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

Undergraduate Course: Women writers in early modern France (Ordinary) (ELCF09022)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Literatures, Languages and Cultures CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 9 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryUntil very recently, the literary production of early modern women writers has been unjustly undermined by critics. In the early modern period, to be a woman was to comply with the patriarchal triptych: silence, obedience and chastity. Female authorship was therefore controversial. Seen as monstrous by those who confined women to the domestic sphere, women writers were often turned into 'Muses' and exemplars of virtue and wisdom by the defenders of the 'fair sex'. This course will bring to light the works of some of the most fashionable and bestselling women writers in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.
Course description While replacing these women's writings in the context of the Querelle des femmes (a centuries-long debate over woman's place in society), the course will explore the extent to which, and the ways in which these women writers subvert the patriarchal ideology that shaped the society in which they wrote, and whether, in the process, they establish a dialogue with the works of male writers. Given the popularity of these women writers during their own lives and beyond, the course will also aim to uncover whether or not these women writers can be labelled as the foremothers of 'feminism'.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed: French 2 Literature and Culture (ELCF08012) AND French 2 Language (ELCF08013)
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements Ordinary Students and Visiting Students only
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesIn order to be eligible to take 4th Year Options, Visiting Students should have the equivalent of at least two years of study at University level of the appropriate language(s) and culture(s).
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2024/25, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  0
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 20, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 176 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) ***100% Coursework***

1. Participation (20%): will be based on weekly wikis activities taking into account the quality of the entries and number of entries produced. There will be a base line of 60% for each wiki, unless there is no entry in which case a 0% mark will be given.

2. Presentation (20%)

3. Essay (60%)
Feedback The feedback given to you throughout the course is designed to help you improve your future work: you will be given both formative and summative feedback. Formative parts of the assessment: you will receive feedback on your presentation, and more generally on your engagement with the course.
You are also encouraged to highlight specific aspects you would particularly like to have feedback on. During the course, your tutor will take time to invite feedback about the course, and to give feedback on progress thus far. From week 8 onwards (or earlier if you wish), you will be able to bring along an essay plan in time for the feedback to be useful for the end-of-course essay. You will also be given summative feedback on your end-of-course essay
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Understand and reflect critically on the literary and socio-cultural movements and gender ideologies that inform early modern women¿s writing.
  2. Read and analyse the prescribed works within their literary, political and cultural contexts and show a clear appreciation of the aesthetic and ideological features of these texts.
  3. Demonstrate an awareness of the relevant socio-cultural contexts and conceptual frameworks (e.g early modern and contemporary feminist discourse; gender politics, novel and narrative theory).
  4. Engage in research on early modern women¿s writing, and construct clear, coherent arguments - in both oral and written forms - based on evidence from primary and secondary sources and produce analytical essays.
  5. Exercise autonomy and initiative, taking responsibility for the work of others in group work and develop the ability to reflect on the usefulness of materials for fellow students in a variety of interactive contexts.
Reading List
The set texts and periods studied may vary from one year to another; but the course will generally cover texts by seventeenth- and eighteenth-century authors, such as

Scudéry, Madeleine de, "Histoire de Thomyris", "Histoire des Amants infortunés", "Histoire de Sapho" in 'Artamènes ou le Grand Cyrus', eds. Alexandre Gefen et Claude Bourqui, 2006.

Villedieu, Catherine-Marie Desjardins de ), 'Mémoires de la vie de Henriette-Sylvie de Molière', ed. René Démoris (Desjonquères, 2003).

Graffigny, Françoise de, 'Lettres d'une Péruvienne' (Paris: Etonnants CLassiques, 2005)

Riccoboni, Marie-Jeanne, 'Histoire de M. Le Marquis de Cressy' (Paris : Folio, 2009).

Charrière, Isabelle de, 'Trois femmes' (
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills This course has the same aims as all French Options, which are well established and universally praised by both students and external examiners as fostering depth of understanding of rich intellectual fields and the ability to write and speak about them intelligently and cogently in French.
KeywordsQuerelle des femmes,humanism,feminism,phallocentricism,galanterie,patriarchy,gender representations
Course organiserDr Severine Genieys-Kirk
Tel: (0131 6)51 1734
Course secretaryMrs Vivien MacNish Porter
Tel: (0131 6)50 3528
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