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Literature and Material Culture from Balzac to Proust : The Collection and Consumption of Curiosities - Professor Janell Watson

Literature and Material Culture from Balzac to Proust

The Collection and Consumption of Curiosities

Hardcover Published: 28th January 2000
ISBN: 9780521661560
Number Of Pages: 242

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This book addresses the issues of collecting, consuming, classifying and describing the curiosities, antiques and objets d'art that proliferated in French literary texts during the last decades of the nineteenth century. After Balzac made such issues significant in canonical literature, the Goncourt brothers, Huysmans, Mallarme and Maupassant celebrated their golden age. Flaubert and Zola scorned them. Rachilde and Lorrain perverted them. Proust commemorated their last moments of glory. Focusing on the bibelot (the modern French term for knick-knack, curiosity or other collectible), Janell Watson shows how the sudden prominence given to curiosities and collecting in nineteenth-century literature signals a massive change in attitudes to the world of goods, which in turn restructured the literary text according to the practical logic of daily life, calling into question established scholarly notions of order. Her study makes an important contribution to the literary history of material culture.

Industry Reviews

"a complex and fascinating story...a memorable book that is indispensable for readers interested in the study of consumer culture and in the connection between realism and cultural production in the nineteenth century." L'Esprit Createur

The bibelot: a nineteenth-century object
The logic(s) of material culture: imitation, accumulation, and mobility
The fashionable artistic interior: social (re)encoding in the domestic sphere
Flaubert's 'Mus©es re us': Bouvard and P©cuchet's consumerist epistemology
Narrate, describe, or catalogue? The inventory form in Balzac, the Goncourts, and Huysmans
The parlour of critical theory: Reading dwelling space across disciplines
Rearranging the Oedipus: fantastic and decadent floor-plans in Gautier, Maupassant, Lorrain, and Rachilde
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780521661560
ISBN-10: 0521661560
Series: Cambridge Studies in French
Audience: Professional
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 242
Published: 28th January 2000
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 22.8 x 15.2  x 1.7
Weight (kg): 0.53