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. She traces the phenomenon from Balzac, who introduced it to canonical literature, through Flaubert, Zola, Rachilde and Lorrain, to Proust. Her study makes an important contribution to the literary history of material culture.
Table of ContentsAcknowledgments; Introduction; 1. The bibelot: a nineteenth-century object; 2. The logic(s) of material culture: imitation, accumulation, and mobility; 3. The fashionable artistic interior: social (re)encoding in the domestic sphere; 4. Flaubert's 'Musées reçus': Bouvard and Pécuchet's consumerist epistemology; 5. Narrate, describe, or catalogue? The inventory form in Balzac, the Goncourts, and Huysmans; 6. The parlour of critical theory: Reading dwelling space across disciplines; 7. Rearranging the Oedipus: fantastic and decadent floor-plans in Gautier, Maupassant, Lorrain, and Rachilde; Notes; Bibliography; Index.