SFU Library French Language, Literature and Culture collections policy

The Department of French offers a range of undergraduate programs as well as an MA in Linguistics or Literature. Content-based French language teaching is anchored and enhanced by research work in French Linguistics, French Literature and Francophone Literatures and Cultures.

The undergraduate program consists of an Honours degree or a Major in French with a newly-created Minor in French Studies and a newly-minted Concentrated Minor in French Language. Joint Majors exist in English and French Literatures; French, Political Science and History; French and Humanities. Also available are Certificates in French Language Proficiency; in French and Education; as well as a Post-Baccalaureate Diploma in French and Education.

Courses in the Italian language, which are required for the Italian Studies Certificate, are also offered through the Department of French at the 100, 200 and 300 levels.

Faculty research and teaching areas

The Francophone World: from the local to the global
        - Africa
        - Europe
        - North America (Canada and USA)

French as a Second and Official Language in a Minority Context
        - Linguistic Structure of the French Language
        - Language Teaching and Learning
        - Second Language Acquisition (French)
        - Language and Identity; French Varieties

Multidisciplinary approaches to French and Francophone Literatures and Cultures
        - 20th Century French Literature and Contemporary French Literature
        - French Culture, History and Politics
        - French and Francophone Sociolinguistics and Cultures
        - French and Francophone Cinema and Theatre
        - French and Francophone Sociopolitical and Linguistic History
        - Francophone World Literature
        - French Language and Varieties in the Media
        - Medievalism

NOTE: French authors and French-Canadian authors of interest to the French Department and currently collected by the SFU Library are listed in two separate documents.

Collection development

Collection development is the responsibility of the French Liaison Librarian. Liaison with the Department is maintained through the Departmental Representative as well as through other faculty members when required. Regular contact with other liaison librarians, subject specialists, and teaching departments is nurtured through the sharing of relevant resources.

Scope of the collection

The French collections contain a comprehensive selection of works by major French, Québécois, and Francophone writers from Canada, and Africa, with a special emphasis on authors currently taught or researched at Simon Fraser University. Secondary material, supporting specific courses and research interests of the Department, is regularly acquired.

Coordination and cooperation with other library collecting areas

There is an overlap with some other SFU Library collections and funds, including Linguistics (general linguistics, phonology, morphology, syntax, and semantics); Education (French as a second language; second language acquisition); World Literature (primary French literature in translation; theory of literature; comparative literature), and Contemporary Arts (theory of cinema and theatre).  These areas are being carefully developed in cooperation with the related subject liaison librarians.

SFU Resources

The W.A.C. Bennett Library is the major location for the Library’s French collection. A number of SFU Library resources including books, encyclopedias and journal article databases are available online, so they are equally accessible to all three campuses.

The French Department collaborates with the Office of Francophone and Francophile Affairs (OFFA) / Le Bureau des affaires francophones et francophiles (BAFF), which also has French language resources relevant to the French Studies at SFU.

The Centre d’études francophones Québec-Pacifique, created in 1998 within the French Department, promotes research on the French Speaking World (la francophonie), related to the study of the French language, linguistics, literature and culture. The Centre collects documents on the sociocultural life of the French community in British Columbia and the Pacific Region, and acts as a literary archive of works published by French-speaking authors in British Columbia, as well as those published elsewhere in the francophonie about British Columbia.

Regional Resources

The University of British Columbia collects books and journals which support the study of French language, literature and culture, and is part of the interlibrary loan network.

Consortia and Document Delivery

SFU  belongs to three consortia (Electronic Library Network, Council of Prairie and Pacific University Libraries, and the Canadian Association of Research Libraries). Document delivery agreements exist with all three of these consortia, allowing for delivery of journal articles and books from these libraries in a timely manner. Holdings information and direct requesting from over 40 libraries are available  through the Interlibrary Loan web page and from library databases.

