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Modern French & Francophone Literature - ENG00140I

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  • Department: English and Related Literature
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Daniel Matore
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: I
  • Academic year of delivery: 2023-24

Module summary

French Literature has for much of the modern era seemed at the forefront of literary innovation, through lurid and shocking subject matter, dazzling formal invention, and radical political verve. From the dancing corpses and pestilential cityscapes of Charles Baudelaire’s poetry to the visionary reimagining of lexis and line in Aimé Césaire’s verse to the uncanny robotic figures in the novels of Nathalie Sarraute, literature in French has recurrently upended our sense of genre and the possiblities of expression.

In this course, you’d have the opportunity to study an eclectic range of French poetry, prose, and theory, across the 19th, 20th and 21st century, covering Francophone writers from France, North Africa and the Caribbean.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Semester 2 2023-24

Module aims

This course will equip you with insights into topics, movements and debates that have animated literature globally such as: symbolist and prose poetry in the 19th century; Gustave Flaubert and the art of fiction; Arthur Rimbaud, free verse and sexual subversion; the nouveau roman or New Novel of the 1950s; Simone de Beauvoir and postwar French feminist thought; Édouard Glissant and Caribbean lyric; and Leïla Sebbar and contemporary French Algerian fiction.

Seminars will study the primary texts in English translation and previous study of French is not a requirement, but you will be encouraged to engage with some aspects of or excerpts from the French originals. Weekly workshops will provide support and guidance on this, through introductory grammar, translation and close reading.

Module learning outcomes

On successful completion of the module, you should be able to:

  1. Demonstrate an informed understanding of and engagement with a range of French and Francophone literature from the 19th, 20th and 21st century.

  2. Demonstrate an informed understanding of and engagement with symbolist poetry, the nouveau roman, postwar feminism, French Caribbean poetry, and French Algerian fiction.

  3. Examine key debates and critical approaches, including poetic analysis, narratology, feminist theory, and historicism.

  4. Develop arguments and ideas which demonstrate a proficiency in critical thinking, research, and writing skills.

  5. Demonstrate an understanding of some of the key issues at stake in the act of translation and in the study of literature in translation.


Task Length % of module mark
2000-word essay
N/A 70
Open Exam (1 day)
Take-home exam
N/A 30

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
2000-word essay
N/A 70
Open Exam (1 day)
Take-home exam
N/A 30

Module feedback

You will receive feedback on all assessed work within the University deadline, and will often receive it more quickly. The purpose of feedback is to inform your future work; it is designed to help you to improve your writing, and the Department also offers you help in learning from your feedback. If you do not understand your feedback or want to talk about your ideas further you can discuss it with your tutor or your supervisor, during their Open Office Hours

For more information about the feedback you will receive for your work, see the department's Guide to Assessment

Indicative reading

Charles Baudelaire, Les fleurs du mal

Arthur Rimbaud, Une saison en enfer

Gustave Flaubert, Trois contes

Aimé Césaire, Cahier d’un retour au pays natal

Nathalie Sarraute, Tropismes

Édouard Glissant, Le sel noir

Simone de Beauvoir, Le deuxième sexe

Leïla Sebbar, Shérazade, 17 ans brune, frisée, les yeux verts

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.