Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Ecriture De Soi En France, 18e-19e / Self-Writing in France 18th-19th Centuries
Academic Year
Semester 2
Eligibility for entry to Level 2 French
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 10 x 50 minutes lectures
Seminars / Tutorials 10 x 50 minutes seminars
Workload Breakdown Attendance - 20 hours Preparation for in-class discussions, reading of excerpts - 40 hours Research for and writing of essays - 60 hours Preparation for written examination - 80 hours


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Attendance and participation in the in-class discussion  10%
Semester Assessment Two essays (1500 words) on questions defined by the module convener; with some secondary literature  40%
Semester Exam 2 Hours   Written examination: two essay questions  50%
Supplementary Exam 2 Hours   Written examination: two essay questions  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".


Academic rationale:
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".

Module aims:
Providing students with reading and analytical skills for the interpretation of autobiographic/auto-fictional texts. Raising their awareness against anachronistic readings; providing key skills in literary analysis. Establishing links between intellectual movements and literature during the 18th-19th centuries.


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

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 new, "pre-romantic" approach to the literary self. During the second half of the semester, students will study 19thC variants of self-writing, Chateaubriand's "mixed" writing, Stendhal's "égotisme" and Vallès' realist(ic) autobiographic novels.

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number n/a
Communication Development of clear and accurate expression, in writing and in speaking.
Improving own Learning and Performance The essay assignments are based on independent research, with consultation possibilities with the module convener. The quality of independent thinking will be assessed in the essay assignment.
Information Technology Students have to find on-line source texts and secondary literature.
Personal Development and Career planning Ability to work independently, identifying research questions. Awareness of the changing nature of the relationship between literature and science.
Problem solving Students have to track down texts; identifying of source texts and secondary literature for the essay assignments.
Research skills Students have to do independent research in preparation for their essays, including identifying and localizing source texts and secondary literature.
Subject Specific Skills Students have to do independent research in preparation for their essays, including identifying and localizing source texts and secondary literature.
Team work

Reading List

Should Be Purchased
Garapon, Jean - Paule de Weerdt-Pilorge eds (2004) L'idee de la verite dans les memoires d'ancien regime Primo search
Essential Reading
Hubier, Sebastien (2003) Litteratures intimes. Les expressions du moi, de l'autobiographie a l'autofiction Primo search Jolly, Margaretta ed. (2001) Encycopedia of life writing: autobiographical and biographical forms Primo search Lejeune, Phillippe (1975) L'autobiographie en France1971 and Le Pacte autobiogrphique 1975 Primo search Pauly, Rebecca M. (1989) Le berceau et la bibliotheque: le paradoxe de l'ecriture bibliographique Primo search Sheringham, Michael (11993) French autobiography, devices and desires Primo search
Recommended Text
Anderson, Linda. (2001) Autobiography; " French Autobiography : Texts, Contexts, Poetics" Romance Studies, No 8, summer 1986 Routledge (available online from Hugh Owen Library) Primo search Garapon, Jean - Paule de Weerdt-Pilorge eds : (2004) L'idee de la verite dans les memoires d'ancien regime Primo search Starobinksi, Jean (1957 (reed. 197) Jean-Jacques Rousseau, la transparence et l'obstacle Paris, Plon Primo search Tribout, Bruno - Ruth Whelan eds. (2007) Narrating the self in early modern Europe Peter Lang, Bern Primo search


This module is at CQFW Level 5