Essays In French Literature

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Joie de vivre in French Literature and Culture

Essays in Honour of Michael Freeman


The apparent self-sufficiency of joie de vivre means that, despite the widespread use of the phrase since the late nineteenth century, the concept has rarely been explored critically. Joie de vivre does not readily surrender itself to examination, for it is in a sense too busy being what it is. However, as the essays in this collection reveal, joie de vivre can be as complex and variable a state as the more negative emotions or experiences that art and literature habitually evoke. This volume provides an urgently needed study of an intriguing and under-explored area of French literature and culture from the Middle Ages to the contemporary era. While the range and content of contributions embraces linguistics, literature, art, sport and politics, the starting point is, like that of the term joie de vivre itself, in French language and culture. This volume will be of special interest to researchers across the full range of French studies, from literature and language to cultural studies. It will be of direct appeal to specialist readers, university libraries, graduate and undergraduate students, and general readers with a lively interest in French literature and culture of the medieval, early modern and broad modern periods. This book’s fresh perspectives on the theme of joie de vivre and its relation to questions of privacy, contemplation, voyeurism, feasting and nationhood will also be of relevance to researchers in comparative and cognate disciplines.
Publication Date:
1 January 2009

Table of contents

Notes on contributors Michael Freeman: joie de vivre, joies du livre I Susan Harrow and Timothy Unwin: Introduction II Rodney Sampson: The joys of Romance III Jane H.M. Taylor: ‘Balades & Rondeaux nouueaux fort ioyeulx’: joie de vivre in a Renaissance miscellany IV John Parkin: Joie de vivre in Des Périers’s Nouvelles Récréations et joyeux devis V Richard Cooper: Comic interludes in French Renaissance prose romance: Aldéno’s amours in Gerard d’Euphrate (1549) VI Stephen Bamforth : Melons and wine: Montaigne and joie de vivre in Renaissance France VII Richard Parish : ‘Une vie douce, heureuse et amiable’: a Christian joie de vivre in Saint François de Sales VIII Edward Forman : ‘Le carnaval autorise cela’: cruelty and joie de vivre in the dénouements of the comédie-ballet IX Noël Peacock: ‘I told you I was ill’: joie de vivre and joie de mourir in Le Malade imaginaire X Haydn Mason: The state of happiness? Ancient Sparta and the French Enlightenment XI Patrick O’Donovan: Poetry and the discourse of happiness in nineteenth-century France: the case of Vigny XII Bradley Stephens: ‘Baisez-moi, belle Juju!’: Victor Hugo and the joy of Juliette XIII Hélène Stafford : Mallarmé et Bachelard: la rêverie des mots XIV Richard Hobbs : Ensor’s hyperbolic joie de vivre XV Edward Nye: Joie de vivre and the will to win in the literature of cycling XVI Martin Hurcombe: The joy of specs: the power of the gaze in the novels of Sébastien Japrisot XVII Gino Raymond: Rejoicing in the Other: France, England and the case of Major Thompson XVIII Alison Finch: Joie de vivre: the afterlife of a phrase Michael Freeman: list of major publications Index of names

French Language, Literature and Culture

The M.A. Program in French – Language,Literature and Culture

I. Program Requirements

  • Students in the Literature and Culture Emphasis will complete their coursework by taking the Core Courses (12 units) and Electives (18 units) as outlined below; substitutions may be approved (subject to DGS approval). 
  • Up to three thesis units (FREN 910) may count toward the total of 30 units in all MA options.  Thesis units (FREN 910) may not be combined with Internship units (FREN 593) or Independent Studies units (FREN 599) as part of the total of 30 units (they may be taken in addition).

1. Core courses in Cultural and Literary History (12 units):

FREN 550, French Cultural & Literary History: Renaissance to Revolution
FREN 551, French Cultural & Literary History: Revolution-World War II
FREN 552, French Cultural & Literary History: Contemporary France (20th-21st)
FREN 553, Literature in Context: Focus on a Historical period  

(In French)
(In French)
(In French)
(In French)

2. Electives in French (9 units) from:

FREN 532, French Translation
FREN 540, Topics in French Literature
FREN 542, French Narratives and Film
FREN 543, Contemporary Francophone Literature and Cinema
FREN 544, Topics in French Culture
FREN 545, Francophone Cultures and Traditions
FREN 547, Topics in Francophone Studies

(In French)
(In French)
(In French)
(In French)
(In French)
(In French)
(In French)

