Smoke and mirrors: secret societies and self-reflexivity in the mystères urbains

WIGELSWORTH, Amy (2020). Smoke and mirrors: secret societies and self-reflexivity in the mystères urbains. Nineteenth-Century French Studies, 48 (3&4), 258-275.

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Official URL: http://www.ncfs-journal.org/?q=node/1679
Link to published version:: https://doi.org/10.1353/ncf.2020.0008
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    Abstract

    This article reflects on the literary theoretical and literary historical significance of secret societies in the mystères urbains, a large corpus of popular novels produced in the latter half of the nineteenth century in response to the unprecedented success of Eugène Sue’s Mystères de Paris (1842–43). In these novels, representations of secret societies challenge and transform our understanding of l’envers and, by extension, our approach to the (rewritten) text. Distorted reflections, by pointing to the shared preoccupations of readers of “popular” and “serious” literatures, hint at the arbitrary nature of groupings both within and outside the text. A protean system of initiates and outsiders echoes the engagements of both an exclusive “Happy Few” and an indiscriminate “masse idiote” with the text itself. The fusion of heterogeneous characters into fictional secret societies echoes the efforts made to demystify and defuse the threat of a new and alarmingly disparate reading public.

    Item Type: Article
    Departments - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Sheffield Business School > Department of Management
    Identification Number: https://doi.org/10.1353/ncf.2020.0008
    Page Range: 258-275
    Depositing User: Amy Wigelsworth
    Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2018 15:18
    Last Modified: 23 May 2020 12:12
    URI: http://shura.shu.ac.uk/id/eprint/22826

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