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Unit information: Racine and 17th-Century Tragedy in 2015/16

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Unit name Racine and 17th-Century Tragedy
Unit code FREN30061
Credit points 20
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Forman
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of French
Faculty Faculty of Arts


The core of this unit will be a close study of six of Racine's major tragedies. Less detailed study will also be made of plays by certain of his comtemporaries. These texts will be examined mainly in the light of Racine's own prefaces and contemparary theoretical writings on tragedy, but appeal also be made to modern tools of critical analysis.


  • To introduce students to a significant body of knowledge of a complexity appropriate to final year level. The content matter will normally include one or more of the following: literature; social, cultural or political history; linguistics; cultural studies; film, television or other media.
  • To facilitate students’ engagement with a body of literature, including secondary literature, texts, including in non-print media, primary sources and ideas as a basis for their own analysis and development. Normally many or most of these sources will be in a language other than English and will enhance the development of their linguistic skills.
  • To develop further skills of synthesis, analysis and independent research, building on the skills acquired in units at level I.
  • To equip students with the skills to undertake postgraduate study in a relevant field.

Intended learning outcomes

Successful students will:

  • be knowledgable about a significant cultural, historical or linguistic subject related to the language they are studying;
  • will have advanced skills in the selection and synthesis of relevant material;
  • be able to evaluate and analyse relevant material from a significant body of source materials, usually in a foreign language, at an advanced level;
  • be able to respond to questions or problems by presenting their independent judgements in an appropriate style and at an advanced level of complexity;
  • be able to transfer these skills to other working environments, including postgraduate study.

Teaching details

Two seminar hours per week across one teaching block (20 contact hours).

Assessment Details

One 3000-word essay plus 3-hour exam (33%/ 67%)

Reading and References

Racine: Andromaque, Britannicus, Bérénice, Iphigénie, Phèdre, Athalie

Corneille : Le Cid and/or Horace