2. Some Modes of Excelling
Let us step away from the vertiginous chasms of speculation about historical causation and turn our attention back to Paris in the Age of Revolution and to the lives and work of some of the most accomplished people of that place and time. To examine these models of excellence biographically and taxonomically, that is, in the context of the separate evolutions of their respective arts, has been the purpose of the first half of this study. To examine their modes of excelling situationally, in the context of the general social and cultural characteristics of Paris in the Age of Revolution, will be the purpose of the second half. Such an examination may reveal the outlines of an unplanned, underground community.
Public spaces of Paris in the Age of Revolution
6. Mounting Spectacles
On his wedding day, Rameau’s nephew hired all of the players in Paris of the hurdy-gurdy, a quasi-automatic stringed instrument then in fashion, to accompany him and his bride through the streets of the capital. He did this in spite of his poverty and his repeated claims that the only reason human beings did anything was to put food in their mouths.
Rameau’s nephew’s wedding anticipated the French Revolution, when this anonymous ditty appeared and gained immediate popularity:
Il ne fallait au fier Romain,
Que des spectacles et du pain;
Mais au Français plus que Romain,
Le spectacle suffit sans pain.
The proud Roman used to require,Clearly the experience of food shortages during the Revolution only partly explains the quatrain; one must also take into account an extraordinary profusion of public spectacles, a profusion that continued after the Revolution ended.
Nothing but spectacles and bread;
But the Frenchman beats the Roman,
Living on spectacles without bread.
Three interrelated historical trends contributed to this development. First, over the course of the eighteenth century and into the nineteenth, many formerly private activities took place increasingly often in public locations and in front of audiences. Second, after their activities had become public or while making them public, people in a wide variety of occupations began to attract and appeal to audiences by emphasizing those aspects of their activities immediately striking to the eye or ear; in short, their activities took on the character of spectacles. Third, the publishing industry grew extremely rapidly after 1789, and the publication of ever more advertisements, reviews, and descriptions of public spectacles accelerated the growth of the latter in turn. The whole world seemed to be mounting spectacles.
“The publicization of social life” is how one might summarize in a phrase a manifold and variegated but unidirectional change undergone by French society and culture in the eighteenth and first half of the nineteenth centuries. “Publicization” was the process of the private becoming public, just as “privatization” is the process of the public becoming private. Privatization may refer to people’s either ceasing to participate in certain activities, withdrawing from the social and political in favor of the individual, or continuing to do the same activities but transferring them to a setting away from general scrutiny. The Western world has experienced both kinds of privatization in the late twentieth century. In the United States, fewer and fewer people have voted in elections, a form of withdrawal from public life. In France and other countries of Western Europe, certain economic activities have been transferred from the government—back—into private hands. But the eighteenth century was an age of publicization. Activities that had formerly been restricted to only a few people or to widely dispersed people, who had conducted them in their own residences or in other places with severely limited access, were opened up to or taken up by large numbers of people and conducted in concentrated groups meeting in nonresidential sites, sites of relatively free access and often established for the specific purpose of carrying on one particular activity.
In the United States, Alexis de Tocqueville is best known for De la démocratie en Amerique, but in France he is equally well known for L’Ancien Régime et la Révolution. In the latter book he shows that in some important ways the French Revolution did not break with the past as decisively as the revolutionaries and most observers, whether friendly or hostile, believed it did. For example, the centralization of power, so brutally completed by Robespierre and the Committee of Public Safety, had actually been underway for centuries and “the Revolution consummated suddenly…what would have been consummated gradually, by itself, in the long run.”  Likewise, in its advancement of the publicization of social life the Revolution only accelerated an already well-established trend.
The Revolution abolished privilege—privus lex, or private law—and created a republic—a res publica, or public thing. It replaced a system based on the special political and legal prerogatives of a few people acting apart with a system based on the political will and legal equality of masses of people acting in common. In Les Origines intellectuelles de la révolution française, Daniel Mornet contends that a spirit of debate and criticism gradually permeated the educated classes of French society during the eighteenth century and that this permeation was one of the causes of the Revolution. At the same time, the arena of argument gradually expanded. An ever greater number of people began discussing an ever greater variety of social concerns, concerns that formerly they had either not had or not expressed, but had relinquished to the king and his ministers. Mornet also found cafés in Paris, academies in the provinces, and public lecture series, literary societies, libraries, Masonic lodges, and newspapers throughout France proliferating in large numbers during the eighteenth century. The French were respiring the increasingly charged atmosphere of critical discourse in these increasingly numerous and, to varying degrees, public places. The progress of the spirit of debate was taking place in tandem with the progress of publicization. Meanwhile, power remained concentrated in the private hands of the king. But in 1789 King Louis XVI suddenly and unwittingly gave political form and impetus to the intellectual movement by convoking the Estates General, a three-tiered assembly that had not met for 175 years and that consisted of elected representatives of every social class. The French Revolution, writes Mornet, was one “in which if not the majority, at least a very large minority, more or less enlightened, discerned the faults of a political regime, articulated the profound reforms it wanted, and then converted public opinion little by little and acceded to power more or less legally.”  Mornet may or may not convincingly demonstrate a causal connection between the general diffusion of critical discourse in France and the outbreak of the French Revolution, but he does demonstrate the publicization of that discourse during the eighteenth century, and the publicization of political power after 1789 is incontestable.
Economic activity also underwent publicization during the eighteenth century. The Bourse, the Paris stock exchange, was founded in 1724. Even large business ventures had formerly been undertaken by an individual or at most a few capitalists, but in the eighteenth century they began to be financed through shares sold to the public. And these transactions were assigned to a fixed public site in, successively, an old palace, a church, the Palais-Royal, and finally today’s Bourse, a building erected in the early nineteenth century for just this purpose. According to the economic historian Ernest Labrousse, “from 1750, and particularly from 1780, joint-stock companies spread, into coal mining, metallurgy, spinning, banking, and maritime insurance. The Journal de Paris and the Gazette de France published the quotations.” 
The French Revolution accelerated the publicization of economic activity by abolishing craft guilds, licensed monopolies, and internal tariffs. The Old Regime’s guild system had privileged the craft masters, who ruled all the workers in the craft—that is, regulated their apprenticeship, admission, and promotion, their practice of the craft—and also maintained their exclusive right to practice the craft. The Old Regime’s system of licensed monopolies had given the holders of monopoly patents, or privilèges, the exclusive right to engage in certain activities in certain places; for example, the Académie Royale de Musique, generally referred to as the Opéra, had the exclusive right to give public performances of music in Paris. The Old Regime’s system of internal tariffs had privileged local producers of goods. The revolutionaries’ abolition of these three systems of economic regulations opened a whole range of craft, business, performance, publication, and market opportunities to a broad public.
Paris was becoming a public city in the eighteenth century. Several of its largest outdoor open spaces took shape then. The Champs Elysées was extended and lined with trees in the 1710s and again in the 1770s. The Champ de Mars, first a military parade ground, later also used for civilian gatherings, was laid out, and the Jardin du Roi, the royal botanical garden, later renamed the Jardin des Plantes, was doubled in size, both around mid-century. The Jardin du Luxembourg was expanded by the revolutionaries and then expanded again by Napoleon. Both the Jardin du Luxembourg and the Jardin des Tuileries, which had been opened to the public in the late seventeenth century, were enclosed in walls until the early nineteenth century, when Napoleon ordered the walls demolished and replaced with less-forbidding grillwork.
The Jardin des Tuileries adjoins the Louvre, which may be taken to exemplify the process of publicization in indoor spaces. The Louvre—including the wing called the Tuileries, originally a separate palace, then connected to the Louvre, finally destroyed—was built over the course of several centuries by a succession of kings for their own use. During the eighteenth century, Kings Louis XIV, Louis XV, and Louis XVI allocated a series of rooms in it to the Académie Royale de Peinture et Sculpture for artists’ quarters and for the biennial Salon, the academy’s exhibition of new works. Finally, at the end of the eighteenth century the revolutionaries converted it into a permanent public art museum.
Indoor public spaces, both those conceived in physical terms, such as exhibition and performance halls and cafés and restaurants, and those conceived in social terms, such as concert and lecture series and clubs and societies, proliferated all over France at an increasing rate as the eighteenth century progressed. Mornet found both literary societies and public libraries already existing in the provinces in the first half of the century. However, “after 1760, and particularly after 1770, it’s as if there is a contagion of societies” and “it’s particularly after 1770 that the number of these libraries multiplies.” 
Slowly during the first three-quarters of the eighteenth century and then more rapidly in the last quarter of the eighteenth and first half of the nineteenth century, Paris was becoming the great public entertainment capital that it still is today. In the first of these two seventy-five-year periods, large numbers of people gathered for diversion on three Paris fairgrounds, those of the Saint-Laurent Fair, which ran all summer long, and the Saint-Ovide Fair, which ran from mid-August to mid-September, on the Right Bank; and on the Left Bank the Saint-Germain Fair, one of the great fairs of Europe, which ran during February and March. The fairs offered a variety of inexpensive foods to taste and a variety of inexpensive shows to see. They fell victim to their own success, for after midcentury a sort of permanent fair grew up along the Boulevard du Temple, where one could get lemonade, coffee, or wine, see a multiplicity of games of skill, wax figures, strong men, trained animals, and demonstrations of popular science all year round, and in comfortable and attractive cafés and halls, not just temporary stands. The attractions of the Boulevard du Temple gradually extended into the Boulevard Saint-Martin and eventually became the core of the lengthy public promenade known as the Grands Boulevards. In the 1780s the rebuilding of the Palais-Royal led to the creation of another permanent fair in and around that old palace, its long wings housing cafés, pastry shops, bookstores, little performance halls and exhibition spaces, and its large courtyard serving as the meeting place for the transaction of speedier or shadier business. The heyday of the Boule-vard du Temple as a center of public entertainment lasted longer than the heyday of the Palais-Royal, which was confined to, and therefore more distinctive of, the Age of Revolution.
