The Margins of City Life

The Margins of City Life : Explorations of the French Urban Frontier, 1815-1851

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The Margins of Urban Life brings to life the "floating worlds of the periphery" in nineteenth-century French cities--the world of beggars, the most miserable prostitutes, ragpickers, casual labor, and unwanted people; the location of slaughterhouses, gas factories, tanneries, and, increasingly, even executions. The men and women of the suburbs and faubourgs were long identified by urban elites and government officials with the turbulent "dangerous classes" who might one day fall upon the wealthy quarters of the center. Merriman analyzes and evokes the social, class, neighborhood, cultural, and political solidarities--the shared sense of not belonging--that made the marginal people in peripheral places emerge as contenders for political power. His investigation explores the world of the Catalan agricultural laborers, the textile workers of the "high town" of Reims, the bitter rivalry between Catholic and Protestant workers in the faubourge of Nimes, the haven for under- and unemployed proletarians in Ingouville, above Le Havre, and France's strange frontier town, Napoleon-Vendee."show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 330 pages
  • 159 x 237.7 x 26.4mm | 680.4g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • frontispiece, halftones, maps and tables
  • 0195064380
  • 9780195064384

Review quote

'Merriman's study is welcome because it explores the twilight world on the outskirts of French cities ... grounded in a wide range of archive material from many departments. It is entertaining to read ... this is a valuable and interesting book.' Roger Magraw, French History, Vol. 6, No. 4, December 1992 `as a fine model of the best in current historical writing, and can be cited as a worthy introduction to early 19th century political history. ... this is a most successful and readable work, and points the way to a new form of urban history.' Sharif Gernie, Modern and Contemporary Franceshow more