Students preparing for their graduation ceremony at Canterbury Cathedral

French and Comparative Literature - MA

2019

The MA in French and Comparative Literature offers an excellent environment for the postgraduate study of literature beyond national and linguistic borders with a particular focus on French culture, with the complementary experience of living in Paris for a term.

2019

Overview

Comparative Literature at Kent involves the study of literature from two or more European cultures, to gain an intercultural and transnational understanding of cultural practice.  The MA in French and Comparative Literature introduces you to a wide range of theoretical perspectives, enriching your appreciation of the cultures, texts and critical practices examined in the programme’s various modules. You benefit from expert teaching from members of the Department of Modern Languages and the Department of Comparative Literature and thus participate in an interdisciplinary dialogue.

A cross-cultural, interdisciplinary programme, you spend your first term at our Canterbury campus with full access to its excellent academic and recreational facilities. In the spring term, you relocate to the Paris School of Arts and Culture where you study at the Columbia Global Center (known as Reid Hall) in a historic corner of Montparnasse. You visit Paris in the autumn term, where you meet our Paris staff and are taken on a tour of the city. We offer advice and support to help you relocate to Paris.

After you have taken four modules across the autumn and spring terms, you undertake a 12,000 word dissertation over the summer with supervision from an expert within the department. 

This programme is ideal for modern languages graduates who wish to consolidate their knowledge in a wider context; English graduates wishing to diversify their interests; and graduates in other humanities subjects (history, philosophy, theology) who would like to apply their knowledge to literary and visual material, and those with the desire to live in Paris in an active and extended engagement with the culture.

The French and Comparative Literature MA can also be studied at Canterbury only.

Studying at the Paris School of Arts and Culture

The Paris School of Arts and Culture is a specialist, postgraduate centre located in the heart of Paris. We offer interdisciplinary, flexible programmes, taught in English, which take full advantage of all the cultural resources Paris offers. Study trips to the city’s museums, art exhibitions, archives, cinemas and architectural riches are an integral part of your studies.

The interdisciplinary nature of the School means you can choose modules from outside your subject area, broadening your view of your subject. As part of our international community of students and staff, you can take part in regular seminars and talks, write for the student-run literary magazine or help to organise our annual student conference.

National ratings

In the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014, modern languages and linguistics was ranked 3rd for research quality, 3rd for research output and in the top 20 for research intensity, research impact and research power in the UK.

Our submission was the highest ranked nationally to include modern languages – a testament to our position as the UK’s European university. An impressive 100% of our research was judged to be of international quality and the School’s environment was judged to be conducive to supporting the development of world-leading research.

Course structure

In Canterbury, you choose two relevant 30-credit modules. You then spend the spring term in Paris, where your studies are based at our teaching and research centre in Montparnasse. During that term, you take two modules taught by staff from the University of Kent and occasional guest lecturers, thus ensuring consistent academic standards and assessment throughout the year.

The modules are designed to be specifically relevant to the experience of living and studying in the city. You are encouraged to make full use of Paris’ cultural resources and to integrate these into your studies. University of Kent staff are resident in Paris during the spring term to ensure year-long continuity of academic guidance and pastoral support.

Modules

The following modules are indicative of those offered on this programme. This list is based on the current curriculum and may change year to year in response to new curriculum developments and innovation.  Most programmes will require you to study a combination of compulsory and optional modules. You may also have the option to take modules from other programmes so that you may customise your programme and explore other subject areas that interest you.

