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Module LXM-4035:
French Film & Comic Adaptation

Module Facts

Run by School of Languages, Literatures, Linguistics and Media

30 Credits or 15 ECTS Credits

Semester 2

Organiser: Dr Armelle Blin-Rolland

Overall aims and purpose

  1. To develop the students’ knowledge and understanding of the process of adaptation from literature into film and bande dessinée (French-language comic art).

  2. To introduce students to ongoing debates concerning the ‘literary canon’, and to the ways in which adaptation can challenge and/or perpetuate the ‘literary canon’.

  3. To provide students with a nuanced understanding of the importance of the medium of bande dessinée in French popular culture, and to reflect on its relationship with film and literature and issues of ‘high’ and ‘low’ culture.

  4. To provide students with an understanding of key concepts in adaptation studies, film studies, literary studies, and comics studies, and to use them as analytical tools.

  5. To foster independent study and analytical skills through use of different primary sources and case study analysis.

Course content

This module will explore and question notions of the ‘canon’, ‘cultural myth’ and ‘literary classic’ through the prism of adaptation from literature into film and comic art in the French-language context. It will be focused around 3 key themes, which will be explored through film and comic adaptations: (1) The adaptation into French cultural products (film and comic art) of British cultural myths, namely Jekyll & Hyde and Peter Pan. We will examine how cultural myths are constructed in part through adaptation in an ever-expanding network of polymedia versions, how they are translated from one historical and national context to another, and the relationship between serial adaptation and canon formation. (2) The adaptation into filmic and graphic texts of canonical texts of 20th-century French literature. The case studies will be adaptations of key texts by writers Louis-Ferdinand Céline and Raymond Queneau. We will reflect on issues of ‘high’ and ‘low’ culture; the problem of the author in literary and in adaptation studies; and the concepts of graphic and film language. (3) The adaptation into filmic and graphic texts of mythical and classic texts of a non-state culture, Brittany. Through the analysis of the case study, we will explore the relationship between canonicity and ‘appropriation’, in the sense of an adaptation with a political and/or subversive dimension, to see how a key Breton legend and a canonical text of Francophone Breton literature have been adapted in different historical and political contexts.

Assessment Criteria


A- to A+ Excellent For the award of the highest grade, students should demonstrate a detailed comprehension of the various topics studied, with a nuanced understanding of the correlations and interrelations highlighted, having also analysed and evaluated key sources thoroughly.


B- to B+ Good For the award of higher grades, students should demonstrate a solid comprehension of the various topics studied, with clear understanding of the correlations and interrelations highlighted, having also analysed and evaluated key sources.


C- to C+: Threshold For the award of credit, students should demonstrate a satisfactory comprehension of the various topics studied, with some understanding of the correlations and interrelations highlighted.

Learning outcomes

    1. Gain a critical understanding of ongoing debates around the ‘literary canon’, and issues of ‘high’ and ‘low’ culture.
    1. Develop a critical understanding of the relationship between literature, film and bande dessinée (French-language comic art) through the study of adaptation.
    1. Display the ability to critically analyse film and comic art adaptations as cultural products engaging in varying ways with their source text(s) and as part of a network of proliferating polymedia narratives, addressing questions about narrative and representation, and stylistic, historical and/or political aspects.

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
Essay 100

Teaching and Learning Strategy


Six 2-hour seminars. (fortnightly)

Private study 288

Transferable skills

  • Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
  • Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
  • Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
  • Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
  • Inter-personal - Able to question, actively listen, examine given answers and interact sensitevely with others
  • Critical analysis & Problem Solving - Able to deconstruct and analyse problems or complex situations. To find solutions to problems through analyses and exploration of all possibilities using appropriate methods, rescources and creativity.
  • Presentation - Able to clearly present information and explanations to an audience. Through the written or oral mode of communication accurately and concisely.
  • Teamwork - Able to constructively cooperate with others on a common task, and/or be part of a day-to-day working team
  • Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting
  • Self-awareness & Reflectivity - Having an awareness of your own strengths, weaknesses, aims and objectives. Able to regularly review, evaluate and reflect upon the performance of yourself and others

Subject specific skills

  • The ability to comprehend and interact with critical assessments of the primary sources considered (incl. films and/or literature and/or other media in the target language) and their contexts. (Benchmark statement 5.3, 5.4, 5.10, 5.11. 5.13)
  • The ability to comprehend aspects of French history, culture and language. (Benchmark statement 5.7)
  • The ability to engage with issues of form, style, content and target audience, thus coming to a wider understanding of the role of literature and/or film and/or other media in wider cultural contexts. (Benchmark statement 5.10)
  • The ability to critically understand a specific aspect of French or Francophone culture and its relationship to other cultures. (Benchmark statement 5.7)
  • Articulate the contribution that comic art has made to French culture at a national and international level. (Benchmark statement 5.7)
  • The ability to critically understand the importance of comic art in Francophone culture throughout the twentieth century, and of its relevance, through the focus on adaptation, to French society. (Benchmark statement 5.10, 5.11)

Courses including this module

Optional in courses: