Fashioning Spaces: Mode and Modernity in Late-Nineteenth-Century Paris

Fashioning Spaces: Mode and Modernity in Late-Nineteenth-Century Paris

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By Heidi Brevik-Zender
University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division © 2015
World Rights
376 Pages 22 Images
ISBN 9781442648036
Published Feb 2015
Online discount: 25%
 $75.00    $56.25
ebook (EPUB format)
ISBN 9781442669819
Published Feb 2015
Online discount: 25%
Full purchase $75.00

In Fashioning Spaces, Heidi Brevik-Zender argues that in the years between 1870 and 1900 the chroniclers of Parisian modernity depicted the urban landscape not just in public settings such as boulevards and parks but also in “dislocations,” spaces where the public and the intimate overlapped in provocative and subversive ways. Stairwells, theatre foyers, dressmakers’ studios, and dressing rooms were in-between places that have long been overlooked but were actually marked as indisputably modern through their connections with high fashion. Fashioning Spaces engages with and thinks beyond the work of critics Charles Baudelaire and Walter Benjamin to arrive at new readings of the French capital.

Examining literature by Zola, Maupassant, Rachilde, and others, as well as paintings, architecture, and the fashionable garments worn by both men and women, Brevik-Zender crafts a compelling and innovative account of how fashion was appropriated as a way of writing about the complexities of modernity in fin-de-siècle Paris.

Heidi Brevik-Zender is an assistant professor in the Department of Comparative Literature and Foreign Languages at University of California, Riverside.


Part I: The Staircase
Chapter 1. Fashioning the Commune Barricade: Zola’s Au Bonheur des dames
Chapter 2. Ups and Downs: Sartorial Spectacle in Texts by Rachilde, Maupassant, and Daudet

Part II: The Antechamber
Chapter 3. Waiting for Change: Zola’s Au Bonheur des dames and Nana
Chapter 4. Maupassant, Transformation, and the Unexotic Exotic

Part III: The Fashion Atelier
Chapter 5. Places and Spaces of Haute Couture: Feydeau’s Tailleur pour dames and Zola’s La Curée
Chapter 6. A Woman’s Work(space): Dressmaking Ateliers in Huysmans’s En Ménage and Rachilde’s Late-Century Novels


‘Heidi Brevik-Zender’s monograph is a fascinating book which addresses a neglected area of research in French studies…. This is volume that will be of interest to all scholars of this important period.’

Claire Moran, Modern Language Review vol 112:01:2017

‘Brevik’s work is thought-provoking, challenging our received narrative of nineteenth-century Paris fashion, and allowing us to see it in its cultural context…. This book is a useful addition to the literature.’

Clare Rose, Costume vol 50:02:2016

“Focusing primarily on the works of Zola, Rachilde, Huysmans, and Maupassant, Fashioning Spaces is a beautifully written, well-researched investigation of fashion and space in the French novel. Brevik-Zender’s incorporation of an analysis of material culture and history as context for her interpretations is particularly impressive.”

Alexandra K. Wettlaufer, Departments of French and Comparative Literature, University of Texas

Fashioning Spaces successfully employs an interdisciplinary approach to analyse paintings, clothes, novels, and interior spaces. Scholars of French literature, cultural studies, nineteenth-century studies, cultural history, and gender studies will be interested in this compelling book.”

Aimee Boutin, Department of French, Florida State University

'Brevik-Zender has written a lucid and dynamic account of the work of fashion in the less visible spaces of the Third Republic Parisian culture… It is rare that scholars of literature and culture successfully integrate real fashion into discussions of the cultures of fashion. But Brevik-Zender has done so.'

Susan Hiner, Nineteenth Century French Studies, vol 44:1-2:2015