Modules may include Credits

The curriculum includes a selection of texts from various countries, all readily available in English and all specifically relevant to the modern history, evolving population and changing appearance of Paris and to how these aspects of the city has been perceived and represented in literary prose. The set texts are by writers from different periods and of various nationalities and they are all set in and inspired by Paris. The texts are chosen for their high literary quality, but also because they represent essential aspects of the city’s evolution and exemplify various narrative strategies and ways of engaging with the realities of life in the city, always shaped by personal preoccupations and sensibilities. This varied selection within the genre of prose fiction allows study of Zola’s naturalism and his presentation of the political and aesthetic implications of baron Haussman’s plans for urban renewal and control; Edith Wharton’s perspective as an American incomer; André Breton’s combination of oneiric urban encounters with photographic illustrations of the city, inserted into the text; Jean Rhys’s clearly gendered experience of the city in the 1920s and 1930s; the identity of the city as a site for postwar liberation and literary dynamism in the work of expatriates from the Beat generation; and the representation of today’s city as a centre for immigrant communities and cultural diversity. The primary texts are thus all Paris-focussed but are chosen to open an international perspective on the literary representation of an increasingly cosmopolitan city.

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This module will introduce students to a wide range of theoretical positions with the aim of enriching their understanding and appreciation of literature and critical practice. We will begin with the thinking of Nietzsche and Freud, before examining that of Saussure, Benjamin, Lévi-Strauss, Genette, Foucault, Lacan, Derrida, Deleuze and Guattari, Kristeva, Cixous, and Irigaray. As well as encouraging a critical engagement with the claims of the theories themselves the module will examine a number of representative theoretical readings of literary works. Students will learn to evaluate these various thinkers and use their ideas, as appropriate, in their own writing.

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The module will focus on Paris as a centre of artistic experimentation. The city served as the launch pad for key artistic movements from the mid-19th century through to the period after the Second World War (Impressionism, Cubism, Surrealism, etc.), and as a magnet for budding and established artists from all around the world. The module will take advantage of the great museum collections that encapsulate such developments (Musées d'Arte Moderne and d’Orsay, Rodin and Picasso Museums, Beaubourg, Quai Branly, etc.) and also of the major exhibitions on show in Paris in any given year.

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This module is designed to introduce students to the range of evidence and approaches to that evidence available to investigate the pre-modern past. This objective will be achieved in the context of providing them with the opportunity to undertake in-depth investigation of the city in which they are studying: Paris. Paris was one of the great cities of the pre-modern world and long before the French Revolution, Paris was a crucible of cultural change throughout the Medieval and Early Modern period. Here, surrounding the banks of the Seine, the city witnessed the rise of the University, the creation of Parliament, the invention of Gothic art and architecture, and the formation of the Huguenots, leading to the spread of scholasticism, democracy, artistic development, and religious reformation across Europe and beyond.

A study of its history offers unparalleled opportunities for students to examine themes of European relevance, such as the beginning of urbanisation, the growth of Universities, or the outbreak of religious violence during the Protestant reformation, grounded in a particular historical, literary or artistic context. Likewise, the study of Paris in Paris will allow staff delivering the module to introduce students to a range of types of evidence and of scholarly approaches to that evidence, thus giving them the skills they need to proceed to the MA dissertation. This aspect of the course will include appropriate field trips, locations might include the royal palaces of Sainte-Chapelle and Versailles, leading museums such as the Musée national du Moyen Âge, or to world-class libraries, such as the Bibliothèque Nationale de France. The opportunity to study the history of Paris in situ using real artefacts will present a uniquely stimulating opportunity for students to develop their understanding of the period and of the use of evidence in research.

By providing research-driven teaching, access to source material through site-specific analysis, and facilitating pedagogical encounters with the history of the city in which they are studying, this core module presents an exceptional pathway for MEMS graduates. The curriculum design will enable MEMS students to enhance their historical, literary and artistic knowledge, cultivate their interdisciplinary skills, and acquire the necessary methodological tools to prepare for their dissertation. Above all, the study of pre-modern Paris in modern-day Paris will present MEMS students with an unparalleled opportunity to engage with the past in a dynamic learning environment.

