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The Heroic CityParis, 1945-1958$
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Rosemary Wakeman

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780226870236

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226870175.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2019. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 18 October 2019

Introduction

Introduction

Chapter:
(p.1) Introduction
Source:
The Heroic City
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226870175.003.0001

Marcel Carné's film Les Enfants du paradis, which began in 1943 under the watchful eye of Vichy and the German occupiers, serves as an apt introduction to this book. The image of Paris as spectacle stands for modernity and determines the way we perceive and represent the city in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. This book investigates how the public space of Paris was reshaped by the conflict of World War II, the postwar period of rebuilding, and the trente glorieuses of modernization between 1945 and 1975. It not only provides a wide-angle perspective on spatiality, but also creates a cohesive and tangible historic structure to this period of transition. The book emphasizes commonality of vision and thinking and captures this mental picture of Paris using a number of terms: nostalgic, poetic, humanistic, communistic, revolutionary, romanticized, and intensely emotive. It settles on “poetic humanism” and its counterpart, “poetic space,” as the idioms that most closely capture the spirit of this imagined landscape.

Keywords:   Marcel Carné, Paris, World War II, postwar period, modernization, public space, poetic space, poetic humanism, spatiality

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