Accelerating Narrative from Balzac to Zola
Publication Year: 2003
Published by: University of Illinois Press
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I would like to thank the National Endowment for the Humanities for a generous fellowship that allowed me to do much of the writing of this book during the 1999–2000 academic year. I owe a debt of gratitude as well to the...
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Like all evolutions in social perception and organization, the restructurings that increased the speed of travel and information exchange in nineteenth-century France were complex. To circumscribe them requires identifying textual sources that give insight into how people adapted their daily practices...
1. Webs: Genealogies, Roads, Streets (Balzac)
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In Balzac’s Ursule Mirouët, everyone is on the move. In the first scene, the maître de poste (postmaster) in Nemours, Minoret- Levrault, awaits the arrival of a coach carrying his son, Désiré, who is returning home to Nemours from Paris after completing his law studies. Another Minoret, Doctor...
2. Intersections: Realys, Stagecoaches, Walks (Balzac bis)
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So fascinated was Balzac by the question of roads and transportation that within a year after composing Ursule Mirouët, he returned to the subject of road travel in Un Début dans la vie.1 This short novel opens with an extended sequence set in and around a coach on the road between Paris and L’Isle...
3. Performances: Horses, Optical Telegraphs (Stendhal)
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In the first part of Stendhal’s novel Lucien Leuwen, when the principal female character, Mme. de Chasteller, begins to fall in love with the male protagonist, Lucien Leuwen, she tries desperately to understand who he really is and what he...
4. Velocities: Precision, Overload (Dumas)
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In chapter 85 of Alexandre Dumas’s Le Comte de Monte- Cristo, Monte-Cristo embarks on a stagecoach trip to Normandy, where he has invited Albert de Morcerf to accompany him. His intention is to remove Albert from the increasingly...
Conclusion: Speed Kills (Zola)
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While concentrating on the historical period after the Revolution and before 1850, before the extensive development of the railway system in France, I have wanted to demonstrate that an infrastructure for—and an expectation...
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Page Count: 168
Publication Year: 2003