Introduction to French Literary Classics

Undergraduate course

Course description

Objectives and Content

The course presents a selection of key literary texts from the 16th century to 1900. The chief objective is to develop the students' ability to read and interpret literary texts, especially by practicing literary analysis, but also on the basis of knowledge of relevant periods and authors.

When studying the texts, special attention is given to salient literary and linguistic devices, but also to how the texts are linked to French literary and cultural history.

Learning Outcomes

Upon completing the course, the student is expected to:


· have knowledge of relevant literary theory, and about some central literary techniques and their use in narrative, dramatic and lyrical texts

· be able to explain the thematic and formal aspects of the syllabus texts in French

· be able to place the texts in relation to major trends in French literary history


· be able to make use of the knowledge acquired in independent analyses and discussions of the texts

(General competence)

· possess a general reading competence and master textual interpretation, which may also come to use in further pursuits within literary studies

ECTS Credits

The course has a credit value of 10.

Level of Study


Semester of Instruction


Place of Instruction

Online course which takes place on the learning platform MittUiB and ZOOM. This course is also offered as an on-campus course: FRAN123
Required Previous Knowledge
No formal requirements, but all teaching is conducted in French and presupposes a good level of French.
Recommended Previous Knowledge
Proficiency in French at least equivalent to advanced French in high-school/upper secondary school, is a prerequisite in order to obtain a good result in this course.
Credit Reduction due to Course Overlap
Due to certain academic overlaps, the credits awarded for taking FRAN623 are reduced by 10 ECTS if the course is combined with FRAN123, and by 5 ECTS if combined with FRAN105, FRAN106 or FRAN102.
Access to the Course
The course is open to all students admitted through UiB Vidare.
Teaching and learning methods

Before the teaching starts, the students have access to preparation material on the learning platform MittUiB. The material may include e.g. introduction videos, videotaped lectures, notes, assignments and a discussion forum. The teaching is conducted on ZOOM and presupposes that the students have worked actively with the preparation material. The teaching includes lectures/videotaped lectures, seminars and film screenings.

Provided that there are sufficient resources available, assignment seminars will be organized.

If less than five students sign up for the course, the teaching may be adjusted to fit the number of students, e.g. by replacing lectures with seminars or other forms of individually suited teaching. If this should occur, students will be notified about the alternative teaching arrangements before the registration deadline.

Compulsory Assignments and Attendance

Students must attend at least 75 % of the digital classroom sessions in order to be eligible to take the final exam.

During the first four weeks of the course the students must write a French-English word list (minimum 50words) based on a given text from the curriculum to be published on the platform for the use of the group.

In addition to this task, the students must write a compulsory assignment in French (approx. 1000 words). Guidance is offered during the preparation of the assignment, and students are encouraged to collaborate and respond to each other's work. The assignment will be distributed in the beginning of the course, and its submission will be due six weeks later. The dates will be made known in connection with the teaching and by online announcement. The assignment must be approved before one takes the exam.

The compulsory assignment is valid for two additional semesters following the semester of submission.

Forms of Assessment
The final assessment is a four-hour written exam at home in literary analysis or concerning topics of literary studies, to be written in French, and usually conducted digitally.
Grading Scale
The grading scale is A-F, where F is a fail.
Assessment Semester
Autumn. Students with valid approvals on their mandatory assignments may also be assessed early in the spring semester.
Reading List

Compulsory reading:

A selection of texts from the 16th century to the 19st century.

Background material:

Students are expected advance their knowledge of French literary history from the 16th to the 19th century. Material on the individual authors may be found e.g. in literary histories, encyclopaedias and introductions to the works on the curriculum.

In connection with teaching, the students receive suggestions for supplementary reading in literary theory.

The reading list will be made available by 1 July.

Course Evaluation
Evaluation of the course is carried out in accordance with the University of Bergen quality assurance system.
Examination Support Material
All aids are permitted during the exam, provided a correct use of sources. It is assumed that the submitted work is the student's own. UiB uses OURIGINAL for electronic plagiarism control of student examination papers. Students are advised against using translation programmes.