From Library Journal
Weber, historian and author of many books, vividly describes France in the 1880s and 1890s. The everyday life of the people, the role of women, the constant crises in politics, the state of the arts and theater, the appearance of new inventions, the rise of the popular press, and the growth of leisure time are among the many topics covered. Based on numerous contemporary sources, Weber's fine social history is an important addition to the study of 19th-century France. Broader in scope than Charles Rearick's Pleasures of the Belle Epoque (Yale Univ. Pr., 1985), this book will be a valuable addition to public and academic library collections. However, a bibliography would have been helpful. Kathleen Farago, Lakewood P.L., Ohio
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Eugen Weber has probably done more to enrich the historiography of modern France than any other contemporary American historian. His trademarks are originality and formidable erudition, both much in evidence in his latest book, which will not disappoint his admirers. France, Fin de Siècle
offers nothing less than a portrait of an age, viewed not from the perspective of the twentieth century but through the eyes of an inquisitive contemporary tourist, sensitive to surface phenomena...It is a delight to read. This is history as art. (J. F. McMillan Times Literary Supplement
History is clearly becoming more fun. In Eugen Weber's France, Fin de Siècle,
statesmen and treaties are set aside in favor of the stuff of everyday existence. We learn about bathing, smells, sanitation, domestic quarrels, underwear, sexuality and the bicycle as they evolved during the last two decades of the nineteenth century...[Weber] is interested in an apparent discrepancy of the fin de siècle
. On the one hand, it was famously the age of decadence--moral, material, and social, castigated or else delighted in by the intellectuals and artists...On the other hand, it was a time of real improvement in living standards and greater opportunities for leisure, sport and social progress...The surface that interests Mr. Weber turns up plenty of remarkable material...But perhaps the greatest triumph of Mr. Weber's approach to history comes in his evocations of the stress and tear of human relations...He also manages to raise anecdotal history to a nearly philosophical level. (Peter Brooks New York Times Book Review
The epoch immortalized by Marcel Proust in Remembrance of Things Past
has now found a historian equal to the task of capturing its tones and textures. In this engaging and nicely illustrated book, the eminent UCLA historian Eugen Weber shows that history can be fun and instructive at the same time. (Lynn Hunt Los Angeles Times Book Review