French MA

Writing the Visual: The Art of the Text FRENCH4105

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Modern Languages and Cultures
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Runs Throughout Semesters 1 and 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

This course looks at the relationship between paintings and words, engaging with the concept of ekphrasis as well as analysing the presence of words in paintings. It asks how we might "write" the visual and, more broadly speaking, account for the 'pictorial turn' in today's culture. In so doing, it offers a fresh and innovative take on text-image relations in French, Belgian and Swiss contexts.


20 x 1-hour sessions over both semesters as scheduled on MyCampus.


This is one of the honours options in SMLC and may not run every year. The options which are running this session are available on MyCampus.

Excluded Courses





Essay (2,000 words) - 50%

Essay (2,000 words) - 50%

Main Assessment In: April/May

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? Not applicable for Honours courses

Reassessments are normally available for all courses, except those which contribute to the Honours classification. For non-Honours courses, students are offered reassessment in all or any of the components of assessment if the satisfactory (threshold) grade for the overall course is not achieved at the first attempt. This is normally grade D3 for undergraduate students and grade C3 for postgraduate students. Exceptionally it may not be possible to offer reassessment of some coursework items, in which case the mark achieved at the first attempt will be counted towards the final course grade. Any such exceptions for this course are described below. 

Course Aims

The course will provide the opportunity to:

■ study words in paintings and paintings in words in a variety of Francophone contexts from a research-led perspective;

■ engage with a range of methodological approaches, drawing on fields such as text-image studies, literary studies, philosophy and other cross-disciplinary perspectives;

■ explore the broader intellectual and artistic contexts of the set works.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

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

■ discuss set texts and select paintings in detail;

■ offer close critical readings of verbal representations of visual representations;

■ exercise critical judgement through selective, appropriate and accurate reference or citation;

■ discuss the interplay between text and image in nineteenth-century and twentieth-century Francophone contexts;

■ judiciously apply an appropriate range of critical terminology and concepts.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.