Other factors for consideration

Courses in the teaching of French as a Second Language are offered by the SFU Faculty of Education; therefore materials relevant to this area of the discipline, as well as juvenile and curriculum materials, are selectively collected by the Faculty of Education. Works around French linguistics published in English are selectively purchased by the Department of Linguistics. French literary works in English translation are purchased from the library fund for the World Literature Program.

General collection guidelines

Methods of acquiring materials: The Library maintains a collections profile with a book vendor for collecting suitable monographs related to Québécois Literature and Francophone Literature in Canada. The Liaison Librarian responsible for this subject area also selects key books from French and Canadian publishers’ catalogues, with the input of the French Department’s library representative, other faculty members in the Department, and students.

Languages: The primary language of the collection is French. Primary literary works are acquired in French, while secondary theoretical materials and critical works are acquired primarily in French and selectively in English. Translations of French literature in other languages, including English, are not acquired. Translations of Old French, medieval and Middle French texts into modern French are purchased selectively.

Chronological guidelines: French literature from the medieval period to the present, and contemporary Québécois and Francophone Literature from Canada are collected.

Geographical guidelines:  Emphasis is on the literature of France and Canada. Works of literary figures from other countries in la francophonie are acquired selectively. 

Treatment of subject:  Scholarly. Popular-level secondary works are generally not collected.

Types of materials: Publications from French and North American publishers are emphasized. Collecting is split between books and journals, with a much greater emphasis on the monograph collection.  The emphasis is placed on print books, e-journals and e-resources, such as journal article databases & online dictionaries; monographic series, audio-visual and electronic media are also selectively collected.

Collected: Literary criticism & essays; literary texts, such as novels, poetry, plays, satires, short stories, detective stories, fantasy narratives, and correspondence; critical editions. All materials are collected in original editions or modern editions. Reprints are not normally purchased.
Selectively collected: Anthologies; autobiographies; bibliographies; DVDs and streaming videos; exhibition catalogues; French language dictionaries; journal article databases; periodicals; proceedings; material for language courses.
Not collected: Dissertations & theses; general, non-literary encyclopedias in French; juvenile and curriculum materials; manuscripts; self-teaching language materials; textbooks & custom course materials; 

Date of Publication:   Emphasis is on current publications in French.  Retrospective acquisitions and out-of-print materials will be made when funds are available, to address gaps in the collection, or in response to requests by SFU faculty.

Duplication: Multiple copies of works are usually not acquired, but may be considered in the case of works that are of major interest to students. New editions are selectively purchased.

Gifts: Gifts are welcome and evaluated by the same criteria as materials considered for purchase. Only material related to the French Department’s teaching and research areas will be considered for retention. Manuscripts, signed editions and original documents may be directed to Special Collections. The SFU Library Gifts Policy (link) provides additional guidance.

Subjects and levels of collecting

The levels of collection development describe current collecting goals in French Language, Literature and Culture and are subject to ongoing adjustment. Definitions of collection levels are provided on the Library of Congress website and are derived from the American Library Association’s Guide for written collection policy statements, 1989.

0 - Out of Scope (of the Department's curricula and research)

  • Language & Linguistics: Old French language; history of French linguistics; Bilingual dictionaries (except French-English-French)
  • Literature: Prose & poetry by those authors who are not collected by SFU, and who do not appear on the list of  French authors and French-Canadian authors; literary texts in Old French; translations of French and French-Canadian texts;

1 - Minimal Level (peripheral to the Department's curricula and research)

  • Grammars, dictionaries and works for the study of the Italian language; 16th century French literature;

2 - Basic Information Level (material that serves to introduce and define a subject)

  • Language & Linguistics: French language history; French language & literary encyclopedias in French;
  • Literature: material for language courses; contemporary Québécois poetry; grammars, dictionaries and works for the study of the Italian language;

3 - Study or Instructional Support Level (maintains knowledge about a subject in a systematic way; it is adequate to support undergraduate and most graduate instruction and independent study)

