Epicentre of the Revolution of 1789, erstwhile bastion of the skilled working-class and centre of radical agitation, along with Pigalle and Montmartre a focus for popular and raffish night-life in the early twentieth century, the Bastille area of Eastern Paris (also known as the Faubourg Saint-Antoine) is now an ethnically and socially mixed quartier which still bears the traces of its previous avatars. In a fascinating tour, Keith Reader charts the history and cultural geography of this unique area of Paris, from the fortress and prison that gave the area its name to the building of the largest and costliest opera house in the world.
A fascinating tour of one of the most historically rich areas of Paris.
Explores the Bastille area from its explosive role in the revolution through to today’s open air markets and cafes.
Builds upon Andrew Hussey’s 'Paris: The Secret History' as a book for the general reader and includes maps of the area for visitors.
What is provocative about the text is an underlying argument that Paris cannot yet be consigned as a living museum. It is this spark which catches fire soon into the book and makes it so entertaining and accessible … an important book not only because it illuminates one of the many shadowy places in Parisian history, but because it has an importance for anyone interested in cities and what they might mean.
A wonderful piece of work that cuts a new path through French studies. Using topography to bring history, anthropology, literature and the arts into a single focus, the book is also a guide or mode d'emploi for each and all who have affection for Paris and, more broadly, gallic culture.
Tom Conley, Harvard University
'A well-argued, thoroughly-researched and scholarly work, it is vibrant and readable enough to interest a readership from outside the academic community from which Reader comes.'
The book will be a useful reference work for students of literary and cinematic representations. It also fills a niche as a historical survey of an area that has played major roles in the political, economic, and leisure life of Paris.
This in-depth study of the Place de la Bastille and its surroundings is a welcome addition to the study of the cultural history of Paris. The work is made even more appealing by the literary and cinematic depictions of the life in the quartier. The final chapter’s detailed description of present-day streetscapes is useful for visitors, who may now approach the area with a more informed attitude.
Alice J. Strange, French Review, 85.4
... highly entertaining and informative... an engaging and knowledgeable portrait...As a bonus, the author concludes with a walking tour of the faubourg worthy of any seasoned flâneur of Paris.
Dalhousie French Studies 97
Reader’s vast knowledge about this area makes The Place de la Bastille an engaging book for those interested in Parisian history and in French culture more generally.
French Forum, Vol. 37, No. 3 Fall
This is a fascinating and adventurous book, which points the way for an interdisciplinary synthesis of French studies, history, and cultural geography. ...the result is enjoyable, stimulating, and suggestive of new research directions
The Historians, Vol. 75 No. 4 25