Critical Analysis of Texts: Poetry in French

lrom1160  2018-2019  Louvain-la-Neuve

Critical Analysis of Texts: Poetry in French
5 credits
30.0 h + 15.0 h
Robert Laurent (compensates Zanone Damien); Zanone Damien;
Main themes
How is poetry different from other forms of literary expression such as novels, plays or essays? This question, which will bring students into contact with the main critiques of poetry, is the main theme in the study of poetic texts in French from the XVIth century to the present day. The course thus provides students with the necessary components to construct a critical interpretation of a poetic text, making use of formal aspects (study of verse and fixed forms, awareness of figures of style), thematic aspects (highlighting the most common issues in poetry) and historical aspects (development of poetic expression through literary history).
Practical classes (Exercises) are linked to this course to provide further practice.

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


By the end of this course, students will have acquired knowledge of poetic literature and expertise in how literary texts can be analysed. They will gain knowledge of a wide range of poetic work and the ability to use the language of literary analysis (particularly figures of style and versification), together with an awareness of the place of poetry in literature.  They will acquire expertise in how to analyse a poetic text in a logical, relevant and innovative way, to produce a critical interpretation.  The combination of this knowledge and expertise will enable students  to independently undertake a literary analysis built on the relationship between internal examination of texts and awareness of their context (collection, aesthetic trends, artistic, historical and cultural context).


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”.
Lectures : see Topics Covered'
Practical exercises :'
- Methodology of textual analysis.'Session 1 : Literary texts'Session 2 : Literary analysis'Session 3 : Analytical reading ' synthesis stage'
- Development of textual analysis.'Session 4: Joint compilation of an analytical reading'Session 5: Joint compilation of an analytical reading'Session 6: Joint compilation of an analytical reading'Session 7: Joint compilation of an analytical reading' Session 8: Presentation of an analytical reading by students
Teaching methods
The formal lectures, given by Professor Damien Zanone and Professor Laurent Robert, are linked to the practical exercise sessions organised by Mr. Maxime Thiry, his assistant. There are 13 lectures, 10 practical sessions and 3 optional tutorial sessions. Please note : attendance at the practical sessions is compulsory. Students will be penalised in their continuous assessment for any unexcused absence and/or failure to submit work for the practical sessions
Evaluation methods
For the June examinations, assessment is as follows:'
1) Continuous assessment (10 points) : 2 analytical readings of poems from the compulsory list. The first reading (on March 2nd) will be corrected and commented and will count as a prerequisite to take the exam; the second reading (on May 18th)  is assessed for 7 points. 2 portfolios, about the exercises completed in the practical sessions, are assessed for 1 and 2 points.
2) Assessment in the June examinations (10 points) : 2h written examination.'
- a theoretical issue relating to an aspect covered in the lectures (5 points)
- a question about one of the authors of the compulsory reading list (5 points).'
For the September examinations, assessment is as follows : 2h + 4h30 written examination.'
  • an analytical reading of a poem from the compulsory list (7 points).
  • a theoretical issue relating to an aspect covered in the lectures (5 points)
  • a question about one of the authors of the compulsory reading list (5 points).'
  • in case of failure of the continuous assessment during the semester (less than 1.5/3), a new shorter portfolio is to be handed for the first day of the September examinations (3 points).
Other information
Online resources
Corpus de lectures obligatoires
(NB : ces recueils poétiques, à l’exception de ceux de Michel Leiris et de Francis Ponge, sont disponibles sur le site Wikisource (
– Labé, Louise : Œuvres poétiques, précédé de Du Guillet, Pernette : Rymes, éd. F. Charpentier, Paris, Poésie/Gallimard, 1983 [1555].
– Hugo, Victor, La Légende des siècles, éd. Cl. Millet, Paris, Le Livre de Poche, 2000 [1859-1877].
- Baudelaire, Charles : Les Fleurs du mal, éd. J. E. Jackson, Le Livre de Poche, 1999 [1857].
- Queneau, Raymond : Courir les rues. Battre la campagne. Fendre les flots, Paris, Poésie/Gallimard, 1981 [1967, 1968, 1969].
– Ponge, Francis : Le Parti pris des choses, Paris, Poésie/Gallimard, 1967 [1942].
Outils critiques
– obligatoire : le Dictionnaire de poétique de Michèle Aquien (Paris, Le Livre de Poche, 1993).
– recommandés : La Poésie. Textes choisis et présentés par Hugues Marchal (Paris, GF-Corpus, 2007) ; le Dictionnaire des symboles. Mythes, rêves, coutumes, gestes, formes, figures, couleurs, nombres de Jean Chevalier et Alain Gheerbrant (Paris, Robert Laffont, 1997, édition revue et augmentée).
Faculty or entity

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

Title of the programme
Bachelor in Ancient and Modern Languages and Literatures

Bachelor in French and Romance Languages and Literatures : General

Bachelor in Modern Languages and Literatures : General

Minor in French Studies