FR20050 Introduction à l'âge des Lumières (18e siècle)

Academic Year 2019/2020

This module proposes a discovery of the Enlightenment of eighteenth-century France through its literature and via the history of ideas. Three texts will be chosen for scrutiny from amongst key thinkers and writers of the century. Authors studied in the past include Graffigny, Charrière, Riccoboni, Voltaire, Rousseau, or Diderot. Each writer brings a different vision of life and progress to the text, but all try to make sense of life and the complex world in which they live, against an exciting historical backdrop. The Enlightenment outlook on the world is one of constant questioning and challenging of the status quo. As an ensemble, the three works studied will offer an insight into a key historical moment where the individual is goaded into thought, reaction and responsibility in life, with a few inevitable mishaps along the way. Core texts must be purchased in the recommended editions from International Books (contact:

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

On successful completion of this module, students should have:
1. A core introduction to key French Enlightenment thinkers and writers.
2. Familiarity with key eighteenth-century French works.
3. The skill to discuss the Enlightenment in the context of contemporary texts or textual excerpts (via critical analysis).
4. The confidence to read, analyse and engage with texts, ideas and/or textual excerptsfrom eighteenth-century France within the framework of the Enlightenment.
5. Some new skills for discussing narrative techniques.

Indicative Module Content:

Voltaire's 'Candide' is a staple, simply because it's a point of reference for any francophone person across the world. This is transcultural exchange at its richest.
The two other texts will be available from International Books long before the module begins.
READ THEM early to gain maximum value from your module lecture and seminar class time.

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours


Seminar (or Webinar)


Specified Learning Activities


Autonomous Student Learning




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
Lectures: supported by online material and BrightSpace tasks;
Seminars: small-group teaching that hones in on details/short excerpts;
Group work: active development of critical analysis skills (core literary skill);
Reflective learning: online BS postings where students are invited to step out of the text to respond to short extract/ image 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations
Learning Recommendations:

In this module, students are expected to read literary texts in French.

It presupposes that students have passed Level One French language module FR10070 or attained an equivalent standard of language competence (Common European Framework Level B1). If in doubt, they should contact the module convenor.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
FR10020 - French Language I b, FR10070 - French Grammar & Expression

Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade
Essay: Critical analysis or similar analytical (textual close reading) exercise Varies over the Trimester n/a Graded No


Assignment: One critical analysis to be selected from a choice of three.
Students must choose a DIFFERENT text from the text on which they did a mid-term critical analysis.
Coursework (End of Trimester) n/a Graded No


Assignment: Reflective BrightSpace postings on two of the texts studied. Varies over the Trimester n/a Graded No


Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Autumn Yes - 2 Hour
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Students will receive personalised AUDIO feedback files for BrightSpace postings to assist them in making progress in 1) the standard of their own written work and 2) interpretation of the texts being studied, Students will also receive personalised feedback for their critical analysis, reflecting contextualisation, content/ form analysis, writing skills and argument shaping.

Name Role
Professor Vera Regan Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Assoc Professor Stephen Schwartz Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Professor Melissa Percival Subject Extern Examiner
Timetabling information is displayed only for guidance purposes, relates to the current Academic Year only and is subject to change.  
Lecture Offering 1 Week(s) - Spring: All Weeks Mon 14:00 - 14:50
Seminar Offering 1 Week(s) - Spring: All Weeks Wed 15:00 - 15:50
Seminar Offering 2 Week(s) - Spring: All Weeks Wed 16:00 - 16:50