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FREN341 Topics in French

Topics in French language and culture, taught and examined in French.

Zola and the Paris of the Second Empire

Based on two novels by Émile Zola - Nana (1880) and The Ladies’ Paradise (1883) - this paper explores the transformation of Paris during the Second Empire (1852-1870). Topics covered include the political landscape, the changing urban landscape (Hausmannisation) of Paris, the role of women, the rise of the department store, musical theatre, fashion and interiors.

Paper title Topics in French
Paper code FREN341
Subject French
EFTS 0.15
Points 18 points
Teaching period Semester 2 (On campus)
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $955.05
International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.

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FREN 211 or 232
Schedule C
Arts and Music

Although aimed at students with an intermediate level of French this paper is also open to those who do not speak French at all.


Teaching staff

Dr Barbara Stone

Teaching Arrangements

Three lectures per week plus a weekly Nana tutorial (possibly via Zoom) at a time to be arranged.


Nana translated by Helen Constantine (Oxford World’s Classics)

The Ladies’ Paradise translated by Brian Nelson (Oxford World’s Classics)

NOTE: FREN students will also require any edition in French of Nana – ideally the one edited by Henri Mitterand (Gallimard, Folio Classique)

The texts are readily available for purchase online as either paper copies or e-books. Copies will be placed on Reserve in the Central Library.

Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Global perspective, Interdisciplinary perspective, Lifelong learning, Communication, Critical thinking, Cultural understanding, Information literacy, Research, Self-motivation.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes

Students who successfully complete the paper will:

  • have become familiar with two of Émile Zola’s masterpieces.
  • have discovered Émile Zola’s contribution to French literary and cultural history.
  • have explored the transformation of Paris during the Second Empire.
  • have developed close-reading skills and techniques for literary analysis.
  • have engaged with secondary critical material.

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Semester 2

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system


Stream Days Times Weeks
A1 Monday 11:00-11:50 28-34, 36-41
Wednesday 11:00-11:50 28-34, 36-41


Stream Days Times Weeks
A1 Friday 11:00-11:50 29-34, 36-41