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Unit information: Literary Responses to the Hundred Years War in 2018/19

Please note: It is possible that the information shown for future academic years may change due to developments in the relevant academic field. Optional unit availability varies depending on both staffing and student choice.

Unit name Literary Responses to the Hundred Years War
Unit code FREN20050
Credit points 20
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Marianne Ailes
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of French
Faculty Faculty of Arts


This unit will develop the knowledge of this formative period in the development of French national identity which students acquire in the first year course ‘Shaping France’. Students will engage in close study of key literary texts from the period in both poetry and prose, studying the texts in their historical context. They will consider the way allegory and imagery is used to portray France while at the same time building on the skills of literary analysis introduced in year one, including poetic analysis. Where appropriate they will be able to consider how the manuscript context, including the use of illumination, enhances the text. They will also consider the representation in literature of the key figure of Joan of Arc.


  • To develop students’ awareness of the importance of literary study in an understanding of the past
  • To develop students’ understanding of the creation of myth, specifically, in this case, the myths around key figures of the Hundred Years war.
  • To develop students’ knowledge of the early period of nation building in France.
  • To develop students’ ability to analyse text

Intended learning outcomes

At the end of the unit successful students will be able to demonstrate:

1. A deeper knowledge of the Hundred Years War and understanding of this as a formative period for the development of French identity.

2. An understanding of what can be learned from manuscript context and a deeper appreciation of the peculiarities of manuscript (rather than print) culture.

3. Knowledge and critical appreciation of some of the important literary texts in the period.

4. A sophisticated understanding of how to analyse literary texts.

5. An ability to express themselves clearly in both written form and oral performance as appropriate to Level I.

Teaching details

1 lecture per week

1 seminar per week

Assessment Details

1 x 2,000 word commentary (40%) assessing learning outcomes 3 and 4

1 x 2,000 word essay (60%) assessing learning outcomes 1-5.

Reading and References

Alain Chartier,Le Quadrilogue Invectif, ed. Florence Bouchet (Paris: Champion, 2011); translated into modern French, Florence Bouchet (Paris: Champion, 2002). Alain Chartier, Le Livre des Quatre Dames (1416), ed. J.C. Laidlaw, in The Poetical works of Alain Chartier (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1974) pp. 196-304

Christine de Pisan, ‘Ditié de Jeanne d’Arc’

Selected poems by Charles d’Orleans will be made available through e-reserves

Journal d'un bourgeois de Paris, ed. Colette Beaune (Paris : Livre de poche, 1990) coll. « Lettres gothiques »

Extracts from Froissart, Chroniques, 2 vols (Paris : Livre de poche, 2001, 2004) coll. « Lettres gothiques ». Extracts will be made available through e-reserves.

Anne Curry, The battle of Agincourt: Sources and Interpretations (Woodbridge:The Boydell Press, 200