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Defining France: Module Description

Defining France will introduce you to various forms of French writing that were vital to the development and expression of French culture, covering a range of forms and genres (theatre, the novel, the short story, the political pamphlet, the debate, poetry). It will also introduce to a number of different writing styles (comedy, satire, romance, tragedy, polemic). You do not need to worry if you have not studied this kind of material before arriving at Warwick: this is an introductory module.

Module aims and learning outcomes

Defining France will introduce you to French written sources from different periods of French culture from the Middle Ages to the 19th Century.

It will enable you develop the skills to interrogate the relationship between the formal and linguistic features of these sources and their cultural context (including the ability to analyse the relationship between text and image where appropriate)

It will help you develop the skills to use supporting (secondary) materials to build understanding of the cultural and historical context within which these different sources were constructed.

In thinking about our chosen sources, we will think particularly about the following:
  • why certain forms are used by writers at particular moments in France's cultural history
  • how those forms shape the ideas and interests of their readers and authors
  • how the 'technology of textual production' (writing and circulating manuscripts; using the printing press; building theatres and so on...) influences the form and content of our sources
  • what this tells us about French culture across the ages and into the present
Tuition arrangements

Defining France is taught through a combination of lectures and seminars (one a week each)

  • 1 piece of summative (assessed) coursework at the end of terms 1 and 2 (= 2 pieces in all, which will count for 40% of your overall mark for the module)
  • I exam of 2 hours to be sat in the summer term.
  • other short formative (non-assessed) pieces


rev print

Christine de Pizan