Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Littérature fantastique, 18e-20e siècles / Fantastic literature, 18th-20th centuries
Academic Year
Semester 1
Eligibility for entry to Level 2 French
Other Staff

Course Delivery



Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Attendance and participation in the in-class discussion  10%
Semester Assessment Essays  (Two essays (1500 words) on questions defined by the module convener; with some secondary literature. The better essay will count for 75%, the weaker of the two for 25%)  40%
Semester Exam 2 Hours   Written examination: two essay questions  50%
Supplementary Assessment Resubmit all failed or missed elements  50%
Supplementary Exam 2 Hours   Resit the exam if failed or missed  50%

Learning Outcomes

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

1. Read and interpret "fantastic" literature, with an awareness of the generic and historical characteristics of this type of texts.
2. Conduct basic level research, locating source texts and secondary literatures; reading critically secondary literature.
3. Show a good awareness of the historical and intellectual context of the periods (18th-20th centuries).
4. Express themselves clearly both in speaking and in writing.

Brief description

This module, taught in French, will approach the various forms of fantastic literature in 18th-20th century France. Fantastic literature was a key feature of this period, intimately linked to the development of various scientific fields.
The module will offer first of all a theoretical knowledge of the general particularities of fantastic literature, its permanent features and its evolution. We will study how it is linked to other literary, artistic and intellectual movements. The module will also provide an introduction to the study of the narrative analysis of literary texts, indicating the relationship between narrative structure and fantastic "effect". Our aim will be to observe the "efficiency" of fantastic literature, between horror and humor.


Academic rationale:
The aim of this module is to study the various forms of fantastic literature from the 18th to the 20th century in a series of short stories. These texts were a distinctive feature of the 19th century literary and social landscape: various literary movements attempted to provide answers to the feeling of uncanny and uncertainty that lingered despite the triumphal march of science.
The objective of the module is to provide students both with a general knowledge about this specific literary product that is the fantastic novel, including its cultural, scientific and artistic background, and with a wide range of critical reading and analyzing skills related to it.

Module aims:
Providing students with reading and analytical skills for the interpretation of fantastic literature texts. Raising their awareness against anachronistic readings; providing key skills in literary analysis. Establishing links between intellectual movements, the progress of science, and literature during the 18th-20th centuries.


1. Introduction : defining the fantastic. Theoretical approaches to the fantastic. Seminar: Narration and fantastic
2. Lecture: Cazotte: Le diable amoureux. Historical and intellectual context Seminar: The "birth" of the fantastic
3. Lecture: Themes of "me", themes of "you" Seminar: The principle of ambiguity
4. Lecture: Romantism, realism and the fantastic: Merimee, Balzac, Gautier Seminar: Merimee: Le Venus d'Ille
5. Lecture: Balzac : L'elixir de longue vie Seminar: Gautier : La Cafetiere
6. Lecture: Maupassant's fantastic Seminar: "Sur l'eau"
7. Lecture: "Le Menuet" Seminar: "Qui sait?"
8. Can there be fantastic literature in the 20th century? Seminar: Marcel Ayme
9. Lecture-Seminar: Marcel Ayme
10. Conclusion of the semester. The fantastic and the subconscious

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number
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


This module is at CQFW Level 5