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Marcus - 2001 - Haussmannization as Anti-Modernity the Apartment House in Parisian Urban Discourse, 1850-1880

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http://juh.sagepub.com Journal of Urban History DOI: 10.1177/009614420102700603 2001; 27; 723 Journal of Urban History Sharon Marcus Haussmannization as Anti-Modernity: The Apartment House in Parisian Urban Discourse, 1850-1880 http://juh.sagepub.com The online version of this article can be found at: Published by: http://www.sagepublications.com On behalf of: The Urban History Association can be found at: Journal of Urban History Additional services and information for htt
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  http://juh.sagepub.com Journal of Urban History DOI: 10.1177/009614420102700603 2001; 27; 723 Journal of Urban History  Sharon Marcus Haussmannization as Anti-Modernity: The Apartment House in Parisian Urban Discourse, 1850-1880 http://juh.sagepub.com   The online version of this article can be found at:   Published by: http://www.sagepublications.com   On behalf of:   The Urban History Association   can be found at: Journal of Urban History Additional services and information for http://juh.sagepub.com/cgi/alerts Email Alerts:   http://juh.sagepub.com/subscriptions Subscriptions:   http://www.sagepub.com/journalsReprints.nav Reprints: http://www.sagepub.com/journalsPermissions.nav Permissions:  © 2001 SAGE Publications. All rights reserved. Not for commercial use or unauthorized distribution.  by Graciela Favelukes on February 12, 2007 http://juh.sagepub.comDownloaded from   JOURNALOFURBANHISTORY/September2001Marcus/HAUSSMANNIZATIONASANTI-MODERNITY HAUSSMANNIZATION AS ANTI-MODERNITY  The Apartment House inParisian Urban Discourse, 1850-1880 SHARON MARCUS University of California, Berkeley TheequationofHaussmannization  with modernity is one of the tenets of urbanhistoryingeneralandParisianhistoryinparticular.ScholarsofParistra-ditionally date the city’s modernity as coincident with massive changes inParis’sbuiltenvironmentandpoliticaladministration,initiatedduringtheSec-ondEmpireandcompletedduringthefirstdecadesoftheThirdRepublic.Thisequation of modernity and Haussmannization has implicitly defined Parisianmodernity in terms of changes in the city’s  public  spaces: the expansion of venuesforleisureandentertainment,theimprovementofurbaninfrastructure,theconstructionofbroadboulevards,andthedevelopmentofaunifiedplantoimprove circulation among various parts of the city.Whatoftheprivate,residentialspaceoftheParisianapartmenthouseduringthis period? The deleterious effects of Haussmann’s modernization efforts onurbanhousingconditionshavebeenwelldocumented,butthemodernityofthenew apartment houses built during Haussmannization has received less atten-tion.Ifwetakemodernitytorefertoanyrenovationcarriedoutonalargescale,thentheresidentialbuildingsconstructedfromthe1850sthrough1880wereasmodern as the city’s new public spaces. As François Loyer has shown, duringthose decades, the apartment house was made of new building materials,allowed to assume new dimensions, zoned to exclude commerce from theground floor, and internally distributed according to new principles. 1 As defi-nite innovations within a building type, the apartment buildings constructedduring Haussmannization were modern in the broadest sense. It would behasty, however, to associate those apartment buildings with the specific fea-tures of modernity simply because they were modern in the sense of new, norcan we attribute modernity to Haussmannized apartment buildings simplybecause they were built during a period considered coextensive with moder-nity. Indeed, to study Paris from the vantage point of the apartment houseuncovers the surprising  anti-modernity  of Haussmannization.To answer the questions that the apartment house raises about modernityrequiresustoabandontheautomaticequationofHaussmannizationandmoder- 723 JOURNAL OF URBAN HISTORY, Vol. 27 No. 6, September 2001 723-745© 2001 Sage Publications    © 2001 SAGE Publications. All rights reserved. Not for commercial use or unauthorized distribution.  by Graciela Favelukes on February 12, 2007 http://juh.sagepub.comDownloaded from   nityandwithittheassumptionthatanyeffectofHaussmannizationwasneces-sarilymodern.Italsorequiresthatwedistinguishbetweenstrictlychronologi-cal definitions of the modern and cultural definitions of modernity. Achronological definition of the modern designates as new any developmentthatcreatedapresentdistinctfromthepast.Aculturaldefinitionofmodernityfocuses on the substantive qualities articulated most famously but not exclu-sivelyinCharlesBaudelaire’sessayon“ThePainterofModernLife”andWal-ter Benjamin’s writings on Paris. Two aspects of this definition are crucial forunderstanding the relationship of the apartment house to Parisian modernity.First, cultural modernity inheres not in the fact of novelty but in  attitudes toward novelty; cultural modernity is characterized by the self-consciousawareness and celebration of innovation. Second, cultural modernity consistsofthevalueplacedonpubliclife,onthepromotionofsocialspacesthatfosterand even require transparency, spectacle, mobility, and exchange.According to a cultural definition of modernity, not only were apartmentbuildingsduringtheperiodconventionallyassociatedwithParisianmodernity