A dramatic manifestation of the process of publicization was the spectacular burgeoning of theater. In the eighteenth century, three institutions, the Comédie-Française, the Comédie-Italienne, and the Opéra, had a legal monopoly on the professional performance of plays in Paris. Other professional groups, which gave their performances first at the fairs, then after mid-century in newly erected permanent theaters on the Boulevard du Temple, and finally toward the end of the century in the Palais-Royal, avoided the prohibition against them in various ways. Some paid the Opéra to extend its privilège to them for a specific number of years. Others exploited loopholes in the wording of the privilège, presenting plays with marionettes, child actors, or silent adult actors holding up placards containing their lines. Still others simply ignored the law and, thanks to tolerant authorities such as Lieutenant-General Sartine, the same police chief who allowed the publication of the Encyclopédie, for a while did it with impunity. In the 1760s, just as competition from the unprivileged theaters began to intensify, attendance at the Comédie-Française, one of the privileged theaters, began to set records. In early 1791 the revolutionaries abolished the system of privileges, and the number of professional theaters in Paris jumped from fifteen to thirty-five within the year. All together at least forty-five new theatres opened during the Revolution, although many closed after a short time. Amateur theater likewise expanded during the second half of the eighteenth century, spreading from the royal court to the aristocracy to the bourgeoisie to the working classes. By the end of the century, wrote a chronicler of the Paris stage, “people were acting in wine bars, in cafés, in basements, in attics, in stables, in sheds,” and amateur theatrical groups in the capital numbered more than two hundred.
During the eighteenth century the population of Paris hardly grew at all, remaining between about 525,000 and 550,000. During the first half of the nineteenth century the population of Paris more than doubled, from about 550,000 in 1801 to about 1,300,000 in 1851. Seeing these demographic figures makes one think of the conventional population bomb, but learning about the multiplication of Paris’s theaters, or the octupling of its public reading rooms from 23 in 1819 to 198 in 1845, or the vigintupling of its public bathtubs from 200 in 1789 to 500 in 1816 to more than 4,000 in 1839, compels one to imagine a publicization explosion of socio-nuclear power.
Virtuosity developed in these public spaces, both physical and social, that were so rapidly propagating. Chess emerged from private residences into the cafés of Paris, the first of which opened in the 1670s; by 1723 there were around 380 of them; by 1788 around 1,800; by 1807 around 4,000. Late in his life, Philidor mentioned that when he had first started playing chess in Paris cafés the game was played in a great many of them, which suggests that the momentum of its publicization may have helped to propel his own increasing interest in it. With regard to virtuosity in chess, we have already observed the central role of one of the first Paris cafés, the Café de la Place du Palais-Royal, later known as the Café de la Régence.
After the outbreak of the French Revolution, restaurants and pastry shops began to reproduce as fast as or faster than cafés. The number of restaurants in Paris quintupled between 1789 and 1803, from a total of approximately one hundred to approximately five hundred, and more than quintupled again between 1803 and 1820, by which time the total had reached nearly three thousand. As for patisseries, Carême says that before the Revolution there were few, although he gives no figure, in contrast to the 258 of them in business in 1815. Few historical developments are clearer than the publicization of dining during the Revolution. Whereas the aristocrats had dined in one another’s homes, the revolutionaries dined in cafés, taverns, and restaurants, and the cooks of the former became the cooks of the latter. Thus, politics carried cuisine along with it in its migration from the private to the public sphere. This development exerted a strong influence on Carême’s early career, providing him with employment opportunities in a tavern, a restaurant, Bailly’s well-known patisserie just north of the Palais-Royal, and Gendron’s equally well-known patisserie inside that public entertainment cynosure.
Before the Revolution the Opéra had a double privilège—in theater, in which it shared its public performance monopoly with two other institutions, and in music, in which its monopoly was total, at least legally. For just as rival groups of thespians found ways of circumventing the prohibition against them, so too did rival groups of musicians. Like the directors of some other theaters, those of the Opéra-Comique, where Philidor’s music first won recognition, simply paid a tribute to the Opéra. The older half-brother of Philidor who founded two early public concert series in Paris, the Concerts Spirituels and the Concerts Français, did likewise. Presenting concerts every year from its inception in 1725 until 1790, the Concerts Spirituels turned out to be the most successful series of the eighteenth century. A fugue of public concert series developed from the Opéra’s privilège in the 1770s and 1780s when music lovers organized themselves into nominally private “concert societies” to which they paid annual membership dues. Such was the origin of, for example, the Concerts des Amateurs (Music-Lovers’ Concerts), the Concerts des Amis (Friends’ Concerts), and the Concerts de la Loge Olympique (Olympic Lodge Concerts). This last series, as its name suggests, was staged by a Masonic lodge, and shows the sometimes quasi-public character of Freemasonry, for attendance at the concerts was not restricted to Masons. Freemasons debated social and political issues at their meetings, and a prominent school of Revolution historiography considers these meetings precursors of the meetings of the political clubs and elective assemblies of the first French Republic. Even in fields as dissimilar as music and politics, the vector of publicization was sometimes the same. Masonic lodges in Paris reproduced from half a dozen in the 1730s to 170 in 1771, remaining at about that number until the Revolution brought about their replacement by other social spaces.
The advent of a public space in Europe for music, the public concert, enabled Paganini to make the leap from court attendant, his position in Lucca at the beginning of his career, to touring virtuoso, his role when he appeared on stage after stage throughout Italy and, eventually, in Austria, Bohemia, Poland, Germany, France, and Great Britain as well. In Paris he ultimately had his own public concert space, briefly, in the short-lived Casino Paganini. Liszt, born three decades later, appeared frequently in public right from the beginning of his career. The number of concert venues in Paris had multiplied so much by Liszt’s time that at least two of them, the Salle Érard and the Salle Pleyel, could specialize in piano music, becoming crucibles of keyboard skill.
A variety of small theaters and halls devoted to what are usually categorized as entertainments rather than fine arts also materialized in Paris during the Age of Revolution. Intricate automata and seamless illusions were contrived for the amusement of eighteenth-century princely courts, but the golden age of stage magic had as its setting first rented exhibition halls and then performer-designed and -owned theaters for the public, such as the Théâtre des Jeunes-Acteurs of Comte, the Palais des Prestiges of Phi-lippe, and the Théâtre Robert-Houdin.
In many cases, the publicization of an activity encouraged a separation of people into performers and spectators or, where that separation already existed, encouraged a widening of it. For example, when chess was taken from private residences into cafés, the best players gradually attracted other café-goers around their tables, turning the players into performers and the others into spectators. In contrast to chess, music had a long history of being played in front of an audience. Still, the distance between the musician and his audience increased with the migration of concerts from aristocratic salons to concert halls: The musician climbed onto a stage; the occasion rigidified into a formally structured event; the audience lapsed into passivity.
On the one hand, the publicization of political and economic life, culminating in the Revolution, favored the elimination of privileges and con-sequently the amalgamation of privileged and unprivileged people into a single group. On the other hand, publicization also favored the separation of people into performers and spectators, two distinct groups. And the performers, at least the most successful among them, eventually acquired a disproportionate share of wealth and power and thus became a new privileged elite. But neither wealth nor power was the basis of the privileges of the new elite’s membership. Rather their wealth, like the wealth of the new society’s entrepreneurs, and their power, like the power of the new society’s politicians, derived from their ability to please the public.
During the publicization process, in a wide variety of human activities, groups of spectators formed and swelled and separated from actors, while, reciprocally, the latter made their activities more distinctive in order to try to attract and appeal to the new, larger, and more distant audiences. Actors in the nontheatrical sense became actors in the theatrical sense, indeed actors of a particular kind of theatricality. They gave their activities éclat—brilliance, flash, fanfare, zip, flamboyance—that is, they turned their activities into spectacles.
The Revolution was a gigantic spectacle. Its principal events consisted in large part of crowds of people coming together in public, whether to demonstrate for political and economic goals in the streets, to debate and enact legislation in the new representative assemblies, to celebrate and forge national unity in parks and gardens, to drill and fight as soldiers and national guardsmen in fields, or to witness executions in town squares.
Particularly characteristic of the Revolution were its fêtes, celebratory gatherings organized by the government with programs of parades, music, speeches, banquets, dedications of monuments, and other ceremonies that took place in the Grands Boulevards, the Jardin des Tuileries, the Champ de Mars, and other large public spaces of Paris, as well as in provincial cities and towns. Assemblies of one hundred thousand or more people were not uncommon at the Paris fêtes. In La Fête révolutionnaire, 1789–1799, Mona Ozouf argues that, in spite of the variety of their occasions, a funeral, an anniversary, a military victory, or religious worship, these fêtes had a certain unity of design—the enactment of a vision of utopia—and that this design was also that of the Revolution itself.
