top of page


by Celia Brickman

Columbia University Press, 2012

For an answer key to A Short Course in Reading French

or for any other language-related questions,

please contact


A Short Course in Reading French provides a clear and accessible

guide to the basics of French grammar. It includes exercises of

increasing length calibrated to each grammatical topic, and a wide

range of translation passages from French classics in the humanities

and the social sciences, including writings by distinguished

francophone authors from around the world.



“The ideal resource for those seeking access to written French,”

Jean-Michel Robert, Maître de conferences en lingistique,

Université d’Amiens.

From the back cover:


"This is a refreshing and intelligent book for learning to read and translate French. Although meant for academics, it is really for anyone who wants to experience great French texts in the original. All along the way, Celia Brickman provides a sensible and extremely helpful presentation and explication of French grammar. Then she rewards the reader with excerpts from a wide variety of French writers, helping to understand them. Before you know it, you're reading the likes of Sartre, Camus, and Kristeva - in French!"


--Françoise Meltzer, Edward Carson Waller Distinguished Service Professor, Department of Comparative LIterature, University of Chicago


"A simple but scholarly introduction to French, this book fosters learning basic structures necessary to understand written French in no time. What is more, it offers an excellent foundation for those who wish to go beyond the basics and develop skills in oral undersatnding and speaking French. The ideal resource for those seeking access to written French."

--Jean-Michel Robert, Maître de conférences en lingusitique, Université d'Amiens

"The perfect companion for the student or scholar wishing to develop reading skills in French. Not only does this book provide clear, concise explanations but it also offers a wide range of carefully designed and relevant tasks based on short phrases, more complex sentences, and authetnic reading passages. These carefully selected texts also cover a breadth of subjects, eras and styles of interest. For teachers, this book represents a consdierable time saver, since it presents a collection of activities and texts that can be fully exploited in class or assigned as homework."

--David Tual, teaching fellow, Durham University

About the Hyde Park Language Program


For many years, A Short Course in Reading French was the textbook for the Reading French course taught by Celia Brickman under the aegis of the Hyde Park Language Program. The Hyde Park Language program and its Reading French course have now come to an end.


Between 1991 and 2019, the Hyde Park Language Program provided superior language instruction to graduate students in French, German, Spanish, Latin and Greek, serving hundreds of graduate students from the University of Chicago, the University of Illinois, DePaul University, Chicago Theological Seminary, Garrett Theological Seminary, Catholic Theological Union, the Lutheran School of Theology, McCormick Seminary, and other institutions from the greater Chicago area and beyond.
 Directed by Celia Brickman, it was sponsored by the Hyde Park Cluster of Theological Colleges until 2004, after which it became an independent entity. Courses were focused on language for research purposes, and emphasized reading and written translation practice rather than conversational skills. Enrollment was open to all interested adults.


bottom of page