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France Fin de Si�cle

ISBN-10: 0674318137
ISBN-13: 9780674318137
Edition: 1986 (Reprint)
Authors: Eugen Weber
List price: $32.00 Buy it from $3.00
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Description: The end of the nineteenth century in France was marked by political scandals, social unrest, dissension, and "decadence." Yet the fin de sicle was also an era of great social and scientific progress, a time when advantages previously reserved for  More...

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Book details

List price: $32.00
Copyright year: 1986
Publisher: Harvard University Press
Publication date: 3/15/1988
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 308
Size: 6.18" wide x 9.13" long x 0.65" tall
Weight: 1.364
Language: English

The end of the nineteenth century in France was marked by political scandals, social unrest, dissension, and "decadence." Yet the fin de sicle was also an era of great social and scientific progress, a time when advantages previously reserved for the privileged began to be shared by the many. Public transportation, electrical illumination, standard time, and an improved water supply radically altered the life of the modest folk, who found time for travel and leisure activities--including sports such as cycling. Change became the nature of things, and people believed that further improvement was not only possible but inevitable. In this thoroughly engaging history, Eugen Weber describes ways of life, not as recorded by general history, but as contemporaries experienced them. He writes about political atmosphere and public prejudices rather than standard political history. Water and washing, bicycles and public transportation engage him more than great scientific discoveries. He discusses academic painting and poster art, the popular stage and music halls, at greater length than avant-garde and classic theater or opera. In this book the importance of telephones, plumbing, and central heating outranks such traditional subjects as international developments, the rise of organized labor, and the spread of socialism. Weber does not neglect the darker side of the fin de sicle. The discrepancy between material advance and spiritual dejection, characteristic of our own times, interests him as much as the idea of progress, and he reminds us that for most people the period was far from elegant. In the lurid context of military defeat, political instability, public scandal, and clamorous social criticism, one had also to contend with civic dirt, unsanitary food, mob violence, and the seeds of modem-day scourges: pollution, drugs, sensationalism, debased art, the erosion of moral character. Yet millions of fin de sicle French lived as only thousands had lived fifty years before; while their advance was slow, their right to improvement was conceded.

Eugen Weber was Joan Palevsky Professor of Modern European History, Emeritus, at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Introduction
Decadence?
Transgressions
How They Lived
Affections and Disaffections
The Endless Crisis
A Wolf to All
The Old Arts and the New
Theater
Curists and Tourists
La Petite Reine
Faster, Higher, Stronger
""The Best of Times""
Notes
Acknowledgments
Index

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