City of Light, City of Shadows

City of Light, City of Shadows: Paris in the Belle Époque

European History, General European History
Hardback Published on: 14/05/2024
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Synopsis

Paris in the Belle Époque is remembered as a golden age of cultural flourishing and political progress. The period between the revolutionary 1870s and the outbreak of war in 1914 saw the modern French capital take shape: by day Parisians could admire the rising Eiffel Tower and Sacré-Coeur Basilica, while at night they roamed the Bohemian world of the Moulin Rouge.

But as Mike Rapport reveals in this authoritative and beautifully written new history, City of Light, City of Shadows, beneath the elegant veneer Paris was at war with itself. For the Belle Époque was also an era of social and religious unrest, arguments over women's emancipation and violent clashes over what it meant to be French.

Paris pulsated with pleasure, anxieties and tension stemming from the giddying speed of modernity: blazing electric lights illuminating the night, the first cars speeding down the boulevards, as well as the first Métro trains and aeroplane flights. At the same time reactionary forces reasserted themselves through the new mass media-mostly dramatically in the infamous Dreyfus affair, which exposed the dark heart of French antisemitism.

Told through the eyes of the greatest personalities of the age-novelist Émile Zola, feminist activist Marguerite Durand, Vietnamese diplomat Nguyễn Trọng Hợp and socialist politician Jean Jaurès-the book weaves together stories of splendour and suffering, delight and agony, offering a brilliant account of the shadows cast across the City of Light.

  • Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
  • ISBN: 9780349128160
  • Number of pages: 448
  • Weight: 720g
  • Dimensions: 238 x 158 x 42 mm

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