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FRN2707 - Contemporary French Fiction: Rewriting Identity

6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate Faculty of Arts

Leader: Philip Anderson


Not offered in 2007


Students will study French fiction since 1945 (emergence of the "nouveau roman", new writing by women, the formalist practices of the Oulipo, the post-80s post-formalist return of the author and the story, Beur writing, the contemporary "young Minuit group", the post-human fiction of Houellebecq) situated in its social, political and intellectual contexts. Attention will be paid to shifts in narrative form and discourse, and constructions, subversions and reconstructions of identity (with special reference to understandings of the self and community within, of and beyond the nation). Reading skills, text analysis and essay writing will be explicitly addressed.


On successful completion of this course, students can expect to have

  1. read a number of works of short fiction, novels, extracts of novels, extracts of texts of critical theory representative of French production in these areas over the last fifty years;
  2. improved their reading skills in terms of recognising and understanding different discourses of contemporary fiction, criticism and critical theory in French;
  3. developed their understanding of
    1. the social, political and intellectual contexts in which the production of fiction has taken place since the Liberation,
    2. the relationships that can be developed between text and context, and
    3. parallel shifts in text and context;
  4. gained an understanding of the basic notions current in narratology and an ability to deploy them to analyse their reading of narrative texts and understand shifts in narrative forms and discourses;
  5. gained an understanding of various figures and movements of contemporary French fiction and the specificity of their discourses;
  6. analysed and come to an understanding of the ways in which fiction constructs, subverts and reconstructs understandings of subjectivity, community and the world, questioning and working towards an explicit understanding of the relationship between the discourses of fiction and the reading subject and community.
  7. developed their understanding of text analysis and their ability to analyse texts and present their analysis in the form of a commentaire compose(in French for students who have completed French Studies 6) demonstrating the analyses and understandings above (3-6);
  8. analysed the genre of the academic essay, developed skills in argument and presentation of the essay (in French for students who have completed French Studies 6) so as to present the analyses and understandings above (3-6).
Students taking the third-year version of this unit will be expected to demonstrate in their text analysis and their essay a more explicit and sophisticated understanding of the concepts of narratology and of the social, political and intellectual contexts of production of the texts studied.


Essay (in French for student s who completed French Studies 6) 2500 words: 55%; 1 Text analysis test 2 hours: 45%.

Contact hours

1 two-hour seminar and 1 one-hour reading-writing workshop per week


At least French Studies 4 at any year level (FRN1040 or FRN2040)