By Ana Peterson,2014-05-13 16:01
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    The following options offered by the Department of French Studies are available only to undergraduate students in the Faculty of Arts, subject to the agreement of the relevant module tutor and provided that intending students have appropriate competence in French language.

Topics in French and Francophone Culture I

    Second-Year Modules only

You choose one from List A and one from List B.

    List A (Term I)

    Collaboration and Resistance in French Fiction and Film FR229 Dr Oliver Davis

    FR230 French Women Writers from 1968 to the Present Dr Sam Haigh

    FR231 Modern Masterpieces Sian Miles

    Paris Hollywood: French Cinema Re-made in the USA FR243 Dr Douglas Morrey

    FR244 The Uses of the Past: Medieval to Modern Dr Emma Campbell

    FR245 In the Family Way: Birth, Sex and Death in French Dr Cathy Hampton

    Seventeenth Century Culture and Text

    FR254 Balzac and the Triumph of Realism Prof Leslie Hill



    Tutor: Dr Oliver Davis Room H 4.33

    In the 1940s and 1950s little was done to challenge the depiction of the Second World War in France as a time of heroic resistance against the Nazi invaders. If collaboration was discussed at all, it tended to be shown as the aberration of a tiny number of unscrupulous individuals. The social upheavals of 1968 helped create a climate for the thorough re-examination of

    France’s wartime past. A generation of filmmakers and writers who were either not born at the time of the war or too young to have been actively involved in it began to unearth a much more ambiguous history. Collaboration was revealed to be more widespread than official histories had cared to acknowledge, and the moral dichotomy between evil collaborators and

    noble resisters was shown to be a comforting simplification of actual dilemmas. This module will examine some of the key films and novels through which of France’s wartime past was re-evaluated. The module begins with Marcel Ophüls’s film Le Chagrin et la pitié, which

    was partly financed by French television but banned from being broadcast for ten years after it was made; the module then goes on to examine the novelist Patrick Modiano’s morally

    bewildering account of the Occupation in La Ronde de nuit, some of the short texts in

    Marguerite Duras’s La Douleur, and the film Lacombe Lucien directed by Louis Malle

    and co-written by him and Modiano; it culminates with Michel Tournier’s Goncourt prize-

    winning novel Le Roi des aulnes, which disturbingly recreates the seduction exercised by the

    Nazi régime on one Frenchman.

    Reading List


    Patrick Modiano, La Ronde de nuit (Paris: Gallimard, 1969; Folio edition)

    Marguerite Duras, La Douleur (Paris: POL, 1985; Folio edition)

    Michel Tournier, Le Roi des aulnes (Paris: Gallimard, 1970; Folio edition)


    Marcel Ophüls, Le Chagrin et la pitié

    Louis Malle, Lacombe Lucien


    Tutor: Dr Samantha Haigh (Room H4.40)

    Do women experience the world differently to men, and do they write about their experiences in different ways? What is the relationship between the position of women in public life, feminist politics, and literary writing by women? How far does fiction give us an insight into the relationship between language and gender, and what role can writing play in challenging gender assumptions or stereotypes? These are some of the questions raised by women in France (and elsewhere) in the wake of the social, cultural, and political upheavals of May 1968. In this module we will explore some of these debates by examining four texts by key, post-1968 French women writers. Ranging from 1976 to 2000, these texts will be positioned within the historical and political context of the last four decades, with novels by more established writers like Marie Cardinal and Annie Ernaux being studied alongside the more recent work of younger writers such as Marie Darrieussecq and Nina Bouraoui. Reading List

    ; Nina Bouraoui, Garçon manqué (Stock, 2000)

    ; Marie Cardinal, Les Mots pour le dire (Le Livre de poche, 1976)

    ; Marie Darrieussecq, Truismes (Gallimard: folio, 1998)

    ; Annie Ernaux, La Femme gelée (Gallimard: folio, 1981)


    Tutor: Siân Miles (Room H4.30)

