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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures : European Languages and Cultures - French

Undergraduate Course: The Monster in French Literature (ELCF10021)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Literatures, Languages and Cultures CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 4 Undergraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course focuses on four texts published between 1870 and 1886, which are haunted by strange creatures composed in varying proportions of man and god, beast, machine, vegetable and mineral. The central question they raise is: what can we learn from these monsters about what it means to be human?
Course description Our primary texts are: _Les Chants de Maldoror_, by Lautréamont; _La Tentation de saint Antoine_, by Flaubert; and _L'Eve future_, by Villiers de l'Isle-Adam. All are famous, influential, complex, fascinating, and disturbing, because of the way in which they question the boundaries between the human, the divine, the animal, and the machine. In our everyday lives, we simply assume that humans have certain rights, properties and abilities (such as free will and criminal responsibility) which animals and machines do not have; and that certain other rights and abilities, such as creation ex nihilo, can only be exercised by divinities. But what if people are also machines? What if gods turn out to be human? What if modern society and the triumph of science point to a collapse of our unique human status? How can we resist and retain our humanity - and do we want to? We will investigate these themes through close reading and comparison between the set texts. Seminars will be student-led. All discussion and assessment will be in French.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed: French 2 (ELCF08001)
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements Entry to Honours in French
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2017/18, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  None
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 22, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 174 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) 100% Coursework:
1 x 800 word essay (20%)
1 x 2000 word essay (80%)
Feedback Not entered
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. To demonstrate an advanced understanding of the literary texts studied in their socio-historical and ideological contexts, as well as a good understanding of the theoretical and conceptual frameworks needed to analyse them.
  2. To select and apply relevant theoretical and methodological approaches in their critical evaluation of these texts, and to demonstrate mastery of relevant technical terminology and research methods.
  3. To assess and synthesise primary and secondary sources and to engage critically with these sources, showing awareness of nuance and an ability to work positively with persistent conceptual difficulties.
  4. To construct coherent arguments which engage effectively with the sources and the relevant contexts, including the linguistic detail of the texts in French, and to present them with a high level of clarity in both oral and written form.
  5. To demonstrate autonomy and initiative in their activities, carry out independent research under the guidance of the tutor, and to show awareness of their own and others¿ roles and responsibilities as part of a team.
Reading List
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills By the end of the course, students will have further developed their skills in the areas of research and enquiry, personal and intellectual autonomy, communication, and personal effectiveness. For further specification of these skills see the university¿s graduate and employability skills framework at
KeywordsDELC Monster
Course organiserDr Peter Dayan
Tel: (0131 6)50 8424
Course secretaryMrs Elsie Gach
Tel: (0131 6)50 8421
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