Ozouf acknowledges her indebtedness to Jules Michelet, the great nineteenth-century nationalist historian of the Revolution, who believed, as she puts it, in the “consubstantiality of the fête with the Revolution.” But Michelet, she observes, rather than focusing on the official government celebrations, assimilated a variety of different kinds of public gatherings, especially spontaneous formations of activist crowds, into the meaning of the word “fête.” In Michelet’s view, as the Revolution unraveled, veritable fêtes devolved into contrived fêtes, fêtes staged by the government that did not reflect popular feeling, however well attended they might have been.
Michelet’s view of fêtes, in turn, was influenced by Rousseau, drum major of the Revolution, who wrote in his “Lettre à d’Alembert sur les spectacles” that “the only pure joy is public joy.” In the same work Rousseau expressed his disapproval of theater and his approval of programless outdoor fêtes in which large numbers of people participate: “Put the spectators into the spectacle; make them actors themselves; allow everyone to see oneself and love oneself in others, that all may be more closely united.” 
But as the Revolution proceeded, fewer and fewer public assemblies were spontaneous, and in fewer and fewer of them were the crowds real participants. Public activities were superseded by public spectacles.
Jacques-Louis David is best known today as the foremost French neoclassical painter, somewhat less well known as a leading revolutionary, and hardly known at all as a designer of fêtes. Although under the Old Regime he had been accepted into the exclusive Académie Royale de Peinture et Sculpture and been given a studio in the Louvre, he still felt stifled by the patronage system of the art establishment. He turned into an outspoken advocate of the publicization of art, arguing for open exhibitions of new works and open competitions for government commissions. With the advent of the Revolution he became not only the official image maker of such important events as “Le Serment du Jeu de paume” (The Oath of the Tennis-Court) and “Marat assassiné,” but also, as one historian has called him, the pageant-master of the republic. David designed the costumes, the plaster monuments, the stage sets, the parade vehicles, and other props for several of the most important government-sponsored fêtes of the early years of the Revolution. For example, when the revolutionaries decided to transfer Voltaire’s remains to a recently completed neoclassical church that they had rechristened the Panthéon, David conceived a Roman procession for the occasion, designing with motifs from antiquity a huge horse-drawn hearse, and outfitting its attendants with togas, lyres, spears, helmets, poles topped with eagles, even a few sedan chairs. As many as one hundred thousand people, not all of them in Roman attire, marched in the procession, and perhaps another one hundred thousand watched. The route was clear: neoclassicism first as art of the privileged, then as public art, and finally as public spectacle.
The revolutionary spectacle par excellence was oratory. The representatives to the new assemblies ruling France had no experience or connections in government, were unknown to the public, and did not know each other. Those who acquired fame and power did it through successful public speaking, whether in the assemblies, in the streets, or in the political clubs. The speeches judged to have made the biggest impact were reproduced in summary or at length in the many newspapers that suddenly sprang up after the abolition of privilèges. These newspapers were expedited from Paris to all corners of France, and of Europe, where they were eagerly read. Oratory, like theater, became a mania. “Who isn’t an orator?” asked Sébastien Mercier. “Who doesn’t dream of being an orator, with this great and pleasant prospect?”  The quality of the oratory increased with practice and with increasing danger. Immediately before and during the Reign of Terror, what one said in public determined whether or not one stayed alive, encouraging prudence in choice of words. If one kept one’s head, one kept one’s head. Nevertheless, from the obscene, wildly gesticulating, unkempt and uncouth Hébert to the erect, wigged and powdered, self-controlled in manner if not in matter Robespierre, both of whom lost theirs, the Terror was one continuous fountain of crimson prose—and, of course, blood.
The guillotine repeated the same scene again and again, but never bored the audience. On a succession of increasingly spacious public squares in Paris, the Place de Grève, the Place du Carrousel, the Place de la Concorde, the Place du Trône, and in analogous locations around France, the whoosh, thwack, thud of the blade and head remained constant while the subsequent cheers of the increasingly large and more frequently assembled multitude grew wilder. Eighty thousand armed men lined the route between his prison and the Place de la Concorde when the deposed King Louis XVI made the short trip to his “shortening” in January 1793. After he was executed and the twenty thousand attending troops dispersed, there was jubilation and dancing around the scaffold. Those who wanted to watch the enemies of the Revolution perish in greater numbers could travel to the borders of France, where a protracted series of wars against the monarchies of Europe began in 1792.
Figure 11. Two revolutionary spectacles. Spontaneous: Burning of the Pope in effigy at the Palais-Royal (top). Planned: Triumphal procession designed by Jacques-Louis David for the transfer of Voltaire’s remains (bottom). Author's collection. Photographs by J. Craig Sweat/Photographer.
Napoleon’s proclamation of the Empire in 1804 suspended public government, but not government-sponsored public spectacles. In fact, the Em-pire began with a grandiose neo-medieval ceremony in which Napoleon crowned himself emperor in the presence of the pope, a ceremony whose official representation was painted by Jacques-Louis David on a canvas thirty feet long and twenty feet high. The fêtes of the Empire were predominantly military: reviews and parades featuring artillery, cavalry, and infantry in showy dress uniforms abundantly decorated with gold braid and embroidery and topped with bicorn hats, fur bonnets, Roman helmets, and shakos with tall plumes; presentations of crosses of the Légion d’Honneur and other medals; and distributions of neo-Roman regimental eagles, also the subject of an enormous painting by David, who had already used such eagles himself in Voltaire’s funeral procession.
The greatest spectacles of the Empire were not the fêtes of Paris and other French cities, however. They were instead Napoleon’s monumental battles, which had exotic locales for their theaters, which were the subject in France of exalted journalistic accounts and exalted pictorial representations, and which exhausted the Revolution’s spectacle of blood. As Napoleon himself said: “My power depends on my glory, and my glory on my victories. My power would fall if I did not sustain it with more glory and more victories.…A newly established government must dazzle and astonish. As soon as it stops throwing sparks, it falls.”  Thus, government became spectacular.
So did theater. Napoleon and his contemporaries loved theater but they adored spectacle. The emperor often attended performances of François-Joseph Talma, the foremost French tragedian of his day, engaged him in conversations about acting, and considered awarding him the cross of the Légion d’Honneur. But it was Madame Saqui, the tightrope walker, whom he invited to participate in the celebrations of his name day, to entertain his soldiers in their camps, and to add variety to his military fêtes. He even summoned her to Vienna when he captured that capital. Her biographer writes:
After the collapse of the Empire, she bought a theater on the Boulevard du Temple, where her performances maintained their popularity for many years.
During that epoch of military glory, her great popularity increased even more when she thought of miming, on the tightrope, by herself, the battles and victories of the Empire.…Armed with a saber, she pretended to lead a furious charge whose momentum forced the imaginary enemy to retreat, or…stopping to shoot, she kneeled to fire, then fixed a bayonette on her rifle, and advanced irresistibly, or suddenly fell, as if she were wounded, flinging herself up again to plant on the pole a flag she carried wrapped around her waist.
Theater historian Marie-Antoinette Allevy summarizes the first half of the nineteenth century as “that era of French theater during which an extreme consideration was accorded, in every genre of drama, to the ‘spectacle.’” In that era, she argues, the mise-en-scène—the sets, props, costumes, lighting, and sound effects—gradually overwhelmed the literary aspects of drama—the dialogue, characters, and plot. “In the boulevard theaters, the division into acts disappeared in favor of the division into pictures [tableaux]. Ten, fifteen, twenty pictures succeeded one another in a single piece, each necessitating an appropriate decor.” It was the era of melodrama, of fantastic ruins, gothic palaces, pirate ships, nature at its wildest, the city at its rawest, of violence everywhere. “The technicians, the machinists, the decorators, the builders of props and sets exercised their imaginations to create new and original contrivances and devices: representations of the sea, of shipwrecks, drownings, fires, floods.” Like the actors, the technicians came out on stage at the end of the play to receive their applause, sometimes the loudest and longest ovations. The contemporary critic Théophile Gautier announced, “The era of purely ocular theater has arrived.” 
The fêtes of the Revolution contributed to this development. “We owe to Jacques-Louis David,” acknowledges Marian Hannah Winter, another theater historian, “usable scenery made to be climbed up, into and over to a degree not previously imagined. We also owe to him the marshaling and management of those hordes of extras who appeared in battle, ballroom, parade and harvest scenes, filing through the streets, squares and public gardens, and finally onto the stage itself.” Other spectacles also invaded the theater. In 1768 the Englishman Philip Astley “was the first to introduce acrobats, rope-dancers, and short mimed or dialogued scenes into what had been purely equestrian spectacles.” In 1782 he built on the Boulevard du Temple Paris’s first permanent circus—literally, “circle”; commonly, a mixed equestrian spectacle in a circular space. The Amphithéâtre Astley evolved into the Cirque Olympique in 1810 and began incorporating its feats of horsemanship and acrobatics into whole, connected stories, for example Murat, a dramatization of the life of Marshal Murat, the head of Napoleon’s cavalry. This subject allowed for the re-presentation in the heart of Paris of some of Napoleon’s most spectacular battles, the occasion of Gautier’s remark quoted above. Other boulevard theaters featured trained dogs, monkeys, lions, and tigers in their plays. Rope-dancers and mimes, led by Jean-Baptiste Deburau of the Théâtre des Funambules, expanded their vignettes into full-length dramas. All this represented the French Revolution of the stage. Before the Revolution, in order to evade the restrictions imposed on them by the privileged theaters, the theaters of the fairs and the boulevards had cultivated these “lesser” theatrical arts, the arts du spectacle, as the French call them; after the Revolution abolished the system of privileges, the arts du spectacle began to take over theater proper.