    Through this module you will become familiar with the texts most popularly associated with four major and internationally-acclaimed writers of the modern period. We start with the inimitable Proust who records his own vision of the wicked and decadent society of the Belle Epoque or Naughty Nineties while at the same time looking at the nature and function of memory (Combray). Led by the controversial figure of André Gide we next travel through France and Italy to North Africa on a voyage of self-discovery (L'Immoraliste). Following

    this, a fellow Nobel prizewinner Albert Camus offers us, with ironic topicality, an examination of a biological weapon we may already be carrying within us (La Peste). And

    finally we take a look, in his first novel (La Nausée) at the bizarre world of the famous

    existentialist Jean-Paul Sartre and evaluate the relationship between external reality, words and music.


    Tutor: Dr Douglas Morrey (Room H4.34)

    This module looks at French films from a variety of periods and genres that have been remade in the USA. The module will explore a number of questions related to the cultural exchange and influence between France and the USA in film history, looking at how genres and movements have been shaped by the migration of directors, by trends in film spectatorship, and by the economic imperatives of the film industry. The module will also provide the opportunity to reflect more widely on Franco-American relations in social and political terms, looking at the development of this international relationship across the latter half of the twentieth century, from the Second World War, throughout the economic boom of the 1950s-70s, to the current era of globalisation. At the same time, the comparative study of French and American films will give students the opportunity to develop their skills in the close textual analysis of film sequences.


    Tutor: Dr Emma Campbell (Room H4.31)

    What is the use of the past? How and why do we represent it? What is at stake when we do so? These are questions that this module will address from the perspective of medieval engagements with history and modern French engagements with medieval texts and narratives. The first section of the course will investigate the medieval representation of the past. We will

    examine the ways in which history was not only flexibly defined in the Middle Ages but also the ways it served different purposes. This part of the course will look at the ways in which literature may have mediated between readers/listeners and the past in medieval French texts as well as considering how this relates to questions of memory, memorialisation, and historical or literary preservation. Students will be encouraged to think about how this creates different models for approaching the past, how texts define our responses to history and how these things relate to questions of power and ideology.

    The final part of the course will apply some of this thinking to modern appropriations of

    medieval narratives and texts, focusing on Flaubert’s rewriting of the Vie de saint Julien

    l’Hospitalier in his Trois contes (1877) and on Eric Rohmer’s Perceval le gallois (1979): a film

    adaptation of an Arthurian tale by Chrétien de Troyes.

    Reading list

    ; La Mort le roi Artu, roman du XIIIe siècle, ed by Jean Frappier, 3rd edn (Geneva : Droz,


    ; Marie de France, Les Lais de Marie de France, ed. by Karl Warnke, trans. by Laurence

    Harf-Lancner (Paris : Livre de poche, 1990)

    ; Clemence of Barking, The Life of St Catherine by Clemence of Barking, ed. by William

    MacBain (Oxford : Backwell, 1964): a copy of this text will be provided by the department

    ; Flaubert, Gustave, Trois Contes, ed. by Samuel S. de Sacy (Paris: Gallimard, 2000)

    ; Rohmer, Eric, Perceval le gallois (1978) : film to be shown in the department


    SEVENTEENTH CENTURY FRENCH CULTURE AND TEXTS Tutor: Dr Catherine Hampton (Room H4.26) FR245

    Way before any notion of the human gene, seventeenth century French society theorized and fantasized about the relationship of the human person to his / her environment and blood ties. This module will explore a range of texts that reveal how this society articulated moral, ethical, social and political concerns emerging from their conceptions, real and symbolic, of how the human life cycle operated. These include medical questions (childbirth, the issue of abortion - Louise Bourgeois); anxieties over power at the level of

    family and state (sibling and generational rivalry, the role of gender - Corneille, Racine and

    Mme de Sévigné); and fantasies of the journey from innocence to sexual maturity (fairy tales and the unconscious - Perrault).

    BALZAC AND THE TRIUMPH OF REALISM FR254 Tutor: Professor Leslie Hill (Room H4.28)

    Honoré Balzac (1799-1850) was one of France’s most important writers of the first half

    of the nineteenth century, who almost single-handedly created