Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Écritures De Soi, 18ème-19ème Siècles
Academic Year
Semester 2
Eligibility for entry to Level 3 French
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 10 x 1-hour lectures
Seminars / Tutorials 10 x 1-hour seminars
Workload Breakdown Lecture and seminar attendance - 20 hours; lecture and seminar preparation (research and reading) - 135 hours; essay research and writing - 45 hours


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Two essays of 1,500 - 2000 words each  40%
Semester Exam 2 Hours   2 essay questions, equally weighted  60%
Supplementary Assessment 2 Hours   100%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

1. Demonstrate an ability to read in depth and critically, with a particular sensitivity to the notion of self, identity and "writing".
2. Demonstrate an ability to identify, interpret and contextualize various forms of self-writing in the 18th and 19th century.
3. Demonstrate an ability to grasp the general evolution of a key notion of humanities (the self) within a defined period and through various literary forms; recognize the intellectual and textual peculiarities of the various texts studied during the semester; to recognize general characteristics, evolutions and individual "trademarks".


The aim of this module is to study the various forms of self-writing in France during the 18th and 19th century. Students will establish links both with literary and philosophical conceptions of Classicism, Enlightenment, Romanticism and Realism, and with contemporary theories of the self and of self-writing. The objectives of this module are to provide students with critical reading skills, and to enable them to approach critically notions such as the "autobiographical pact", differentiate between various "clear" and "mixed" forms of self-writing, and recognize the long-term intellectual and stylistic development during these centuries towards the recognition of the "personal" and of the "intimate".

Brief description

This module, taught in French, will approach the notions of "self" and "self-writing" in 18th and 19th century French literature, with the help of a critical apparatus, in particular the works of Philippe Lejeune. The module will offer a theoretical and practical approach to notions such as "mémoires", "autobiographic novel" and "autobiography", and examine the relationship between the literary self and the definition of the "ego". With this critical and methodological apparatus, students will first explore the move of 18th-19th century literature from the classical "mémoires" towards the emergence of a Chateaubriand's "mixed" writing, Stendhal's "égotisme" and Vallès' realist(ic) autobiographic novels.
You are expected to use and quote properly secondary literature. Both the quality of secondary literature and the referencing are elements of the evaluation of your essay.
Your essays and your exam answers cannot overlap. If you have in depth discussed a question in your essay, you cannot discuss it again extensively in your exam. If you do, your marks will reflect this: depending on the amount of reused material, a 50% reduction will be applied. If half of your exam answer is re-used, your exam mark will be reduced by 25%, etc.
Plagiarism, unreferenced used of foreign materials and excessive quote are not tolerated. Any plagiarised material will be considered inexistent, and depending on the amount of plagiarised materials penalties will be introduced: every plagiarised paragraph will lead to 10% deduction of the mark. Over 33% of plagiarised content the issue will be handled at departmental level.


Week 1: Introduction (la notion de l'autobiographie et les formes voisines)
Les mémoires de l'époque classique
Week 2: Rousseau (Introduction)
Rousseau (« Confessions » - le projet)
Week 3: Rousseau (étude de textes)
Rousseau (Des « Confessions » jusqu'aux « Rêveries du promeneur solitaire »)
Week 4: Restif de La Bretonne (Introduction)
Restif de La Bretonne (cycle Monsieur Nicolas)
Week 5: Restif de La Bretonne (Sara)
Restif de La Bretonne (étude de texte - « Je suis un livre vivant »)
Week 6: Chateaubriand (Introduction)
Chateaubriand (« Mémoires d'outre-tombe » - études de texte)
Week 7: Chateaubriand (Conclusion)
Stendhal (Introduction)
Week 8: Stendhal et l'écriture du soi (Composition Stendhal (« Mémoires d'égotisme »)
Week 9: Vallès (introduction)
Vallès (« L'enfant »)
Week 10: L'écriture autobiographique (Bilan critique)
Conclusions générales, discussion

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number Possibly, evaluation of statistical data in the secondary reading.
Communication Oral communication developed in seminar; written communication developed in assessments and exam.
Improving own Learning and Performance Students will be able to assess their own progress week by week through their increased understanding of the issues raised and the skills developed.
Information Technology Use of on-line journals and source collections; delivery of course materials and information via email and e-learning system.
Personal Development and Career planning Acquisition of transferable skills; in-depth acquaintance with literary/cultural studies as an academic subject.
Problem solving Selection of appropriate reading material; development of evaluative analysis and critical skills and formulation of detailed arguments; answering questions posed by written assessment; seminar work.
Research skills Preparation of written assessment; preparation for seminars; detailed analysis of literary texts and contexts.
Subject Specific Skills Acquisition of French linguistic skills and detailed analysis of literary texts and wider cultural contexts.
Team work Debates and group presentations in seminars.


This module is at CQFW Level 6