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Eva Marie

Blogger and cat lover In love with books, pizzas and DiCaprio Writing is my passion

février 15, 2021

Studying literature in France

  • février 15, 2021
  • by

I'm one of those stereotype who reads all the time and did literary/history studies. And let me tell you, I love it! 

I first had my first bachelor's degree in English - languages, literature and civilization (basically, how to be fluent and know the culture of all the main English-speaking countries) then in French literature ("Lettres modernes" - which is not modern at all and not always French). Those two degrees gave me plenty of books to read and words to put together in many essays and dissertations. It was four years in total where I dreamed in English and thought about Ronsard even when I ate. Yes, it was intense and I actually enjoyed it all (mainly). 

What I loved the most was learning about other's civilization. Yep, it's sad to say when I intended to write a blog post about literature and not history. But I'm getting on that! I became obsessed with the Victorian Era and the 20th century in the US. The more I learned, the more I wanted to know.

Then comes literature. I have plenty to think about when I remember those four years. I did love it, but not all of it. Some books were amazing such as Great Expectations by Charles Dickens. Others were supposed to be amazing but didn't feel so at the time like Margaret Atwood's best seller: The Handmaid's Tale (oh yes, I had bloody amazing feminist teachers!). And some were just plain boring (sorry for those of you who loves Emily Dickinson's poetry - I didn't). And between that, lots of writing about those books.

In France, we got different classes with different books and teachers every semester. That's why I had a lot of different books to read for various classes. I probably had around 3 to 6 books I had to read every semester (plus additional one for the most determined). Some I had to read three times (never did, I hate re-reading a book in order to understand it properly). And because I am a very obedient girl, I read them all. 


Before uni, I thought that those studies where about classics and boring/long books that nobody wants to read anymore. I was wrong. We did studied classics like Shakespeare, Henry James, Jane Austen and F. Scott Fitzgerald, but we also studied more modern literature like Atwood, Arthur Miller, Brian Evenson or Ben Marcus. I also discovered that some classics were far better than modern books. The whole end of the world/apocalyptic class I took was a disaster: I hated them all. Whereas I discover a passion in Great Expectations which was such a huge book to read at the time. Dickens won my heart, just like Jane Austen did. 

Then came French literature, which actually was not all French. Baudelaire, Ronsard, Racine, Euripide (really, REALLY not modern at all), Rousseau, Sartre: they weren't for me. I probably had to read 12 for this one year and I probably liked only 3 of them. It was disappointing, especially when the teachers were not captivating (expect the one who looked like John Snow). I was a lot to read for just one year as we have at least 2 books for each literary class. I didn't love "Lettres modernes" as much as I love my English degree. It was not captivating and the book were not always the best to study. We had to do those huge essays, in writing or orally (my cup of tea, as you could imagine) every other week (or what felt like it) and it just put this big weight the whole year. I really hated it when I had to speak alone for 40 minutes about literature. It actually benefited me, but the stress and anxiety it gave me was probably just too much to be okay with it in the end. And I just missed learning about history anyway. In another life, I might just do a whole History degree. Who knows?

I'm now over with literary studies as I'm doing a Master degree in web design - which I love, especially since I had zero books to read (= plenty of time to read the books I chose to read). But I'm grateful for the culture it gave me, the classics I read and the ability I have to write pages and pages of essays without dreading it anymore.

The list of all the books I read in those four years: 

  • The Great Gatsby - F. Scott Fitzgerald 
  • Death of a Salesman - A. Miller
  • Various poems - E. Dickinson
  • The Handmaid's tale - M. Atwood
  • Romeo and Juliette - W. Shakespeare
  • Great Expectations - C. Dickens ♥
  • The Flame Alphabet - Ben Marcus
  • Immobility - Brian Evenson
  • Daisy Miller / In the cage / The beast in the Jungle / The figure in the carpet / The Death of the lion  - H. James
  • Pride and Prejudice - J. Austen ♥
  • Britannicus - J. Racine
  • Les Bacchantes - Euripide
  • Macbeth - W. Shakespeare 
  • Les Confessions - J-J. Rousseau
  • Les fleurs du Mal - C. Baudelaire
  • Les mots - J-P. Sartre
  • Les amours - P. de Ronsard
  • Extension du domaine de la lutte - M. Houellebecq
  • Le quai de Ouistreham - F. Aubenas ♥
  • Petites natures mortes au travail - Yves Pagès
  • Aux animaux la guerre - Nicolas Mathieu ♥
  • Les Pensées - Pascal

I'm 24, I've got freckles (you get it now) and I'm a grumpy French, sometimes, who writes in English. I love books, cats, le barbu, pizzas and Dicaprio.

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Rennes, France