Spectacular Realities: Early Mass Culture in Fin-de-Siecle Paris / Edition 1

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Overview

During the second half of the nineteenth century, Paris emerged as the entertainment capital of the world. The sparkling redesigned city fostered a culture of energetic crowd-pleasing and multi-sensory amusements that would apprehend and represent real life as spectacle.

Vanessa R. Schwartz examines the explosive popularity of such phenomena as the boulevards, the mass press, public displays of corpses at the morgue, wax museums, panoramas, and early film. Drawing on a wide range of written and visual materials, including private and business archives, and working at the intersections of art history, literature, and cinema studies, Schwartz argues that "spectacular realities" are part of the foundation of modern mass society. She refutes the notion that modern life produced an unending parade of distractions leading to alienation and instead suggests that crowds gathered not as dislocated spectators but as members of a new kind of crowd, one united in pleasure rather than protest.

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What People Are Saying

Michael B. Miller
Exciting, innovative and significant. The author points out how the crowd experience transcended clas and gender divisions and was transformed from acts of collective violence into acts of collective consumption. -- Author of Shanghai on the Metro
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780520221680
  • Publisher: University of California Press
  • Publication date: 8/3/1999
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 243
  • Sales rank: 878,261
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.63 (d)

Meet the Author

Vanessa R. Schwartz is Associate Professor of History at the University of Southern California and coeditor of Cinema and the Invention of Modern Life (California, 1995).

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Acknowledgments
Introduction 1
1 Setting the Stage: The Boulevard, the Press and the Framing of Everyday Life 13
2 Public Visits to the Morgue: Flanerie in the Service of the State 45
3 The Musee Grevin: Museum and Newspaper in One 89
4 Representing Reality and the O-rama Craze 149
5 From Journal plastique to Journal lumineux: Early Cinema and Spectacular Reality 177
Conclusion 200
Bibliography 205
Index 223
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