FR2FN-Introduction to the French Novel

Module Provider: Modern Languages
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn / Spring term module
Non-modular pre-requisites: Prereq: Pass in Part 1 French
Modules excluded:
Module version for: 2017/8

Module Convenor: Dr Veronica Heath


Summary module description:

The French novel, the most popular of contemporary literary forms, has a rich and often contested history. This module aims to introduce students to many of the historical, theoretical, cultural and aesthetic issues influencing the development of the genre, through the study of a representative selection of key texts from 19th and 20th-century French literature.

Assessable learning outcomes:
By the end of the module students will be expected to be able to:

- demonstrate an understanding of the ways in which shifting historical and social contexts affect the form and content of the novels studied.
- plot the development of evolving notions of the relation between reality and representation, author and work, individual and society, gender and genre.
- analyse the set texts in terms of such issues as form, theme, style, gender and narrative voice.
- draw relevant comparisons and contrasts between the different works studied.
- form and articulate individual critical responses to literary works.
- engage critically with the ideas presented in lectures, seminars, or secondary materials.
- organise and articulate a coherent written argument in a coursework essay and under examination conditions.

Additional outcomes:
This module also aims to encourage the development of oral communication skills and pair/group presentation skills, as well as enabling students to analyse and contextualise literary texts, and to read both 19th- and 20th-century French novels with ease.

Outline content:
Texts for study will include two canonical, nineteenth-century novels - Le Père Goriot (Honoré de Balzac) and Madame Bovary (Gustave Flaubert) - and two twentieth-century texts - La Jalousie (Alain Robbe-Grillet) and L’Amant (Marguerite Duras) - which consciously question, in different ways, the certainties on which the earlier works were based. Reference will also be made to the authors' and literary critics' theories of the novel: for example, Robbe-Grillet’s Pour un nouveau roman, which students will need to purchase or borrow.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
This module will be taught in Autumn and Spring terms, by means of weekly lectures, seminars and student presentations. In the Autumn term, we shall study the set nineteenth-century texts in relation to theories of the novel form, authorship, realism, narrative viewpoint, and gender. In the Spring term, similar issues will be examined, and brought into question, through our analysis of the set twentieth-century texts. Students will be expected to read the novels in advance, in order to be able to contribute fully to discussions and assignments.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 5 5
Seminars 10 10
Guided independent study 85 85
Total hours by term 100.00 100.00
Total hours for module 200.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 50
Class test administered by School 50

Other information on summative assessment:

Students will write one 2,000-2,500-word comparative essay, to be handed in by the Part 2 Spring Term deadline.

Relative percentage of coursework: 50 %

Class test:

Students will sit one two-hour class test, to consist of two passages for critical commentary out of a possible four, one from each of the set texts. Relative percentage of class test: 50%.

Formative assessment methods:
Students will be given regular, guided assignments to prepare for, and present in, subsequent classes and to guide their own study. In addition, students will have the option of writing a formative essay on the novels studied in the Autumn Term, to be submitted by the Part 2 Autumn Term deadline. Advice and feedback will be provided on these assignments.

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convenor will apply the following penalties for work submitted late, in accordance with the University policy.

  • where the piece of work is submitted up to one calendar week after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for the piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

  • The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at:
    You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

    Length of examination:

    Requirements for a pass:

    Reassessment arrangements:
    Re-examination in August, in the event of failure in this module and of failure in Part 2 as a whole. Coursework for reassessment must be resubmitted by 1PM on the third Friday of August or, if the University is closed on the third Friday of August, at 1PM on the next working day thereafter.

    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):
    1) Required text books:
    2) Specialist equipment or materials:
    3) Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear:
    4) Printing and binding:
    5) Computers and devices with a particular specification:
    6) Travel, accommodation and subsistence:

    Last updated: 31 March 2017

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