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2019/20 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

FREN2320 The Pleasures of French Poetry

20 creditsClass Size: 14

Module manager: Dr Richard Hibbitt

Taught: Semesters 1 & 2 View Timetable

Year running 2019/20

Pre-requisite qualifications

Successful completion of Level 1 French or at the discretion of the Module Manager.

This module is mutually exclusive with

FREN2325The Pleasures of French Poetry

Module replaces

FREN 2310 Birth of the Modern: Nineteenth-Century French Poetry

This module is not approved as a discovery module

Module summary

Nineteenth-century French poetry sees the beginning of the questioning of art that would come to characterize Modernism. Baudelaire can be seen as both a late Romantic and an early Modernist, combining a belief in the artist’s privileged position with a fundamental irony and a thematic preoccupation with modernity.The first half of this module (Semester 1) will study in depth Baudelaire’s collection Les Fleurs du Mal. It also serves as an introduction to French versification and as an introduction to the study of poetry per se, analysing the various ways in which poetry creates meaning (lexis, imagery, rhythm, rhyme, syntax, etc.).The close reading skills will be reinforced by use of the VLE, which will enable students to take advantage of abundant free and out-of-copyright material such as audio and visual versions of the texts. Special materials will also be created for the VLE, enabling students to read, listen to and discuss poems via the VLE before seminars.The second half of the module will explore how two of the poets named above develop modern French poetry after Baudelaire, examining areas including affinities with music and painting, vers libéré, vers libre, prose poetry, concrete poetry and Surrealism.


- To provide research-led teaching on French poetry which will engage with and reflect back on tutors’ research interests in aesthetics and Modernism.
- To enhance the students' knowledge and critical appreciation of the resources and nuances of the French language through the close reading of selected poems and to increase their ability to analyse, evaluate and interpret literary texts.
On completion of this module, students should be able to:
- Demonstrate an ability for close attentive reading of a variety of compact and intricate French texts;
- Show a basic understanding of the workings of French versification; demonstrate an awareness of the appropriate historical and cultural backgrounds;
- Make meaningful contrasts and comparisons between the various texts studied, using both English and French.

Learning outcomes
- Enhanced knowledge of French and Francophone literary history.
- Awareness of the specific characteristics of French versification and of French poetry during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
- Increased skills in close reading and interpretation.


The first semester will begin with an introduction to French versification before focussing on Baudelaire’s Les Fleurs du Mal.

Depending on staff provision, the second semester will focus on two of the following texts: Verlaine’s
Romances sans paroles
; Rimbaud’s Poésies & Illuminations; Apollinaire’s Calligrammes; Eluard’s Capitale de la douleur.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours170.00
Total Contact hours30.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

Students will be expected to prepare for seminars by:
a) reading texts,
b) preparing pair or group presentations,
c) reflecting on specific research questions,
d) carrying out bibliographical research.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Student progress will be monitored in the following ways:
- Formal written formative feedback on a commentary / essay plan (returned at end of Semester 1 before revision for the exam).
- Informal formative feedback on oral presentations in both semesters and on seminar contributions throughout.
- Checking attendance throughout year.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay2,000 words50.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)50.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Standard exam (closed essays, MCQs etc)2 hr 15 mins50.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)50.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 30/04/2019


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