Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2012-2013 (archived)

Module FREN3371: Libertinage in Ancien Regime France

Department: Modern Language and Cultures (French)

FREN3371: Libertinage in Ancien Regime France

Type Open Level 3 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2012/13 Module Cap 35 Location Durham


  • French Language 2 (FREN2051) OR an equivalent qualification to the satisfaction of the Chairman/Chairwoman of the Board of Studies in MLAC or his/her representative.


  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • To introduce students to libertinage, a key element of culture an art in the French ancient regime.
  • To examine representations of the libertine in the novel and theatre.
  • To consider what critical perspectives are appropriate when analysing the depiction of sexual pleasure.


  • The following primary texts will be studied: Molière, Dom Juan; Diderot, Les Bijous indiscrets; Laclos, Les Liaisons dangereuses; Deslisle de Sales, Théâtre d’amour; Sade, Les Malheurs de la vertu

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • knowledge of significant French texts
  • knowledge of a crucial period in French history and a key cultural element in that period
  • knowledge of approaches to analysing texts depicting sexual pleasure, considering such questions as whether pornography can be treated as art and what depictions of sexual behaviour tell us about the society in which they were created
Subject-specific Skills:
  • development of critical skills - close reading of primary texts
  • ability to relate texts judiciously to overarching themes
  • ability to analyse imaginatively and rigorously relationships between literature, history and society
  • ability to critique secondary material
Key Skills:
  • critical and analytical
  • essay-writing and commentary
  • structuring of arguments
  • independent learning

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

  • Lectures and seminars.
  • Students will asked to select a context area on which to give a group seminar presentation, which will form the basis of one of the summative essays.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 21 weekly 1 hour 21
Seminars 10 fortnightly 1 hour 10
Reading & Preparation 169
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Essay 1 Component Weighting: 50%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Essay 1 2500-words 100% No
Component: Essay 2 Component Weighting: 50%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Essay 2 2500-words 100% No

Formative Assessment:


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