Crossing Borders: French and Francophone Travel Writing - FREN6460

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2021 to 2022
Autumn Term 6 15 (7.5) Mathilde Poizat-Amar checkmark-circle


This module will explore the evolution of the notion of travel in modern French thought and literature by looking at a wide range of French travel writing in prose as well as poetry, essays, and travel diaries from the late 19th century to the late 20th century. The objective is to show how travel writing questions the relevance of myths about travel itself (often seen as a means to discover new worlds and to allow different cultures to blend) or about the other and otherworldliness. It is also to explore how the act of traveling and the act of writing can work together to cross borders linguistic, but also cultural and stylistic nature.


Contact hours

Total Contact Hours: 20

Method of assessment

Essay (2,250 words) – 60%
Presentation (15 minutes) – 20%
Critical Writing Exercise (500 words) - 20%

Indicative reading

Indicative Reading:

Bouvier, N. (1996). Le Poisson-Scorpion. Paris: Gallimard.
Kerangal (de), M. (2012). Tangente vers l'est. Paris: Gallimard.
Maillart, E. (1952). La voie cruelle. Paris: Payot.
Mabanckou, A. (1998). Bleu, Blanc, Rouge. Paris: Présence Africaine.
Michaux, H. (1929). Ecuador. Paris: Gallimard.
Segalen, V. (1907). Les Immémoriaux. [Extracts will be supplied].
Segalen, V. (1999). Essai sur l'exotisme. Paris: Livre de Poche.

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

Demonstrate a detailed and critical appreciation of a range of travel writing produced by French writers during the 19th and 20th century;
Demonstrate confident and coherent analytical skills for the study of structure, prose and poetic technique, the portrayal of travel and its critical connections to aspects of (post)modernity;
Accurately evaluate of literary texts by close reading of literary passages;
Demonstrate their ability to read French quickly, and to listen and understand spoken French accurately.


  1. Credit level 6. Higher level module usually taken in Stage 3 of an undergraduate degree.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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