Module LXF-2113:
Reading France

Module Facts

Run by School of Languages, Literatures and Linguistics.

20 Credits or 10 ECTS Credits

Semester 1

Organiser: Dr Gillian Jein

Overall aims and purpose

France is not only a political or geographical entity; it is also an evolving constellation of ideas and realities embedded in and through a rich literary history. Indeed, the presence of the French language and French territories around the globe testifies to the complex ways in which one nation impacts upon and intersects with others, and how the cultural identities and values of the French-speaking world evolve and differ depending on socio-historical contexts. This module will introduce students to the literary landscapes of the French-speaking world and engage them critically with how writers have forged, negotiated and re-negotiated issues pertaining to French and Francophone culture.

Course content

Students will engage with four literary texts from the French-speaking world. These texts will be modern and contemporary in focus, treating of a variety of cultural and social issues pertaining to French and Francophone society. Through contact with these texts, students will encounter a variety of different literary forms (the graphic novel, drama, and the novel) and engage with how form and style construct meanings and build thematic aspects of the works. The intersection of 'form' and 'content', or 'how the text speaks' and 'what it says' will be a key consideration throughout these lectures and seminars.

Assessment Criteria


A- - A*: Students attaining the highest grades in this course will have offered original interpretations of the work studied and of the evolution of the ideas of the Republic and Republicanism. The will demonstrate a clear ability to integrate in an original way their reading of the texts with the political and historical contexts appropriate. They will also demonstrate a clear understanding of cultural studies approaches to reading literature and an ability to assess the validity of established critical readings and be proficient in integrating this assessment into their reading of the texts studied. They will have paid attention to the language, imagery and ideas of the pieces studied as well as being able to situate critically the position of the text within the evolution of the idea of the French Republic.


D- - D+: In order to merit the award of credit, students should demonstrate a solid comprehension of the literary texts studied. They should also demonstrate an awareness of changes in discourses on the Republic and Republicanism.


C- - B+: Students attaining the higher grades in this course will have engaged with the style and content of the texts studied, offering and supporting their opinions of them. The will also demonstrate an ability to contextualise the literature studied, grasping well the political and historical significance of the text and demonstrating an ability to interact with established critical work on these texts. They will also offer a well-argued reading of how the texts demonstrate changes in discourses on the Republic and Republicanism.

Learning outcomes

  1. Demonstrate an awareness of secondary critical literature and an ability to deploy self-motivated research techniques.

  2. Generate sustained and structured arguments to support their reading through informal seminar discussion and assessed oral and written assignments.

  3. Critically evaluate the evolving production of issues in French and Francophone society through engagement with key thinkers and writers from the French Revolution to the contemporary period.

  4. Examine the construction of themes in the works in relation to the form of the texts.

  5. Demonstrate a knowledge of the differences and evolution of literary forms in the French-speaking world.

  6. Think critically about France as a literary as well as geo-political entity.

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
ESSAY Assignment 1 - Essay 40
ESSAY Assignment 2 - Essay 40

Teaching and Learning Strategy


One one-hour lecture weekly for 11 weeks

Private study 178

One one-hour seminar weekly for 11 weeks


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
  • 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.
  • Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting

Subject specific skills

  • Extract and synthesise key information from written and/or spoken sources in English / Welsh and/or the target language. (Benchmark statement 5.14)
  • The ability to organise and present ideas within the framework of a structured and reasoned argument in written and/or oral assignments and class discussions. (Benchmark statement 5.14)
  • Critical skills in the close reading, description, reasoning and analysis of primary and secondary sources in the target language and/or English or Welsh (incl. filmic, literary and other sources). (Benchmark statement 5.13, 5.14, 5.15)
  • Competence in the planning and execution of essays, presentations and other written and project work; bibliographic skills, including the accurate citation of sources and consistent use of conventions and appropriate style in the presentation of scholarly work. (Benchmark statement 5.10, 5.14, 5.15)
  • The ability to gather information, analyse, interpret and discuss different viewpoints and to place these in a wider socio-cultural and/or geo-historical and political and/or socio-linguistic context and to revise and re-evaluate judgements in light of those of the course leader, certain individuals or groups studied and/or fellow students. (Benchmark statement 5.13, 5.15 and 5.16)
  • The ability to write and think under pressure and meet deadlines. (Benchmark statement 5.15)
  • The ability to write effective notes and access and manage course materials including electronic resources / information provided on online learning platforms and library resources. (Benchmark statement 5.15, 5.16)
  • The ability to work creatively and flexibly both independently and/or as part of a team. (Benchmark statement 5.15).
  • The ability and willingness to engage with and appreciate other cultures and to articulate to others (in written and verbal form) the contribution that the culture has made at a regional and global level. (Benchmark statement 5.7)
  • Skills in the critical reading and analysis of literary and/or musical and/or filmic texts. (Benchmark statement 5.10)
  • 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 French national identity, its historical evolution and contestation throughout key moments in the history of the Republic. (Benchmark statement 5.10)
  • The ability to critically understand, analyse, debate and present on a range of French travel texts, while challenging and broadening the understanding of language and textual-visual representation. (Benchmark statement 5.10, 5.11, 5.14)
  • The ability to critically understand a specific aspect of French or Francophone culture and its relationship to other cultures. (Benchmark statement 5.7)


Courses including this module

Optional in courses: