The Narrative Lives of Places: Literature as an Architecture

Vincent Gélinas-Lemaire

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The following essay outlines a new definition of “place” that is specifically dedicated to the study of spatial poetics in narratives. While the project is introduced through a short survey of the Spatial Turn and of recent approaches to the literary study of space and place in the United States and in France (including fundamental concepts and frames borrowed from the works of Michel de Certeau, Marc Augé, Yi-Fu Tuan, and Bertrand Westphal), it aims to offer practical new tools for the critical understanding of literary texts. Through a case study of the novel Les Événements by the contemporary French author Jean Rolin, it seeks to demonstrate how any given place in a narrative, be it real or fictional, can be grasped as an evolving sum of fragments that serve to situate, circumscribe, and characterize it progressively. In developing an approach that remains closely attached to the sensorial experiences of characters, this essay aims to facilitate contacts between literary studies and other fields, including architecture and urbanism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)454-462
Number of pages9
JournalContemporary French and Francophone Studies
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 8 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cultural Studies
  • History
  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts
  • Literature and Literary Theory


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