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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

An exploration into the history of the Moulin Rouge, from 1889 to the present
by Wascher, Maria Kristina, M.A., Northern Illinois University, 2008, 81; 1460973
Abstract (Summary)

This study focuses on the history and importance of the Moulin Rouge cabaret in Montmartre. Initially, I will examine Montmartre and the culture that reigned there during the last part of the nineteenth century. Then I will take a look at the life of the artist Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and the role that he played in making the Moulin Rouge so popular. Finally, I will explore the continued interest in the cabaret through the medium of film.

The very name, Moulin Rouge, conjures up visions of skirts flying, legs kicking, Offenbach music playing, all as part of the famous cancan dance. On opening night, October 6, 1889, the red lights of the sails of the windmill began to turn and are still turning today. It was the year of the Universal Exhibition and the completion of the Eiffel Tower. All eyes were on Paris. The city was becoming renowned for its attractive and exciting night life. The Moulin Rouge was an instant success and appealed to both the bourgeois and the working-class.

It is through the eyes of the amazing artist Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec that many people around the world are familiar with this historic cabaret house. Although suffering from a genetic disorder that crippled and deformed him, he gave the art world a true representation of the dancers who performed their outrageous, acrobatic dances to the delight of the audience. La Goulue, Jane Avril and Valentin Désossé are just some of the dancers who have been immortalized by the paintings of Toulouse-Lautrec.

The location of the Moulin Rouge in Montmartre is very important. In the first part of the eighteenth century it was still considered a rural area, a place to walk around on weekends. Totally ignored in the Haussmann renovations, it became a refuge for the artists who were driven out of the high-priced city. The poets, musicians and artists who gathered there were regarded as Bohemian with their rebellious attitudes towards the establishment.

Montmartre and the Moulin Rouge continue to intrigue and excite. This fascinating part of Paris and its world-renowned cabaret house have inspired many directors to make a film on this subject. Paintings by Toulouse-Lautrec have kept the memories alive of the dancers of the fin-de-siècle. They are a reminder of an exciting time period in Paris. Together they live on in history.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Lukacher, Maryline
Commitee: Birberick, Anne, Willems, Philippe
School: Northern Illinois University
Department: Foreign Languages and Literatures
School Location: United States -- Illinois
Source: MAI 47/03M, Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Modern language, Biographies, European history
Keywords: France, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Montmartre, Moulin Rouge
Publication Number: 1460973
ISBN: 978-0-549-95705-8
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