Sunday, September 27, 2020

Les cours de la semaine

 L3 culture populaire britannique depuis 1945

Mardi 11h A208

Mardi 15h30 F311

M1 MEEF civi GB 

Mercredi 9h A515 (exceptionnellement cette semaine)

Thème agrégation 

Mercredi 10h30 préfabriqué 2


Séminaire historiographie et Première Guerre

15h amphi 2

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Le passé dans le présent et le British Museum

  The British  Musuem has a magnificent stone figure which came from Easter Island. The Easter Islanders have asked for it back. If you read this British Museum web page carefully  you will understand the different responses the British Museum is making in this situation0


Département d'anglais à Rouen - tuteurs/tutrices


Le département d'anglais recrute des tutrices et tuteurs pour accompagner les étudiants de L1 dans leurs études. La mission consiste à assurer des permanences pour les aider à faire le travail qui leur est demandé, ou à assister des enseignants dans leur salle de classe (à définir en fonction des restrictions sanitaires). Si cette mission vous intéresse, veuillez contacter Julien Morel (julien.morel1@univ-rouen.fr) et lui communiquer vos disponibilités.

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

An introduction to historiography : the First World War. Master’s seminar.

 Vidéo lecture chapter One


Video lecture chapter Two


Black Britons in the 20th century

 Television  has found different ways of talking about history. Of course there is the documentary, but this programme gives a more entertaining and yet explanatory approahc. A TV crew asked a Black British family from today to "travel back in time" and live the life of Black immigrants to Britain in the 1960s, the 1970s etc. (a week per decade). 

Here is one of the episodes - there are others on Youtube

This could be of interest to anyone, but this is patrt of popular culture - television. And it is also a way of presenting the past, in the present. 

Thème agrégation. Suggested translation La planète des singes


Pierre Boulle La Planète des singes 1963



Suggested translation

For the time being, speaking of wonders[1], we had managed[2] to land without jolting on the grass of a planet which, just like ours, had oceans, mountains, forests, agriculture,[3] towns and, no doubt, inhabitants.

Yet[4] we must have been quite some way[5] from civilized lands, given[6] the vast[7] stretches of jungle we had passed over before touching down.

We finally came out of our dream. Clad[8] in our spacesuits, we cautiously opened the hatch[9] of the spaceship. There was no inrush[10] of air. The air pressure inside and outside were[11] balanced. The forest surrounded[12] the clearing like the walls of a fortress.  No noise or movement[13] broke the calm. The temperature was high but bearable, around 25 degrees Celsius.[14]

We stepped out of the launch along[15] with Hector. Professor Antell insisted on beginning by making a more thorough analysis of the atmosphere. The results were encouraging: the air had the same composition as that of the earth,[16] despite some differences in the proportions of the rare gases.[17] It should[18] be perfectly breathable. Still, to make doubly sure, we tried it out first on our chimpanzee.

Once he was rid of his suit, the monkey[19] seemed perfectly happy and suffering no ill-effects. He seemed exhilarated to find himself free and on solid ground. After skipping around[20] for a moment, he ran off[21] towards the forest, leapt onto a tree and carried on his acrobatics among the branches. He soon moved away and disappeared, despite our waving and shouting.[22]

After all this, we were able to talk more easily, having also taken off our spacesuits.[23] We were impressed by the sound of our own voices, as we timidly took a few steps, while staying close to the launch.

We had to be[24] on a twin sister planet of our own Earth. There was life. Indeed, the plant kingdom[25] was particularly vigorous. Some of the trees must be[26] more than a hundred feet tall. The animal kingdom soon came along,[27] in the form of large black birds, gliding across the sky like vultures, and other, smaller ones, fairly similar to our parrots, chasing each other and squawking.

From what we had seen before landing, we knew there was also civilization. Beings doted with reason – we dared not yet call them « men »[28] - had modelled the surface of the planet. Around us, though, the forest seemed to be uninhabited.



[1] Wonders in general, so no definite article.

[2] This structure with “manage to” is often over-used by French speakers. It implies difficulty, and is appropriate here.

[3] “Crops” is also very good.

[4] Note that “But” here is too informal and “though” is much too informal, at the beginning of a sentence.

[5] “Quite a long way away” is rather informal. Structures with « far » here are clumsy.

[6] There are many mistakes possible here. “According to” is wrong because it tends to mean “in the opinion of” (According to Margaret Thatcher, private enterprise was the most appropriate mechanism for organizing public services).

[7] “Widespread” is not correct – because it would refer to something which is widely *distributed* (the “widespread prejudice against heavy metal music”, for example).

[8] If you prefer to use a verb, I cannot see anything other than “having put on our spacesuits” or “Once we had put on our spacesuits”. The latter is preferable, since the practice of putting such gerundive forms at the beginning of sentences is far more common in French.

[9] The original is problematic: did they really leave by the window (hublot, porthole?) I have preferred to “correct” the original, since they seem to have left by the place which was designed for them to leave by, whereas portholes in spacecraft are not designed to be opened ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Porthole#Spacecraft_portholes )

[10] “Movement” is fine, but why not show off our knowledge of less well-known vocabulary?

[11] I think that here one could use the singular or the plural. This is not unusual in English.

[12] You must not put an -ING here, which would make it sound like the process of surrounding was deliberate and in progress.

[13] Note that just a comma between the two nouns is not normal in English, unlike French. In English it is possible, but appears as very poetic.

