Memory and Childhood in 20th Century French Fiction - FR620

Location Term Level Credits (ECTS) Current Convenor 2017-18 2018-19
Canterbury Autumn
View Timetable
5 15 (7.5) DR T Baldwin


Students registering for this module will need to have proficiency in the target language at level B1/B2, as the module is taught partly in the target language


This module is not available as a wild module



It is commonly accepted that identity or a sense of self is constructed by and through narrative – the stories we tell ourselves and each other about our lives. This module explores the complex relationships that exist between memory, nostalgia, writing and identity in a range of twentieth-century autobiographical and first- and third-person fictional works in French. These texts foreground issues of childhood, memory, history, and trauma in the construction of identity.


This module appears in:

Contact hours

One weekly two-hour seminar for 10 weeks

Method of assessment

100% Coursework

Preliminary reading

Indicative Reading List:

ERNAUX, A. (1983) La Place. Paris: Gallimard.
GERMAIN, S. (1992) L'Enfant Méduse. Paris: Gallimard.
KOFMAN, S. (1994) Rue Ordener, rue Labat. Paris: Galilée.
PEREC, G. (1975) W ou le souvenir d'enfance. Paris: Denoël.
PROUST, M. (1913) Combray. In: Du côté de chez Swann. Paris: Grasset.

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

See the library reading list for this module (Medway)

Learning outcomes

On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

8.1 explore in depth a range of twentieth-century literary works in French which reflect on the nature of childhood, memory, and memories of childhood;
8.2 reflect critically on the role and significance of memory and childhood in a variety of literary genres;
8.3 develop a critical understanding of the narratological import of the relationship between the fictional and the autobiographical;
8.4 develop a critical appreciation of the ways in which memory can bear upon literary form;
8.5 develop their analytical skills for the study of narrative technique and structure;
8.6 develop their ability to read in French.

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