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Marseille: Architectures of Transit in Novel, Film and Place (1936-45 and 2001-2021)

Lookup NU author(s): Toby Blackman


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This article is a study of Marseille and an examination of the spatio-temporality of transit through novel, film, and place. Adapted for the screen by Christian Petzold in 2015, Transit is a semi-autobiographical work exploring borders, identity and exile — a novel “written in transition” by Anna Seghers in 1942 (Petzold: 2021). This article retraces Seghers’ route from Paris to Marseille, writing into the space and time of the train journey to form a site-writing (Rendell: 2010), before examining a transitional space shifted from novel to film, the Mont Vertoux, and exploring the larger cultural conditions situating literature, film, and architecture. Drawing on the work of Walter Benjamin, Victor Burgin, Hélène Frichot and Naomi Stead, Jane Rendell, and Dora Zhang, this article explores the “continuum of transformations” (Benjamin: 1916) at play in the “removal from one language into another” of the self across disciplinary, temporal, and spatial borders.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Blackman T

Publication type: Article

Publication status: In Press

Journal: Architecture and Culture: Border Fictions

Year: 2024

Acceptance date: 23/12/2022

ISSN (print): 2050-7828

ISSN (electronic): 2050-7836

Publisher: Taylor and Francis