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From the French Revolution to the European Union, the term 'Europe' has long been a placeholder for a large number of utopian, internationalist aspirations. These aspirations are necessarily culturally and politically contingent; to trace the history of cultural constructions of Europe is to hold a mirror up to its changing intellectual faces. Focusing on a series of influential texts published at significant moments in the recent history of the continent, this module investigates how the changing ‘idea of Europe’ reflects the changing priorities of cultural discourse. In particular, it considers the key role – but also contested – played by Paris in particular as a European cultural capital, central to the idea of Europe and to the development of European culture. The texts studied on this module range across disciplines and genres, and include poems and pamphlets, essays and lectures, philosophy and politics. Through studying these texts in their socio-political contexts, the idea of Europe is triangulated through reference to a number of key categories (e.g. ‘prophecy’; ‘crisis’; ‘utopia’; Europe as ‘conservative’; Europe as ‘progressive’). The overall aim of this module is to explore what it means to be – in Friedrich Nietzsche’s words – a ‘good European’, and to consider the central role played by Paris in the emergence of modern European culture.

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In recent decades European intellectual culture has seen a turn towards the post-secular, the post-critical, the “return” of religion, or, as Claude Lefort described it “the permanency of the theologico-political”. Such gestures invite a rethinking of the political, social, and intellectual role of “religion” in the recent history of European thought. Such reworking intimately affects the understanding of Europe within a scene of global political and economic development, European traditions of philosophy, concepts of political autonomy; its critical theories of culture and economy, links between the idea of Europe and democratic political foundations; and the nature of artistic, social, and psychological exploration. This course creates capacities to interact with and to intervene in these important and on-going cultural discussions by developing new maps of “religion” as a central preoccupation in the formation of European intellectual identity, with a strong focus on Paris and the history of religion in “French theory” (e.g the works of Badiou, Benslama, Derrida and Foucault).

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This module explores the idea of the city, and the major concepts related to urban life. It analyses and determines the conditions of their emergence within a broader cultural context. It traces how these concepts have changed through time, with the aim of enhancing our present understanding of cities and their regeneration. It follows the development of city planning and the establishment of planned, ideal cities as a political goal up to the foundation of new towns. In its dealing with historically modern cities, the module centres on case studies of cities representative of urbanism from the eighteenth to the twenty-first centuries, drawing lessons from the methods and types of documentation used in its development. The course also introduces the manner in which architecture has generated a number of spontaneous and critical responses to the demands of the city in the past four decades. The arguments are drawn from sources in architectural and urban theory, philosophy, art history, anthropology, literary sources and social sciences.

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This module is designed to introduce students to major literary works (in various genres) from the early nineteenth century to the present day that explore the theme of madness, with a particular focus on the function of madness as a metaphor. The module will encourage students to consider the historical contexts out of which the various texts emerge, and to analyse the ways in which modern European literature takes up the theme of madness to explore social, psychological, philosophical, religious, and aesthetic questions. Particular attention will be paid to the close analysis of literary style in order to assess each writer's attempt to capture the discourse of madness. Topics for consideration will include the relation between artistic creativity and madness, madness as a form of socio-political resistance, madness and gender, the figure of the 'double', and, above all, the extent to which Michel Foucault is justified in claiming in 'The History of Madness' that in the post-Enlightenment period 'unreason has belonged to whatever is decisive, for the modern world, in any work of art'.

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The module provides an introduction into selected contexts, histories, dramaturgies, and contemporary practices of European Theatre. Students will encounter the specific institutional and cultural contexts of creating theatre and performance in a variety of (Continental European) countries and historical periods of European theatre history. The module thereby provides a selective panoramic overview, focussing on practitioners, dramaturgies and current theatre work. Students will also become familiar with prominent contemporary discourses and theoretical perspectives in European theatre and performance studies, such as the paradigms of 'post-dramatic theatre', ‘mise en scène’ and the ‘performative’.

Where possible, the module will draw on current theatre work presented at London, Canterbury, and elsewhere, offering direct encounters with a range of different European theatre traditions, genres, and core practitioners, from Regietheater to contemporary dance performance or music theatre. Approximately three joint (compulsory) theatre visits are therefore an integral part of the curriculum.

