Panoramic Realism: An early and illustrative passage from urban space to media space in Honoré de Balzac's Paris novels, Ferragus and Le Père Goriot

Abstract: 

How can classical realism be relevant to our current media saturated society? This article reads classical realist literature as a reaction to, and a reflection on, the loss of perspective in early modern Paris. It deals with how a new panoramic perspective is introduced with the emergence of the first visual mass medium, the panorama, and studies how the panorama is used by Honoré de Balzac in his realist technique. It thereby suggests reading Balzac as a critical reflection on the emerging media society of early nineteenth-century Paris. In this sense, the article reconsiders the realistic urban novel in a media context as a literary incorporation of modern media which has consequences for both the reading of realism and for current discussion on relationships between media and literature. (SP)

Author: 
Pold, Søren
Release Year:
Volume: 
2000-2001 Fall-Winter; 29(1-2): 47-63