Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Littérature française des XXe et XXIe siècles/ 20th and 21st Century French Literature

LEVEL 02 - Years 2, 3 in Modular Undergraduate Course



DESCRIPTION This study-unit will consist of two hours of lectures weekly for a semester. Students will be introduced to French literary texts of two genres of the 20th and 21st centuries: namely the novel and the theatre. There will be classics of the 20th century novel, that is, works of literature that have become the epitome of the age due to their style or subject matter. At one point, psychology recedes in the background and pride of place is given to contact with other civilizations. As the century evolves, one notices as well the rise of the "objectal " novel, whereby objects, that clutter our world, relegate man to the side lines. As regards theatre, one observes both continuity as well as the building of new forms. The seeds of avant-garde theatre, that flourishes at the end of World War II, had in fact been sown decades before. Playwrights adapt classical myths to a modern day context. Theatre, little by little, rises up to the challenge posed by the medium of film.

Study-Unit Aims:

This study-unit consists of an introduction to 20th century authors and playwrights. Texts in the syllabus give testimony to different styles of fiction writing of the 20th century and, this, in two literary genres. This study-unit is challenging because it brings into focus a foreign culture, that is, French culture and the French way of life. The lecturer does well to get a DVD of a film of drama being studied because the unit is also an immersion in theatre. Need I add that Paris is justly considered one of the world capitals of theatre and lectures will exhibit the immense resources of the country as regards the stage. This unit of studies will emphasize the constantly evolving styles of French creative writing throughout the 20th century in a way as to sharpen students’ intellectual capabilities. Knowledge of the 20th century French novel and theatre is a key to discerning the moral attributes of the nation.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding:

The student will discover different forms of French fiction writing in the 20th century - from the pre-World War I novel to that written in the 1950’s and which purposely turns its back to World War II horrors. And of course, at least one book stemming from the present era of globalization. Student will have to do a lot of reading at home. In the lecture-room, students are to be encouraged to take part in the debate. The student will broaden his/ her horizons by attaching importance to the biography of an author, to the socio-political background of a work of literature. Student will write essays in the French language of moderate length on the novel and on drama by applying the technique required to tackle two different genres of artistic expression.

2. Skills:

The French novel and theatre of the 20th and 21st century are a journey in space and in time. Horizons get broader evermore and fiction writing is so rich that lecturer notices puzzlement on students’ countenance. Little by little, student learns how to express himself/ herself about unconventional artistic expression. The student of French will perceive that the book in the lecture-room lends him/ her the key to a universal context where challenges arise continually, where language is the sesame in all sorts of situations. He/ she will muster the art of making a presentation in class, speak to colleagues on theatre and novel and by his/ her aptness maintain their interest in the subject.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

- The novel: Georges Bernanos, Nouvelle histoire de Mouchette, éd. Le Livre de poche; Celine, Voyage au bout de la nuit, éd. Gallimard coll. Folio; André Malraux, La Voie royale, éd. Le Livre de poche; Paul Morand, Champions du monde, éd. Grasset coll Les Cahiers Rouges, 2013; Proust, Combray in Du côté de chez Swann, éd. Flammarion coll. GF, 2009; Claude Simon, Les Corps conducteurs, éd Minuit, 1971.

- Theatre: Cocteau, Jean, Antigone, FolioPlus classiques, 2015; Anouilh, Jean, Colombe, éd. Gallimard coll. Folio, 1973; Sartre, Jean-Paul, Nekrassov, éd. Gallimard coll. Folio, 1973; Claudel, Paul, L'Echange, éd. FolioPlus coll. classiques, 2012; Beckett, Samuel, En attendant Godot, éd. Minuit, 1952; Schehade, Georges, L'Emigré de Brisbane, éd. Gallimard coll. Le Manteau d'Arlequin, 1990.

ADDITIONAL NOTES Pre-requisite Qualifications: Must have been promoted to year 2 of BA/BA (Hons) programmes.

Pre-requisite Study-units: "Corpus littéraire"


Assessment Component/s Assessment Due Resit Availability Weighting
Presentation (10 Minutes) SEM2 No 20%
Examination (1 Hour) SEM2 Yes 80%

LECTURER/S Richard Spiteri

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It should be noted that all the information in the description above applies to study-units available during the academic year 2020/1. It may be subject to change in subsequent years.