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In this module you will learn further techniques of writing fiction, including how to plot a full-length novel, work on deep characterisation and the construction of an intellectual framework within your fiction. You may be continuing to work on a project begun in Fiction 1, or starting something new. Rather than expecting you to try new techniques, voices and styles, your tutor will work with you to identify your strongest mode of writing and will encourage you to develop this.

Your tutor will supply you with a reading list before the start of the module.

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The main focus of Poetry 2 is to further develop and refine your writing with the eventual aim of producing a successful dissertation portfolio of fully realised, finished poems. Poetry 2 differs from Poetry 1 in that you are encouraged to develop a sequence or series of wholly new poems.

In this module you will develop your practice of writing poetry through both the study of a range of contemporary examples and constructive feedback on your own work. Each week, you will be exposed to a wide range of exemplary, contemporary sequences. The approach to the exemplary texts will be technical rather than historical; at every point priority is given to your own particular development as poets.

The reading list does not represent a curriculum as such, but indicates the range of works and traditions we will draw upon to stimulate new thought about your own work. Decisions about reading will be taken in response to individual interests. Likewise, you will be directed toward work which will be of particular benefit to you.

The main focus of Poetry 2 is to further develop and refine your writing with the eventual aim of producing a successful dissertation portfolio of fully realised, finished poems. Poetry 2 differs from Poetry 1 in that you are encouraged to develop a sequence or series of wholly new poems.

In this module you will develop your practice of writing poetry through both the study of a range of contemporary examples and constructive feedback on your own work. Each week, you will be exposed to a wide range of exemplary, contemporary sequences. The approach to the exemplary texts will be technical rather than historical; at every point priority is given to your own particular development as poets.

The reading list does not represent a curriculum as such, but indicates the range of works and traditions we will draw upon to stimulate new thought about your own work. Decisions about reading will be taken in response to individual interests. Likewise, you will be directed toward work which will be of particular benefit to you.

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‘Paris: The Residency’ contributes to the poetry and prose strands of the MA in Creative Writing and the Literature strand of the Paris Programmes. The objective of ‘Paris: The Residency’ is to give students as close an experience as possible of what it might be like to be a writer in residence or retreat, and to produce work inspired by a specific location for a specific period of time. The emphasis will be on producing a body of creative work for the main assessment. This module aims to enable students to develop their practice of writing through both the study of a range of contemporary examples and practices, and constructive feedback on their own work. Throughout their stay, students will be exposed to a wide range of instances of exemplary, contemporary work relating to Paris, or which was written by writers whilst staying, or living in Paris (as suggested by the indicative reading list). They will be encouraged to read as independent writers, to apply appropriate writing techniques to their own practice and to experiment with voice, form and content. The approach to the exemplary texts will be technical as well as historical. At every point in the module, priority will be given to students’ own development as writers. It is an assumption of the module that students will already have a basic competence in the writing of poetry or prose, including a grasp of essential craft and techniques. The purpose of this module will be to stimulate students towards further development of, and to hone their already emerging voices and styles through engaging with various literary texts, raising an awareness of place as the starting point for new writing, and how their work can develop with large chunks of time for independent study, reflection and exploration of a city like Paris.

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'Modernism and Paris' provides students with an opportunity to study a selection of texts from the UK, USA and mainland Europe, all readily available in English and specifically relevant to both Paris and modernism. The texts are all either inspired by, set in, or refer significantly to Paris and most were written in the city. They seek new and experimental literary expressions for the experience of modern city life and demonstrate a range of literary forms, including the novel, poetry, manifestos, essays and biography. In exploring the cultural contexts as well as avant-garde politics and aesthetics of modernism, the module presents texts by major authors of different nationalities, chronologically ordered, allowing students to appreciate the beginnings and development of modernism from the late 19th century to the first decades of the 20th century. It recognises the importance of modernist cross-fertilisation between literature and the visual arts and encourages students to explore links between modernist literature and the development of, for example, cubism and surrealism. The primary materials are Paris-focused but are chosen to open an international perspective on literary culture and history.

