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-Michael Wilson Spring 2006

JO 5.424 Thursday 12:30 – 3:15 p.m.

(972) 883-2080

HUHI 6305.001
Paris, Capital of the 19th Century
The German cultural critic Walter Benjamin, in a 1935 programme for his never-
completed Arcades project, proclaimed Paris to be the capital of the nineteenth century.
Benjamin's writings urge a close examination of life in nineteenth-century Paris and of
the French capital's greatest poet, Charles Baudelaire. Such an examination, he seems to
suggest, will reveal the processes of modernity in their earliest, still-volatile forms.

This seminar aims to test Benjamin's account of the origins of modern culture. We will
test it against more conventional histories of nineteenth-century Paris as well as against
Benjamin's favored materials: the literature, art criticism, and political writings produced
in and about France between 1815 and 1900. Our goal is to investigate the relations
between nineteenth-century modernity and modernism and, in so doing, to shape our own
histories of Paris in the 1800s.


• Honoré de Balzac, Père Goriot [trans. H. Reed]

• T. J. Clark, The Painting of Modern Life [revised edition]
• Gustave Flaubert, The Sentimental Education [trans. R. Baldick]
• Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Napoléon
• Céleste Mogador, Memoirs of a Courtesan in 19th Century Paris
• Vanessa Schwartz, Spectacular Realities
• Jules Verne, Paris in the Twentieth Century [trans. R. Howard]
• Émile Zola, The Kill [La Curée] [trans. B. Nelson]


Seminar preparation and attendance; reading journal; 2-page paper proposal

(due March 16th); 12-to-15-page seminar paper on course materials (due May 1st).

NOTE: --More than 2 absences, persistent tardiness, or failure to participate in

discussions will lower your final grade.
--All course work must be completed in order to pass the course.
--No late assignments will be accepted.
--This syllabus is subject to change at the discretion of the instructor.

All written work and class discussion for this course must employ gender-neutral, nonsexist
language and rhetorical constructions. Such practice is part of a classroom environment according
full respect and opportunity to all participants by all others.
Every effort will be made to accommodate students with disabilities. The full range of resources
available through and procedures concerning Disability Services can be found at:

Scholastic dishonesty includes, but is not limited to cheating, plagiarism, collusion, and falsifying
academic records. Please familiarize yourself with the University’s policies concerning scholastic
dishonesty: <>.

Written work must be submitted in paper or “hard” copy, without cover pages or special folders.
Simply put your name and course identification at the top of the first page and staple the upper
left corner. Papers must always be paginated, double-spaced, presented in clear 10- to 12-point
type, and free of mechanical and typographical errors.

Parenthetical citation is now strongly recommended, though any form of citation (foot- or
endnotes) and bibliography is acceptable for this course, provided that you use it correctly and
consistently. Useful guides (available in the Library) include:
Joseph Gibaldi, MLA Style manual and guide to scholarly publishing (NY, 1998)
Diana Hacker, The Bedford Handbook (Boston, 1998)
Kate L. Turabian, Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, & Dissertations (Chicago,

1/19: Walter Benjamin

D. L. L. Parry & Pierre Girard
Colin Jones

1/26: Nathaniel Wheaton

Honoré de Balzac
Muhammad As-Saffar
Patrice Higonnet

2/2: Honoré de Balzac

Ruth Amossy
David F. Bell

2/9: Karl Marx

Leonard C. Groopman
Dominick LaCapra
D. L. L. Parry & Pierre Girard

2/16: Gustave Flaubert

Hayden White

2/23: Henry Murger

Charles Baudelaire
Janet Wolff
Pierre Bourdieu
Patrice Higgonet

3/2: Charles Baudelaire

Colin Jones

3/16: Céleste Mogador

3/23: T.J. Clark

3/30: Emile Zola

4/6: Patrice Higgonet

D. L.L. Parry & Pierre Girard
Colin Jones
W. Scott Haine
Raymond Jonas
William Peniston

4/13: Vanessa Schwartz

4/20: Jules Verne