Theater evolved into spectacle and/or spectacle invaded theater. Any way one looks at it, theater became spectacular. The same thing happened to painting, to science, to technology.
The incidents in the career of Jacques-Louis David that have already been mentioned indicate one way painting became spectacular. Another was through experimental kinetic picture shows, several with names ending in “-orama” (Greek for “sight”), which became extremely popular in the first half of the nineteenth century. A panorama had an outdoor scene painted on the wall of a rotunda, so that it encircled the spectators. Sometimes the spectators stood or sat in darkness and watched while lights played on the painting, animating a sunrise or a thunderstorm, or while actors used the painting as a three-dimensional backdrop. Sometimes the spectators walked around the rotunda, enhancing the three-dimensional appearance of a painting done in relief or with sculptural forms included. Louis Daguerre, before he invented photography in the late 1830s, created the Diorama, a series of large paintings on transparencies lit from behind. The transparencies were set in frames so that they could be lowered to and raised from the stage in sequence. One popular sequence depicted the eruption of Vesuvius. E. G. Robertson produced a much imitated magic lantern show called the Fantasmagorie. He entombed his theater in a disused Paris monastery where the ancient stone walls, musty smells, flickering candlelight, and the eerie strains of a glass harmonica reinforced the effect created by his projection of indistinct images, which he convinced his spectators were ghosts of their deceased relatives or of martyred revolutionaries such as Jean-Paul Marat. But the revolution in this kind of spectacle did not take place until the end of the century, when the Lumière brothers invented cinematography.
The popularity and convincingness of Robertson’s Fantasmagorie owed as much to his reputation as a scientist as to his brilliant staging. For in his shows he not only raised specters but also gave demonstrations illustrating recent discoveries in acoustics, mechanics, and electricity. When Alessandro Volta, the inventor of the battery, came to Paris, Robertson be-friended him and helped him win recognition for his research on the nature of electricity by giving public lectures and expériences and a joint presentation before the Académie des Sciences, which awarded Volta a silver medal. The word expérience was ambiguous, meaning either “experiment, test,” the basis of science, or “experience, apprehension by the senses,” the basis of spectacle. Which were the expériences of Comus, who discharged electricity into gemstones and lodestones, sensitive plants and neurasthenic people, curiosity seekers and cadavers, and who presented his findings both in reputable scientific journals and in his hall on the Boulevard du Temple? Which were Franz Anton Mesmer’s expériences of “animal magnetism” that found so receptive an audience in Paris after the Viennese medical establishment had censured the inventor/discoverer of what became known, first, as mesmerism and later as hypnotism? And which were Georges Cuvier’s reconstruction of mastodons, pterodactyls, and saber-toothed tigers for museum display at the Jardin des Plantes? The popularity and convincingness of Cuvier’s public lectures, in which he predicted that comparative anatomists would soon be able to deduce the complete appearance and lifestyle of extinct animals from the discovery of a single bone, owed as much to his brilliant staging as to his reputation as a scientist.
E. G. Robertson was also an early aeronaut who flew in both balloons and parachutes, two late-eighteenth-century French inventions the tests of which often took place above large audiences in such public places as the Jardin des Tuileries and the Champ de Mars. But the main stage for technology was the industrial exposition, the nineteenth-century forerunner of the twentieth-century world’s fair. In France, the first Exposition des Produits de l’Industrie took place in a temporary building erected in the Champ de Mars in 1798. Ever larger and more lavish expositions took place in 1801 and 1802 in temporary buildings in the courtyard of the Louvre, in 1806 on the esplanade of the Hôtel des Invalides, in 1819, 1823, and 1827 in the Louvre itself, and beginning in 1834 at regular five-year intervals in various public spaces. Technology’s successful siege of the Louvre meant its conquest of a status equal to that of fine art as a public spectacle. Everything converged in spectacle.
Virtuosity converged in spectacle. Mechanicians had built automata for scientific purposes, for sale to the wealthy, for the amusement of princes. Mechanicians had also built automata for spectacles in Paris, showing them in rented rooms, at the annual fairs, and in permanent exhibition halls on the Boulevard du Temple and in the Palais-Royal. Robert-Houdin presented several inventions at the exposition of 1839 and then his automaton Writer-Sketcher at the exposition of 1844, gaining a silver medal from the judges of applied science, attention from King Louis-Philippe, admiration from the public, and a sale to P. T. Barnum.
Music and technology converged in spectacle. Adolphe Sax also won a silver medal at the exposition of 1844, for his saxhorns, instruments resembling flügelhorns. But musicians resisted using them, so he went to the army to argue for their adoption in place of French horns and bassoons in marching bands. In 1845 the Champ de Mars was the scene of a battle between an army band of forty-five musicians and a band of thirty-eight assembled by Sax, an encounter witnessed by twenty thousand spectators. Sax won the audience’s applause and a military contract. At the exposition of 1849 he received both a gold medal and a medal of the Légion d’Honneur for his new invention, the saxophone.
A public concert is inherently a kind of spectacle, so it is not always easy to determine where musicianship stops and showmanship begins. Paganini made his audience wait for him while he watched from the wings so as to be able to appear just when expectation had reached a peak. While he excoriated the tales of his pact with the devil, he also exploited them. The violinist Ole Bull told of Paganini coming on stage with his long black hair, a black swallow-tail coat, and a small box in his hand:
One of the few things outside of music that made an impression on Paganini was the magic show of Bosco. As for Liszt, according to Heinrich Heine, “no one in the world knows as perfectly as our Franz Liszt how to organize his successes, or rather how to stage them. In this art, he is a true genius, a Philadelphia, a Bosco, a [Robert-]Houdin.” Robert-Houdin described his own art as that of “an actor playing the role of a magician.” According to the newspaper Illustration:
He then opened the box and took out a pair of spectacles, meditated a moment, apparently considering the next move, and finally, taking the bow in his right hand, and bending a little, put the spectacles on and looked about in a complacent manner. But how changed he was! The glasses were dark blue, giving a ghastly appearance to his emaciated face; they looked like two large holes in his countenance. Raising his foot and bringing it down promptly, he gave the signal to begin. It had been announced as his last concert in Paris for the season, and a true foreboding seemed to thrill through his listeners that they would not again see that lank, angular figure, with its haggard face, or hear again the wondrous witchery of his violin.
Paganini and Liszt were among the first musicians regularly to give concerts from memory, a common practice today. Their reviewers frequently mentioned it, although there is no inherent relationship between playing from memory and the quality of the playing. But it is always more impressive to see airialists perform without a net. In popularizing the performance of pieces whose chief interest for the audience consists of watching and hearing musicians meet the challenge of their technical difficulties, Paganini with his caprices and G-string solos and Liszt with his own and others’ piano études made perhaps their greatest impact on performance practices. Scheller and Clement and Dreyschock went to such extremes that they could be dismissed, and Mozart could renounce his own youthful excesses, but the showmanship of Paganini and Liszt was so integral to their musicianship and their musicianship was of so high a caliber that despite repeated efforts by some to purge it from the Western classical music performance tradition, and a virtually uninterrupted effort by others to deny its existence there, spectacle survives, even thrives.
M. Liszt is not only a pianist, he is above all an actor.…Everything he plays is reflected on his face; one sees depicted in his physiognomy everything that his music expresses and even everything he thinks it expresses. He makes movements appropriate to each piece; he has postures, gestures, and glances for every phrase; he smiles at the graceful passages, and furrows his brow whenever he hits a diminished seventh. All of this is obviously lost for those of his listeners facing his back, so that it is out of a sense of justice and so as not to be unfair to anyone that he employs alternately two pianos facing in opposite directions.
Neither chess nor cooking nor crime-detection is inherently spectacular. Philidor and the Café de la Régence masters made chess spectacular by playing several games at once without looking at any of the chessboards. They did not invent simultaneous blindfold play: Three-game demonstrations given by an Arab visiting Florence in the thirteenth century, by a Syracusan in the sixteenth century, and by an Italian in the early eighteenth century are mentioned in writings of their contemporaries. What Philidor, Labourdonnais, and Kieseritzky did was to translate something eccentric into something central, to make an obscure achievement into a public spectacle and to establish it as a continuous tradition that has persisted for two centuries.
Carême made cooking spectacular by disregarding the old rule that whatever a chef sent to the dining table, with the exception of containers, should be food. He made his four-foot models of classical temples, Gothic towers, Indian pavilions, Chinese pagodas, and Turkish fountains not out of the pastry cook’s traditional pastillage (“paste”) of gum tragacanth, wa-ter, sugar, and powdered starch, which are all edible ingredients, but out of a mastic (cement or putty) of gum arabic, gum tragacanth, water, sugar, powdered starch, calcium carbonate, and marble shavings! “Finally, after having made several experiments in this matter, I succeeded in compounding this mastic, out of which I constructed, nine years ago, two large trophies, which are intact today, and still as splendid as they were on the first day.”  Carême’s inedible edifices formed the centerpiece of what amounted to a whole program for making a spectacle out of cooking, which included increasing the number and variety of dishes served in each course, piling up garnishes on top of large roasts and whole fish with the help of hâtelets, and commissioning serving implements with neoclassical ornamentation designed by himself. Carême made his preparations less to sate the stomach than to dilate the eye.
