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French Faculty

Joseph Morello

Professor of French

Office: 103 Swan Hall

Office Phone: 874-4699

Office Hours: MWF 10-11 or By Appt.


Joseph G. Morello (Ph.D., University of Missouri, 1968) is Professor of French and Chair of the department of Modern and Classical Languages and Literatures at the University of Rhode Island.

Courses typically taught by Dr. Morello:

FRN 204 French Composition 1
FRN 204 is a continuation of the coursework you have already taken in French in that it will continue to develop your skills in speaking, listening and reading French while stressing development of  your writing ability. Emphasis will be placed on reading (a novel plus texts from the popular press) as a basis for the writing you will do. There will also be some study of relevant grammar points.  The specific functional objectives of the course are:
• learn to write "in paragraphs"     
• learn to narrate in  past, present and future time
• learn to express opinions

FRN 207 French Oral Expression 1

FRN 307-001 French Oral Expression 2
FRN 307 focuses on the continued development of the oral/aural skills, speaking and listening.    The objectives for speaking are those consistent with the ACTFL Intermediate High to Advanced Mid  proficiency guidelines (You can and should read these at:   We will cotinue to work on past, present and future narration as was the case in FRN 207, but the course will focus more on developing the ability to hypothesize, discuss abstract topics, state and defend opinions.  You will also work a great deal on listening comprehension through regular assignements to listen to French radio and television shows available on the internet.  And, if there is sufficient interest, we might put on a play!

FRN 309 French Literature and Culture to 1789
FRN 309 is an introduction to the literature and culture of "Early Modern" France, a period of roughly 800 years extending from the 11th century to the French revolution in 1789. This period is commonly divided into four major periods:  the Middle Ages (11th through 15th centuries), the Renaissance (16th century), the Age of Classicism (17th Century) and the Enlightenment (18th Century).  In this course, you will study the development of French culture, literature and thought and gain an appreciation for the importance of these periods in the creation of modern France.  To the extent that all French courses are also language courses, you will have the opportunity to continue to work on the development of your language skills through your readings and through written and oral reports.  


Stelle and Ross, La civilisation française en évolution, I
Molière, L'Ecole des femmes
Voltaire, Candide

FRN 412 Molière

FRN 412 Paris, City of Lights
Paris is one of the world's oldest and most important cities. It began over 2000 years ago as a settlement established by a tribe called the Parisii, hence its name. Since that time, the city and its residents have played a major role in the development of France and, in a very real way, the development of western civilization as well.  It is, of course, a physical place which grew out of that village on the island in the Seine to become arguably the most beautiful city in the world.  But Paris is also a notion, an idea; it represents many things to many people, both in France in and the rest of the world.  It is called "The City of Light" or sometimes, the "City of Lights" and the change from the singular to the plural of "light" is significant, if not intentional.  It is the "City of Lights" in a real sense: Paris at night, with its many monuments illuminated, is a physical place of unsurpassed beauty.  It is the former, the "City of Light", in the ideal sense: a place of high civilization, culture and freedom, aspired to over the centuries by both the French and by others from all over the globe.
In this course, we will study both the real and the ideal Paris.  The basis for the course is chronological in that we will follow the development of the city as an urban space from its inception to the modern times. We will focus particularly on the "modern" era, starting roughly in the 17th century and emphasizing the re-shaping of Paris from the mid-nineteenth century to today.
The other Paris we will seek in literature and film. Here, we will follow two paths:  Paris in France and Paris in the world.   Why did Molière say that "Hors de Paris il n'y a pas de salut pour les honnêtes gens."? Why have non-Parisians aspired forever to "monter à Paris"?  Why did expatriate American writers, artists and intellectuals, the "Lost Generation" as Gertrude Stein called them, go to Paris to live and write in the post World War I era?  Why did black musicians from the US flock to Paris in the 20's and 30's, creating "le jazz hot" and turning Paris into the hotbed of jazz which it remains today?  Why did Friedrich Nietzsche, the German philosopher, say in 1909:  "…as an artist, a man has no home in Europe save Paris" or Oliver Wendell Holmes say in 1904, "Good Americans, when they die, go to Paris." [both cited in Noir and White, Paris (p. 1)]
These are the themes and questions we will study in both literature and film.  I'm still working on the definitive list of books and films for the course. Here are a few possibilities:

Literary texts:
Molière, Les Précieuses ridicules
Voltaire, a brief extract from Candide
Balzac, Le Père Goriot
Duteurtre, Le Voyage en France
Delmas, Paris: la première fois

The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Paris brule-t-il?
Paris Blues
La Haine

The requirements for the course will include two exams which will test your knowledge of the "real" Paris, a few short papers and a term paper. Since "Paris" is such a vast subject, you should be able to find some aspect of it which will coincide with your non-French interest for the papers.  For example, an art history student might want to study the architecture of the city; a civil engineer in the IEP program could work on the sewer system, the bridges, etc. of Paris; those interested in film have many films made in or about Paris to study; an English major could study the Lost Generation, etc.