Haunting the Nouveaux Riches: Bohemia in Mérimée's "La Vénus d'Ille" and "Carmen"
Abstract

Abstract:

As Inspector of Historical Monuments, Prosper Mérimée traveled extensively throughout France and became keenly aware of how Orleanist policies transformed the country's social and economic power structure. What seemed to trouble him the most was the rise of a certain bourgeois morality that reinforced this emerging power structure by putting money ahead of love, chastity ahead of freedom, the social dit-on over real charity and virtue. Mérimée's most iconic narratives of the July Monarchy period, "La Vénus d'Ille" and "Carmen," parody and undermine this new dominant morality by fictionally allegorizing the tensions between Parisian bohemia and the new middle class.