In this Book

Cornell University Press
summary

Struggling to make sense of the Revolution of 1789, the French in the nineteenth century increasingly turned to visual forms of historical representation in a variety of media. Maurice Samuels shows how new kinds of popular entertainment introduced during and after the Revolution transformed the past into a spectacle.

The wax display (in which visitors circulated amid life-size statues of historical figures), the phantasmagoria show (in which images of historical personages were projected onto smoke or invisible screens), and the panorama (in which spectators viewed giant circular canvases depicting historical scenes) employed new optical technologies to entice crowds of spectators. Such entertainments, Samuels asserts, provided bourgeois audiences with an illusion of mastery over the past, allowing them to picture their new role as historical agents.

Samuels demonstrates how the spectacular mode of historical representation pervaded historiography, drama, and the novel during the Romantic period. He then argues that the early Realist fiction of Balzac and Stendhal emerged as a critique of the spectacular historical imagination. By investigating how postrevolutionary France envisioned the past, Samuels illuminates a vital moment in the cultural history of modernity.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
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  1. Title Page, Copyright Page
  2. pp. i-iv
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  1. Contents
  2. pp. v-vi
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  1. List of Illustrations
  2. pp. vii-viii
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  1. Acknowledgments
  2. pp. ix-xiv
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  1. Introduction
  2. pp. 1-17
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  1. One Showing the Past
  2. pp. 18-62
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  1. Two Spectacular Histories
  2. pp. 63-106
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  1. Three Napoleon Takes the Stage
  2. pp. 107-150
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  1. Four Scott Comes to France
  2. pp. 151-194
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  1. Five Balzac's Spectacular Revolution
  2. pp. 195-232
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  1. Six Stendhal's Historical Role
  2. pp. 233-265
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  1. Conclusion
  2. pp. 266-270
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  1. Appendix
  2. pp. 271-272
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 273-282
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Additional Information

ISBN
9781501729836
Related ISBN
9780801442490
MARC Record
OCLC
1080549685
Pages
296
Launched on MUSE
2019-01-02
Language
English
Open Access
No
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