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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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The Emporium Strikes Back: Dutourd, Au Bon Beurre

The Emporium Strikes Back: Dutourd, Au Bon Beurre

(p.121) 7 The Emporium Strikes Back: Dutourd, Au Bon Beurre
Consumer Chronicles
Liverpool University Press

The economic crisis of the 1890s forced France's small shopkeepers to organise a powerful lobby in order to defend their interests. During the period, age-old tensions intensified among trade, the marketplace, and, increasingly, shops. Aside from the strong competition from big department stores, small business owners were beleaguered by the continuing depradations of urban development. Small shops would eventually regain their place at the heart of the community, as reflected in Pierre MacOrlan's 1925 collection of poems entitled Boutiques in Poèmes documentaires. Jean Dutourd's 1952 satirical novel Au Bon Beurre provides evidence of the persistent presence of small shops in France. Dutourd depicts the history of a small shop during the Nazi Occupation of France and highlights the reversal of power relations between customers and shopkeepers. He also chronicles the corruption of small business under the Occupation.

Keywords:   France, small business, department stores, small shops, Jean Dutourd, Au Bon Beurre, Nazi Occupation, corruption, customers, shopkeepers

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