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FRN2708 - Realism and Representation: Literature and Visual Culture

6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate Faculty of Arts

Leader: Brian Nelson


Clayton Second semester 2007 (Day)


This unit will help students to understand the notion of 'realism' in literature and visual culture and the range of responses it has evoked (as reflected, for example, in humanist, Marxist, structuralist, deconstructionist and feminist criticism). The focus will be on close textual analysis of classic realist texts and on selected paintings and art criticism of the nineteenth century. Reading skills, text analysis and essay writing will be explicitly addressed


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

  1. gained an informed knowledge of fiction and fiction theory, and of key works of art and visual culture, representative of French production in these areas during the nineteenth century
  2. improved their reading skills and acquired skills in analysing works of visual culture in terms of recognising and understanding features specific to nineteenth-century French realist fiction, art and visual culture.
  3. developed their understanding of
    1. the social and intellectual contexts in which the production of realist fiction and art took place
    2. the relationships that can be developed between written or visual texts and their contexts, 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 the main figures and tendencies of nineteenth-century French fiction and the specificity of their discourses;
  6. developed their understanding of text analysis and their ability to analyse texts and present their analysis in the form of a "commentaire compose" demonstrating the analyses and understandings above (3-5);
  7. analysed the genre of the academic essay, developed skills in argument and presentation of the essay so as to present the analyses and understandings above (3-5)


Test 2000 (words): 45%; Essay: (2500 words): 55%.

Contact hours

One x two-hour lecture/seminar and one x 1 hour reading-writing-visual study worshop per week


At least French Studies 4 at any year level (FRN1040 or FRN2040) if taken as part of a French Studies major or minor. No prerequiste for students not taking the unit as part of a French Studies major or minor.