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2016/17 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

FREN3691 Representations of the City

20 creditsClass Size: 12

Module manager: Professor Max Silverman

Taught: Semester 1 View Timetable

Year running 2016/17

Pre-requisite qualifications

Successful completion of Level 2 or equivalent

Module replaces

Representations of the City, 10 credits, FREN3331

This module is not approved as a discovery module

Module summary

The course will consider some of the ways in which the city has been represented, from the mid-nineteenth century to the present day, and, correspondingly, some of the changing patterns of social processes underlying them.The module will involve close study of a number of texts, paintings and films covering the modern and postmodern periods, and certain key theoretical works. It will commence with a consideration of Baudelaire's modern aesthetic derived from city life, and trace the different ways writers, painters and film-makers have subsequently represented the links between the topography of the city and the affective inner life of the individual.Other writers, artists, film-makers and theorists to be studied will be Manet and Cassat, Benjamin, Aragon, Godard, Boudjedra, Reda, Maspero and Carax.The module will be interdisciplinary in approach, including gender and postcolonial perspectives on the city, and will be taught by means of lecture and seminar discussion.


On completion of this course, students should be able to:
a) interpret critically a number of ways in which the city has been represented in nineteenth and twentieth century France;
b) relate these representations to wider social, historical and cultural processes that mark the evolution from modernity to post-modernity.

Learning outcomes
To study specific representations of the city in the arts in nineteenth and twentieth century France;
To consider ways in which these representations have been viewed by theorists of the city;
To relate representations and theory to wider social, historical and cultural processes.

The course specifically aims to consider the links between the city, modernity and modernism (in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries), and between the city, the post-modern and post-modernism (since the Second World War).

Skills outcomes
Enhanced skills in written and oral French in an academic register.


- Charles Baudelaire, 'Tableaux Parisiens' in Les Fleurs du Mal (1861)
- Walter Benjamin, Paris - capitale du X1Xe siècle, 2nd ed., Paris, 1993 (or, in trans., 'Paris - the Capital of the Nineteenth Century' in Charles Baudelaire: A Lyric Poet in the Era of High Capitalism, Verso, 1983).
- Paintings by Cassat, Degas, Manet (and others)
- Louis Aragon, Le Paysan de Paris, Folio, 1926
- René Clair, Paris qui dort, 1924 (film)
- Jean-Luc Godard, Deux ou trois choses que je sais d'elle, 1963 (film)
- Rachid Boudjedra, Topographie idéale pour une agression caractérisée, 1975
- Jacques Réda, Châteaux des courants d'air, 1986
- Leos Carax, Les Amants du Pont neuf, 1990 (film)
- Rachid Boudjedra, Topographie idéale pour une agression caractérisée, 1975
- François Maspero, Les Passagers du Roissy-Express, Seuil, 1990.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Class tests, exams and assessment13.003.00
Private study hours177.00
Total Contact hours23.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

- 49 hours seminar preparation
- 79 hours private reading round the subject
- 49 hours preparation for presentation.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

- Non-assessed presentation in class.
- Feedback on essay.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay2,500-3,000 words in French50.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)50.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Standard exam (closed essays, MCQs etc)2 hr 00 mins50.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)50.00

Exam will be in English

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 25/05/2016


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