Questions of Literary aesthetics

lrom2710  2019-2020  Louvain-la-Neuve

Questions of Literary aesthetics
Note from June 29, 2020
Although we do not yet know how long the social distancing related to the Covid-19 pandemic will last, and regardless of the changes that had to be made in the evaluation of the June 2020 session in relation to what is provided for in this learning unit description, new learnig unit evaluation methods may still be adopted by the teachers; details of these methods have been - or will be - communicated to the students by the teachers, as soon as possible.
5 credits
22.5 h
To be able to decode in a precise and argumentative way a literary text (objective of the courses of Modern Authors from the first cycle);
To know the main debates, questions and stakes of the modern and contemporary literary theory.
Main themes
The emphasis of this course is on the building blocks of literature, that is language as a structure which man has inherited and from which he develops. Analysis of literary experience as discourse raises the following questions:
- how to consider the link between literature and language beyond the hitherto structured framework of mimesis ? What does the notion of "a crisis in representation" involve?  Link with linguistic theory. Concepts of signifiers, letters, devices and writing;
- how to consider the link between literature and society through the autonomy of a work? The question of the audience, the concepts of discourse and dialogism; literature as discourse among discourse;
- how to consider the link between literature and subjectivity outside an expressive conception of writing, where the text is devised as personal expression? The question of singularity, the

At the end of this learning unit, the student is able to :


Literary aesthetics is less of a particular area in literary studies than a general paradigm (a definition of literature as art of language) which shapes contemporary ways of understanding works of literature. This paradigm, which complements that of literary history (cf. ROM 2720), deals with literature from the viewpoint of the effects it produces as discourse, considering it as a form of knowledge in its own right.

By the end of the course, students will be able to:

- define and put this paradigm in context: the conditions under which it emerged, the postulates on which it is based and its inclusion in the social sciences;

- put in context their own abilities in literary analysis (gained in the Bachelor's programme) in the light of this paradigm;

- and, most importantly : tackle the main issues and make use of the principal concepts in literary aesthetics when studying works of literature, to show how they raise questions about their period and the human condition.


The contribution of this Teaching Unit to the development and command of the skills and learning outcomes of the programme(s) can be accessed at the end of this sheet, in the section entitled “Programmes/courses offering this Teaching Unit”.
The course will rely on a theoretical orientation, but is developed in an empirical way, by analyzing the selected works.
Examples of subjects (2 or 3 subjects are planned each year) : Proustand the crisis of representation, Diderot and the discourse of the Master, the aesthetics of shock (Annie Ernaux, Nicole Malinconi, etc.), For the Love of language (Fernand Crommelynck, Marguerite Duras), the technical and the symbolic, Logic of the verb / Logic of the image, Silence writings, etc.
Teaching methods
Lecture, based on a set of preparatory readings. The inductive method encourages interaction with students
Evaluation methods
Presentation of apersonal paper during an oral examination.
Other information
Supervision : a seminar is organised to follow on from ROM 2715 : seminars : literary aesthetics.
Une bibliographie établie en fonction du programme de l'année est déposée sur moodle.
Faculty or entity

Programmes / formations proposant cette unité d'enseignement (UE)

Title of the programme
Master [60] in Ancient and Modern Languages and Literatures

Master [60] in Modern Languages and Literatures : General

Master [120] in French and Romance Languages and Literatures : French as a Foreign Language

Master [120] in Ancient and Modern Languages and Literatures

Master [60] in French and Romance Languages and Literatures : General

Certificat universitaire en littérature

Master [120] in French and Romance Languages and Literatures : General

Master [120] in Modern Languages and Literatures : General