épater les bourgeois

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[ay-pat-ay lay boor-zhwah]

A French phrase that can be translated only rather clumsily, as ‘to shock the (respectable) middle-class citizens’. This has often been the conscious aim of the literary and artistic avant-garde in Europe since the late 19th century, especially in the movements of decadence, Dada, and Surrealism.

Subjects: Literature.

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