ABSTRACT

Cultural historians have long claimed the nineteenth century as the preeminent metropolitan moment. Despite Raymond Williams' observation some twenty-five years ago that the city as a "distinctive order of settlement, implying a whole different way of life" dates from the seventeenthcentury predominance of London and Paris, Dickens' London and the Paris of Baudelaire and Haussmann have been the primary focus of scholars of the city as both trope and place.1 At least since Benjamin's study of Baudelaire and the edition of his Passagen-Werke (1982), the great metropolitan themes-the crowd, the commodity, the street, and flânerie-have been read as historically specific to nineteenth-century urban culture. "Paris, capital of the nineteenth century," in Benjamin's often-cited phrase, has been read as a production in time, the result of so-called advances in architecture and engineering, in manufacturing and marketing, brought about by industrialization.2