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Stridence et chuchotements : la symphonie des machines et des portes au XIXe siècle

Abstract : The city-dweller in the nineteenth century, not particularly or at all wealthy, lives in atmo-spheres of sound. On the contrary, middle class urbanites tried to create one around themselves. This historical episode reflects two attitudes to the city at a particular period in history on the part of individuals who shared the same sensitive space. Their attitudes seem to resonate with forms of commitment we can encounter today. To explain this, two writers, Balzac and Zola, will be our guides. Their descriptions may seem exaggerated, but they are nonetheless extremely effective in evoking the two phonic sensitivities of that time. The urban sounds described by Zola immediately plunge the reader into the tumult and turmoil of a society undergoing the profound changes brought about by industrialization and urbanization during the nineteenth century. The phonetic environments we can find in the works of Balzac give us an awareness of an unsteady world, driven by characters curious to hear the acoustic dimensions of the city, even the most intimate ones.
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Olivier Balaÿ. Stridence et chuchotements : la symphonie des machines et des portes au XIXe siècle. Communications, Editions du Seuil, 2012, Les bruits de la ville, pp.35-52. ⟨10.3406/comm.2012.2652⟩. ⟨hal-00978321⟩

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