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Among the various paradigms from which diasporic writing should be distinguished is the literature of exile. Exile is often the consequence of political pressure or disaffection with a society rather than the result of the larger and often spatially and chronologically extended migratory movements which led to the emergence of diasporic communities. While both paradigms may intersect, the concerns and motivations of diasporic and exilic literatures usually differ.

A historically and culturally significant geographical, and frequently also imaginary, point of intersection between the diasporic and the exilic paradigms is the metropolis of Paris. In this module, our comparative focus will be on diasporic and exilic literatures and on the significance of the diasporic or exilic space of the French metropolis, both as production context and as informing literary production. Writers to consider include: American expatriates in 1920 (like Gertrude Stein, Ernest Hemingway, Henry Miller, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Djuna Barnes), in the Post World War II era (like Richard Wright and James Baldwin), and other writers who chose exile in Paris (like Heinrich Heine, Oscar Wilde, Rainer Maria Rilke, Samuel Beckett)

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The module is conceived as open to all Humanities MA students in Paris. It examines the medium of film, considering its specific qualities as an art and industrial form and the particular ways in which it is influenced by and influences other artistic and cultural forms in turn of the 20th century Paris. The emphasis of the course varies from year to year, responding to current research and scholarship, but it maintains as its focus the aesthetic strategies of film in contrast with other arts, technological developments, and historical change, particularly as they are developed in the growth of Paris as a city. The course also addresses the strategies used by the cinema to communicate with its historical audience. The course explores both the historical place of the cinema within the development of twentieth-century urban culture in Paris as well as how this historical definition informs the development of the cinema.

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This module explores cultural representations of the infrastructural, physiological, virtual, institutional, disciplinary and discursive networks underpinning modernity, and possible theoretical approaches to the connections between them. A range of literary texts from the mid-19th century to the late 20th century will be studied: these include novels which originally appeared in networks or series of texts (Zola's Rougon-Macquart series; Proust’s A la recherche du temps perdu); autobiographical writings (Roubaud’s La Boucle), and political detective fiction (Manotti). Seminars will involve discussion of this selection of literary texts, all of which articulate and problematize the notion of the network or the system, particularly as it pertains to the metaphorical representation of discourse and knowledge. The module invites students to identify and analyse the networks at work within the various texts we study, and in some cases between them. What do representations of networks tell us about the organization of knowledge in a given society? In considering this and similar questions, students will be encouraged to reflect on the infrastructural nature of modernity generally, and on the specific infrastructures which inform French literature and culture.

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The topic of the dissertation will usually be based on, and develop from, work undertaken on one or more of the four coursework modules undertaken in the course of the MA.

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Teaching and Assessment

Assessment is by one 5,000-word essay for each module and the dissertation.

Programme aims

This programme aims to:

  • provide the opportunity for you to obtain a postgraduate qualification (MA) in one year, and to allow, if required, a smooth transition to doctoral studies
  • allow you to spend the first term in Canterbury, studying modules in both modern French studies and comparative literature, and your second term in Paris, studying modules in French, European, English and American literatures
  • develop your knowledge and understanding of relevant aspects of contemporary Paris and the cultural history of the city as reflected in modern French, European, English and American literatures and other artistic media
  • enhance your comprehension and communication skills in both French and English
  • develop your awareness of various critical and research methodologies and of the interplay between literature, art and cultural context
  • provide teaching which is informed by current research and scholarship and which requires you to engage with aspects of work at the frontiers of knowledge
  • provide a deepening of intercultural awareness and understanding
  • provide opportunities for the further development of personal, communication and research skills and other key skills appropriate for graduate employment both in industry and in the public sector
  • provide further development of critical, analytical, problem-solving and other transferable skills.

