Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2007-2008 (archived)

Module MELA40130: Modes of Representation and Aesthetic Renewal in Modern French/Francophone Cultures

Department: Modern Language and Cultures

MELA40130: Modes of Representation and Aesthetic Renewal in Modern French/Francophone Cultures

Type Open Level 4 Credits 30 Availability Available in 2007/08 Module Cap


  • MELA53830 ; MELA40530


  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • Following on the theoretical introduction provided by the core module, this module aims to provide students with the opportunity to examine central issues relating to the aesthetic strand of the MA programme, with special reference to the poetics of representation and aesthetic renewal during the period in question through the study of significant examples of fictional texts, images and films.
  • It will provide both a more specialised framework of study than the core module and lead on to the student's choice of a dissertation topic.


  • This module will build upon and apply the theoretical knowledge and contextual information provided by the core module of the programme by examining central issues and significant texts that relate to representational strategies and aesthetic practices characteristic of the period under scrutiny.
  • The syllabus will include selected works from the following: the realist tradition and the reactive movements that sought to subvert realist aesthetics (notably works by Flaubert, Zola, Maupassant, Gide, Proust, examples of the nouveau roman and of post-modern function); realist, decadent, surrealist and more recent poetic texts in which visual and literary constructs are interconnected ( for example, in the works of Huysmans, Breton, Desnos, Michaux); works which illustrate and explore the evolving relationship between poetry and painting (for example, works by Baudelaire, Val??ry, L??vi-Strauss).

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Students will acquire a more detailed, more specific and more in-depth knowledge of the historical development of aesthetic trends in modern France than in the core module and be able to apply and enhance the concepts and methodological strategies learnt in the core module to a particular corpus of works.
Subject-specific Skills:
    Key Skills:

      Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

      • A combination of seminars and tutorial teaching will allow students to apply and test the results of a rigorous programme of reading and discuss issues that arise in the seminars on the basis of a critical examination of significant texts and other cultural products.
      • A formative essay will give students the opportunity to practise and develop the essay writing skills that are required for the summative essay. They will be given individual feedback on the formative essay and class presentations.

      Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

      Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
      Tutorials 2 Monthly 0.5 1
      Seminars 6 3 Weekly, 3 Fortnightly 2.0 12
      Preparation & Reading 287
      Total 300

      Summative Assessment

      Component: Essay Component Weighting: 100%
      Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
      Essay 5000 word 100%

      Formative Assessment:

      One 2000 word essay

      Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University