French Language Exam: Mastery
September 11, 2009
You may use a paper bilingual dictionary and verb chart. You may NOT use a grammar book
or any electronic dictionary or translation program.
Please type answers and attach sheet with this packet.
GSAS requires you to write the honor pledge on your answer sheet: “On my honor as a
student I have neither given nor received aid on this exam/assignment.” (Write out and sign).
You have until 4:00 pm today to submit your exam to the French department. You will
select a consecutive two hour period before 4:00 p.m. in which to complete the three sections
of the exam. You may use no more than forty minutes on any one section of the exam.
You must use accents when typing your mastery essay. If you do not know how to use accents
on your keyboard, please hand-write them in after printing your essay for section III.
You may return the exam in person or e-mail it to the exam proctor (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Exams submitted after 4:00 pm will not be accepted. All materials (cover sheet, reading
passage, and your answer sheet) must be returned. In the event that you only complete your
exam right at 4pm, you may e-mail it to the examiner at email@example.com, but you must
still return all the exam materials in person to the French Department on the following
GSAS will notify your dean or department of your exam results within two weeks of the exam
date. Please do not contact the French department or the examiner for your results.
I. Translate as much as possible of the bracketed section of Jerry L. Curtis’ article, “Méthodes de
recherche biographique: Lucette Desvignes sur le chemin de la vendange,” into natural sounding
English within the 40 minutes allotted. You are not expected to translate the entire selection, but
should be able to complete the majority of it. You may leave titles in the original French.
II. Read the rest of the article provided and respond to the following questions as completely as
possible in English within the 40 minutes allotted.
1. How does Curtis characterize the “modern biographer”?
2. Summarize Gérard Genette’s description of contemporary biographies.
3. According to Curtis, how do American biographies differ from French biographies?
4. How does Curtis characterize the focus of his own biography, Lucette Desvignes sur
le chemin de la vendange?
5. On page 345, what does Curtis mean when he describes his biography as
6. In the concluding paragraph, what advantage does Curtis claim to have over other
biographers, and why does he see this as an advantage?
7. What is the relationship between the first half of the article, “Méthodes
contemporaines de recherche biographique” and the second half, “Analyse raisonnée
d’un choix de méthodes biographiques”?
III. Within the 40 minutes allotted, write a brief essay in French describing a secondary source
relevant to your research that you have recently read and how it pertains to your research.