2016: winners
Eleanor Chapman (Cambridge): ‘”The monstrous and the non-human may present a threat to human culture but they also offer solutions to what seem like logical and narrative impasses.” Discuss with reference to at least two texts.’

Jack Flowers (Oxford): ‘”L’une des thématiques majeures de la poésie de cette époque est la métropole, conçue comme l’un des lieux privilégiés où s’entremêlent l’ancien et le moderne, la solitude et la foule, le « haut » et le « bas ».” Discuss with reference to one or more poets of the period.’

Commended
Imran Rahman-Jones (Nottingham): ‘Why was Michel Debré removed from office in April 1962 and why did de Gaulle choose George Pompidou as his replacement?’

Michael Sole (Exeter): ‘Whether it is through the exploration of memory or of the shocks and exhilarations of the present moment, Proust’s novel is concerned, above all, with the individual’s relation to time.’

Lucy Taylor (Durham): ‘Addressing the Mediation of Images and Their Implementation in the Construction of Truth in the Works of Rithy Panh.’

Sophie Wright (Newcastle): ‘How do French literary and cinematic representations of the Second World War represent survival?’

2015: winner
Daniel Daly (King’s College London): ‘“La bête e(s)t le souverain.” Discuss with reference to the first session of Derrida’s La Bête et le souverain.’

Runners-up
Harry McCarthy (Exeter): ‘Discuss how Proust’s syntax and imagery interact with the thematic preoccupations of the novel.’

Rachel Hindmarsh (Bristol): ‘The Machine-Man: An Exploration of Masculinity and Modernism in First World War France.’

2014: winner
Rupinder Kaur (University College London): ‘Discuss the significance of joy with reference to two 17th century texts: Clélie and L’École des filles’.

Runner-up:
Cameron Quinn (Oxford): ‘Rousseau ne s’est pas suffisamment rendu compte à quel point son style astucieux rendait sa lecture et sa compréhension difficiles’.

2013: winner
Dulcie fforde (Oxford): ‘“L’image n’a pas de sens propre” (Compagnon). Discuss the pertinence of the claim in relation to Renaissance poetic practice.’

Joint runners-up
Hannah Stodart (Leeds): ‘Define and discuss the “Sociolinguistic Gender Pattern”, using examples from French as far as possible.’
Rebecca Sugden (Cambridge): ‘“The apparent waywardness of Diderot’s thought simply serves to prove the complexity of the exterior world it mirrors.” Discuss with reference to Le Supplément au voyage de Bougainville and Le Neveu de Rameau.’

2012: winner
Amy Cowan (Oxford): ‘A la recherche du temps perdu has been described as an epistemological quest. Explain and exemplify what this might mean.’

Joint runners-up
Charlotte Holt (UCL): ‘Analyse and discuss the representation of friendship in two or more of the seventeenth-century texts you have studied.’
Matthew Phillips (Cambridge): ‘Despite the etymology of the term, the libertine is never free.’

2011: Winner
Martina Williams (Nottingham): ‘For John Locke, memory was a condition, sine qua non, for selfhood. To what extent is this idea prefigured, referenced, critiqued and/or parodied in Montaigne’s Essais, Du côté de chez Swann and Molloy?’

Joint runners-up
Joseph Revill (Warwick): ‘To what extent was there opposition to Napoleon between the years 1799-1815?’
Edmund Chambers (Nottingham): ‘In what sense, and to what extent, does Beckett’s work attest to “the death of the subject”?’

2010: Winner
Claire Strickett (Glasgow): Femmes-démon or victims? Reconsidering the source of the malevolent in Maupassant’s Contes fantastiques.

Runner-up
Aimee Linekar (St Andrews): ‘”Dis-moi ce que tu manges, je te dirai ce que tu es” (Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, Aphorisme IV). Examine the roles of food, drink and intoxication in Jean-Claude Izzo’s Chourmo in light of this quotation.’

2009: Winner
Joe Oakley (Cambridge): ‘”Evidence from the history of French provides a strong argument against the idea of typological consistency, thereby threatening the very foundations of linguistic typology.” Discuss.’

Joint runners-up
Annie Tate-Harte (UCL): ‘Discuss Michel de Certeau’s view that “on n’habite que des lieux hantés”, with reference to any two or more of the following: Atget’s photography of Paris streets; Nadar’s photography of the souterrains of Paris; Chronique d’un été; Le Pont du Nord; La Reprise.’
Moya Samer (Cambridge): ‘”Before any feminist politicization, it is important to recognize the strong phallogocentric underpinning that conditions our cultural heritage.” Discuss with reference to Julia Kristen.’

2008: Winner
Clodagh Kinsella (UCL): ‘In your view, what is the specific contribution of poetry and/or fiction to the representation of painful experiences?’

Joint runners-up
Adam Strowger (Durham): ‘”Addressed throughout as vous, the reader is established as the repository of values antithetical to those espoused in the text” (C. Davis). Discuss the relationship between the narrator and the reader in the Journal du voleur in light of this statement.’

Harald Stevenson (Cambridge): ‘Théodore de Bèze’s conception of the elegy.’

2007: Winner
Gabor Gergezy (Exeter): ‘Jean-Luc Godard’s film essays of the 1960s: the virtues and limitations of Realism theories.’

Joint runners-up
Albertine Fox (RHUL): ‘Rhythms of Desire: Marguerite Duras.’
Annie Ring (Leeds): ‘Post-1968 Women’s writing.’

2006: Joint Winners
Catherine Birkinshaw (Warwick): ‘Revolutionary Propaganda 1788-1789 (with particular reference to pamphlets).’

Catherine Crimp (Cambridge): ‘”The philosophical and critical thought of this period is consistently engaged with the politics of its immediate context; but this engagement is generally so oblique and implicit as to be all but invisible”. Discuss.’

2005: Winner
Martin Robinson (Nottingham): ‘”L’aliénation du Noir n’est pas une question individuelle” (Fanon). To what extent [is] Une vie de boy a fictional representation of this view?’

Runner-up
Tom Nolan (Oxford): ‘”It seems strange that so many critics should have found Proust’s novel unmoral; the truth is that he was preoccupied with morality [and melodrama].” Would you agree?’

2004: Winner
Sophie Oliver (Cambridge): ‘Subversive Acts: female voice and performance in the songs of the Trobairitz’.

Runner-up
Maria O’Sullivan (Cork): ‘ “We shall cease from exploration […]” [Assia Djebar and Kateb Yacine].’