Faculty of Arts


FRENCH 341

Panorama of the French Novel


Description

This course is aimed at students with an upper intermediate level of French.

Since a Frenchwoman wrote what is widely regarded as one of the earliest and greatest modern novels in 1678, the genre of the novel has both reflected and shaped French cultural and social history. This course examines desire in fiction at key moments in French history – from Henri II’s royal court in La Princesse de Clèves; to the Naturalism of the Belle Époque in Bel-Ami; to the experimental “New Novel” of the turbulent mid-twentieth century (Djinn); and to the contemporary postmodern novel, Biographie de la faim. All these novels challenge and transform existing literary conventions, just as they offer us invaluable insights into French society through their close engagement with the theme of desire.

Guided readings will assist to develop students’ reading skills in French, while comparative studies of film versions of the two earlier novels will help with comprehension and reveal the different ways in which these stories have been read across time and place. Desire written by both male and female authors will allow us to examine gendered perspectives of desire and the obstacles it meets at various times in French history.
 
Course Objectives:
 
It will give students the opportunity to explore the works of critically acclaimed French writers, whilst practising and improving their French through the reading, analysis and discussion of selected novels. In particular, students will:
  • develop critical reading skills, in French
  • consolidate both oral and written French skills, particularly through discussions in tutorials and through the writing of essays
  • acquire the basic terminology of French literary criticism as applicable to the novel
  • to explain and contextualize different forms of the novel in French
  • to develop analytical skills as they pertain to the study of literary form and meaning
  • to expose writing as a tool for social commentary
  • to develop research skills.

Assessment

Coursework + exam

Availability 2019

Not taught in 2019

Lecturer(s)

Coordinator(s) Dr Trudy Agar

Reading/Texts

  1. Madame de la Fayette. La Princesse de Clèves. (Extracts). Download here : http://bibliothequenumerique.tv5monde.com/livre/83/La-Princesse-de-Cleves (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. (extraits)
  2. Guy de Maupassant. Bel-Ami. Download here : http://bibliothequenumerique.tv5monde.com/livre/112/Bel-Ami (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.
  3. Alain Robbe-Grillet. Djinn. Paris: Minuit, 1970. (some copies will be available to borrow; check with the course convenor).
  4. Amélie Nothomb. Biographie de la faim. Paris: Librairie Générale Française, 2006. (Students must obtain their own copy).

Films:

Delannoy, Jean (dir.) La Princesse de Clèves, 1961.

Assessment

Coursework + exam

Points

FRENCH 341: 15.0 points

Prerequisites

FRENCH 304

Restrictions

FRENCH 741


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