French Studies (Language, Literature and Culture)

Collection Area

French Language, Literature and Culture

General Purpose

 The library collection for French language, literature and culture supports the research and instructional needs and personal interests of Dartmouth College undergraduates, graduate students, and faculty, as well as other users within and beyond the college community. This policy seeks primarily to support the curriculum of the French and Italian Department providing coverage of French language, literature, linguistics, cultural studies, semiotics, francophone studies, medieval and renaissance studies and literary theory and criticism as applied to this literature. However, the library's collections in the previously mentioned areas also support interdisciplinary and interdepartmental programs including African and African American StudiesLatin American, Latino/a and Caribbean StudiesComparative LiteratureWomen, Gender and Sexuality Studies, Liberal StudiesAsian and Middle-Eastern Studies, Jewish Studies and Linguistics and Cognitive Science as well as the Leslie Center for the Humanities. Moreover, materials collected under the framework of this policy support some courses and faculty research in the departments of Art History, History, Government, Geography, Philosophy, Film and Media Studies, Music and Theater.

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Until 1979, French and Italian together with Spanish and Portuguese made up the Department of Romance Languages and Literature, at that time one of the largest departments on campus. Due to the high number of students taking French (around 2,000 students per year in 1978) and the increasing interest in other languages such as Spanish, Italian, etc., the faculty of Romance Languages submitted, in May of 1979, a recommendation to the Dartmouth Arts and Sciences faculty for the creation of two separate Departments. That recommendation was approved, and in the summer of 1979 French and Italian came into existence as a separate department in the Humanities Division of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences.

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Dartmouth College Program

The Department of French and Italian is a part of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Dartmouth College has recognized the important role that French Studies plays in the College's commitment to providing a liberal arts education, and the department boasts some of the largest numbers in the United States of tenured or tenure-track faculty relative to the undergraduate population. 

The curriculum of the Department of French and Italian presently offers 89 courses in French. It includes introductory and advanced language courses, courses on different periods of French and Francophone literatures, literary criticism and cultural studies; courses on the performing arts, cinema, food, architecture. This Department offers four types of programs to students (a major in French, a major in Romance Languages, a modified major, and a minor) and five off-campus programs in Paris, Lyon and Toulouse.

Masters students pursuing a Master of Arts Liberal Program or a Master of Arts Program in Comparative Literature take masters courses organized in the French Department. Students pursuing a Major or a Minor in Latin American, Latino/a and Caribbean Studies, Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies, African and African-American Studies or Asian and Middle Eastern Studies may be required to take specific courses offered by the department as part of their programs.

In the department there are 19 French faculty members, ranging from lecturer to full professor. Typically, the advanced courses center around the specializations of the faculty covering a broad spectrum of areas. 

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General Subject Boundaries

 French language and literature materials fall into the PC, PM, and PQ classes of the Library of Congress. Pre-1964 acquisitions are in the 840s of the Dewey Decimal System. General literary theory and criticism are classed in PN. Relevant materials are also found in the appropriate sections of history, philosophy, women's studies, art, and bibliography.

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Besides French language materials originating from France, materials in Francophone languages such as Creole and Canadian French are selectively acquired. Secondary works of history and criticism are collected principally in English but also in other western European languages including German, Italian and Spanish. English language translations and critical editions of major literary works and works by many classical and contemporary authors are acquired.

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Geographic Areas

 While the overwhelming output of literature is produced in France, the collection does not exclude other Francophone cultures beyond France. Careful attention is given to source materials published in the French Caribbean (Haiti, Martinique, Guadeloupe).  In addition, the library actively collects French-language material published in or about Canada [primarily Quebec], Louisiana, the Mediterranean and North Africa [Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt, Lebanon, Syria], Sub-Saharan Africa [Ivory Coast, Cameroon, Senegal, Congo, among others], and Belgium, Switzerland, Luxembourg and Vietnam.

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Types Of Material Collected

 The collection consists of monographs, serials, a few select French language popular periodicals, and reference sources including the major French language encyclopedias, dictionaries, periodical indexes, and bibliographies. Performing arts materials in the French language are actively acquired pursuant to research and teaching interests (sound recordings, films, documentary).

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Format Of Materials Collected

 The library acquires materials in all formats with no exceptions. The library also subscribes to online resources that facilitate access to full text journals, monographs, and other materials covered by this policy. Although French scholarly materials have been slow to join the ebook realm, recent offerings are enabling a wider choice.  

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Special Collections and Manuscripts

 More than 2000 items of French literature and culture written in the French language are located in Rauner Special Collections Library, covering a period that ranges from the 15th to the 20th centuries (about 300 of them are from before the 17th century). Among the unique French language and literature materials housed in Special Collections are some unpublished manuscripts of Samuel Beckett; the papers of Professor Francois Denoeu, author/lexicographer and Dartmouth faculty member from 1929-1963; the records of Le cercle français, Dartmouth's French Club from 1909-1954; and a collection of 20th-century Parisian theater posters.  Recent acquisitions include 20th century items related to satire and protest, such as the 1970s run of Charlie Hebdo, and publications related to May 1968.

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Other Resources Available

The library catalog points to a wide variety of resources in the French language, including indexes to scholarly literature such as the MLA International Bibliography and the Klapp Online, the Iter-Gateway to the Middle Ages and Renaissance, etc.; the ARTFL [American and French Research on the Treasury of the French Language] (access electronically to more than 3,000 monographs in French); current and historical newspaper databases; streaming film resources such as Kanopy and Digitalia Film Library.  The library also benefits from its participation in the Borrow Direct network of lending libraries, which provides Dartmouth users with incomparable access to monograph collections in the French language.

Other Collection Policies of Interest

Areas of study in French covered by the following Collection Policies are of some interest to the curriculum of the French and Italian Department specifically, and to Dartmouth College as a whole.

Anthropology | Fine Arts | History | Linguistics | Philosophy | Performing Arts | Women's and Gender Studies |

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Revision History

June 1982 [Ralph Cryesky]

February 1994 [Robert D. Jaccaud]
November 1999 (Miguel Valladares)

September 2016 (Jill Baron)

LC Class

PC 2001 - 3761 French language
PM 7851-7854 Creole language
PQ 1 - 3899 French Literature, history and criticism.
3989.2 - 3919 French Literature: Canada
3920 - 3999 French Literature: Caribbean, Africa, Asia, etc.


Jill Baron

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