The history of the history of the salon
Nineteenth-Century French Studies
University of Nebraska Press
94 - 108
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The article traces the development of an historical and ideological understanding of the French salon in the nineteenth century, especially during the July Monarchy and the Second Empire. The salon, while continuing to be an important social space, becomes a lieu de mémoire for writers and scholars intent upon reconciling the inherited aristocratic and revolutionary traditions. Balzac and others are briefly discussed before attention is focused on Sainte-Beuve as the key to this historical, revisionist work. His study of salonnières and the conversational tradition is also, relatedly, a major exception in the development of nineteenth-century academic literary criticism.