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The MA in French and Comparative Literature offers an excellent environment for the postgraduate study of literature beyond national and linguistic borders with a particular focus on French culture, with the complementary experience of living in Paris for a term.

Comparative Literature at Kent involves the study of literature from two or more European cultures, to gain an intercultural and transnational understanding of cultural practice. The MA in French and Comparative Literature introduces you to a wide range of theoretical perspectives, enriching your appreciation of the cultures, texts and critical practices examined in the programme’s various modules. You benefit from expert teaching from members of the Department of Modern Languages and the Department of Comparative Literature and thus participate in an interdisciplinary dialogue.

A cross-cultural, interdisciplinary programme, you spend your first term at our Canterbury campus with full access to its excellent academic and recreational facilities. In the spring term, you relocate to the Paris School of Arts and Culture where you study at the Columbia Global Center (known as Reid Hall) in a historic corner of Montparnasse. You visit Paris in the autumn term, where you meet our Paris staff and are taken on a tour of the city. We offer advice and support to help you relocate to Paris.

After you have taken four modules across the autumn and spring terms, you undertake a 12,000 word dissertation over the summer with supervision from an expert within the department. 

This programme is ideal for modern languages graduates who wish to consolidate their knowledge in a wider context; English graduates wishing to diversify their interests; and graduates in other humanities subjects (history, philosophy, theology) who would like to apply their knowledge to literary and visual material, and those with the desire to live in Paris in an active and extended engagement with the culture.

The French and Comparative Literature MA can also be studied at Canterbury only.

Assessment

Assessment is by one 5,000-word essay for each module and the dissertation.

Programme aims

The programme aims to:

  • provide the opportunity for you to obtain a postgraduate qualification (MA) in one year, and to allow, if required, a smooth transition to doctoral studies
  • allow you to study modules in both modern French studies and comparative literature
  • develop your knowledge and understanding of relevant aspects of contemporary Paris and the cultural history of the city as reflected in modern French, European, English and American literatures and other artistic media
  • enhance your comprehension and communication skills in both French and English
  • develop your awareness of various critical and research methodologies and of the interplay between literature, art and cultural context
  • provide teaching which is informed by current research and scholarship and which requires you to engage with aspects of work at the frontiers of knowledge
  • provide a deepening of intercultural awareness and understanding
  • provide opportunities for the further development of personal, communication and research skills and other key skills appropriate for graduate employment both in industry and in the public sector
  • provide further development of critical, analytical, problem-solving and other transferable skills.

Research areas

Staff interests broadly fit within the parameters of French literature and thought from the 18th century to the present, with research clusters organised around: the European Enlightenment and Counter-Enlightenment; Ekphrasis; Franco-Sino relations; Life Writing; Medical Humanities; Philosophy and Critical Theory; French Surrealism; Cubism; the Avant-Garde; the interface between visual arts and text.

Recent publications have focused on authors, artists and thinkers including the following: Apollinaire; Artaud; Badiou; Barthes; Blanchot; Cocteau; Crébillon fils; Deleuze; Diderot; Djebar; Flaubert; Foucault; Houellebecq; Lacan; Maupassant; Mérimée; Nimier; Proust; Sade; Yourcenar; Zola.

Centre for Language and Linguistic Studies

Founded in 2007, the Centre for Language and Linguistic Studies (CLLS) promotes interdisciplinary collaboration in linguistic research and teaching. Membership embraces not just the members of English Language and Linguistics but also other SECL members with an interest in the study of language, as well as researchers in philosophy, computing, psychology and anthropology, reflecting the many and varied routes by which individuals come to a love of language and an interest in the various disciplines and subdisciplines of linguistics.

Centre for Modern European Literature

Many of the most significant European writers and literary movements of the modern period have traversed national, linguistic, and disciplinary borders. Co-directed by members of Comparative Literature, French, and German, the Centre for Modern European Literature aims to promote collaborative interdisciplinary research that can do justice to these kinds of border crossing.

Ranging across English, French, German, Italian and Spanish literature, the Centre focuses in particular on the European avant-garde, European modernism and postmodernism, literary theory, the international reception of European writers, and the relations between modern European literature and the other arts, including painting, photography, film, music and architecture. The Centre’s activities include a lecture and seminar series and the regular organisation of conferences. It also works with the editors of the postgraduate journal Skepsi, and runs the MA in Modern European Literature.

Careers

A postgraduate degree in French studies and comparative literature is an extremely versatile qualification that can open the door to exciting career opportunities in many professions. Our graduates have gone on to work in the IT industry, academic administration, cultural management and to further postgraduate training and academic careers at UK and overseas universities.

By studying in Paris' rich cultural and international environment, you are able to increase your cultural awareness as well as develop advanced language skills, which are invaluable assets for many careers.

Find out how to apply at https://www.kent.ac.uk/courses/postgraduate/apply/


Visit the French and Comparative Literature - MA (Canterbury and Paris) page on the University of Kent website for more details!

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