Montmartre: A Cultural History

Nicholas Hewitt

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ISBN: 9781786940230

Publication: June 30, 2017

Series: Contemporary French and Francophone Cultures 45

In the USA? Buy the Hardback US edition
‘What is Montmartre? Nothing. What must it be? Everything’, proclaimed Rodolphe Salis in 1881, when his cabaret Le Chat Noir launched an entertainment boom in the 9th and 18th Arrondissements of Paris which would dominate the worlds of popular and high culture until the First World War. Montmartre’s music-halls, circuses, cinemas, accompanied by extra frisson of crime and prostitution, coexisted with burgeoning art movements sprung from the cabarets, which spearheaded the avant-garde in painting, theatre and literature. The story, however, did not end in 1914 and Montmartre retained its role as a magnet for tourists, lured by the Moulin-Rouge and the Sacré-Coeur, and, despite the competition from Montparnasse, as a major centre for artistic creativity in the inter-war years. Crucial to this continuity was, not merely the survival of many of the most important players from the pre-War period, but especially the role of the humorous press and the Montmartre caricaturists and illustrators who congregated in the Restaurant Manière. In this new study, Nicholas Hewitt charts the continuity of Montmartre culture from the Belle Epoque to the Occupation through its many overlapping frontiers and explores its vital ingredients of sexuality, kitsch, bohemia, mass culture and the political and social ambiguities of such a mixture.

Nicholas Hewitt is Emeritus Professor of French at the University of Nottingham. The editor of the journal French Cultural Studies, his previous books include The Cambridge Companion to Modern French Culture (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003) and The Life of Céline. A Critical Biography (Oxford: Blackwell, 1999)


List of illustrations


1. “Montons à la barrière”

2. The Artistic Cabarets

3. Music Halls and Mass Culture

4. Theatre and the Avant-Garde

5. From the ‘Bateau-Lavoir’ to the ‘Lapin Agile’: Bohemia in the 1900s

6. War-Time and the ‘Années Folles’

7. The Place of Memory

8. The ‘Ecole de Montmartre’

9. The Occupation: Céline and Aymé

Epilogue: Montmartre on Film



Format: Hardback

Size: 239 × 163 mm

336 Pages

16 colour illustrations

ISBN: 9781786940230

Publication: June 30, 2017

Series: Contemporary French and Francophone Cultures 45

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