Paris in the Americas: Yesterday and Today

Carole Salmon (Ed.)

by Elena Mazzoleni (Università degli Studi di Bergamo, Italy), Anne Quinney (The University of Mississippi), William G. Allen (Furman University), Marcelline Block (The Bronx High School of Science), Cheryl A. Morgan (Hamilton College), Eunice Rojas (Furman University), Roderick J. Barman (University of British Columbia), Angélica Lozano-Alonso (Furman University), Carole Salmon (Furman University), John Sampson (The United States Military Academy at West Point), Susan Keith (Rutgers University), Gruia Badescu (University of Konstanz)

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For many people, imagining a world without Paris is unfathomable. “Paris in the Americas: Yesterday and Today”, edited by Carole Salmon, explores Paris’s influence on the inhabitants of the Americas, both historically and in modern times. This thoughtfully compiled volume presents a rich diversity of ideas and perspectives. Focusing on cultural productions (section 1) and urban connections (section 2), each of the eleven essays reveals a particular and unique view of Paris. This book will appeal to scholars whose research and approaches range from cultural studies to history to anthropology to sociolinguistics. It provides an original, fascinating, and important contribution to the multi-faceted study of Paris.

Dr. Stacey Katz Bourns
Professor, Department of Cultures, Societies and Global Studies
Director, World Languages Center
College of Social Sciences and Humanities
Northeastern University

Carole Salmon’s multi-author edited volume, “Paris in the Americas: Yesterday and Today,” offers an interdisciplinary approach to the influences and fascination that, throughout the centuries, the city and its identity possess in the Americas. Drawing on a wide range of critical discourses, Salmon’s vision and implementation of this work gives the reader unprecedented access to the key influences that the City of Lights has brought to the American continent. The eleven essays that compose this volume are organized in two main parts, consisting of cultural productions (6 essays) and urban connections (5 essays), covering a wide range of topics: the Parisian vaudeville, Existentialism and its influence on American fashion, the influence of Jackie Kennedy as a bridge between the American middle class and French culture, representations of Paris in film and literature as well as Paris’s importance in the urban planning of cities as far away from each other as New York City, Rio de Janeiro or Mexico City. This volume is an essential reading for anyone interested in the study of French influence and the Parisian imaginary from one end to the other of the Americas.

Dr. Maria R. Matz
Chair, Department of World Languages and Cultures
University of Massachusetts Lowell

Across centuries, France -and especially its capital city, Paris- established itself as a major source of influence across the Americas through colonization, diplomacy and political influence, but also through intellectualism and cultural productions of all sorts, either by imposition, exportation or as a trend of fashion via a bilateral transatlantic movement of people and ideas. In itself, the influence of Paris, the “capital of the world,” as Patrice Higonnet (2002) analyzes it, is similar to a phantasmagoria, which results in a transatlantic fascination for the city of lights and all the tangible or intangible elements that function as its embodiment. As Stuart Hall explains, understanding cultures and languages and their representations through various manifestations presupposes that we can identify, understand and interpret the signs that constitute their core identity. (Hall 2013).

In an interdisciplinary approach, this multi-authored, edited volume examines the long-established relationships between Paris and cities across the American continent, in the past as well as in the present time. In order to explore all aspects of Paris’s influence(s) in the Americas, this volume is organized around two main axes of analysis: first, in a geographical progression from North to South, the reader is invited to reflect upon cultural productions that demonstrate the many influences of Paris in the Americas through theater, literature, philosophy, fashion and cinema (chapters 1 to 6). In the following chapters (7 to 11), the volume focuses particularly on a variety of urban connections that take the reader from South to North this time, analyzing tangible architectural and urban design influences of Paris in major cities such as Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires, Mexico City, New York, or Washington D.C.

In today’s global world, this multifaceted study of Paris’ visible and invisible influences in the Americas clearly reveals the transnational intersections of spaces, languages, people and cultures.

List of Figures
Introduction: Plural Identities, Paris pluriels
Carole Salmon
Furman University

Part I. Paris in the Americas: Cultural Productions

Chapter 1 Parisian Vaudeville in America: The Ravel and Martinetti Troupes at the Origins of Early Modern American Popular Entertainment
Elena Mazzoleni
Università degli Studi di Bergamo, Italy

Chapter 2 Existential Feminism and Fashion in America
Anne Quinney
The University of Mississippi

Chapter 3 French Style Comes to the American Middle Class: The Jackie Effect
William G. Allen
Furman University

Chapter 4 Between the Big Apple and the City of Light: Fashion, Film, and Paris as “Capitale de la mode” in Funny Face (1957), The Devil Wears Prada (2006), and Mademoiselle C (2013)
Marcelline Block
The Bronx High School of Science

Chapter 5 Typically American Paris? From Vidocq to Leduc and Back Again
Cheryl A. Morgan
Hamilton College

Chapter 6 The Anxiety of the Other Side: Paris in the Contemporary Argentine Novel
Eunice Rojas
Furman University

Part II. Paris in the Americas: Urban Connections

Chapter 7 “For Us the City of Diamond or Cut Crystal”: The Brazilian Conception of Paris During the Long Nineteenth Century (1808-1914)
Roderick J. Barman
University of British Columbia

Chapter 8 Weaving a Transnational Dialogue: From Paris to Mexico City
Angélica Lozano-Alonso and Carole Salmon
Furman University

Chapter 9 D.C. and Paris: Transnational Networks in City Planning, Literature, and Politics
John Sampson
The United States Military Academy at West Point

Chapter 10 A Green Urban Connection: The Elevated Railway Gardens of Paris and New York
Susan Keith
Rutgers University

Chapter 11 From Urban Image to Urban Imaginary: Shaping the Paris of Latin America in a Global Perspective
Gruia Badescu
University of Konstanz

List of Contributors

Carole Salmon, 'Chevalier dans l’ordre des palmes académiques', is a native of France. She lived in Paris for several years while studying literature and linguistics at Paris III Sorbonne-Nouvelle before moving to the United States to complete her Ph.D. in French Studies at Louisiana State University. Salmon is currently a Professor of French in the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures at Furman University. With training in both Francophone literature and sociolinguistics, her research focuses on representations of linguistic and cultural identities of French and Francophone communities in cultural productions such as cinema and literature in North America. She has published sociolinguistic studies on the Cajuns of Louisiana and the Franco-Americans of New England, two historically French-speaking communities where she has lived for several years, thus gaining a personal understanding of their linguistic and cultural identities. As a natural development, her most recent research focuses on the many influences of Paris and France in the Americas throughout the centuries. Salmon’s interdisciplinary approach is informed by her previous research in both Francophone sociolinguistics and film studies for the past decade, as well as by her teaching experience as a university professor for the past fifteen years. She is the Review Editor for the Linguistics section of 'The French Review'.

Interdisciplinary Approach, Representations of Cultural and Linguistic Identities, French and Francophone Studies, Cultural Studies, Colonial and Postcolonial Studies, Architecture and Urban Planning, Film Studies, America (North, Central, South), Paris (France), Frenchness, History, Immigration, Literature, Philosophy, Theater

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Bibliographic Information

Book Title
Paris in the Americas: Yesterday and Today
Number of pages
Physical size
236mm x 160mm
7 B&W
Publication date
September 2022