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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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From Shopping to Schopenhauer: Huysmans, A vau-l'eau

From Shopping to Schopenhauer: Huysmans, A vau-l'eau

(p.61) 3 From Shopping to Schopenhauer: Huysmans, A vau-l'eau
Consumer Chronicles
Liverpool University Press

Joris-Karl Huysmans's 1882 novella, A vau-l'eau, tells the story of an old man named M. Folantin who witnesses the demolitions and new constructions in his neighbourhood, only to be replaced by barrack-like apartment and office blocks that line the broad boulevards. The small businesses patronised by M. Folantin are transferring to the new commercial areas, where the character of the shops and the manners of the shopkeepers are profoundly different from what he used to know. Initially resisting the evolution of shopping habits, M. Folantin would soon appear to be dreaming of a new era where more money can buy more happiness even if he remains cognizant of the limitations of consumer satisfaction.

Keywords:   Joris-Karl Huysmans, A vau-l'eau, shops, shopping, shopkeepers, consumer satisfaction

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