Vidocq, who as a youth had worked for the physicien Comus, strove to make a spectacle out of crime-detection. He preferred to arrest suspects in a crowded tavern, bursting in suddenly with a group of Sûreté agents and shouting orders, than to apprehend them in a less risky but more isolated location. He liked to appear at Bicêtre for the ceremonial chaining of recent convicts at the start of their long march to the galleys, a semiannual event that drew as many as a hundred thousand spectators to this suburb of Paris for a day of edifying Schadenfreude, particularly piquant for Vidocq, since twice in his earlier life he had been among the participants, whom he now took the opportunity to berate publicly. In courtroom trials, Vidocq stole the show from the lawyers, using the witness box as a stage from which to recount his feats as a detective. He finally got his chance to appear on a real stage at the age of seventy when he gave demonstrations of his disguises and other detective apparatus for two seasons at a London exhibition hall. But it was only with the creation of the detective story, out of Vidocq’s career and his account of it in his Mémoires, among other materials, that a largely private activity could be approximated to a spectacle.
The necessity or desirability of appealing to the public led to spectacularism in politics, theater, art, science, technology, automaton-building, musical performance, chess, cooking, crime-detection, and many other social activities. Spectacularism involved emphasizing those aspects of an activity that had intrinsic immediate eye- or ear-appeal or adding extrinsic features to an activity to give it that appeal. An institution specifically designed for appeals to the public—that is, for publicity—already existed. Not surprisingly, the prodigious progress of publicization and spectacularism was accompanied by a commensurate development of the press, a development that can only be described as spectacular.
Spectacles and publicity both involve making something public: the former, deeds; the latter, ideas. The French Revolution had a close association with publicity since its end was to make government public and since it came about in large part through the conquest of public opinion, through a publicity campaign. Signs of an important historical development lie in the evolution of the meaning of the word publicité from “the characteristic of that which is public” or “the act of bringing to public knowledge” in the eighteenth century to “the act or art of producing a psychological effect on the public for commercial purposes” in the first half of the nineteenth century. Equally significant is the evolution of publiciste from écrivain politique, or writer on political subjects, in the middle of the eighteenth century, to journaliste, or writer of articles on political and other public events, at the end of the eighteenth century, to agent de publicité, or advertiser of public events and commercial products, in the twentieth century. These two words were imported into English as “publicity” and “publicist” during the French Revolution. The French publishing industry erupted in 1789, the beginning of the Revolution and also the beginning of a permanently increased outpouring of ephemera whose reports and advertisements of public spectacles increased the quantity of the latter in turn.
This intellectual debris has been measured. Only around 310 different pamphlets were published in France in the thirteen years between 1774 and 1786, while around 220 were published in 1787 alone, 820 in 1788, 3,300 in 1789, 3,120 in 1790, 1,920 in 1791, 1,290 in 1792,…for a total of more than 13,000 different pamphlets in the thirteen years between 1787 and 1799. Similarly, only around 30 periodicals, consisting mainly of newspapers and reviews, were being published in Paris in the 1770s, while around 250 new periodicals began publication in Paris in 1789 alone, 350 in 1790, 110 in 1791, 120 in 1792, etc. But let us leave out the tumultuous late 1780s and early 1790s and look at the long-term trend. France’s first daily newspaper, the Journal de Paris, began to appear in 1777; France had eight daily newspapers in 1818, thirteen in 1827, and twenty-six in 1846. Before 1789, the French newspaper with the largest distribution, the Gazette de France, had a weekly circulation of 12,000. In 1803 the Journal des débats had a daily circulation of 16,000. In 1846 the Siècle had a daily circulation of more than 30,000, and the twenty-six dailies together had a circulation of 180,000.
The initial eruption consisted principally of political works. The Moniteur universel and the Journal des débats, the two daily newspapers with quasi-official status, the first by virtue of its completeness, the second by virtue of its impartiality, both began to appear in 1789 and both continued on uninterrupted into the Third Republic. The vast majority of the periodicals and pamphlets of the Revolution were short-lived and openly partisan, however. Through their publications, several partisan pamphleteers and journalists became important people who influenced the course of the Revolution. Abbé Siéyès’s pamphlet Qu’est-ce que c’est le tiers état? (What Is the Third Estate?) helped to precipitate the formation of the first legislative body of the Revolution, the National Assembly. Jean-Paul Marat’s incendiary L’Ami du peuple (The Friend of the People), published thrice weekly, contributed to the ignition of the Reign of Terror. Jacques Hébert’s irregularly appearing Père Duchesne (Mr. Earthy) spoke to the lower classes in their vernacular and encouraged their active participation in the Revolution. In contrast, the royalist Antoine Rivarol was just as unsuccessful with his thrice-weekly Journal politique national in saving the king’s head as he had earlier been with his pamphlets in promoting Abbé Mical’s talking heads and their mechanical salutation, “Vive le roi!”
The numerous political pamphlets and periodicals of the Revolution publicized its spectacles. They informed their readers of plans for various public events from fêtes to executions, and then after the events had taken place reported on how they had gone. Both the partisan publicists, with their excerpts and paraphrases of the speeches of party leaders, and the Moniteur and the Débats, with their presentation of both sides of a debate, promoted oratory. The Imprimerie Nationale (National Printing Office), established in 1791 for the purpose of publishing the legislation and official reports of the assemblies, also sometimes published the text of a speech, when the representatives of an assembly voted to award one of their number the signal honor of publicizing his contribution to the oratorical spectacle.
Popular prints made from woodcuts, engravings, and etchings and reproduced on single-sheet broadsides, whether for political or commercial ends, may have done the most to publicize the spectacles of the Revolution. Thousands of different prints were published, each of them in hundreds or thousands of copies. Through prints made from copies of paintings by Jacques-Louis David and widely distributed, his image of “Le Serment du Jeu de paume” and “Marat assassiné” became everybody’s image of those spectacles of oratory and blood, respectively. During the Reign of Terror, the Committee of Public Safety charged David with commissioning caricatures for propaganda purposes and having them printed in large numbers. David not only procured caricatures from other artists but contributed several of his own to this publicity campaign. He was the Revolution’s image-maker, pageant-master, and P.R. director.
The dictator Napoleon understood the importance of public opinion better than any elected official did: “Public opinion is an invisible, mysterious power that is irresistible; nothing is more fickle, more nebulous, or more powerful.” As a result, he put a lot of energy into trying to control public opinion, by actively publicizing his own views and by keeping others from publicizing theirs. In 1800 he reduced the number of Paris newspapers that reported on politics, as most of them did, from more than seventy-five to thirteen, and in 1811 to four. He also compelled the survivors to print only favorable accounts of him and his activities. He assigned topics to journalists, outlined articles for them, and even dictated whole articles himself. His masterpieces were his Bulletins de la Grande Armée, reports from the battlefield designed for civilian consumption, many of them accounts of victories, colorful, overstated, and widely disseminated. His armies were powerful, but they seemed greater than they were because of something even more powerful, the press.
France’s political leaders taught ambitious individuals in other fields valuable lessons about publicity. First, accounts and pictures of current events had a large and growing audience. Second, that audience was influenced by what it read and saw. Third, the beneficiaries of that influence were not only the actors in the current events presented but also their presenters, the authors and artists. These lessons did not go unheeded. After Napoleon’s fall in 1814, new, suspended, and underground periodicals began to emerge again, so that Paris had 150 periodicals by 1818, 350 by 1835, and 500 by 1860.
Before the Revolution, only a few special-interest groups had had their own periodicals, for instance the lawyers’ Journal du Palais (Journal of the Palace of Justice), dating from 1672. As of 1827 the law and the courts were receiving, in addition to the irregular attention of the newspapers, regular coverage by ten specialized journals. Vidocq’s trials figured prominently in at least two of them, the Gazette des tribunaux and the Observateur des tribunaux, and Vidocq himself received sympathetic treatment there.
The first French music periodicals just printed written music. The third quarter of the eighteenth century brought brief runs of journals containing learned essays. Then came the Almanach musical of 1775–83, which told Parisians when and where to find what music, performed and written. Almanacs were annuals, had their information organized according to the cycle of the year, and dated from the germination of printing, originally serving as guides for planting, harvesting, and other agricultural activities. F.-J. Fétis’s Revue musicale initiated regular reviews of Paris concerts. The Revue musicale, founded in 1827, the Gazette musicale de Paris, founded in 1834, and the merged Revue et gazette musicale de Paris, formed in 1835, gave substantial publicity to the concerts of Paganini and Liszt.
