• Listening to the Old City: Street Cries and Urbanization in Paris, ca. 1860

    Author(s):
    Jack Blaszkiewicz (see profile)
    Date:
    2020
    Group(s):
    American Musicological Society
    Subject(s):
    Musicology, French, Music and Society, French music, Urban history
    Item Type:
    Article
    Tag(s):
    Second Empire, nineteenth-century music
    Permanent URL:
    http://dx.doi.org/10.17613/5d4d-1d03
    Abstract:
    The ubiquitous din of Paris’s street hawkers, known as the cris de Paris or the “cries of Paris,” has captured the Parisian imagination since the Middle Ages. During the 1850s and 1860s, however, urban demolition severely disturbed the everyday rhythms of street commerce. The proliferation of books, poetry, and musical works featuring the cris de Paris circa 1860 reveals that many in the Parisian literary community feared the eventual disappearance of the city’s iconic sights and sounds. These nostalgia discourses transpired into broader criticism of Georges-Eugène Haussmann and the discriminatory mode of urbanism that he practiced. Haussmannization irrevocably altered the Parisian soundscape by displacing, policing, and thus silencing the working-class communities that made their living with their voices. As an ideological device, nostalgia offered a counternarrative to Second Empire ideas of progress by suggesting that urbanization would vanquish any remaining image of what came to be known as le vieux Paris. An analysis of Jean-Georges Kastner’s symphonic cantata Les cris de Paris (1857) shows how representations of the urban soundscape articulated a distinctly Parisian notion of modernity: a skirmish between a utopian “capital of the nineteenth century” and a romanticized Old City.
    Metadata:
    Published as:
    Journal article    
    Status:
    Published
    Last Updated:
    4 months ago
    License:
    All Rights Reserved
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