The department provided, beyond the basic lower division program, a well-balanced offering in the French language, ancient and modern, and in all periods of the literature. Increasing emphasis on graduate study was shown by the fact that of some 70 doctoral dissertations directed by staff members since 1919, nearly half were completed during the period 1954-65; 26 such dissertations were in progress by the mid-1960s.
With a view to the needs of prospective teachers, on both the secondary and the collegiate levels, French was generally the medium of instruction in upper division and graduate courses. In the 1960s, however, the department also offered as a service to students in other departments, several literature courses requiring no knowledge of French, as well as non-credit courses for students preparing their graduate reading examinations. During World War II, instruction in military and technical French was provided for those about to enter the Armed Forces.
In 1938, the Maison Française, an ad hoc corporation sponsored by the department and directed by staff members and non-University friends of France, purchased a house on Dwight Way to serve as a residence for women students and as a cultural center for others interested in French. This enterprise functioned successfully until 1942, when difficulties due to war conditions necessitated its abandonment.
In 1915, the French Government gave the University a collection of some 6,000 volumes, representing notable achievements of French scholarship, which had been exhibited at the Panama-Pacific Exposition. The Doe Library housed the collection for many years in a special room that served also as a French seminar. After the department's removal to Dwinelle Hall, such of the books as particularly concerned French studies were transferred to a departmental library in the new building. The French Government subsequently enriched this library with additional gifts and, over the years, recognized the department's work in other ways, notably by conferring the Légion d'Honneur on nine members of its staff. source
Copyright © 1999-2005
The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.
Last updated 06/18/04.