The Palgrave Encyclopedia of Urban Literary Studies

Living Edition
| Editors: Jeremy Tambling

Modernist Paris

  • Václav ParisEmail author
Living reference work entry


Paris in the early twentieth century, through the eyes of modernist writers.


From its beginnings, modernist literature was predominantly an urban phenomenon. Growing out of new technologies, new ways of life, and new ideas, its most fertile soil was found in big cities rather than the provinces. As the concept “modernism” has been theorized, the cities in turn have come to be tied up with our understanding of what it constituted. As Susan Stanford Friedman writes, “modernism has been definitionally linked with the metropolitan centers of nations and empires, most particularly, the great ‘culture capitals’ of Europe and the United States — preeminently Paris, London, Berlin, Rome, New York, and Moscow” (2007: 35).

It is no accident that Paris is the first name in Friedman’s list. During the first half of the twentieth century, Paris was the destination par excellence for innovative writers and artists. Almost all of the major figures associated with modernism...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Apollinaire, Guillaume. 1980. Calligrammes: Poems of peace and war 1913–1916. Trans. A.H. Greet. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  2. Aragon, Louis. 1926. Le Paysan de Paris. Paris: Gallimard.Google Scholar
  3. Aragon, Louis. 1971. Paris peasant. Trans. S.W. Taylor. London: Jonathan Cape.Google Scholar
  4. Benjamin, Walter. 1999. The arcades project. Trans. H. Eiland, and K. McLaughlin. Cambridge, MA: Harvard UP.Google Scholar
  5. Benstock, Shari. 1986. Women of the left bank. Austin: University of Texas Press.Google Scholar
  6. Casanova, Pascale. 2004. The world republic of letters. Trans. M.B. DeBevoise. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  7. Ellmann, Richard, and Charles Fiedelson. 1965. The modern tradition: Backgrounds of modern literature. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  8. Friedman, Susan Stanford. 2007. Cultural parataxis and transnational landscapes of reading: Toward a locational modernist studies. In Modernism, ed. Astradur Eysteinsson and Vivian Liska, vol. 1, 35–52. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Hall, Radclyffe. 2015. The well of loneliness. London: Penguin Classics.Google Scholar
  10. Hemingway, Ernest. 1964. A moveable feast. London: Jonathan Cape.Google Scholar
  11. Hemingway, Ernest. 1972. The torrents of spring. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons.Google Scholar
  12. Mejias-Lopez, Alejandro. 2010. The inverted conquest: The myth of modernity and the transatlantic onset of modernism. Nashville: Vanderbilt University Press.Google Scholar
  13. Mirlees, Hope. 1919. Paris: A poem. Richmond: Hogarth Press.Google Scholar
  14. Paris, Václav. 2013. Uncreative influence: Louis Aragon’s Paysan de Paris and Walter Benjamin’s Passagen-Werk. Journal of Modern Literature 37 (1): 21–39.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Poggioli, Renato. 1968. The theory of the Avant-Garde. Trans. G. Fitzgerald. Cambridge, UK: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  16. Pound, Ezra. 1971. Personae. New York: New Directions.Google Scholar
  17. Stein, Gertrude. 1940. Paris, France. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons.Google Scholar
  18. Stein, Gertrude. 1990. The autobiography of Alice B. Toklas. New York: Vintage Books.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.City College of New yorkNew YorkUSA