Literature and Material Culture from Balzac to Proust: The Collection and Consumption of Curiosities


Janell Watson shows how the sudden prominence given to curiosities and collecting in nineteenth-century literature signals a massive change in attitudes to the world of goods, which in turn restructured the literary text according to the practical logic of daily life, calling into question established scholarly notions of order. She traces the phenomenon from Balzac, who introduced it to canonical literature, through Flaubert, Zola, Rachilde and Lorrain, to Proust. Her study makes an important contribution to the literary history of material culture.

Additional information

Publisher: Place of publication:
  • Cambridge, England
Publication year:
  • 1999