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A Caged Animal: The Avant-garde Artist in Edmond and Jules de Goncourt’s Manette Salomon

  • Claire Nettleton
Chapter
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Animals and Literature book series (PSAAL)

Abstract

In Manette Salomon (1867), Edmond de Goncourt (1822–1896) and Jules de Goncourt (1830–1870) depict the Jardin des Plantes’ menagerie as a utopia where artists are able to experience a profound connection with animals, which enables them to see differently. This chapter critiques the fact that this interaction between artists and animals takes place within an urban zoo. Critical readings of Manette Salomon have not discussed the novel in terms of ambivalence and either condemn the authors’ conservative biases or champion their elegy of nature. In an era of urban development, those who did not neatly fit within the framework of the capitalistic city were relegated to its margins. Through historical documents of the Jardin des Plantes and close readings, Nettleton demonstrates how the novel depicts the avant-garde artist of the Second Empire as like a caged animal, whose revolutionary vision is both bound and protected by societal constraints.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Claire Nettleton
    • 1
  1. 1.Pomona CollegeClaremontUSA

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