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French: Getting Started

Browse library resources for the study of French

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A critical bibliography of French literature.  D. C. Cabeen, general editor. Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 1947-68.
Payson Library (Ref. Z 2171 C3 1947)
v.l. The mediaeval period; ed. by U. T. Holmes.
v.4. The eighteenth century; ed. by G. R. Havens, D. F. Bond.
A selective, evaluative, and annotated bibliography compiled by contributing specialists.  Lists books, dissertations, and periodical articles.


Encyclopedia universalis. Nouv. ed. Paris: Encyclopedia universalis France, 1990-1993. 32 v.
Payson Library (Ref. AE 25 E3 1990)
Vols. 1-23 contain some 5,000 extended articles on all topics. Vols. 27-30 comprise a Thesaurus-index consisting of shorter articles providing brief factual information. Vols. 24-26, "Symposium" have nearly 200 essays on recent world developments and current social, economic, and demographic statistics for all nations.

Grand dictionnaire encyclopedique Larousse. Paris: Librairie Larousse, 1982-1985. 10 v.
Payson Library (Ref. AE 25 G63 1982)
More than 190,000 short articles including 25,000 illustrations and many bibliographies.


French Historical Studies, the leading journal on the history of France, publishes articles, commentaries, and research notes on all periods of French history from the Middle Ages to the present. The journal's diverse format includes forums, review essays, special issues, and articles in French, as well as bilingual abstracts of the articles in each issue. Also featured are bibliographies of recent dissertations and books and announcements of fellowships, prizes, and conferences of interest to French historians.

Special issues in preparation discuss recent perspectives on the history of Paris, colonialism and the writing of French history, and visual arts in the writing of French History. Up to 12 months ago available in the database Academic Complete.

The French Review is the official journal of the American Association of Teachers of French and has the largest circulation of any scholarly journal of French studies in the world. The Review publishes articles and reviews on French and francophone literature, cinema, society and culture, linguistics, technology, and pedagogy six times a year. Every issue includes a column by Colette Dio entitled "La Vie des mots," an exploration of new developments in the French language. Jean DeCock reviews the Cannes Film Festival yearly, and Michael Bishop, William Cloonan, Martine Antle, and James P. McNab review the year's work in poetry, the novel, theater, and society.Last 5 years in print at Payson Library.

Yale French Studies is the oldest English-language journal in the United States devoted to French and Francophone literature and culture. Each volume of essays is conceived and organized by a guest editor or editors around a particular theme or author. The journal welcomes interdisciplinary approaches and receives contributions from scholars and writers from around the world. Recent volumes have been devoted to a wide variety of subjects, among them: Lévinas; Perec; Haiti; Belgium; Crime Fiction; Surrealism; Material Culture in Medieval and Renaissance France; French Education; and Contemporary French and Francophone Cinema. Last three years not available.

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Bilingual Dictionaries Online


Collins-Robert French-English, English-French dictionary, by Beryl T. Atkins ... [et al.]. 2nd ed. Glasglow; New York: HarperCollins; Paris: Dictionnaires le Robert, 1990, c1987.
Payson Library (Ref. PC 2640 C69 1990)
Includes a section of standard phrases and expressions.

Collins-Robert French-English, English-French dictionary, unabridged by Beryl T. Atkins... [et al.] 3rd ed. London; New York: HarperCollins, 1993.
Payson Library (Ready Ref. PC 2640 C69 1993)
Contemporary French terms; especially good for business terms and revised geographical terms.

Dictionary of modern French literature: from the age of reason through realism by Sandra W. Dolbow.  New York: Greenwood Press, 1986.
Payson Library (Ref. PQ 41 D65 1986)
"major writers, works, and literary movements that flourished during the 180 years from the dawn of eigtheenth-century French literature through the age of realism " (1880). The 300 entries include short bibliographies.

Dictionnaire alphabétique et analogique de la langue française par Paul Robert; entierement revue et enrichie par Alain Rey. 2 ed. Paris: Le Robert, 1985. 9 volumes.
Payson Library (Ref. AG 25 R62 1985)

Dictionnaire de littérature contemporaine par R. M. Alberes [et al.] Sous la direction de Pierre de Boisdeffre. Nouv. ed. mise e jour. Paris, editions universitaires, 1963.
Payson Library (Ref. PQ 305 B54 1963)
Covers 20th-century French writers providing brief biographical information, a critical sketch, a bibliography of primary works, highly selective references to book-length critical studies, a photograph, and excerpts from criticism or reviews. Several introductory chapters discuss genres and literary movements.