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

You gain knowledge and understanding of:

  • the French language
  • aspects of French literature and the visual arts
  • aspects of comparative literature
  • Modernism as an international movement in literature and art and the role of Paris as a site of modernist experimentation
  • the cultural history of modern Paris, as reflected in art and literature
  • research methodology
  • critical theory and its application to the appreciation of literature and to a research dissertation.

Intellectual skills

You gain intellectual skills in :

  • comprehension, both oral and written, in French and English
  • research methodology: the ability to gather, organise and deploy evidence, data and information from a variety of secondary and primary sources
  • the ability to reason logically, critically and analogically
  • the ability to evaluate complex information critically
  • the ability to synthesise complex information from a number of sources in order to gain a coherent understanding of the subject
  • the ability to identify, investigate, analyse, formulate and advocate solutions to problems. Develop reasoned arguments, synthesise relevant information and exercise critical judgement
  • learning to work in different environments by adapting to the educational, cultural and professional environments of England and France, while adopting an interdisciplinary approach to literary studies.

Subject-specific skills

You gain the following subject-specific skills:

  • the ability to communicate at an advanced academic level in French and English
  • an advanced knowledge and effective understanding of the various structures and registers of French
  • an advanced ability to analyse a variety of sources, both textual and visual, in French and English
  • develop an appreciation of a variety of literary styles and art forms and their lines of divergence and convergence
  • develop a comprehensive knowledge of the cultural development of modern Paris, as expressed in literature and art
  • a comprehensive understanding and ability to apply and evaluate various theoretical approaches to the study of literature and other art forms.

Transferable skills

You will gain the following transferable skills:

  • the ability to communicate orally at a high standard
  • the ability to produce written work of a high standard, in an appropriate register, in French and English
  • a high level of competence in information processing, using relevant databases and online research
  • the ability to undertake group tasks that will encourage co-operative skills
  • problem-solving skills in a variety of theoretical and practical situations
  • time management
  • living and working in diverse cultural environments: you will participate and work in academic communities in both Canterbury and Paris. You will thus develop cultural knowledge and understanding, flexibility, imagination, resourcefulness and tolerance.

Careers

A postgraduate qualification from the University of Kent opens up a wealth of career opportunities by providing an impressive portfolio of skills and specialist knowledge.

A postgraduate degree in French studies is an extremely versatile qualification that can open the door to exciting career opportunities in many professions. Our graduates have gone on to work in the IT industry, academic administration, cultural management and to further postgraduate training and academic careers at UK and overseas universities.

At Kent, we are committed to enhancing the employability of all our students, equipping you with the right skills to successfully enter the competitive world of work. By living overseas, and studying at our Paris centre, you are showing employers that you are independently minded, ambitious and confident; combining these attributes with the transferable skills we help you to develop throughout your studies makes you very attractive to future employers.

By studying in Paris's rich cultural and international environment, you are able to increase your cultural awareness as well as develop advanced language skills, which are invaluable assets for many careers.

We also recommend that you take advantage of the expertise and knowledge available from our Careers and Employability Service in Canterbury, which provides a range of advice, guidance and opportunities to enhance your career.


Study support

About French at Kent

French at Kent is part of the Department of Modern Languages. Our main research interests include word and image studies, narratology, literary theory, psychoanalysis, medical humanities, sociolinguistics, postcolonial studies, gender studies and autobiography. Staff and postgraduates in French take a leading role in the School of European Culture and Languages’ Centre for Modern European Literature and the School of English’s Centre for Studies in the Long Eighteenth Century, whose activities include conferences, lectures, research seminars and reading groups. Students also participate in an annual international conference organised by Skepsi, an online journal based in the School of European Culture and Languages and run by MA and PhD candidates.

Our programmes benefit from Kent’s proximity to Paris in more than one way. Most colleagues within French have research links in Paris. We have a long-standing exchange with the prestigious École Normale Supérieure. A more recent development is the exciting range of MA programmes based in Canterbury and Paris. Roughly half of our research students opt for a co-tutelle leading to the award of a PhD from Kent and a doctorate from a French institution. Students who undertake their research entirely in Canterbury benefit from the cosmopolitan atmosphere at the UK’s European university.