Grimod de La Reynière’s Almanach des gourmands (1803–12) may have been the very first gastronomic periodical. In fact, the words gastronomie, gastronome, gastronomique and their English copies, although based on Greek roots, gaster (stomach) and nomos (law), were not coined until the beginning of the nineteenth century. Grimod’s almanacs told what time of the year specific foods became available in Paris and also provided information about the restaurants and food shops of the capital. His Jury Dégustateur (Jury of Tasters) sampled dishes prepared in various Paris establishments and then either awarded or withheld from them a légitimation. This signified something like “legitimate,” or “according to law,” and perhaps made a certain amount of sense in that gastronomy was the “law of the stomach,” and that these gastronomes seem to have considered themselves its lawgivers. Carême, however, did not approve of the idea of culinary amateurs such as Grimod appointing themselves lawgivers to professionals: “Doubtless he had some good influence on culinary matters, but he played no part in the rapid progress which modern cuisine has made since the renaissance of the art.”  Grimod’s almanacs did much to publicize haute cuisine, but Carême was not among the practitioners he singled out for special praise.
Labourdonnais produced the first chess periodical in Europe, perhaps in the world, with his monthly Palamède (1836–40). When he died, Saint-Amant, who succeeded him as champion of the Café de la Régence, put out a second series of the Palamède (1841–47). When Saint-Amant went into retirement, Kieseritzky became the leading player in the café and the editor of a new chess journal, La Régence (1849–51). This succession of dual titles, champion and editor, reveals the final step in the development of the special-interest periodical into an organ of publicity, a development that proceeded from the learned journal or informational almanac to the opinionated review, with the power to make and unmake reputations, to the ambitious practitioner’s megaphone, an instrument of self-promotion.
The Age of Revolution was the infancy of special-interest periodicals as well as of national republics. Labourdonnais expressed satisfaction at having 263 subscribers to the Palamède; he judged 120 sufficient for survival. The Revue musicale had 223 subscribers in 1832. To judge from these figures, special-interest periodicals might seem to have had only lim-ited publicity power. But issues could be found in cafés, reading rooms, and other public spaces where they had multiple readers. And their readers tended to be people active and influential in the specialty; many of the readers of the Revue musicale, for example, were professional musicians, who not only satisfied but also guided the taste of Paris concert-goers. In any case, the novelty and range of special-interest periodicals in Paris during the Age of Revolution testify to the breadth of the emerging belief in the power of publicity.
Publicity for the spectacles of virtuosity was not limited to specialinterest periodicals. Announcements, reviews, and descriptions of these spectacles also appeared in general-interest magazines, newspapers, broadsheets, pamphlets, and books. Advertisements for, and admiring reports of, Philidor’s simultaneous blindfold exhibitions in London appeared in many newspapers and magazines, including The London Chronicle, The Morning Post, The Sporting Magazine, The Times, and The World. Joseph Méry, coeditor with Labourdonnais of Le Palamède and a prolific author, published a long poem about Labourdonnais’s victory over MacDonnell in the 1834 international championship match, comparing Labourdonnais to Napoleon in Une Revanche de Waterloo (A Revenge for Waterloo). An Irish travel writer, Lady Sydney Owenson Morgan, published two books about France, the first of which, France in 1829–30, contains a precious description of a dinner prepared by Carême, at the end of which the host, M. Rothschild, “pointed to a column of the most ingenious confectionary architecture, on which my name was inscribed in spun sugar.” Heinrich Heine evoked the ephemeral quality of music through evanescent effigies:
Heine’s verbal caprice on a performance by Paganini appeared in the Revue des deux mondes, an influential review of literature, politics, and the arts, which later in the same year, 1836, published a travel piece by George Sand containing a fantasia on a performance by Liszt.
His body was resplendent with virile power; a powder-blue robe draped his noble limbs; his mane of black hair flowed over his shoulders in shining curls. He stood erect, firmly and confidently, like the statue of a god, and played the violin; it seemed as if all creation moved to his chords. He was the man-planet around whom the universe revolved to a celestial rhythm in a solemn ceremony. Were the beautiful calm lights that soared around him the stars of heaven? Was the sonorous harmony that radiated with their motion the music of the spheres, of which poets and seers have spoken in their visions?
The Moniteur’s report of Robert-Houdin’s show in Algeria brings us back to reality and to politics, the hard reality of colonial politics, which however was less Realpolitik than Phantasiepolitik. The report illustrates the presence of both publicity and spectacle in politics and demonstrates not only, as a report, the publicizing of a spectacle but also, in its report, the publicity power inherent in a spectacle:
The arrival of an extraordinary man working miracles had been announced in advance to the Arabs. When everything had been prepared for his expériences, the marabouts were not the least prompt to arrive. The efforts they had made to discredit this formidable competitor in the minds of their dupes would make the surprising things that were about to confound their understanding even more impressive.
It was no longer a matter of diverting and refreshing a curious and benevolent public; it was necessary to strike hard and true on crude imaginations and prejudiced minds.
On the day chosen for this astonishing expérience, the assembly was numerous. A fanatic marabout had consented to put himself in the hands of the sorcerer. He was asked to stand on a table, where he was covered with a transparent piece of gauze. Then Robert-Houdin and another person picked up opposite ends of the table and the Arab disappeared in the middle of a cloud of smoke.
At the sight of this, all the spectators fled tumultuously from the hall.…Finally, one of them, less terrified than his comrades, stopped them and said it was imperative to see what had become of the marabout. They retraced their steps and were not a little surprised to find him again safe and sound near the hall where the expérience had taken place. Pressed with questions, he told them that he had been as if drunk, unable to recall anything and unaware of how he had come to be where he was.
Today the marabouts have fallen into complete disrepute among the natives. On the other hand, the celebrated prestidigitator is an object of admiration for them.
As Robert-Houdin’s Algerian show indicates, a stage performance could be, in addition to a spectacle, a vehicle of publicity. Balzac’s play Vautrin, whose eponymous protagonist and his adventures were widely known to have been based on Vidocq and his adventures, gave publicity to that detective. The play Paganini en Allemagne, which was written and performed in Paris shortly after Paganini made his début there, gave publicity to that violinist. The play La Czarine, whose plot was much concerned with the famous automaton chess player, a copy of which was made for the play by Robert-Houdin, gave publicity to that mechanician. Conversely, a page could be a stage, when depictions immediately vivid to the mind’s eye of readers reproduced performances immediately striking to the eye or ear of audiences. Like theaters, printing presses are a kind of public space. Thus, while in many cases publications encouraged spectacles by giving publicity to them, they could also substitute for them.
Vidocq tried in various ways to make a spectacle of detection, but with limited success, because many feats of detection, although inherently spectacular, are necessarily performed in the absence of an audience. In order for them to become a spectacle, they had to be reenacted on the stage or translated into printed words. Vidocq did the first with his London exhibition of thieves’ tools, his own disguises, and himself, and the second with his Mémoires. Vidocq used his Mémoires to present his adventures as spectacles and to publicize them. The book sold fifty thousand copies within a year of its appearance, for its time a huge readership, or better, audience. This was how detection became if not a true spectacle at least a pseudo-spectacle. The surge that the Revolution’s discharge of the press gave to the proliferation of spectacles was short-circuited in this case, so that the means of publicity lit itself up instead of lighting up a spectacle separate from itself; the publication substituted for the spectacle.
Republicanizing, performing in front of an audience, and publishing all began as efforts to bring something to the public. During the Age of Revolution, individuals in a broad range of occupations—in politics, theater, and the press as well as in chess, cooking, crime-detection, musical performance, and automaton-building—brought things to the Parisian public at a rapidly accelerating pace. Eventually the quantity of offerings made to the public reached royal proportions. For the ambitious, the effort became less one of bringing their offerings to the public than one of attracting the sovereign public’s attention. Many, the virtuosos conspicuous among them, attracted the public by magnifying the eye-catching or ear-catching aspects of their offerings. Publicization gave way to spectacle-making and to publicity, which often supported spectacle-making and sometimes substituted for it. That is how ended the reign of kings and the legally privileged and how began the reign of the public and its courtiers.
All translations of quotations from other languages into English are the author’s unless otherwise noted.
1. Louis-Sébastien Mercier, The Picture of Paris before and after the Revolution, trans. Wilfrid and Emilie Jackson (London: Routledge, 1929), p. 179; this work consists of excerpts from Mercier’s Tableau de Paris and Nouveau Paris. [BACK]
2. Maurice Albert, Les Théâtres des boulevards (1789–1848) (Geneva: Slatkine, 1969; reprint of Paris ed., 1902), p. 71. [BACK]
3. Alexis de Tocqueville, L’Ancien Régime et la Révolution, 2 vols. (Paris: Gallimard, 1952–53), vol. 1, pp. 95–96. [BACK]
4. Mornet, Origines intellectuelles de la Révolution française, pp. 1–2. [BACK]
5. Other historians have different terms for and somewhat different conceptions of the eighteenth-century development that is referred to here as the “publicization of critical discourse.”
Mornet (1933), as noted, provides much evidence of publicization, but refers to it only as “diffusion générale”; ibid., passim.
Augustin Cochin, La Révolution et la libre-pensée (Paris: Plon, 1924), distinguishes a campaign to “susciter une opinion publique” by “les sociétés de pensée” (p. xxx), a campaign he calls “la socialisation de la pensée” (title of the book’s first section).
Jürgen Habermas, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere: An Inquiry into a Category of Bourgeois Society, trans. Thomas Burger and Frederick Lawrence (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1989; first published 1962), chap. 3, discusses “the genesis of the bourgeois public sphere [bürgerliche Öffentlichkeit].”
