Occupation and Resistance in the French Novel - FREN5980

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Module delivery information

This module is not currently running in 2022 to 2023.


This module will examine ways in which this turbulent and divisive period of French history is reflected in imaginative writing. Some texts are nearly contemporaneous with events; others reflect collective memory of the Occupation across generations. Questions raised will include: problems of realistic description and of narrative technique; the relationship of the individual to events beyond his/her control; conflicting loyalties and responsibilities; Resistance and occupation as metaphor; the mode rétro in French fiction since the 1960s. A certain amount of historical background reading will be essential.


Contact hours

Total Contact Hours: 20

Method of assessment

Essay (2,400 words) – 60%
Presentation (15 minutes) – 20%
Critical Writing Exercise (500 words) – 20%

Indicative reading

Any edition:

Camus – Lettres à un ami allemand
Duras – La Douleur
Némirovsky – Suite française
Modiano – Livret de famille
Vercors – 'Le silence de la mer' (in: Le Silence de la mer)

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

- Demonstrate a critical appreciation of a range of literary works inspired by the period of the Occupation and the Resistance in France;
- Explore the literary and historical background of different French works, and assess and critically analyse the complex links between events and the fiction itself;
- Demonstrate their cogent analytical skills relating to close reading and evaluation of literary texts;
- Demonstrate their reading speed in French.


  1. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  2. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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