Faculty of Arts

Undergraduate - Unit

This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2014 only. For students planning to study the unit, please refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course or area of study.

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6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered, or view unit timetables.

FacultyFaculty of Arts
Organisational UnitFrench Studies
OfferedClayton Second semester 2014 (Day)
Coordinator(s)Dr Benjamin Andreo


This capstone unit introduces students to a range of French comic writings, across genres (novel, short stories, theatre) and centuries (16th to 20th century), and how these texts interact with each other in their creation, redefinition and manipulation of humour. Students will be encouraged to develop their understanding of literary humour, its varied facets (satire, parody, humour noir, stage comedy, etc.) and, equally importantly, its functions: what is specifically French in the use of humour, and what is really at stake. The unit will provide the critical tools to understand these forms of humour in their respective historical and cultural contexts, and to elaborate on the concept of 'comic writing' as a whole. Students will not only deepen their linguistic and cultural knowledge through the study of seminal and influential French texts and authors (from Rabelais to Vian), but will also strengthen their analytical reading skills, as well as their presentation skills and their essay-writing techniques. Students taking the third-year version of this unit will be expected to demonstrate in their work a more explicit and sophisticated grasp of the concepts germane to the analysis of the texts studied, as well as the use of a more demanding range of sources.


Upon successful completion of this unit, students will have:

  1. Gained a better grasp of French language and a broad range of registers.
  2. Well-developed literary analytical skills, as well as communication skills, especially in the area of exposition and argument.
  3. Familiarized themselves with a broad range of comic writings and genres seminal to French culture, and developed a non-stereotypical understanding of different forms of humour.
  4. Historically contextualised the studied texts, and their respective use of humour.
  5. Demonstrated an understanding of how humour is constructed in literary, political and aesthetic terms.
  6. Related and articulated comic writings to other genres, and also to other "national" humours.
  7. Demonstrated a cultural awareness of the relevance of humour to contemporary French issues.
  8. Applied knowledge and skills to demonstrate autonomy and independence in thought and research, well-developed judgment and responsibility.


Written work: 40%
Oral presentation: 20%
1 Written examination(2 hours): 40%

Chief examiner(s)

Workload requirements

1x 1-hour lecture/week
1x 1-hour seminar/week

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study


At least French intermediate 2 (ATS2064)