Keith Michael Baker, “Public opinion as political invention,” in Inventing the French Revolution: Essays on French Political Culture in the Eighteenth Century (Cambridge, Eng.: Cambridge University Press, 1990), p. 172, writes: “‘Public opinion’ took form as a political or ideological construct, rather than as a discrete sociological referent.”
Roger Chartier, The Cultural Origins of the French Revolution, trans. Lydia G. Cochrane (Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 1991; first published 1990), p. 19, cites “the emergence of a new conceptual and social reality: public opinion.”
Arlette Farge, Subversive Words: Public Opinion in Eighteenth-Century France, trans. Rosemary Morris (University Park, Penn.: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1995; first published 1992), p. 198, concludes, “Something was emerging, something firm and solid: quite simply, the right to know and to judge, the right to expect the king to divulge his secrets.”
None of these historians, however, shows an interest in the general process of things becoming public. They all focus their attention on the formation of public opinion in politics. (Mornet and Habermas also devote some attention to the formation of public opinion in the arts, as a forerunner of public opinion in politics.) Thus their study of public things is twice narrowed, first to opinion and second to political opinion. And the development they trace is the formation of a new thing, whereas the development traced here is the transformation of old things, with, to be sure, novel consequences. [BACK]
6. Roland Mousnier and Ernest Labrousse, Histoire générale des civilisations, vol. 5, Le XVIIIe siècle, l’époque des “lumières” (1715–1815) (Paris: P.U.F., 1959), p. 121. [BACK]
7. Hillairet, Dictionnaire historique, vol. 1, pp. 294–96, 297–98, 577, 582; vol. 2, pp. 76, 602; Marie-Blanche d’Arneville, “Jardins,” in Dictionnaire Napoléon, p. 964. [BACK]
8. Mornet, Origines intellectuelles de la Révolution française, pp. 306, 314–15. Mornet cites the proliferation of various kinds of social spaces in support of his thesis tracing the Revolution back to “la diffusion des idées nouvelles.” Similarly, Cochin cites the proliferation of various kinds of “sociétés de pensée” in support of his thesis tracing the Revolution back to the common organizational form of these social spaces; Cochin, La Révolution et la libre-pensée, pp. xxviii–xxxvii. But neither Cochin’s conception of “la socialisation de la pensée” nor Mornet’s conception of “la diffusion des idées nouvelles” resembles the conception of “publicization” presented here. [BACK]
9. On the fairs: Fournel, Vieux Paris, chap. 3; Maurice Albert, Les Théâtres de la foire (1660–1789) (Geneva: Slatkine, 1969; reprint of Paris ed., 1900), passim; Marian Hannah Winter, “Le Spectacle forain,” in Histoire des spectacles, ed. Guy Dumur (Paris: Pléiade, 1965), pp. 1435–60; Isherwood, Farce and Fantasy, chaps. 2, 6. On the Boulevard du Temple: Fournel, Vieux Paris, chap. 4; Albert, Théâtres des boulevards, passim; Marian Hannah Winter, The Theatre of Marvels, trans. Charles Meldon (New York: Blom, 1964), passim; Michèle Root-Bernstein, Boulevard Theater and Revolution in Eighteenth-Century Paris (Ann Arbor, Mich.: University Microfilms International, 1984), passim; Isherwood, Farce and Fantasy, chap. 7. On the Palais-Royal: Saint-Marc and Boubonne, Chroniques du Palais-Royal, passim; Hillairet, Dictionnaire historique, vol. 2, pp. 219–22; Berthier de Sauvigny, Nouvelle histoire de Paris, pp. 379–82; Isherwood, Farce and Fantasy, chap. 8. [BACK]
10. On some theaters paying the Opéra to extend its privilège: Isherwood, Farce and Fantasy, chap. 4. See also Root-Bernstein, Boulevard Theater and Revolution, pp. 45 (some theaters ignored the Opéra’s privilège), 57–62 (some theaters paid the Opéra to extend its privilège), 201 (number of Paris theaters); Nicolas Brazier, Chroniques des petits théâtres de Paris, 2 vols. (Geneva: Slatkine, 1971; reprint of Paris ed., 1883; first published in Paris, 1837), vol. 1, chap. entitled “Théâtre de l’Ambigu-Comique” (some theaters exploited loopholes in the Opéra’s privilège); vol. 2, pp. 295–302 (amateur theater in eighteenth-century Paris). On attendance at the Comédie-Française beginning to set records in the 1760s: John Lough, Paris Theatre Audiences in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1957), pp. 174, 272–73. On the opening of forty-five new theaters during the Revolution: Theodore Zeldin, France 1848–1945, 2 vols. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1973–77), vol. 2, p. 709. [BACK]
11. For population figures: Chandler and Fox, Three Thousand Years of Urban Growth, pp. 17–20; Chevalier, Laboring Classes and Dangerous Classes, pp. 181–82. On public reading rooms: Zeldin, France 1848–1945, vol. 2, p. 355. On public bathtubs: Erwin H. Ackerknecht, Medicine at the Paris Hospital, 1794–1848 (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1967), p. 151. [BACK]
12. For the eighteenth-century café counts: Mornet, Origines intellectuelles de la Révolution française, pp. 281–82. For the 1807 café count: Prudhomme, Miroir historique, vol. 1, p. 283. For Philidor’s observation: Twiss, Chess, vol. 1, p. 150. [BACK]
13. For the 1789 and 1803 restaurant counts: Grimod de la Reynière, Almanach des gourmands, vol. 1, p. 163. For the 1820 restaurant count: Zeldin, France 1848–1945, vol. 2, p. 739. For the patisserie count: Carême, Pâtissier royal parisien, 2d ed., vol. 1, pp. xli–xliii. [BACK]
14. Isherwood, Farce and Fantasy, pp. 89–101; Brenet, Concerts en France, pp. 115–16, 130–33, 356–82; Young, “Concert,” in New Grove Dictionary, vol. 4, p. 617. [BACK]
15. Cochin, La Révolution et la libre-pensée, pp. xxviii–xxxvii; François Furet, Interpreting the French Revolution, trans. Elborg Forster (Cambridge, Eng.: Cambridge University Press, 1981), pp. 187–91; Chartier, Cultural Origins of the French Revolution, pp. 16–17. [BACK]
16. Daniel Ligou et al., Histoire des Francs-maçons en France (Toulouse: Privat, 1981), pp. 29, 67, 79–80, 164–66. [BACK]
17. Cochin argues that in a “pure democracy,” whether of a “société de pensée,” of a national government such as France had in 1793–94, or of any other sort, there will always develop a division of the people into two unequal groups, a small active group and a large passive group, a few “effective militants” and “flocks of adherents.” Similarly, the present study suggests that in the publicization of an activity there often develops a division of people into performers and spectators. Cochin, La Révolution et la libre-pensée, p. 5. [BACK]
18. Mona Ozouf, La Fête révolutionnaire, 1789–1799 (Paris: Gallimard, 1976), pp. 20, 38–40. [BACK]
19. Jean-Jacques Rousseau, “J. J. Rousseau, citoyen de Genève, à M. d’Alembert sur son article ‘Genève’ dans le septième volume de l’Encyclopédie ” (generally called “Lettre à d’Alembert sur les spectacles”), in Oeuvres complètes de J. J. Rousseau, 17 vols. (Paris: Armand-Aubrée, 1830–33), vol. 1, pp. 405 n (first quotation), 395 (second quotation). See also Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Les Rêveries d’un promeneur solitaire, in Oeuvres complètes (Pléiade ed.), vol. 1, p. 1085. [BACK]
20. David Lloyd Dowd, Pageant-Master of the Republic: Jacques-Louis David and the French Revolution (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1948), passim (“Triomphe de Voltaire,” pp. 46–53); Anon., Collection complète des tableaux historiques de la Révolution française, 3 vols. (Paris: Auber, an X (1802)), vol. 1, tableau 55, facing p. 220, “Triomphe de Voltaire.” [BACK]
21. F[rançois-Victor]-A[lphonse] Aulard, Les Orateurs de la Législative et de la Convention, 2 vols. (Paris: Hachette, 1885–86), vol. 1, pp. 6–8, 28–40; [Louis-] Sébastien Mercier, Paris pendant la Révolution, ou Le nouveau Paris, 2 vols. (abr., Paris: Poulet-Malassis, 1862; first published Paris, 1798), vol. 1, pp. 275–80. [BACK]
22. Pierre de Vaissière, La Mort du roi (21 janvier 1793) (Paris: Perrin, 1910), pp. 61, 90, 129. [BACK]
23. E. J. Delécluze, Louis David, son école et son temps (Paris: Macula, 1983; reprint, with plates added, of Paris ed., 1855), 12th unnumbered page of plates between pp. 264 and 265. [BACK]
24. [Louis-Antoine Fauvelet] de Bourrienne, Mémoires de M. de Bourrienne, ministre d’État, sur Napoléon, le Directoire, le Consulat, l’Empire, et la Restauration, 10 vols. (Paris: Ladvocat, 1829), vol. 3, p. 214. See also the quotation of Heinrich Heine in chapter 4 of this volume, p. 153. [BACK]
25. Las Cases, Mémorial de Sainte-Hélène, vol. 1, pp. 403–4; vol. 2, p. 408. [BACK]
26. Paul Ginisty, Mémoires d’une danseuse de corde: Mme Saqui (1786–1866) (Paris: Charpentier and Fasquelle, 1907), chaps. 6, 7, 8 (the quotation is on p. 86). [BACK]
27. Marie-Antoinette Allevy, La Mise-en-scène en France dans la première moitié du XIXe siècle (Geneva: Slatkine, 1976; reprint of Paris ed., 1938), pp. 2, 22, 63, 114–15; Gautier, Histoire de l’art dramatique, vol. 2, p. 175. [BACK]
28. Winter, Theatre of Marvels, pp. 57 (first quotation), 176 (second quotation), chap. 9; Michèle Richet, “Le Cirque” and Tristan Rémy, “Le Mime,” in Histoire des spectacles, pp. 1520–29 and 1493–1509, respectively. [BACK]
29. Allevy, Mise-en-scène en France, pp. 44–45 (panoramas), 59, chap. 4 (Diorama); E[tienne] G[aspard] Robertson, Mémoires récréatifs, scientifiques et anecdotiques du physicien-aéronaute E. G. Robertson, 2 vols. (Paris: Roret, 1840), vol. 1, chaps. 9, 11, 12, 13 (Fantasmagorie). [BACK]
30. On Robertson: Robertson, Mémoires récréatifs, scientifiques et anecdotiques, vol. 1, chap. 10; Anon., “Robertson,” in Biographie universelle et portative, vol. 4, pp. 1122–23; L. Louvet, “Robertson,” in Nouvelle biographie générale, vol. 42, cols. 393–95; Fournel, Vieux Paris, pp. 267–71.
