French urban space: The city in French literature

Author: Charlie Mansfield

© Charlie Mansfield,


French Urban Space helps you read and study the Paris novels of the nineteenth century. Its key aims are to improve your reading strategies for French literature. The activities show you how to generate essay questions, develop arguments and create your own original material for writing papers. You can work through the whole package over a semester whilst reading the French novels of the nineteenth century, guided by your lecturer.

These online materials are a set of resources that encourage undergraduates to engage with area studies through French language and through French literary studies. The materials developed do not simply use web technologies to add interactivity to the learning objects (LOs) but also equip humanities students with an introductory understanding of the emerging technologies of mark-up for handling digital texts in the Web 2.0 era of The Semantic Web.


  • HTML
  • MP3 Audio
  • WMV Video

Access to materials

The course materials are available as an online guide.


Running through French Urban Space are two themes for approaching French Studies in the twenty-first century:

  • the theme from Area Studies for approaching the city in literature, where the novel or poetry illuminate social, political and economic aspects of urban study, and,
  • the use of emerging technologies on the web and from digital philology to provide powerful text-processing tools to unlock and quarry electronic texts.

One of the aspects of the resource is to use formatting or spatial layout to uncover information in the text. Please adjust the size of the browser window if the lines are too long for comfortable reading or the size of the text (with Control + and Control -). The text is also easier to select, copy and paste since it contains minimal formatting. If you do quote from these materials please cite the original author, composer or photographer.

The materials were developed in 2007 under a project for the Subject Centre for Languages, Linguistics and Area Studies (LLAS). The materials rely on a fairly complete implementation of the Document Object Model (The Browser DOM) and in 2008 the Mozilla Firefox web browser offered this implementation. If you experience a lack of functionality in the resources, please update to the most recent version of Mozilla Firefox (please see reference below in bibliography).