not  modern,butfromthe1850sthrough1880,theapartmentbuildingalsocat-alyzed a distinctly anti-modern reaction against new conditions of city life.Certainly, participants in a range of urban discourses all recognized that thenineteenth-century apartment house was a new building type that was beingmade even more new during the Second Empire. But rather than embrace thenovelty and chronological modernity of the apartment house, these men allarticulatedaculturalidealthatrejectedthenewformoftheapartmentbuildingin favor of a distinctly premodern and rural ideal: the single-family house,occupiedbymanygenerationsofonepatrilinealfamily.Althoughthisreactionagainst the apartment building’s destruction of tradition would suggest thatsuchbuildingsweredeliberatelybuilttopromotemodernity,boththematerialformandculturalperceptionofapartmentbuildingssimilarlyreflectedareac-tion against modernity. After 1850, Parisian apartment buildings and the citythat housed them were built and expected to be enclosed, private spacesimmured to modernity. 2 In May 1855, an article by Ferdinand Silas in a short-lived newspaper,  Le Bourgeois de Paris , playfully exhorted its readers to rebel against landlordsand to break with your effeminate, citified habits . . . return to the savage, patriarchalnature of your ancestors the Gauls. . . . As long as you revel in the hybrid exis-tence that the nineteenth century has set up for you, you will be nothing butdressed-up automatons, at best good for serving as tenants for landlords. 3 With this statement, the article dismissed urban modernity as a historical andsocial degradation that reduced the bourgeois male tenant to a feminizedmachine. Rejecting any positiveviewof progress, Silascontrasted contempo-raryParisianmenunfavorablywiththeirstronger,moremasculineforebears. 724 JOURNAL OF URBAN HISTORY / September 2001    © 2001 SAGE Publications. All rights reserved. Not for commercial use or unauthorized distribution.  by Graciela Favelukes on February 12, 2007 http://juh.sagepub.comDownloaded from   Silas’s article was one of many similar protests against the changes in theParisian housing market triggered by the developments known asHaussmannization—the construction, by Napoleon III and his prefect of theSeine,GeorgesHaussmann,ofanimperialcapitalcityofmonumentsandpub-lic buildings, broad boulevards, and newinfrastructure (sewers, gas and waternetworks). Haussmann and Napoleon III aimed to improve hygiene, facilitatetraffic circulation, and prevent workers from building the barricades used soeffectively in older, narrow streets during the 1848 revolution. 4 In so doing,theyexplicitlytookLondonasamodelforthenewParisandtheEnglishhouseas a prototype for a newly private domesticity. Writers frequently referred totheneedtocreateasenseof“comfort”and“home,”citingthosewordsinEng-lish and often glossing them as having no exact equivalent in French. In a lec-ture on housing at the 1878 International Exhibition, for example, CharlesLucas praised the suburban villas of London: TheLondoner...hasalltheadvantages,allthecharmsofproperty,alongwithadwelling that provides all the hygiene of the country, and he realizes the dreamsodeartotheEnglish,andwhichshouldbesodeartoeveryone,ofthe‘athome,’the home of one’s own [ la maison à soi ], in which to raise a family. 5 Under the notoriously conservative regimes of the Second Empire and theearlyThirdRepublic,urbanandarchitecturaldiscoursesbegantoopposewhatthe preceding era had celebrated—the apartment building’s capacity to createcontinuity between the street and the home.Opposition to the apartment house did nothing, however, to eradicate itsroleasthepredominantParisianbuildingtype.Indeed,bydefiningeveryPari-sian as either owning or occupying an apartment, the heated and voluminousliteratureabouttheconflictsbetweenlandlordsandtenantsdefinedeveryPari-sian in terms of the apartment house. So universally current did the conflictbetweenlandlordandtenantbecomethatby1865,thenewlyrevisededitionof François Sergent’s  Manuel Complet du Propriétaire et du Locataire  (firstissued in 1826) stated in its introduction, “Everyone is either a landlord or atenant. These two interests are opposed and their contact is constant.” 6 Thatnewantagonismstemmedfromthedramaticeconomicshiftsinapartmentliv-ing triggered by Haussmannization: increases in land values and rents(between 1851 and 1857, rents doubled in the city’s central  arrondissements )promoted an expensive, competitive housing market that pushed poor peopleto the outskirts of the city; encouraged real estate speculation; and promotedthe construction of larger, more expensive apartment buildings. 7 The debates about landlords and tenants did not simply register a series of empirical changes, however; their rhetoric also suggested that the culturalunderstanding of the apartment house had shifted significantly. Thus, eventhough historical evidence suggests that the sociological profile of landlordsdid not radically alter between the 1820s and the 1850s (in both periods, most Marcus / HAUSSMANNIZATION AS ANTI-MODERNITY 725    © 2001 SAGE Publications. All rights reserved. Not for commercial use or unauthorized distribution.  by Graciela Favelukes on February 12, 2007 http://juh.sagepub.comDownloaded from 

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