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Consumer ChroniclesCultures of Consumption in Modern French Literature$
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David H. Walker

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9781846314872

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.5949/UPO9781846317156

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date: 22 November 2017

La Lente Agonie du petit commerce? Balzac, Grandeur et décadence de César Birotteau and Zola, Au bonheur des dames

La Lente Agonie du petit commerce? Balzac, Grandeur et décadence de César Birotteau and Zola, Au bonheur des dames

Chapter:
(p.93) 5 La Lente Agonie du petit commerce? Balzac, Grandeur et décadence de César Birotteau and Zola, Au bonheur des dames
Source:
Consumer Chronicles
Publisher:
Liverpool University Press
DOI:10.5949/UPO9781846317156.006

In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, France witnessed the decline of small shops due to their inability to compete with department stores. This tension between the two forms of commerce was perhaps not inevitable. In his 1837 novel César Birotteau, Honoré de Balzac shows how two sectors of the retail trade, petit commerce and grands magasins, can coexist. Meanwhile, Emile Zola highlights the political and ideological conflicts between practitioners of old-style commerce and advocates the new in his 1883 novel Au bonheur des dames.

Keywords:   France, small shops, department stores, commerce, César Birotteau, Honoré de Balzac, petit commerce, grands magasins, Emile Zola, Au bonheur des dames

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