Dear All

After a lengthy period of moderation, your essays will shortly be returned to you. Please read the advice on them carefully and engage with it. There are some general points that you can take forward as you prepare for your exams:

1. Make sure you know the basics of the texts you wish to treat (form, style, genre, context, plot, characterisation, themes, etc). In order to do this, begin your reading with an introductory guide to the text if one is available. Reading the scholarly introductions in your edition of the text will also help. Take a look at the web pages for more resources: you'll find these if you click on each module topic. Other good sources of background information include (and I'm not giving full bibliographic details here, just titles):

  • The Rabelais Encyclopedia
  • The Cambridge History of Literary Criticism
  • The Cambridge Companion to French Literature
  • The Cambridge History of French Literature

All of these are available electronically. 

2. Go carefully over the powerpoint slides for each of the texts covered: there is a lot of material here that will help you in your revision. When preparing for the commentary section of the paper, think about what your teacher has told you about the formal and stylistic features of your texts. How do these shape the key themes being addressed? Are they typical of the period in which your text was written?

3. There are now lots of materials on commentary writing, including recommended reading, on this page: Please take a look. 

4. If you're interested in questions of gender, make sure you understand the context in the period when your text was written:

5. When revising texts, please pay attention not only to the central text, but also (and perhaps particularly) to any Prefaces or other paratextual material that accompany them. These can tell you an awful lot about cultural context and the aspirations of the author(s). 

If you have any questions, please raise them here so we can all take a look!

All best,