  • French culture: cultural and gender studies; French cultural studies; works relevant to la francophonie; French and Québécois cinema;
  • Language learning & teaching: French monolingual dictionaries, French-English bilingual dictionaries; French grammars, conversation and phrase books; French composition and style; acquisition of French as a second language (when not acquired by the Faculty of Education); methodology of teaching of French in Canada and elsewhere in the French-speaking world; study of oral French.
  • Linguistics: descriptive and theoretical studies relevant to the French linguistics; French phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, pragmatics, stylistics, and lexicology; sociolinguistics; bilingualism; multilingualism; textual discourse
  • Literature: Original literary works, collections of works, and biographical materials of major literary figures in French literature, from Medieval & Renaissance periods, to the 17th, 18th & 19th century; 20th century & contemporary Québécois Literature and Francophone Literature in Canada; French literary movements; varieties of French (social, regional, stylistic) & dialectology; Canadian French; Creole French dialects; contrastive studies of French and English; translation studies;
  • Important current literary criticism of all major French and Québécois and Francophone literary figures and their influences, as well as of French literary movements; sociological aspects of literary criticism; literary theory and history of literature; studies and analysis of literary genres (novel, poetry, short stories, film and theatre); women writers;
    • Medieval: Arthurian literature; Old French epics & chansons de geste (Chanson de Roland, Roman de la rose); troubadour poetry; Charles d’Orléans, Chrétien de Troyes, Marie de France; 
    • Renaissance: Major texts and figures, such as Rabelais, Marguerite Navarre, Montaigne; La Pléiade; 
    • 17th Century literature:  Classical theatre (Corneille, Racine, Moliere); Baroque theatre and poetry; les Moralistes (Descartes, Pascal); Poetry (La Fontaine); selected women authors;
    • 18th century literature: Beaumarchais, Lesage, Marivaux, Prévost; Les Philosophes (Diderot, Montesquieu, Rousseau, Voltaire);  Crébillon, Laclos, Sade; theatre;
    • 19th Century:  All major figures of Romanticism, Realism, Naturalism, including: Balzac, Baudelaire, Dumas, Flaubert, Gautier, Hugo, Huysmans, Mallarmé, Maupassant, Rimbaud, Stendhal, Verlaine, Zola;
    • 20th Century: Major literary figures, including: Aragon, Gide, Proust, Breton, Céline, Colette, Camus, Éluard, Butor, Yourcenar,  Desnos, Leiris, de Beauvoir, Duras, Cocteau, Valéry, Beckett, Sartre, Ionesco;
    • Contemporary: French cinema, novel, poetry, and theatre; Québécois cinema, novel and theatre; francophone cinema and novel from Canada;
  • French authors and French-Canadian authors of interest to the French Department and currently collected by the SFU Library.

4 - Research Level (supports faculty research and materials required for dissertations and independent research)

  • French Culture: art and literature; cultural history of literature; la francophonie;  gender studies;  influence of cinema on the contemporary novel;
  • Language Teaching: Computer-Assisted Language Learning; foreign language teaching; second language acquisition, including theories of second language acquisition;
  • Linguistics: experimental phonetics; phonology (synchronic and diachronic); formal semantics; phonostylistics; stylistic correspondence between oral and written texts; sociolinguistics, especially bilingualism and code-switching; discourse analysis;
  • transformational syntax, morpho-syntax; varieties of French, including Canadian French and Creole French
  • Literature: comparative genre criticism; cultural history of literature; history of French literature – prose, poetry, theatre; cinema and literature; literary theory and narrative theory; theoretical and interdisciplinary approaches to literature and paraliterature; Medieval French literature and Medievalism; Arthurian literature; troubadour poetry; 19th century novel, poetry and drama; la décadence; 20th century and contemporary French and French-Canadian literature; literature of the francophonie; Surrealism, avant-garde movements, Dada; French war writings; writings of French émigrés; literary correspondence;

5 - Comprehensive Level (exhaustive collection of all significant works; maintains a "special collection")

  • none