Transformations of Paris - FREN5001

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2021 to 2022
Autumn Term 5 15 (7.5) Larry Duffy checkmark-circle


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 from the 19th century to the present day. The changing cityscape of Paris will be examined as mediated through architecture, films, visual arts (Impressionist and Cubist paintings of Paris), poetry, and fiction. Thematic focuses of the module include: conditions of life in Paris across the centuries; architectural changes, including the major transformations brought about by Baron Haussmann's city planning in the mid-nineteenth century; immigrant experience in Paris; social and urban change.


Contact hours

Total Contact Hours: 20

Method of assessment

Critical Writing Exercise (500 words) – 20%
Presentation (20 minutes) – 20%
Essay (2,400 words) – 60%

Indicative reading

Indicative Reading List

Baudelaire, C. (1861), 'Tableaux Parisiens' in Les Fleurs du Mal. Paris: Gallimard.
Apollinaire, G. (1913). Alcools. Paris: Gallimard.
Malle, L. (1960). Zazie dans le métro. [Film]. France: Pathé.
Gary, R. (1975). La Vie devant soi. Paris: Gallimard.
Pineau, G. (2000) L'Exil selon Julia. Paris: Hachette.
Audiard, J. (2015). Dheepan. [Film]. France: Canal+

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, visual, and filmic works produced in France and representing Paris and its transformations from the 19th to the 21st centuries;
Explore the literary, artistic, filmic and historical background of different works; assess and critically analyse the complex links between Paris as a real city and its representation by writers, artists, and filmmakers;
Undertake critical analysis relating to French literary texts and other cultural artefacts;
Evaluate the appropriateness of different analytical approaches to French poetry, painting, fiction and film, and apply these techniques effectively in a coherent argument.


  1. Credit level 5. Intermediate level module usually taken in Stage 2 of an undergraduate degree.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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