The Artistic and Literary Transformation of Nineteenth-Century Paris

  • Michelle Rosner Queen's University
Keywords: Balzac, Benjamin, Clark, Paris


Paris underwent a significant transformation during its infamous Second Republic under Napoleon III. This essay focuses on the physical changes precipitated by the Baron Haussmann in the early 1860s and the consequences of these dramatic alterations. Through the works of the eternal poet, Charles Baudelaire and his consummate biographer and critic, Walter Benjamin, Honoré de Balzac, the chronicler of this transformation and T.J. Clark, artistic critic and historian, I attempt to examine a shift in Paris’ culture, character and demeanour. To examine this era and to comment on the response by contemporaneous artists and writers alike is to continue in the vein of many before me. What makes this analysis unique is that this essay attempts to revisit these ideas in an artful, total and unified analysis that ultimately subsumes these texts into one view of Paris that is at once, both literary and analytical.

Author Biography

Michelle Rosner, Queen's University

Michelle Rosner studies intellectual and cultural French History. She holds a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in History and French from the University of Winnipeg and is an MA (History) candidate at Queen's University.


Critical Commentaries