How were French texts written, read, and understood in periods prior to the Revolution? How do such texts encourage us to reflect historically on questions of religion and spirituality? How do they represent and help to constitute historical communities? What insight do they offer into the way we think about gender and sexuality in earlier periods? Offering you the opportunity to explore a range of texts from some of the earliest masterpieces written in the French language to the brilliant intellectual output of the Enlightenment, these are some of the questions that we will explore on this module.
We will look at three major periods of French history: the Middle Ages; the Renaissance; and Baroque, Classicism and the Enlightenment. Each of the three sections of the module will focus on the historical specificity of the relationship between texts and their historical contexts while, at the same time, enabling you to see continuities between the different periods in question.
By the end of the module, you will understand some of the ways in which literary texts reflect or articulate social and historical situations. You will also have an insight into what such texts tell us about the attitudes, values and beliefs of their time, and how those attitudes change over time.
60% - Three 1200-1500 word essays
40% - 1½ hour examination