Dictionnaire des critiques litteraires: guide de la critique française du XXe siecle, par Laurent LeSage et Andre Yon. University Park, Pennsylvania State University Press, 1969.
Payson Library (Ref. PQ 67 A2 L4)
Biographical sketches of French literary critics with notes on the critical theories and concepts of each followed by a bibliography of works by and about the critic.

Dictionnaire des difficultes de la langue française by Adolphe V. Thomas.  Paris, Larousse, 1956.
Payson Library (Ref. PC 2460 T46 1956)

Dictionnaire des ecrivains français by Jean Malignon.  Paris: editions du Seuil, 1971.
Payson Library (Ref. PQ 41 M3)
Covers 281 authors, half from the 20th century, including a biobibliographical essay with critical analysis, a bibliography of works by the author, and very selective references to criticism. Portraits and additional illustrations. Cellard, Jacques.

Dictionnaire du français non conventionnel par Jacques Cellard et Alain Rey. Paris: Hachette, 1991.
Payson Library (Ref. PC 2689 C44 1991)

Dictionnaire historique de la langue française: contenant les mots français en usage et quelques autres delaisses, avec leur origine proche et lointaine ... par Alain Rey ... [et al.]; sous la direction de Alain Rey. Paris: Dictionnaires Le Robert, c1992. 2 volumes.
Payson Library (Ref. PC 2580 D52 1992)

French dictionary of business, commerce and finance: French-English, English-French
Dictionnaire anglais des affaires, du commerce et de la finance: français-anglais, anglais-français. London; New York: Routledge, 1996.
Payson Library (Ref. HF 1002 F75 1996)

Grand dictionnaire français-anglais, anglais-français
French-English, English-French dictionary direction de la redaction/general editor Faye Carney; coordination editoriale/coordinating editor Claude Nimmo. Paris: Larousse, c1993. 2 volumes.
Payson Library (Ready Ref. PC 2640 L37 1993)

Le petit Robert 1: dictionnaire alphabétique et analogique de la langue française par Paul Robert; redaction dirigee par A. Rey et J. Rey-Debove. Nouvelle ed. rev., corr. et mise e jour pour 1990. Paris: Le Robert, 1990, c1989.
Payson Library (Ref. PC 2625 R553 1990)

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The Oxford companion to French literature. Compiled and edited by Sir Paul Harvey and J. E. Heseltine. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1969, c1959. Reprinted with corrections.
Payson Library (Ref. PQ 41 H3 1969)
Covers French literature from medieval times to approximately 1939 with articles on authors, critics, historians, religious writers, savants, scientists, individual works, allustions, places, institutions, plus general survey articles on phases or aspects of French literary life and movements.

Histoire de la litterature française; remaniee et completee pour la periode 1850-1950 par Paul Tuffrau et Gustave Lanson. Paris: Hachette, 1968.
Payson Library (PQ 101 L3 1968)
The standard one-volume work includes extensive references and a literary chronology.

Histoire illustree de la littérature française ... par Gustave Lanson ... Cet ouvrage est illustre de plus de 800 gravures ... Paris, Londres: Hachette, c1923. 2 volumes.
Payson Library (Oversize PQ 101 L32)
I. Le moyen ege. Du moyen ege e la renaissance. Le seizieme siecle. Le dix-septieme siecle.--II. Le dix-septieme siecle (suite) Le dix-huitieme siecle. epoque contemporaine.

Levi, Anthony. Guide to French literature: beginnings to 1789. Detroit: St. James Press, 1994.
Payson Library (Ref. PQ 226 L47 1994)

Levi, Anthony. Guide to French literature: 1789 to the present. Chicago: St. James Press, 1992.
Payson Library (Ref. PQ 226 L48 1992)

Entries cover individuals and literary movements. Author entries include comprehensive bibliographies of works and selective lists of largely book-length critical studies; longer essays on authors are divided into sections on their life and works.

A New history of French literature edited by Denis Hollier. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1989.
Payson Library (PQ 119 N48 1989)
Essays by individual scholars are built around a particular date and theme, beginning with Roland's death in 778 and ending Sept. 27, 1985. Covers French literature outside of France and political or social events that influenced literature. Each essay includes a short bibliography.