42 Week Course - 42 Assignments
Modules: Current Affairs; Key Texts in Thought; Literary Theory; Early Modern, 18th, 19th, 20th Century, Contemporary Literature; Poetry; Theatre; Film; Visual Art
Our weekly assignments invite students to explore essays, book chapters, news features, lectures, podcasts, videos and websites. Each assignment requires students to engage for approximately an hour, they vary in length depending on their difficulty. Lengthy book chapters allow for students to get deep into the text whilst short videos present more challenging material whilst leaving more time for thinking.
About the Course
Studying French is not only about developing your language skills to a high level of fluency - it is about engaging with the culture, history, literature, art, film and philosophy of a language spoken by more than 220 million people across five continents. The following list will introduce you to a wide range of material, covering different time periods and art forms.
As you progress through the selected texts, you will build an understanding of some key areas of French thought, while developing your language skills. The selection has been designed to increase in difficulty as the weeks progress.
When reading each new article or extract, make sure you give sufficient time to recording unfamiliar vocabulary. In many cases, particularly the early weeks, full English translations of the texts have been provided. Parallel reading can be a great way of building confidence with lengthier, more complex pieces of writing. There are also a couple of weeks where translation is suggested as an exercise to help engage with shorter texts, mostly poems. With a dictionary by your side, see how working through a text in this way brings you closer to its contents and affects your experience of it.
The majority of the selected texts are extracts from longer works. If you find the ideas or vocabulary in them challenging, please persevere. You are not expected to understand everything perfectly. It may be useful to consult short online biographies of the writers, or to supplement your reading with summaries of the whole work.
As well as political, philosophical, theoretical and literary texts, you will also have the opportunity to engage with some visual art and film. While the list is by no means exhaustive, it aims to be wide ranging enough to demonstrate the immense wealth of material in French and Francophone culture. Hopefully, your reading, watching and listening over the following weeks will encourage independent exploration of other works by these listed writers and artists, as well as many others.
"Studying French is not only about developing your language skills to a high level of fluency - it is about engaging with the culture, history, literature, art, film and philosophy of a language spoken by more than 220 million people across five continents."
- Emily Fitzell
Meet the Course Designer
Emily Fitzell is a PhD student at Trinity College, Cambridge, where she also read MML as an undergraduate before completing an MPhil in European, Latin American, Comparative Literatures and Visual Cultures. Her current research explores the architecture of artistic space in relation to perception, movement and memory. She has given papers at several international conferences and has a chapter forthcoming in the volume on Samuel Beckett and Europe. Some of her poetry has been published and featured in small exhibitions and she has twice been awarded the Powell Prize for Serious Verse. In 2015 she undertook a residency at Arts, Letters & Numbers in New York.