French Language, Literature, and Theater Collection Policy


subject description and guidelines

  • Comprehensive collection of primary texts and secondary literature relating to French language and literature from the emergence of the French vernacular in the early Middle Ages to the present. The collection supports research and scholarly communication at the highest level of excellence. The collection encompasses: (1) fiction, poetry, drama, graphic novels, creative nonfiction, and other forms of belles lettres originating in the French-speaking world; (2) critical, theoretical, and historical writing on French-language literature; (3) general literary theory and criticism written in French; (4) scholarship on the history of the French language; (6) scholarly writing on folklore of the Francophone countries; (7) biographies of canonical French-language literary figures; and (7) works on the art and craft of French theatrical performance; and (8) scholarly work on the French-language popular press and mass media.


  • The collection is intended to support the teaching and research needs of undergraduates, graduate students, academic staff, and faculty in the College of Arts & Sciences, with particular consideration for the departments of Romance Studies; Theatre, Film & Dance; and Comparative Literature, as well as several related interdisciplinary programs, specifically: Feminist, Gender & Sexuality Studies; the Institute for Comparative Modernities; Medieval Studies; and the Society for the Humanities.


collection strength

  • Canonical French literature and its attendant scholarship are represented at the research level, with notable collection strengths in the literature of France during the medieval and 18th century periods. Literatures of other Francophone regions (Canada, North and Sub-Saharan Africa, the Indian Ocean, etc.) are now collected at study level (supporting instruction and basic research). While literary fiction is of primary concern, traditional genres of popular fiction such as mystery and science fiction are represented at study level. Romance, techno-thriller, fantasy, and historical fiction are collected at basic or minimal levels.

collection level

  • research 

geographical guidelines

  • Geographical focus includes countries where French is a major spoken and written language, including Canada and many former French colonies.

areas of significant geographic coverage

country (self-governing)

  • Belgium 
  • Canada 
  • France 
  • Switzerland 

language guidelines

  • Primary texts are mostly in French, but our holdings of secondary works include all major European languages.


  • English 
  • French 
  • German 
  • Italian 

chronological guidelines

  • The collection spans French-language works of literature from the medieval through contemporary periods.


  • Generally excluded publication formats include textbooks (if designated as such by the publisher); broadsides and chapbooks (with rare exceptions); publications in non-European languages; self-published or vanity press books (unless the author has a direct connection with Cornell); and non-Cornell theses and dissertations (with rare exceptions).

material types

  • Newly acquired material may be in either physical (book, serial, microform, CD-ROM) or virtual (e-journal, database) format. Audiovisual material (DVD, VHS, CD-ROM) includes stage performances, readings of poetry and fiction, documentaries relevant to the study of French-language literature and theater. Audio books are acquired only by special request for academic purposes. For new serial subscriptions the default mode is electronic access only (if available) unless physical issues present visual content better suited for research or the physical format is specifically requested by faculty and graduate students.


housed in

  • Carl A. Kroch Library 
  • Library Annex 
  • Olin Library 

special collections or noteworthy resources in the field

  • Effort is made to support collection strengths present in the Division of Rare and Manuscripts Collection, specifically, writers and thinkers of the eighteenth century associated with the French Revolution.


academic department

  • Comparative Literature (COM L) 
  • Performing and Media Arts (PMA) 
  • Romance Studies (ROM S) 

graduate field/program

  • Feminist, Gender, & Sexuality Studies 
  • Medieval Studies 

academic unit

  • Society for the Humanities 


  • History (HIST) 


library contact

  • How, Sarah E. -  European Studies Librarian