Gwybodaeth Modiwlau

Module Identifier
Module Title
The Nature of the Beast: Animal, Human, Monster
Academic Year
Semester 1
Eligibility for entry to Level 3 French.
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 10 x 1 Hour Lectures
Seminar 10 x 1 Hour Seminars


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Exam 2 Hours   written examination (2 essay questions, equally weighted).  60%
Semester Assessment Continuous assessment: 2 x 1,500-2,000-word essays.  40%
Supplementary Exam 2 Hours   written examination  100%

Learning Outcomes

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

1. Read in depth and critically, with a particular sensitivity to textuality.
2. Contextualise critical debates on the issues of 19th and 20th c. literary representations of the beast, animal and human.
3. Grasp elaborate contemporary philosophical concepts through 19th and 20th c. literary readings and beyond the literary.


The aim of this module is to cross-examine today's philosophical perception of animality versus the representation of the beast in literature. The objectives of this module are to provide students with critical reading skills, and to prepare them to deconstruct the historical distinction between animal and humanity/humanism, as well as to articulate their understanding of the contemporary blurring of these categories.
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.

Brief description

This module, divided into two sections and taught in French, will respectively revisit the 18th c. classical and 19th c. Romantic and naturalist conceptions of the animal with the help of contemporary critical theory based on key texts by Lacan, Derrida and Deleuze. With this methodological apparatus, students will explore how nineteenth-century and contemporary avant-garde literature resorts to the establishment and subsequent confusion of genders and species in its dynamic re-questioning of the classical concepts of the beast, animal and human.
Through the combined study of novels, poetry and films, the module will expand on the notion of the inner animal and the subversion/transgression of the concepts of beauty and the ugly in contemporary philosophy.


Texts and films to be studied are: Victor HUGO, Les Orientales (Gallimard/NRF Poesies, 1981); BAUDELAIRE, Les Fleurs du mal (Gallimard/NRF, 2003); LECONTE DE LISLE, Poemes barbares (Gallimard/NRF Poesies, 1985); LAUTREAMONT, Les Chants de Maldoror (Gallimard/NRF Poesies 1997);Comte de LAUTREAMONT, Les Chants de Maldoror (Gallimard/NRF Poesies 1997); ZOLA, La Bete humaine (Gallimard/Folio, 2001); Jean COCTEAU, La Belle et la bete (text and film - 1945 ; Marie DARRIEUSSECQ, Truisme (Gallimard/Folio, 1998); Eugene SAVITSKAYA, Sang de chien (Editions de Minuit, 1989). Some references to other relevant French films will be made (Jean Renoir La Bete humaine, 1938).

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number Possibly, evaluation of statistical data in the secondary reading.
Communication Oral communication developed in seminars; 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 reading material; answering questions posed by written assessment; seminar work.
Research skills Preparation of written assessment; preparation for seminars.
Subject Specific Skills Acquisition of French linguistic skills.
Team work Debates and group presentation in seminars.


This module is at CQFW Level 6