Dr Alexandra Tranca

Dr Alexandra Tranca, B.A., M.Phil., Ph.D. (Camb.)
Junior Research Fellow in French (Kathleen Bourne Fellowship in French) at


Dr Alexandra Tranca’s research interests concentrate around Nineteenth-Century French Literature and Culture, Comparative Literature, Urbanism, Architecture, and the Visual Arts.


Her work foregrounds an interdisciplinary approach, drawing on a range of genres and media, investigated through various methodologies. In her articles, she has explored deserted cities in literature and photography (Théophile Gautier and Eugène Atget), Parisian ruins around the time of the Franco-Prussian War and the Commune in the novels of Emile Zola and the photographs of Charles Marville, the illustrated press and the writing of history in 1848. Doctoral research has focused on the relationship between ruins and the modern city in the Paris of the mid-nineteenth century in literature, photography and art. She has also worked on the intersection of aesthetics with the spiritual that emerges in the interactions between photography, Pre-Raphaelite art and Symbolism.


Her current project investigates the role urban topography and architecture in local adaptations of Eugène Sue’s Les Mystères de Paris in Francophone and European novels. She is also revising her doctoral thesis for publication.



Alexandra has taught on the medieval and early modern periods, as well as modern authors (1700 to 1900), including Prévost, Voltaire, Diderot, Laclos, Beaumarchais, French Romanticism (Constant, Sand), Baudelaire, Flaubert and Zola. She specialises in nineteenth-century French culture and enjoys teaching on literature in conjunction with visual arts, including photography.



Journal Articles:


‘From Pompeii to Paris: ghostly cityscapes and the ruins of modernity in Théophile Gautier and Eugène Atget,’ Word & Image, 32. 3 (2016), 10.1080/02666286.2016.1159897.


‘Les ruines du temps: La Curée d’Émile Zola et la photographie de Charles Marville au temps de la Troisième République,’ Les Cahiers naturalistes, 91 (2017).

‘The Illustrated Press and the Writing of History: The Recueils of L’Illustration in 1848,’ Dix-Neuf, 21.1 (2017).


Conference Proceedings:


‘Les Ruines de Zola et Marville — Commentaire autour d’un passage de La Curée et de l’album photographique Travaux pour le percement de l’Avenue de l’Opéra,’  Archives zoliennes, forthcoming.

‘Zola: Les pullulements de Lourdes’ – Respondent to Dr Claire White’s Commentary on ‘Lourdes, Cinquième journée, Chapitre 2,’ Archives zoliennes, forthcoming.

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