Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Academic Year
Semester 1
Eligibility for entry to Level 3 French

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 preparation - 45 hours.


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Continuous assessment:  2 x 1,500-2,000-word essay. Only the better of the two marks will be taken for the continuous assessment element. This is to allow some assessment to be formative as well as (or instead of) summative. If a student fails to submit one piece of the two required, and does not supply the tutor concerned with valid reasons/evidence in writing, the mark for the one piece of work submitted will be carried forward as a continuous assessment mark, but divided by two. If no assessed work is submitted, the mark for the continuous assessment element (which will be fed into the overall module assessment) will be zero.   40%
Semester Exam 2 Hours   examination (2 essay questions, equally weighted)  60%
Supplementary Exam 2 Hours   written examination  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 textuality.
2. Demonstrate an ability to contextualise critical debates on the issues of 20thc. literary representations of religion and the sacred.
3. Demonstrate an ability to grasp elaborate contemporary philosophical concepts through 20thc. literary readings, and contexts beyond the literary.


The aim of this module is to examine the links between several 20thC. literary works and religion, from the catholic writings of Mauriac to the questioning and redefining of the sacred found in works by Breton, Bataille and Beckett. The objectives of this module are to provide students with critical reading skills, and to prepare them to articulate the tension(s) between sacralisation and desacralisation, deconstruct such notions as 'the death of God', 'the Absurd', 'sacred/profane', etc. and see how these are still relevant in today's literary production and society.

Brief description

This module, divided into two sections and taught in French, will respectively revisit the catholic novel of the early 20thC. before moving on to plays, novels and essays of the second half of the century, with the help of contemporary critical theory based on Derrida, Cixous, and Freud. With this methodological apparatus, students will explore how 20thC. literature moves from a Christian vision of the world to an attempt at finding and creating new forms of sacred in areas of life which were considered 'profane' until then, and how these attempts are steeped into their historical and theoretical contexts. The module will expand on the notions of sacredness and subversion/transgression.


Texts to be studied are:
Francois Mauriac, 'Therese Desqueyroux (Paris : Le Livre de Poche, 1989), ISBN-13: 978-2253004219;
Georges Bernanos, 'Journal d'un cure de campagne' (Paris : Pocket, 2007), ISBN-13: 978-2266122221;
Andre Breton, 'Nadja' (Paris : Gallimard 'Folio', 2007), ISBN-13: 978-2070346196;
Samuel Becket, 'En attendant Godot' (Paris : Minuit, 1952), ISBN-13: 978-2707301482;
George Bataille, 'L'abbe C' (Paris : Folio, 1972)

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 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