CAPES externe : sujets de dissertation de tronc commun (1970-1999)

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Cette page regroupe les sujets de dissertation proposés au CAPES externe de 1970 à 1999.



1998 (littérature : Katherine Mansfield, Selected Stories)

Analyse, comment on and discuss the following statement by the American short story writer: "It was usually Miss Mansfield's way to approach the major forces of life through comparatively trivial incidents. She chose a small reflector to throw a luminous streak out into the shadowy realm of personal relationships."

1997 (civilisation)

Comment upon this statement by R.M. Titmuss in Problems of Social Policies, 1950: "From the initial preoccupations with the cruder manifestations of total war expressed in such definite policies as removing the injured to hospital, the frightened to safety and the dead to mortuaries, the government was to turn under the pressure of circumstances and the stimulus of a broader conception of social justice to new fields of constructive policies."

1996 (littérature : William Shakespeare, Twelfth Night)

Words, wit and language in Twelfth Night.

1995 (civilisation: Inner cities)

Comment upon this statement by Robin Boyle: "Changing the objectives of urban policy and using the private sector as a vehicle for implementation essentially changes the agenda of urban policy. Issues of unemployment, social distress, or community disadvantage are effectively replaced by the priorities of the market-place. Moreover, a case is presented that the goals of business are the goals of the community and to disagree is to deny the importance of the commercial imperative and to suffer the consequences of further economic dislocation." Robin Boyle, "Private Sector Urban Regeneration: The Scottish Experience", in Michael Parkinson, Bernard Foley & Denis Udd (eds.), Regenerating the Cities - The UK Crisis and the US Experience, Manchester (1988).

1994 (littérature : Mary Shelley, Frankenstein)

Comment upon this statement by George Levine: "...even while it wanders across the Alps, to the northern islands of Scotland, to the frozen wastes of the Arctic, Frankenstein is a claustrophobic novel. It presents us not with the landscape of the world but of a single mind, and its extraordinary power, despite its grotesqueness and the awkwardness of so much of its prose, resides in its mythic exploration of that mind, and of the consequences of its choices, the mysteries of its impulses." ("Frankestein and the Tradition of Realism", Novel, fall 1973)

1993 (civilisation : La Révolution industrielle)

In an article published in 1981, "The Myth of a British Industrial Revolution", M. Fores argues that historians have mistakenly taken the Industrial Revolution as a sudden development and that the rise of the cotton industry in Lancashire which he concedes was a dramatic transformation was untypical and therefore could not be used as a basis for generalisations about a British Industrial Revolution. Discuss this opinion.

1992 (civilisation : la guerre du Vietman et l'opinion publique américaine 1961-1973)

Bearing in mind the role played by public opinion during the Vietnam War, comment upon the following statement: "Why should the enemy desist or make concessions when Americans were falling over themselves to register their discontent and display how many concessions they themselves were prepared to make at whatever cost? A public rpessure for alternatives that gave the impression that the United States alone stood in the way of peace was hardly to be read by the North Vietnamese other than as a sign of weakness, a lack of resolve. If nothing else, the dissenting voices of officials and legislators and the shouting in the streets provided a basis for North Vietnamese propaganda." General William C. Westmoreland, A Soldier Reports (1976)

1991 (littérature: Charles Dickens, Dombey and Son)

Comment on the following statement: "The entire development of Dombey and Son orchestrates [...] themes of callous indifference and social evil into a vast symphonic structure in which all the groups brought into contact with Mr Dombey [...] are organically related." Edgar Johnson, Charles Dickens: His Tragedy and Triumph (1952)

1990 (littérature : Jane Austen, Mansfield Park)

To what extent can the following statement be said to apply to Mansfield Park? "Moral juddgement shapes Jane Austen's fiction. She proceeds from gay to grave, from the lively even to the severe. She has strong aversions, but her genius is comic rather than satirical, and it would be misleading to say that she is actuated by detestation or hatred." F.B. Pinion, A Jane Austen Companion

1989 (littérature : William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night's Dream)

Discuss the following statement: In A Midsummer Night's Dream, "Shakespeare has achieved not only a benign resolution to the dialectic of folly and wisdom, but a complex and witty exploration of the infirmities and frailties and deficiencies and possibilities of the imaginative faculty itself". Ruth Nevo, Comic Transformations in Shakespeare, London: Methuen (1980).

1988 (littérature : William Faulkner, The Wild Palms)

Critic Arthur F. Kinney writes as follows of The Wild Palms: "Both narratives thus end ironically. Yet together they constitute (by 'counterpoint', according to Faulkner) a single novel which argues the desirability and danger of total liberty and the necessity and treachery of romance." Discuss.

