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Paris dreams, Paris memories : the city and its mystique, Charles Rearick

Readers could choose to read the first four chapters as a mini-history of twentieth-century Paris. Others embraced the decrepit, rooting the true Paris in Old Paris of narrow streets and compact neighborhoods built in the sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries. Parisians commonly express their love of "Paname," a term that denotes no one working-class neighborhood, but rather encompasses all of Paris's working-class peoples and cultures.

Charles Rearick

Paris Dreams, Paris Memories is at its most interesting here as it describes how Parisians turned Montmartre into a Disneyland version of Here Rearick mixes evidence from quantitative studies with various fanciful writings and alarmist discourses. Readers should follow the footnotes closely, for at times it is not clear which is which.


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This chapter raises an important methodological question for urbanists: at what point do alarmist discourses become not just evidence of expectations or interpretations of the city but actual serious indicators of its decline? Again, Rearick rejects the idea of Parisian decline to argue that the French capital is indeed alive and well … and living in Paris.

These very strengths at times, however, make it difficult to distinguish between his interpretation and the generic descriptive literature he cites.

Paris Dreams, Paris Memories: The City and Its Mystique

Most cultural historians of cities would surely agree with Rearick but wish that he had spent less time justifying his study and more time analyzing the material it produced. Does Paris, for example, especially promote such rich description, or have all cities inspired generic outpourings? Don't already have an Oxford Academic account? Oxford University Press is a department of the University of Oxford. It furthers the University's objective of excellence in research, scholarship, and education by publishing worldwide.

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Paris Dreams, Paris Memories: The City and Its Mystique by Charles Rearick

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