Paris: Myth and Reality in the 20th century - FREN5940

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Module delivery information

This module is not currently running in 2022 to 2023.


Among the capital cities of Europe, Paris has a particularly rich and exciting history. It played, for example, a key role during the revolution of 1789 and subsequent political upheavals in the course of the 19th century. This module explores the different and evolving representations of Paris of the 20th century in the context of modernity and postmodernity. Although the main focus of the course will be literary, including poetry and fiction, there will also be examination of the changing landscape of the capital as mediated through film and in visual art (Cubist paintings of Paris). Thematic focuses of the module include: immigrant experience in Paris; young protagonists' quest for identity in Paris; social and urban change.


Contact hours

Total Contact Hours: 20

Method of assessment

Essay (2,000 words) – 40%
Presentation (20 minutes) – 20%
Examination (2 hours) – 40%

Indicative reading

Any edition:

Apollinaire, Guillaume (1913)). Alcools.
Gary, Romain. (1975). La Vie devant soi.
Jeunet, Jean-Pierre. (2001). Le Fabuleux Destin d'Amélie Poulain
Modiano, Patrick. (2002). La Petite Bijou
Nimier, Marie. (2010). Les Inséparables
Pineau, Gisèle. (2000). L'Exil selon Julia
Truffaut, François. (1959). Les 400 coups

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

- Demonstrate a critical appreciation of a wide range of literary and filmic works produced in France during the twentieth century;
- Explore the literary, filmic and historical background of different works, and assess and critically analyse the complex links between Paris as a real city and its representation by writers and filmmakers;
- Demonstrate their analytical skills relating to close reading and evaluation of literary texts;
- Plan and write an essay analysing cultural and historical questions as they are articulated in French poetry, painting, fiction and film.


  1. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  2. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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