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Anglais non spécialiste

BYAL425 - London: Writing a City of Many Voices - C1

Crédits ECTS 3
Volume horaire TD 1h30


Sara Bielecki





This course will introduce students to some of the great novels examining immigration to London in the post-war period, and the lives of second-generation immigrant communities in the metropolis.

Using extracts and close readings, alongside television adaptations, students will expand their vocabularies, develop their analytical skills and think about ways of theorising the city and diversity in various cultural forms.

The idea is to improve both reading and writing in English, but not simply "the queen’s English” as it is known, but to read and hear other Anglophone voices from all across the globe, brought together in the modern capital city.  



London is a city of many voices. This course seeks to examine depictions of life in the metropolis from the perspective of its diverse communities in the post-war period. Providing students with a brief history of London as a multicultural entity, from the early modern period all the way through to the 21st century, we will then begin a tour of its literary landscape, as seen through the eyes of immigrant communities. Some of the key stops will include: 

Andrea Levy’s Small Island, often considered the canonical Windrush novel, which depicts the lives of Jamaican immigrants to London in the immediate aftermath of the Second World War

Sam Selvon’s The Lonely Londoners, an iconic novel recounting the experiences of working-class black men arriving from Trinidad in the 1950s

Hanif Kureishi’s The Buddha of Suburbia, a work that examines rebellion, adolescence, and the complexity of second-generation ethnic identity

Zadie Smith’s White Teeth where three generations of three families of different ethnicities combine in a comic tour de force.    

Using extracts from the texts, we will think about the devices deployed to bring these experiences to life. We will consider the use of different modes, the tragic and the comic, and structural mechanisms operating in the novels as a whole. We will analyse different narratorial styles and the role dialogue plays in these works. Students will be encouraged to think in particular about voice: vernacular, slang, proverbs, sociolects and how these operate in the process of linguistic decolonization.

Students will learn about immigration to London, the city's character, its history and geography and how some of its immigrant communities experience it. It will introduce them to a selection of the wonderful writers to emerge from the multicultural city, to give them a taste of its rich literary output. It should improve their reading skills in English and encourage them to think about the diversity of the Anglophone sphere, as well as providing them with a chance to develop their own voice.


  • TD 1: Vendredi 14h-15h30 avec Sara Bielecki, salle B110
  • TD 2: Vendredi 15h30-17h avec Sara Bielecki, salle B111


Contrôles des connaissances

  • Contrôle continu:
- 50% oral
- 50% écrit

mise à jour le 29 septembre 2023


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Renseignements :

Bureau des Enseignements Transversaux (BET)
Bureau A501 - Campus Nation
75012 Paris

Tél. : temporairement indisponible
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