Module Identifier FR26020  
Academic Year 2007/2008  
Co-ordinator Dr Benjamin Andreo  
Semester Semester 1  
Pre-Requisite Eligibility for entry to Level 2 French  
Course delivery 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 TypeAssessment Length/DetailsProportion
Semester Assessment Continuous assessment: 2 x 1,500-2,000-word essays. 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 Exam2 Hours examination (2 essay questions, equally weighted)  60%
Supplementary Exam 1 x 2 hour examination if continuous assessment submitted (2 essay questions, equally weighted). 1 x 3 hour examination if no continuous assessment submitted (3 essay questions, equally weighted).100%

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:
1. Have a better grasp of French language and registers.
2. Develop and demonstrate analytical skills in French literary texts.
3. Develop a non-stereotypical knowledge of various comic writings and genres seminal to French culture, and an understanding of different forms of humour.
4. Historically contextualise the studied texts and their use of humour.
5. Have an understanding of how humour is constructed in literary, political and aesthetic terms.
6. Relate and articulate 'écriture comique' to other genres, and also to other 'national' humours.
7. Have a cultural awareness of its relevance to contemporary French issues.


The aim of this module is to prepare students both culturally and linguistically for their year-abroad, by focusing on the comic writings and the concept of humour and its uses in French literature, from 16thC. to 20thC. It also aims at increasing their analytical reading skills.

Brief description

This module, taught in French, will introduce students to different forms of comic writings and how they introduce, redefine, manipulate and create humour. Through the combined study of novels, plays and short stories students will explore and develop their understanding of comic writing and humour, its varied facets (satire, parody, 'humour noir' etc.) and its functions. The module will provide them with the critical tools to understand these forms of humour and to elaborate on the concept of 'comic writing' as a whole.


Texts to be studied are:
Francois Rabelais, 'Gargantua', edition bilingue (Paris : Seuil 'Points', 1997), ISBN-13: 978-2020300322;
Beaumarchais, 'Le Mariage de Figaro' in 'Le Barbier de Seville, Le Mariage de Figaro, La Mere coupable' (Paris : GF Flammarion, 1993), ISBN-13: 978-2080700766;
Jules Laforgue, 'Les moralites Legendaires'(Paris : Gallimard 'Folio', 1977), ISBN-13: 978-2070368556;
Boris Vian, 'L'Ecume des jours' (Paris : Le Livre de Poche, 2007), ISBN-13: 978-2253122128.

Module Skills

Problem solving Selection of reading material; answering questions posed by written assessment; seminar work.  
Research skills Preparation of written assessment; preparation for seminars.  
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.  
Team work Debates and group presentations in seminars.  
Information Technology Use of on-line journals and source collections; delivery of course materials and information via email and e-learning system.  
Application of Number Possibly, evaluation of statistical data in the secondary reading.  
Personal Development and Career planning Acquisition of transferable skills; in-depth acquaintance with literary / cultural studies as an academic subject.  
Subject Specific Skills Acquisition of French linguistic skills.  

Reading Lists

** Reference Text
Barthes, Roland, (1973) Le Plaisir du texte Paris : Seuil
Bergson, Henri (2004) Le Rire, essai sur la signification du comique Paris : PUF
Evrard, Franck (1996) L'Humour Paris : Hachette
Raskin, Victor (1985) Semantic Mechanism of humour Dordrecht : D. Reidel, Coll. Synthese language library
Sareil, Jean (1984) L'Ecriture Comique Paris : PUF
Sauvy, Alfred (1988) Aux Sources de l'humour Paris : Odile Jacob
Smadja, Eric (1993) Le Rire Paris : PUF, Coll. Que-Sais-Je ? no 2766


This module is at CQFW Level 5