, Racine, Ulrich, Marivaux and Gouges. Students will also be encouraged to design a scene, perform one and write a literary critic of a play that we will see together.

Course Materials (all the plays can be found online but you may want to own a copy)

Molière, Les Précieuses ridicules, 1659 (ISBN: 978-2035839077)
Villedieu, Le Favori, 1664 (ISBN: 978-2705694777)
Racine, Andromaque, 1667 (ISBN: 978-2017064534)
Ulrich, La Folle enchère, 1690 (‎ISBN: 2016129778)
Marivaux, Le jeu de l’amour et du hasard, 1730 (ISBN: 2290125342)
Gouges, Molière chez Ninon ou le siècle des grands hommes, 1788 (ISBN: 2405777991)

All documents and readings will be available through the Canvas’ website

Course Satisfies Learning Goals:

  • Enhance students’ understanding of the cultural contexts in which those earlier works were written
  • Generate critiques using basic critical terms and concepts in French for literary analysis
  • Sharpen skills for active reading comprehension, oral communication, and essay-writing in French
  • Understand key concepts of our society using the cultural legacy of our past


20%: Class participation and attendance
20%: Oral presentation: creation of a scene using virtual arts and written text (3 min. long)
20%: Midterm (literary critic of a play)
40%: Final exam: performance (5 min. long)

Exams, Assignments, and Grading Policy:

Students will demonstrate their mastery of said learning goals, weekly via class discussion, productions and performances. Students will be evaluated at regular intervals throughout the semester via ONE oral presentation and TWO productions combining visual arts and creative writing (midterm and final exam).

It will also be possible for students to produce a collective work in place of their final exam. I will help you decide on the format (a radio show, a clip, a short movie) and we will present this collective work in order to earn a French Prize! This is a very exciting way to learn and use new materials in order to make visible female authors! For more details, look here: JE LA LIS!

Schedule of Undergraduate Courses