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French Studies

Bienvenue! In this guide you will find resources and tools to help you conduct research on French literature, language and culture.

Find Books and Ephemera

17th and 18th Century - John Hay Library

The French studies collections’ strengths cut across a wide range of named and signature collections, with substantial holdings on the literature and cultural history of the early modern and modern periods, eighteenth-century and nineteenth-century literature and intellectual history.

Among the significant works of the early modern and modern period are the first French (1637) and first English (1649) editions of Descartes’ Discours de la Méthode, a cornerstone of modern philosophy, and contemporary editions of major literary authors and philosophers of the sixteenth, seventeenth and eighteenth century. French chateaux, gardens and other buildings form an important part of the Anne S.K. Brown Library “Livres de Fête”.

The John Hay Library holds primary sources from the 1789 Revolution until the Paris Commune with copies of the newspapers, the Moniteur universel and the Journal de Paris (1784-1786), the 15 issues of the rare Lettre du Comte de Mirabeau à ses commettans (1789), Camille Desmoulin’s journal Le Vieux Cordelier, and reports from the Convention Nationale.