Paris libraries

In Paris, you are encouraged to make full use of the city's cultural resources and to integrate that experience into your studies. The Louvre, Centre Pompidou, Musée d’Orsay, Musée d’Arte Moderne, Grand Palais and other world-class museums and exhibition spaces are on your doorstep.

In addition, you benefit from borrowing rights at the libraries of the University of Paris VII, which have viewing facilities and holdings of films, books and periodicals in English. You also have access to the libraries of University of Paris III (Sorbonne Nouvelle). Other Paris libraries with relevant holdings include the French National Library, the Centre Georges Pompidou Public Library and the American Library in Paris, to which you are given access and a guided visit.

Postgraduate resources

The Templeman Library has excellent holdings in all areas relevant to our research, with particular strengths in 18th, 19th, 20th and 21st-century French literature. The School of European Culture and Languages provides high-quality IT facilities, including state-of-the-art media laboratories, dedicated technical staff and designated areas for postgraduate study. Other facilities include all-purpose teaching rooms and two networked multimedia laboratories.

Language speaking

Every year, a considerable number of French nationals and native speakers of other foreign languages follow our postgraduate courses, while European exchange students who come to Kent as undergraduates often stay on to do graduate work. We are involved in the Erasmus and Tempus networks, and we also have a team of foreign- French-language lectors who combine undergraduate teaching with study for a Kent higher degree or with writing a dissertation for their home universities. Postgraduate dissertations in French studies at the University of Kent may be written in English or in French. The University of Kent also offers language training, particularly in English, for overseas postgraduates.

Training

The Graduate School offers all postgraduates in the School of European Culture and Languages a wide-ranging programme of training in transferable skills. Postgraduates in the School of European Culture and Languages also organise their own annual international conference, and edit and contribute to Skepsi, the School’s postgraduate online journal of European thought.

Dynamic publishing culture

Staff publish regularly and widely in journals, conference proceedings and books. Among others, they have recently contributed to: Australian Journal of French StudiesDiderot StudiesDix-neufForum for Modern Language StudiesFrench Cultural StudiesFrench StudiesModern Language ReviewRevue Romane; and Romance Quarterly.

Students based in Paris collaborate with Kent students from other campuses to produce a literary magazine, Le Menteur, which was founded in 2012. Le Menteur specialises in poetry, fiction, essays and visual art. 

Global Skills Award

All students registered for a taught Master's programme are eligible to apply for a place on our Global Skills Award Programme. The programme is designed to broaden your understanding of global issues and current affairs as well as to develop personal skills which will enhance your employability.  

Entry requirements

A first or upper-second class honours degree in a relevant subject or equivalent.

All applicants are considered on an individual basis and additional qualifications, professional qualifications and experience will also be taken into account when considering applications. 

International students

Please see our International Student website for entry requirements by country and other relevant information for your country.  Please note that international fee-paying students cannot undertake a part-time programme due to visa restrictions.

English language entry requirements

The University requires all non-native speakers of English to reach a minimum standard of proficiency in written and spoken English before beginning a postgraduate degree. Certain subjects require a higher level.

For detailed information see our English language requirements web pages. 

Need help with English?

Please note that if you are required to meet an English language condition, we offer a number of pre-sessional courses in English for Academic Purposes through Kent International Pathways.

Research areas

Staff interests broadly fit within the parameters of French literature and thought from the 18th century to the present, with research clusters organised around the following areas: the European Enlightenment and Counter-Enlightenment; Ekphrasis; Franco-Sino relations; Life Writing; Medical Humanities; Philosophy and Critical Theory; French Surrealism; Cubism; the Avant-Garde; the interface between visual arts and text.

