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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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Total Retail: Figures of the Dystopian Superstore

Total Retail: Figures of the Dystopian Superstore

(p.181) 11 Total Retail: Figures of the Dystopian Superstore
Consumer Chronicles
Liverpool University Press

The grand magasin was viewed as a menace to small shops, the presence of which profoundly transformed the topography of Paris. These department stores were expected to provide everything one could ever need, from baby supplies to funeral facilities. In his 1973 novel Les Géants, Gustave Le Clézio offers a narrative informed by the dystopian vision of a society where individuals are controlled and manipulated by the authoritarian agents of the hypermarket, the totalitarian creation of the department store. Using insights from Vance Packard's fiction The Hidden Persuaders (1957), Le Clézio paints an apocalyptic scenario involving the totalitarian superstore, a metaphor for the consumer society in France.

Keywords:   Les Géants, Gustave Le Clézio, department stores, hypermarket, Vance Packard, The Hidden Persuaders, superstore, consumer society, France

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