[14] 75 degrees Fahrenheit. In Fahrenheit, fresh water freezes at 32° and boils at 212°. Here is why : https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fahrenheit


[15] “Accompanied” is too formal. (“Tu veux qu je t’accompagne ?” translates as “Do you want me to go with you? “.

[16] “As the earth’s” is less formal, but is acceptable here because the style of writing is not highly formal.

[17] Notice this is  *the* rare gases, not just rare gases. The rare gases, or noble gases are helium (He)neon (Ne),argon (Ar)krypton (Kr)xenon (Xe), and the radioactive radon (Rn). https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noble_gas

[18] Note that « must have been » is not possible, because it suggests that subsequently, by a process of logical reasoning, we have concluded that the only reasonable explanation is that the air was breathable. Here, our conclusion is not based on speculation but on the test.

[19] Many people think that chimpanzees are not correctly described as monkeys. The debate goes on (see for example here https://paoloviscardi.com/2011/04/21/apes-are-monkeys-deal-with-it/ and here https://www.quora.com/What-are-the-differences-between-a-monkey-and-a-chimpanzee . In any case, for a 1963 text, the use of monkey here is quite appropriate.

[20] Many phrasal verbs with “around” refer to activities which have no specific direction or purpose. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MdmiCR-PqF8

[21] Phrasal verbs with “off” are often about separation (cut off the gas, just walk off etc). https://www.ecenglish.com/learnenglish/lessons/phrasal-verbs-off

[22] Note that it is better to put an ing here than not to.

[23] Wikipedia gives “space suit” as two words, but NASA gives it as just one word, “spacesuit”. I think NASA is more authoritative.

[24] I think this is the form which fits best, although “we must have been” is quite good. The idea here is of logical conclusion (the only logical conclusion is that we were on a twin planet). “Have to” can be used, in a similar way to “must” for logical conclusion. Translations which avoid any modal value are of course possible, but using more modals is what people who are good at English do.

[25] Aristotle first divided living things into animals and plants, followed by Swedish zoologist Linnaeus in the 18th century.

[26] “Had to be” sounds fine here, too, but is a little more informal.

[27] “Turned up” would be too informal.

[28] "Dare" is a semi modal. You may either construct it here as a modal - "we dared not call them men", or as a non-modal "we did not dare to call them men"'. But you may not mix the two *We dared not to call them ‘men’.


M1 MEEF Le passé dans le présent. Vidéo lectures.

The video of chapter one of my talks on « le passé dans le présent » is here :


And chapter two is here:


Tuesday, September 22, 2020

BBC history online

 The first volume of Asa Briggs’ very long history of British broadcasting is free online here:



 Notez que le cours est en amphi 2 toutes les semaines SAUF la semaine prochaine (A515)

L3 popular culture

 Chapter one

Here is the video of chapter one, which introduces the course and begins the presentation of the historical background.


Chapter 2 takes us through the 1950s and 1960s

Here it is: https://youtu.be/wxuFAd64vY0 

Friday, September 18, 2020

Début des cours à Rouen

Mes cours pour la première semaine et les salles

L3 civi GB Popular Culture in Britain since 1945 
mardi 11h à 12h30 salle A208

L3 civi GB Popular Culture in Britain since 1945
mardi 15h30 à 17h salle F311 (l'autre groupe - ce n'est pas deux horaires au choix!)

M1 MEEF civi GB  (On commencera par le passé dans le présent)
mercredi 9h à 10h30 Amphi 2 (bâtiment Michel Serres)

Thème agrégation/thème M2 
mercredi 10h30 à 12h préfabriqué  2

M1 recherche/M1 MEEF séminaire
Introduction à l'historiographie - la Première Guerre
mercredi 15h à 17h amphi 2 (bâtiment Michel Serres )

Si vous êtes malade ou vous pensez que vous pouvez l'être, on vous demande de ne pas venir en cours, vous ne serez pas pénalisés. Nous ferons l'appel, essentiellement parce que, s'il y a une infection, nous devons savoir qui doit être contacté et averti.

Chacun de ces cours aura son espace sur universitice (même si' l'essentiel des ressources sera disponible seulement sur le présent blog). Ces espaces seront peut être disponibles uniquement en semaine 2. Tout le monde doit s'y inscrire. L'espace universitice sera notamment importante si la situation sanitaire impose des changements urgents.

Au plaisir de vous retrouver la semaine prochaine.

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Cours BBC Villetaneuse

 The first class seemed to go reasonably well, despite some technical hitches. You should have received a link to the audio and the slides. 

If you have questions about the videos which will go up in October, or about the different posts on this blog (which will go up every few days), please send them by email to help me prepare the next live class.

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

The Queen and her tasks

 The Queen may be losing one of her jobs


Protocole sanitaire

 Ce semestre j'aurai certains cours en salle ordinaire, et d'autres en amphithéâtre. Pour tous les cours en amphithéâtre, et pour les autres cours à chaque fois que la taille de la salle le permet, il faudra obligatoirement laisser un siège libre entre chaque étudiant (e).

Revising British history. Especially CAPES and Agrégation


I do recommend this little book (which, second-hand, is also very cheap indeed). It is not a matter of learning hundred of dates, but, for example, if you are asked about democracy in 19th century Britain, the dates of the three Reform Acts and of the Chartist movement would be expected ...