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FR2102 Writing Romance and Desire

FR2102 Writing Romance and Desire

Terms 1 – 2

Convenor: Ruth Harvey


Coursework (100%):
0% Formative written piece and four pre-block reading tests (0%)
30% Essay 1 (1,500-2,000)
70% Essay 2 (2,000-2,500)


This course will focus on four texts dealing with love and desire taken from four periods; these will be studied in the light of their common themesand explore the following core issues:

    the persistent importance of the theme of passion and illicit desire to the Western literary canon (the constitution of a literary tradition);

    the variations in the literary responses to this theme in the light of prevailing moral climates, socio-economic structures and aesthetic considerations;

    the variables of the language of love and its literary realisation;

    the roles of the narrative voice;

    the key significance of spatial settings in the treatment of such a 'private' matter in a 'public' literary form

Key Primary Bibliography:

Set Texts

Beroul’s Roman de Tristan in Tristan et Iseut: Les poèmes français, la saga norroise , ed. & trans. D Lacroix & P.Walter, Le Livre de Poche, “Lettres Gothiques” series. French version: ISBN 2253050857/ (CLC students use Penguin Classics translation)

Flaubert, Madame Bovary (Flammarion) ISBN 2080706578 (CLC students use Oxford World Classics Translation)

Prévost, Manon Lescaut (Folio) ISBN 2070348326 (CLC students use Penguin Classics translation)

Honoré de Balzac, Le Père Goriot (Flammarion) ISBN 2070409341 (CLC students use Penguin Classics translation)

Secondary Literature: General, Theoretical, Introductory

  • Further, more specialised bibliographies will be made available to you on each of the 4 texts.

    Catherine Belsey, Desire: Love Stories in Western Culture (Oxford: Blackwell, 1994)

    Peter Brooks, Reading for the Plot. Design and Intention in Narrative, Harvard University Press, 1992  

    Peter Brooks, ‘Narrative desire’, Style, 18 (1984), pp. 312-327

    Critical Terms for Literary Study, ed. Frank Lentricchia and T. McLaughlin, 2nd edn, Chicago and London, 1995 

    Tony Tanner, Adultery and the Novel. Contract and Transgression, Baltimore and London: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1979, repr. 1995  



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