Photojournalism and the Origins of the French Writer House Museum (1881-1914): Privacy, Publicity, and Personality

1st Edition

Elizabeth Emery

Routledge
Published November 11, 2016
Reference - 274 Pages
ISBN 9781138251564 - CAT# Y313089
Series: The Histories of Material Culture and Collecting, 1700-1950

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Summary

Why did writers' private homes become so linked to their work that contemporaries began preserving them as museums? Photojournalism and the Origins of the French Writer House Museum addresses this and other questions by providing an overview of the social forces that brought writers' homes to the forefront of the French imagination at the end of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth. This study analyzes representations of the apartments and houses of Corneille, Hugo, Balzac, Dumas, Sand, Zola, Loti, Montesquiou, Mallarmé, and Proust, among others, arguing that the writer's home became a contested space and an important part of the French patrimony at this time. This is the first book to emphasize the house museum as an essentially modern construct, and to trace the history of ideas leading to its institutionalization in twentieth-century France. The interdisciplinary study also brings new attention to the importance of photojournalism for fin-de-siècle France - and brings to light fascinating and forgotten examples of 'at home' photography by Dornac and Henri Mairet. Elizabeth Emery provides a fresh and compelling perspective on conjunctions between visual, literary, and material cultures.

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