Focusing on the Paris book world of this period, Allen reveals how the rise of a new popular literature—jolly chansonniers, the roman-feuilletons or serial novels, melodramas, gothic and sentimental novels, dramatic nationalistic histories—by such authors as Dumas, Sand, Lamennais, Ancelot, Desnoyer, and de Kock coincided with remarkable developments in the production, distribution, and consumption of books.
Allen’s research ranges from a survey of the then-popular romantic titles and authors and the trade catalogs of booksellers and lending libraries, to the police records of their activities, diaries and journals of working people, and military conscript records and ministerial literacy statistics.
The result is a remarkable picture of the exchange between elite and popular culture, the interaction between ideas and their material reality, and the relationship between the literature and the history of France in the romantic period.
James Smith Allen is professor emeritus of history at Southern Illinois University. He is the author of several books including In the Public Eye: A History of Reading in Modern France, Poignant Relations: Three Modern French Women, and A Civil Society: The Public Space of Freemason Women in France, 1744-1944.
6 x 9, 308 pages