Mastering the Marketplace examines the origins of modern mass-media culture through developments in the new literary marketplace of nineteenth-century France and how literature itself reveals the broader social and material conditions in which it is produced. Anne O’Neil-Henry examines how French authors of the nineteenth century navigated the growing publishing and marketing industry, as well as the dramatic rise in literacy rates, libraries, reading rooms, literary journals, political newspapers, and the advent of the serial novel.
O’Neil-Henry places the work of canonical author Honoré de Balzac alongside then-popular writers such as Paul de Kock and Eugène Sue, acknowledging the importance of “low” authors in the wider literary tradition. By reading literary texts alongside associated advertisements, book reviews, publication histories, sales tactics, and promotional tools, O’Neil-Henry presents a nuanced picture of the relationship between “high” and “low” literature, one in which critics and authors alike grappled with the common problem of commercial versus cultural capital.
Through new literary readings and original archival research from holdings in the United States and France, O’Neil-Henry revises existing understandings of a crucial moment in the development of industrialized culture. In the process, she discloses links between this formative period and our own, in which mobile electronic devices, internet-based bookstores, and massive publishing conglomerates alter—once again—the way literature is written, sold, and read.
Anne O’Neil-Henry is an assistant professor of French at Georgetown University.
“A model of interdisciplinary research, presented with gratifying clarity. Mastering the Marketplace makes original contributions to the cultural study of early to mid-nineteenth-century France on a number of fronts.”—Andrea Goulet, professor of French at the University of Pennsylvania and author of Legacies of the Rue Morgue: Science, Space, and Crime Fiction in France
“Unique in the way that it examines the paradoxes of what we now consider ‘low’ and ‘high’ literature against a social framework remarkably like our own. . . . Eminently readable.”—Elizabeth Emery, professor of French at Montclair State University and author of Photojournalism and the Origins of the French Writer House Museum (1881–1914): Privacy, Publicity, and Personality
Table of Contents
List of Illustrations Acknowledgments Introduction 1. Popular Panoramas 2. The de Kock Paradox 3. The Adaptable Eugène Sue 4. Balzac, High and Low Conclusion Source Acknowledgments Notes Bibliography Index