Chapter

“The Mercantile Spirit of our Epoch”

Lisa Tiersten

in Marianne in the Market

Published by University of California Press

Published in print September 2001 | ISBN: 9780520225299
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520925656 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520225299.003.0003
“The Mercantile Spirit of our Epoch”

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This chapter examines several different narratives in the fin-de-siècle controversy over the aesthetics of the consumer metropolis in Paris, France. It highlights the importance of Paris as the aesthetic capital and describes the concerns of politicians, culture critics, and social scientists that the city's role s the aesthetic capital of Europe was being jeopardized by the commercial transformation of the city. Critics pointed to the department store, its cheap commodities, and its vulgar shoppers as the most flagrant manifestations of the commercial age. This chapter also discusses the conservative antimodern discourse that linked urban modernity to cultural decadence.

Keywords: aesthetics; consumer metropolis; Paris; France; commercial transformation; department store; vulgar shoppers; antimodern discourse

Chapter.  12147 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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