Faculty of Arts


Reading French Literature


The course considers a range of French literature from the Sixteenth to the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries – poetry, fiction and drama – focusing on love and death. It traces these dual literary themes through courtly love, the erotic passion of Charles Baudelaire to the humanist love of Paul Eluard. Eluard and other war poets used literature to assert love in the face of the horrors of the world wars and their writing formed part of the French resistance to fascism. Similarly, Eugène Ionesco’s play, La Leçon, stands in resistance to totalitarianism in its many forms.

Although the texts are varied in genre and technique, all form part of the understanding of love in the period of their writing. While some explore how love and death are intertwined, and how literature may resist the death of love and the death of the writer, others show how love may stand against the death and suffering caused by war and totalitarianism.

The course will introduce you to some of the technical aspects of French versification, provide a framework for reading and analysing French literature, as well as strengthening cultural knowledge, vocabulary and fluency in French at an appropriate Stage 2 level. Taught in French.


Coursework + exam

Availability 2019

Not offered in 2019; planned for 2020




There will be a course anthology containing poetry by Pierre de Ronsard, Charles Baudelaire, Louis Aragon and Paul Eluard
Gustave Flaubert, “Un Coeur simple” (available online)
Eugene Ionesco, La Leçon


Coursework + exam


FRENCH 241: 15.0 points


15 points from FRENCH  204, 269, 304



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