3. Electives in English or French (9 units) from:
FREN 525, Paris: Capsule/Capital of French Cultural History (Paris program only )
FREN 533, Business French 1
FREN 534, Business French 2
FREN 554, French Theory
FREN 555, French Cinema
FREN 556, Topics in the Maghreb and the Near East—Peoples and Cultures
FREN 557, Topics in Sub-Saharan Africa—Peoples and Cultures
FREN 558, Topics in the Francophone Caribbean—Peoples and Cultures
FREN 561, French Linguistics
FREN 562, Linguistics and the Study of Literature
FREN 567, Topics in French Linguistics
FREN 563, Simultaneous and Consecutive Interpretation
FREN 573, Semiotics and Language
FREN 578, Literacy in L2/FL Classroom: Theory, Research, and Practice
FREN 579, Issues/Methods in Post-Second Foreign Language Teaching/ Learning
(required for GATs)
FREN 581, Technology and Foreign Language Learning  
FREN 583, Materials Design
FREN 584, Second/Foreign Language Learning and the Web
FREN 586, Language Learning in Study Abroad Context
FREN 593, Internship (1-3 units)
FREN 599, Independent Study (1-3 units)
FREN 910, Thesis (up to 3 units)

(In French)
(In French)
(In French)
(In English)
(In English)
(In English)
(In English)

(In French)
(In French)
(In French)
(In English)
(In English)

(In English)
(In English)
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(In English)

II. Completing the M.A. 

Preparing for Your M.A. Exams

No later than the beginning of the semester of the expected graduation date, the candidate and DGS should agree upon  the Exam Committee members, whose chair will be formally appointed by the DGS. The candidate is responsible for:

  • checking Graduate College deadlines and submitting the Master/s/Specialist Committee Appointment Form through GradPath; 
  • meeting with the Exam Committee members and providing (e-mailing) each of them (+ the DGS) copies of all course syllabi covered in the MA program
  • alerting the Exam Committee members to the proposed date of the written examination, ascertaining their times and dates of availability for the Oral Exam, and communicating these times and dates to the DGS, who will schedule a provisional time, date, and classroom for the Oral Exam; 
  • clearing all fees with the Bursar's Office.

The M.A. Written Examination

The M.A. examination is given twice a year, usually in October-November and March-April.  It consists of two parts, written and oral. The M.A. written examination will be based on the candidate's coursework in French and/or Francophone literature, culture, and/or theory, as well as related areas of the graduate curriculum when appropriate. The written component of the examination will consist of three take-home exams (sent via e-mail) in French that typically take the following form: 

  • a textual or cinematic analysis; 
  • an essay based on a specific work of literature (to be chosen by the candidate and the faculty member in charge of this part of the examination); 
  • an essay on a wider, more general topic in literary and/or cultural studies. 

All three essays should be written in French, typed, double-spaced, and 4-6 pages in length. The student has one week to complete all three exams and return them to the DGS, who will distribute them to the committee members for evaluation.

The M.A. Oral Examination

The candidate is not permitted to undertake the oral component of the MA Examination until s/he has performed satisfactorily on the written part. (Satisfactorily is defined as a passing grade on the written part from at least two of the three committee members). A student required to retake one or more parts of the written examination (normally in the semester following the one in which the original attempt was made, but not sooner) must do so before proceeding to the oral examination. The Oral Examination (1-2 hours maximum) will cover works on the candidate’s course syllabi as well as areas considered in the written examination. The M.A. oral examination is usually scheduled within a week to ten days of the written examination. The Graduate College sets deadlines each semester for the completion of this examination; students are responsible for knowing these deadlines and scheduling their exams accordingly. The examination committee shall be composed of the three committee members for the written examinations. The examination committee shall meet prior to the oral examination to determine time limits and questioning sequences. It shall meet once more after the completion of the oral examination to determine if the candidate has:

1. Passed.

2. Failed (in which case the student must wait until the following semester before retaking the oral examination). A second oral examination will take place no sooner than four months after the initial one.

Note: Two adverse votes result in failure. An abstention counts as a vote for failure. Results are tallied by the committee chair, who informs the candidate only as to whether the vote was Pass or Fail.

The M.A. Thesis:

In lieu of the written exam, students may present an M.A. thesis, written in French, which demonstrates proficiency in concepts and methods of literary and cultural studies, criticism, and theory. For students presenting an M.A. thesis in lieu of a written examination, the oral examination will consist of 1) a defense of the thesis, and 2) questions on works and topics covered in the candidate’s course syllabi.

See the checklist of requirements and the formatting guide from the Graduate College. 

ll-updated and approved by the faculty on Dec. 2, 2016

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