The Personality of Paris: Landscape and Society in the Long Nineteenth-Century

The Personality of Paris: Landscape and Society in the Long Nineteenth-Century

Front cover showing a painting of a battle scene, one man brandishing a gun and another holding a French flag

Author: Alan Baker (Emmanuel 1988)

Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic

What was the personality of 19th-century Paris? To answer that question, Alan - who has lived in Queen Edith's for 43 years and was one of its city councillors from 2002 to 2010 - starts with the legacies that late 18th-century Paris inherited from its foundation in pre-Roman and Roman times and from its medieval infancy and early-modern adolescence. His book unpacks the social and material complexity of the 19th-century city. It considers the role of immigration in the making of Parisians and in the city's growth from half a million people in 1801 to almost three million in 1911. Alan examines the making of the city's distinctive landscape through the construction of monuments and architectural icons, through its massive re-modelling by Napoléon III and Baron Haussmann, through its five world exhibitions, through its emphasis on food, fashion and fun, and through the ways in which Parisians sought rural release from urban pressures. Finally, Alan considers the self-harm done to the cityscape of 19th-century Paris by revolutions and wars and the damage inflicted on it by 20th-century hubristic politicians and architects.

Publication date: 
Thursday 10 February 2022

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