book reviews Thomas Cragin. Murder in Parisian Streets: Manufacturing Crime and Justice in the Popular Press, 18301900. Lewisburg: Bucknell University Press, 2006. 273 pp. Thomas Cragin's book on the popularity of canards--widely circulated, oft-illustrated French broad-sheets, generally covering sensational news such as murder and crime--is eloquent on the relation between form and content in 19th-century mass visual culture. The only study of its kind available in English to date, Cragin offers a comprehensive history of the production, circulation, consumption and meaning of this single prominent type of French popular entertainment in Paris between 18301900.1 This time span and local parameter are deliberately adopted, roughly bracketing by several decades on each end the major transformations of French society, especially of the mass press, between c. 1860 and 1880. The book's main achievement lies in its rigorous focus on this one medium over the span of some seventy years, allowing its author--in counterpoint to both much scholarly wisdom and popular intuition--to focus on the continuities, and not the changes, that marked mass popular taste in the age of modernization. Cragin's study sets out to rationalize and contextualize these continuities, with their classed ideological implications, understood as forces emblematizing lower-class resistance
French Forum – University of Nebraska Press
Published: Jan 31, 2009
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