France 1830-1848
Intellectual Life
France 1870-1890
Intellectual Life
France 1848-1870
the Economy
France 1848-1870
Foreign Policy

France 1848-1870 : Intellectual Life

After yet another turbulent revolution, in 1852 NAPOLEON III. restored political stability to France. Yet to the French he was not the charismatic hero his uncle had been.
Paris' QUARTIER LATIN (Latin quarter) became the center of a community of artists which prefered an artistic world they called BOHEME (French for Bohemia, not to be confused with the very real country of Bohemia, then part of the Austrian Empire). Many Bohemiens - artists adopting this dream world - lived in extreme poverty, but stressed the liberty to write / paint what they wanted, how they saw it. Writer HENRY MURGER his La Vie de Boheme in 1849, VICTOR HUGO published Les Miserables in 1862, ALEXANDRE DUMAS JR. La Dame aux Camelias in 1852. Another famous writer was CHARLES BEAUDELAIRE (1821-1867). GUSTAVE FLAUBERT (1821-1880) wrote comedies (Madame Bovary, 1857) which enjoyed great popularity.
Painters EDOUARD MANET (Le Dejeuner sur l'Herbe (The Picnic), 1863), JEAN-CLAUDE MONET and AUGUSTE RENOIR adopted and developed the artistic style of IMPRESSIONISM.
In the 1860es, German-born composer JACQUES OFFENBACH (1818-1880) enjoyed his greatest successes in Paris.
Philosopher JOSEPH ARTHUR DE GOBINEAU (1816-1882) published Essai sur le inegalite des races humaines (1853-1855), thus laying the foundation to RACE THEORY.
French chemist LOUIS PASTEUR was criticized for his open criticism of the medical establishment, his demand that the medical profession would accept HYGIENE - many women died of (infectious) CHILDBERTH FEVER. Emperor Napoleon III. personally forbade Pasteur to continue his campaign.

City planner GEORGE-EUGENE HAUSSMANN reshaped Paris by breaking wide lanes - BOULEVARDS - through the inner city of Paris.

In 1858 the 14-year-old BERNADETTE SOUBIROUX claimed that St. Mary had repeatedly appeared to her; in 1862 the church declared these apparitions to be genuine, from 1873 pilgrimages to LOURDES set in. The apparitions came at a time when the Catholic church strove to reestablish Catholic faith in France.

Links : 19th-Century French Literature ( A Globe-Gate Research Library)
Bohemianism and Counter-Culture, from Mt. Holyoke
Biography of Victor Hugo, from Books and Writers
Biography of Joseph Arthur de Gobineau, from infoplease
Biography of Jacques Offenbach, from La Vie
Article Lourdes, from Catholic Encyclopedia
DOCUMENTS Paintings by Edouard Manet, Jean-Claude Monet, Auguste Renoir from CGFA
REFERENCE Maurice Agulhon, The Republican Experiment 1848-1852, (Fr. Or. 1973, Eng. Trsl. 1983) Cambridge UP 1999, KMLA Lib. Call Sign 944.07 A 284r
Alain Plessis, The Rise & Fall of the Second Empire 1852-1870, (Fr. Or. 1979, Eng. Trsl. 1985), Cambridge UP 1989, KLMA ib. Call Sign 944.07 P726r

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted in 2001, last revised on March 30th 2007

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