Recent publications have focused on authors, artists and thinkers including the following: Apollinaire; Artaud; Badiou; Barthes; Blanchot; Cocteau; Crébillon fils; Deleuze; Diderot; Djebar; Flaubert; Foucault; Houellebecq; Lacan; Maupassant; Mérimée; Nimier; Proust; Sade; Yourcenar; Zola.

Centre for Modern European Literature

Many of the most significant European writers and literary movements of the modern period have traversed national, linguistic, and disciplinary borders. Co-directed by members of Comparative Literature, French, and German, the Centre for Modern European Literature aims to promote collaborative interdisciplinary research that can do justice to these kinds of border crossing.

Ranging across English, French, German, Italian and Spanish literature, the Centre focuses in particular on the European avant-garde, European modernism and postmodernism, literary theory, the international reception of European writers, and the relations between modern European literature and the other arts, including painting, photography, film, music and architecture. The Centre’s activities include a lecture and seminar series and the regular organisation of conferences. It also works with postgraduates to run the student journal Skepsi.


Staff research interests

Full details of staff research interests can be found on the School's website.

Dr Thomas Baldwin: Reader in French

Nineteenth and 20th-century French literature; representations of art in literature; literary theory and philosophy. 

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Dr Larry Duffy: Senior Lecturer in French

Nineteenth-century French literature, thought and culture; Flaubert, Zola; Houellebecq; realism, naturalism and documentary literature; the body.

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Dr James Fowler: Senior Lecturer in French

Novels, drama and other writings of the 18th century; Diderot and the Enlightenment; prudes and their relation to libertinage; narratology; psychoanalysis; discourses of the body; Richardson’s reception in France.

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Dr David Hornsby: Senior Lecturer in French and Linguistics

The history of the French language; sociolinguistics of French; sociolinguistic theory.

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Professor Ben Hutchinson: Professor of Modern European Literature

Nineteenth and 20th-century German and European literature, especially Rilke, W G Sebald, Jean Améry, Hans-Georg Gadamer, Geoffrey Hill, 20th-century poetry, modernism. 

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Dr Lucy O'Meara: Lecturer in French

Literary and cultural theory; aesthetics; Roland Barthes.

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Dr Katja Haustein: Lecturer in Comparative Literature

French and German autobiographical writing; visual culture; memory and identity; literature and the emotions; women and gender; art and medicine.

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Dr Patricia Novillo-Corvalan: Lecturer

Modernism, 20th-century Hispanic and Latin American literature; Borges, Cortázar, Joyce; reception studies; medical humanities.

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Dr Patricia Novillo-Corvalan: Senior Lecturer in Comparative Literature

Modernism, 20th-century Hispanic and Latin American literature; Borges, Cortázar, Joyce; reception studies; medical humanities.

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Dr Axel Staehler: Reader in Comparative Literature

Jewish literature and culture, early modern European festival culture, the 18th-century novel in Europe, intermediality and ‘iconarratology’, postcolonial literature and theory, contact zones and intercultural communication, fundamentalism and literature.

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Dr Xiaofan Amy Li: Lecturer in Comparative Literature

France and China/East-Asia in the 20th and 21st centuries, the French reception of Chinese antiquity.

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Dr Anna Katharina Schaffner: Reader in Comparative Literature

Modernist literature, the history of sexuality, the European avant-garde, the history of medicine and psychoanalysis.

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Professor Shane Weller: Professor of Comparative Literature

European modernism, postmodernism and literary theory; Beckett, Kafka, Blanchot, Celan, Bernhard, Sebald; literature and ethics; literature and philosophy; history of ideas.

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Fees

The 2019/20 annual tuition fees for this programme are:

French and Comparative Literature - MA at Canterbury and Paris:
UK/EU Overseas
Full-time £8550 £15700

For students continuing on this programme fees will increase year on year by no more than RPI + 3% in each academic year of study except where regulated.* If you are uncertain about your fee status please contact information@kent.ac.uk

General additional costs

Find out more about general additional costs that you may pay when studying at Kent. 

Funding

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