Gwybodaeth Modiwlau

Module Identifier
Module Title
Voyage Et Litterature En France 17e-19e / Travel and Literature in France
Academic Year
Semester 1
Mutually Exclusive
Eligibility for entry to Level 2 French
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Tutorial 4 x 1 Hour Tutorials
Seminar 10 x 1 Hour Seminars


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Project presentation: Presentation (8 mins)  30%
Semester Assessment Submit research essay (1800 words)  70%
Supplementary Assessment Resubmit / redo failed or missed assessment  100%

Learning Outcomes

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

1. Read and interpret travel literature, with an awareness of the generic and historical characteristics of this type of texts.
2. Conduct basic level research in the field of travel studies, locating source texts and secondary literatures; reading critically secondary literature.
3. Show some familiarity with the changing of the relationship between France and the “outer world” during the 16th-20th centuries.
4. Express themselves clearly both in speaking and in writing.


Academic rationale:
The aim of this module is to study the variety of possible links between forms of travel and their literary expression from the 16th to the 20th century. After a general introduction and an overview of the literature of ‘art of travel’ (whether travel is desirable, and under what conditions), the organizing principle of the module is geography. Each destination will be studied through a selection of texts, illustrating the roles these specific travel practices, as well as the changes within the perception of a country, texts played in the contemporary imagination, as well as in the posterity.

Module aims:
One of the main objectives of the module is to provide students both with a general knowledge about travel as social and intellectual practice and travel literature as form of writing and (possibly) a genre. The second, equally important goal is to provide an ‘introduction to research’, to raise students’ curiosity and independent thinking, and to equip them with a wide range of critical reading and analyzing skills related to travel as a social practice and as a text.

Brief description

This module, taught in French, will approach the various forms of writing a travel experience in 16th-20th century France. Travel literature was among the most important forms of reading in the early modern and modern period. At this period, most people were not in a position to travel themselves, thus their reading of travelogues was their main source of information about the world.

In the second half of the 20th century, some (like Marc Augé) suggested that with the disappearance of the ‘other’ and the rise of the ‘same’, travel and travel literature shall disappear. Others criticized Augé's ‘apocalyptic fallacy’ and pointed at the numerous forms of expression, occasionally stepping beyond the purely textual, through which travel writing was able to renew itself.

The module will offer first of all a theoretical knowledge of the particularities of travel as a text in various periods; its changing relationship to notions such as “truth” and “authorship”; the changing ideas about its value as a form of “polite entertainment” and/or a crucial source of information. From the 19th century, we see new directions – on the one hand, an increased level of individualism expressed through travels; on the other, travels into other lands becoming expressing ‘humanitarian/humanist’ values. Parallel to this, students will study the changing relationship between France and the various destinations studied during the mobile, through the mirror of travel, this publicized personal experience


1. Introduction: travel, literature, travel literature Tutorial: methods and tools for research in travel studies
2. The ‘art of travel’ and educational travel. Tutorial: how to read instructional literature
3. France: ‘tours de France’, tradition and innovation.
4. Italy: the fascinating past and the frustrating present
5. England: France’s mirror in the 17th-18th centuries – Tutorial: reading travel texts as reflections of propaganda
(around reading week: individual consultation on the choice of research topic: this can be suggested by the students or by the convener)
6. British Isles: Ossian and the Celtic links
7. Asia: Jesuit missions, Orientalism(s), new spiritualisms
8. America: the democratic example and the frustrating comparison
9. Africa: from trade and antiquarianism to colonialism and beyond
10. seminar+tutorial: in-class presentations; concluding remarks on the semester; ‘troubleshooting’ for the preparation of essays

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number Possible through the use of statistical methods in essays.
Communication Development of clear and accurate expression, in writing and in speaking.
Improving own Learning and Performance The essay assignment is 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 Presentation software can be used during oral presentations. Students have to find on-line and printed source texts and secondary literature.
Personal Development and Career planning Ability to work independently, identifying research questions. Awareness of the changing nature of intercultural relationships.
Problem solving Students have to find appropriate texts; identifying sources text and relevant secondary literature for the essay assignment.
Research skills Yes – students have to do independent research in preparation for their essays, including identifying and localizing source texts and secondary literature.
Subject Specific Skills Yes – students have to do independent research in preparation for their essays, including identifying and localizing source texts and secondary literature.
Team work Teamwork expected during preparation for some of the seminars.


This module is at CQFW Level 5