The Reader and the Text - FR613

Location Term Level Credits (ECTS) Current Convenor 2018-19 2019-20
Canterbury Autumn
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6 15 (7.5) DR JE Fowler


Students registering for this module will need to have proficiency in the target language at level B2/C1, as the module is taught partly in the target language


This module is not available as a wild module



This module aims to examine literature from an unusual angle by concentrating on the importance of the figure of the reader for the interpretation of novels. Often novels address the reader directly; some novels are written in the second person, as if the reader were a central character. Sometimes novels involve 'self-reflexive' or 'self-referential' elements that force the reader to reflect on his/her own expectations of literature. When novels invoke the reader in these various ways, they invite us to reflect on the text – how it comes to exist, who it is for, what is its message or purpose – in new and challenging ways. The module also concentrates on the 'nouveau roman', which involves sustained reflection on these and related questions.


This module appears in:

Contact hours

One weekly two-hour seminar for 10 weeks

Method of assessment

100% Coursework

Preliminary reading

Indicative Reading:

Balzac - Le Colonel Chabert
Gide - Les Faux-Monnayeurs; Journal des Faux-Monnayeurs
Robbe-Grillet - La Jalousie, Pour un nouveau roman
Butor - La Modification
Sarraute - Les Fruits d'Or
Barthes - The Death of the Author

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

See the library reading list for this module (Medway)

Learning outcomes

Students who successfully complete the module will:

1. have accurately assimilated concepts such as the ideal, the real and the implied reader, following critical reflection on these topics;
2. have explored in detail and relativised author-centred methods of literary interpretation by taking account of reader-response theory;
3. have developed analytical skills for the study of narrative technique and structure;
4. have gained a critical appreciation of a range of experimental literature of the twentieth century;
5. have developed and consolidated their analytical skills relating to close reading and evaluation of literary texts;
6. have developed and improved their reading speed in French.

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