Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

A Crisis of Distinction: Reading Fin-de-Siècle Anxieties through "Les types de Paris"
by Agate, Nicky, Ph.D., New York University, 2014, 254; 3635072
Abstract (Summary)

My dissertation combines micro-history, literary geography, urbanism, and the history of the French illustrated book. I work outwards from Les Types de Paris, a virtually ignored and chaotically hybrid collection of essays, short stories, physiologies and poetry that I position as a latter-day rewriting of the panoramic literature of the 1840s. This iteration, I argue, has to address a city that has become unheimlich for its inhabitants. Post-Haussmann, post-1870, in the throes of an Exposition universelle: this has become a city in constant flux. The volume's contributors — from Edmond de Goncourt, Mallarmé, and Maupassant to Mirbeau, Richepin, and Zola — collaborate with its illustrator-curator, Jean-François Raffaëlli to try to make sense of a city whose social, gender, and geographical boundaries are no longer fixed. The resultant visual-verbal ensemble reveals a bourgeois urban class ridden with the anxieties of modernity — from the increasing visibility and mobility of the working class, to a crisis of masculinity in the face of defeat, to the shifting social and geographical borders of the city in which it lives. Here, the panoramic format reflects a bourgeois desire to frame the fluid, to stay the tide of change.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Siebuth, Richard
Commitee: Bernard, Claudie, Gerson, Stephane, Hollier, Denis, Viguier, Frederic
School: New York University
Department: French
School Location: United States -- New York
Source: DAI-A 76/01(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Romance literature, European history, Art history
Keywords: French literature, Les types de paris, Modernity, Paris, Raffaelli, Jean-Francois, Third Republic
Publication Number: 3635072
ISBN: 978-1-321-15957-8
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