1987 (littérature : William Shakespeare, Othello)

Discuss the following statement by W.H. Auden (The Dyer's Hand, 1963): "If Othello is a tragedy... it is tragic in a peculiar way. In most tragedies the fall of the hero from glory to misery and death is the work, either of the gods, or of his own freely chosen acts, or, more commonly, a mixture of both. But the fall of Othello is the work of another human being; nothing he says or does originated with himself. In consequence we feel pity for him but no respect; our aesthetic respect is reserved for Iago."

1986 (littérature : Thomas Hardy, Tess of the d'Urbervilles)

In his book Interpretations of Tess of the d'Urbervilles, the critic Albert J. La Valley writes: "Tess is preoccupied with the force of sexuality, and Tess herself stands, all the more on this account, at the center of Hardy's interests... Rooted in nature and always seen against the rhythms of the natural landscape and the seasons, she is Hardy's medium for connecting sexual feeling with social and moral law." Discuss this statement.

1985 (littérature : Ernest Hemingway, Fiesta: The Sun Alro Rises

In his study Ernest Hemingway (1952), the critic Philip Young writes: "The conversation style, which gives us the illusion that Jake is just telling the story of what he has been doing lately, gracefully hides the fact that the pace is carefully calculated and swift, the sentences and scenes hard and clean. This is true of the over-all structure, too: the book is informal and relaxed only on the surface, and beneath it lies a scrupulous and satisfying orchestration." Discuss this statement.

1984 (littérature : George Orwell, 1984)

Comment upon George Woddcock's view of G. Orwell as a novelist, with special reference to 1984: "Without very much exaggeration one might apply to him one of his own remarks about Dickens - 'a writer whose parts are greater than his wholes... all fragments, all details - rotten architecture, but wonderful gargoyles'..." (The Crystal Spirit, 1966)

1983 (littérature : William Shakespeare, The Winter's Tale)

Discuss the following statement: "There is little plausibility in The Winter's Tale, and a great deal of what is repeatedly called 'wonder'. Things are presented to us, not explained." Northop Frye, Fables of Identity (1963)

1982 (littérature : William Golding, The Spire)

Flesh and stone in The Spire.

1981 (littérature : Walter Scott, Old Mortality)

Old Mortality as a realistic romance.

1980 (littérature : Francis Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby)

Dream, Illusion and Reality in The Great Gatsby.

1979 (littérature : Saul Bellow, The Adventures of Augie March)

The Adventures of Augie March as an epic quest for identity.

1978 (littérature : Samuel Richardson, Pamela)

Moral integrity and social status in Pamela (Book I).


Sujet indisponible.

1976 (littérature : Sherwood Anderson, Winesburg, Ohio)

Discuss the following statement: "The book (Winesburg, Ohio) is not to be read as a piece of realistic fiction. It is a rendering of the night-side of life; "a landscape", as Howe says, "in which ghosts fumble erratically and romance is reduced to mere fugitive brushings at night; a landscape eerie with the cracked echoes of village queers rambling in their lonely eccentricity." Winesburg, Ohio, in fact, is a microcosm not of the world perhaps but certainly of the United States as Anderson saw it." Walter Allen, Tradition and Dream (1965)

1975 (littérature : Charles Dickens, Our Mutual Friend)

Comment upon the following statement with reference to Our Mutual Friend: "Part of the genius of Dickens is that he does use types and caricatures, people whom we recgnize the instant they re-enter, and yet achieve effects that are not mechanical and a vision of humanity that is not shallow. Those who dislike Dickens have an excellent case. He ought to be bad." E.M. Forster, Aspects of the Novel (1953)

1974 (littérature : William Styron, Lie Down in Darkness)

Lie Down in Darkness as picture of "spiritual and emotional disruption".

1973 (littérature : George Eliot, Adam Bede)

Do you think that in Adam Bede George Eliot "expounds the doctrine granting each of us the initiative which works out our moral and religious destiny"?

1972 (littérature : Mark Twain, Huckleberry Finn)

Is Huckleberry Finn a subversive book?

1971 (littérature : Charles Dickens, Great Expectations)

In the light of what happens to Pip in the novel, comment upon his words: "What could I become with these surroundings? How could my character fail to be influenced by them?"

1970 (littérature : Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey)

"Northanger Abbey goes beyond the burlesque to a tender and perceptive exploration of the boundaries of good sense." Discuss this statement.