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Masterpieces of French Literature and Culture from the Eighteenth Century to Postmodernity (Level 4)


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What is a masterpiece? Must it be influential, in and beyond its own century? Should it be the apotheosis of its genre, or seek to go further, bending or even breaking the rules?

On this Masterpieces of French Literature and Culture from the Eighteenth Century to Postmodernity short course we shall be asking these and other such questions. The course will provide you both with an overview and a sampling approach to several centuries of French literature and culture through studying a number of key works from each century.

We will examine texts representing several of the major genres and various media, encompassing, for example: poetry, drama, prose fiction and film. We will study each work within its historical context, and relate it to earlier and later texts where appropriate.

Different specialists from our team teach on this course and we cover several topics which may vary from year to year. These might include, for example:

  • Masterpieces of the 1780s: Le Mariage de Figaro (Beaumarchais) and Les Liaisons Dangereuses (Choderlos de Laclos)
  • 1857: A Year of Controversial Masterpieces: Madame Bovary (Flaubert) and Les Fleurs du Mal (Baudelaire)
  • From the Absurd to the Postmodern: En Attendant Godot (Beckett) and La Vie d’Emploi (Perec)
  • Masterpieces of French Cinema: La Belle et la Bête (Cocteau) and La Haine (Mathieu Kassovitz)

Assessment is via an in-class test (50%) and 1500-word essay (50%).

30 credits at level 4

  • Entry requirements

    Entry requirements

    Most of our short courses have no formal entry requirements and are open to all students.

    This short course has no prerequisites.

    As part of the enrolment process, you may be required to submit a copy of a suitable form of ID.

    International students who wish to come to the UK to study a short course can apply for a Visitor visa. Please note that it is not possible to obtain a Student visa to study a short course.

  • How to apply

    How to apply

    You register directly onto the classes you would like to take. Classes are filled on a first-come, first-served basis – so apply early. If you wish to take more than one short course, you can select each one separately and then register onto them together via our online application portal. There is usually no formal selection process, although some modules may have prerequisites and/or other requirements, which will be specified where relevant.