On Comus: Labouderie, “Ledru,” in Biographie universelle ancienne et moderne, [1st ed.], vol. 23, p. 538; Anon., “Ledru,” in Biographie universelle et portative, vol. 3, p. 227; L. Louvet, “Ledru,” in Nouvelle biographie générale, vol. 30, cols. 269–71; Campardon, “Comus,” in Spectacles de la foire, vol. 1, pp. 214–15; Jean Torlais, “Un Prestidigitateur célèbre chef de service d’électrothérapie au XVIIIe siècle, Ledru dit Comus (1731–1807),” Histoire de la médecine 5, no. 2 (February 1955): 13–25; Isherwood, Farce and Fantasy, pp. 200–201.
On Mesmer: Stefan Zweig, Mental Healers: Franz Anton Mesmer, Mary Baker Eddy, Sigmund Freud, trans. Eden and Cedar Paul (New York: Viking, 1932); Robert Darnton, Mesmerism and the End of the Enlightenment (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1968).
On Cuvier: Baron [Georges] Cuvier, Discours sur les révolutions de la surface du globe (Brussels: Culture et civilisation, 1969; reprint of 3d ed., Paris, 1825), pp. 98–99, as well as several other places in the same section of the text; Charles Coulton Gillispie, The Edge of Objectivity: An Essay in the History of Scientific Ideas (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1960), p. 277; William Coleman, Gerges Cuvier, Zoologist (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1964), unnumbered page of illustrations between pp. 20 and 21; Dorinda Outram, Georges Cuvier: Vocation, Science, and Authority in Post-Revolutionary France (Manchester, Eng.: Manchester University Press, 1984), pp. 177–81 [BACK]
31. [Etienne Gaspard] Robertson, La Minerve, vaisseau aërien destiné aux découvertes, et proposé à toutes les académies de l’Europe (Paris: Hocquet, 1820), pp. 30–32. [BACK]
32. Colmont, Histoire des expositions des produits, pp. 7–8, 23, 29, 44, 317; on p. 8, Colmont calls the industrial exposition a spectacle. [BACK]
33. Fétis, “Sax,” in Biographie universelle des musiciens, vol. 7, pp. 416–19. [BACK]
34. On Paganini’s making his audience wait: Harrys, Paganini in seinem Reisewagen und Zimmer, p. 54; Sugden, Niccolo Paganini: Supreme Violinist or Devil’s Fiddler? sketch on p. 79. The sources of the quotations: Bull, “Violin Notes,” in Ole Bull, a Memoir, pp. 374–76; Heine, “Saison musicale, Paris, 25 avril 1844,” in Lutèce, pp. 223–24; Robert-Houdin, Comment on devient sorcier, p. 29; Anon., “Chronique musicale,” L’Illustration; journal universel hebdomadaire 3, no. 64 (18 May 1844): 188. [BACK]
35. Walker, “Chess, without the Chess-Board,” Fraser’s Magazine 21, no. 123, pp. 305–7. [BACK]
36. On Carême’s mastic: Marie-Antonin Carême, Le Pâtissier pittoresque, 1st ed. (Paris: Firmin Didot, 1815), pp. 24–26. On traditional pastillage: Montagné, Larousse Gastronomique, p. 670. [BACK]
37. The word physicien, it may be recalled, was doubly ambiguous. First, it could refer to either a physician or a physicist; second, with regard to physicist, it could refer to either a physical scientist or an entertainer who made use of recent discoveries in physical science in his entertainments. Comus, holder of the titles “physician to the king” and “tutor of physics to the children of the king,” published researcher, and boulevard showman, filled all of these bills. On Comus, see note 30 in this chapter. [BACK]
38. For an example of Vidocq’s making arrests in a crowded tavern: Vidocq, Mémoires, pp. 355–56. On Vidocq and the chaining ceremony at Bicêtre: ibid., pp. 146–48, 184–85, 404–7; Paul Bru, Histoire de Bicêtre (Paris: Les Bureaux du Progrès, 1890), p. 89; Gordon Wright, Between the Guillotine and Liberty: Two Centuries of the Crime Problem in France (New York: Oxford University Press, 1983), p. 70. For examples of Vidocq in the witness box: Le Moniteur universel, 18 March 1824, p. 309; Roch, “Procès de Vidocq,” Observateur des tribunaux 11, pp. 209–344, section entitled “Interrogatoire de Vidocq.” [BACK]
39. On the etymology of publicité: Paul Robert and Alain Rey, Le Grand Robert, dictionnaire de la langue française, 9 vols. (Paris: Robert, 1985), vol. 7, p. 890; Alain Rey and J. Rey-Debove, eds., Le Petit Robert, dictionnaire alphabétique et analogique de la langue française (Paris: Robert, 1988), p. 1563. On the etymology of publiciste: Aulard, Orateurs de la Législative et de la Convention, vol. 1, p. 49; Trésor de la langue française, dictionnaire de la langue du XIXe et du XXe siècle (1789–1960), 17 vols. to date (Paris: C.N.R.S., 1971–<$f$>), vol. 14, p. 13; Robert and Rey, Grand Robert, vol. 7, p. 890. On the etymology of “publicity” and “publicist”: J. A. Simpson and E. S. C. Weiner, eds., The Oxford English Dictionary, 2d ed., 20 vols. (Oxford: Clarendon, 1989), vol. 12, pp. 782–83. [BACK]
40. On the pamphlet counts: Antoine de Baecque, “Pamphlets: Libel and Political Mythology,” in Revolution in Print: The Press in France, 1775–1800, ed. Robert Darnton and Daniel Roche (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1989), pp. 165–66. See also Eugène Hatin, Bibliographie historique et critique de la presse périodique française (Torino: Erasmo, 1960; reprint of 1st ed., Paris, 1866), pp. xci, 200–238 (periodical counts), xci–xcii (daily newspaper counts and circulation figures). On the circulation of La Gazette de France: Claude Bellanger et al., Histoire générale de la presse française, 5 vols. (Paris: P.U.F., 1969–76), vol. 1, p. 199. [BACK]
41. Aulard, Orateurs de la Législative et de la Convention, vol. 1, pp. 8–17. The Moniteur did not become the official government newspaper until 1800. [BACK]
42. Rolf Reichardt, “Prints: Images of the Bastille,” in Revolution in Print, pp. 223–51; F[rançois-Victor]-A[lphonse] Aulard, “L’Art et la politique en l’an II,” in Études et leçons sur la Révolution française, 9 vols. (Paris: Alcan, 1893–1924), vol. 1, pp. 264–67; Dowd, Pageant-Master of the Republic, pp. 136–37. [BACK]
43. The source of Napoleon’s quotation: Las Cases, Mémorial de Sainte-Hélène, vol. 1, p. 252. On Napoleon’s reduction of newspapers: André Cabanis, La Presse sous le Consulat et l’Empire (1799–1814) (Paris: Société des Études Robespierristes, 1975), pp. 13, 36, 41. See also Robert B. Holtman, Napoleonic Propaganda (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1950), pp. 61–62 (assignments to journalists), 92–96 (battlefield bulletins); André Cabanis, “Presse,” and François Monnier, “Propagande,” in Dictionnaire Napoléon,pp. 1402–4 and 1406–11, respectively. [BACK]
44. Hatin, Bibliographie historique et critique, pp. xci–xcii. [BACK]
45. Ibid., pp. lxix, xcii. [BACK]
46. Imogen Fellinger, “Periodicals,” in New Grove Dictionary, vol. 14, pp. 414–15; Hatin, Bibliographie historique et critique, p. lxx. [BACK]
47. Trésor de la langue française, vol. 9, pp. 113–14; Simpson and Weiner, eds., Oxford English Dictionary, vol. 6, p. 391. [BACK]
48. Carême, Cuisinier parisien, p. 30. [BACK]
49. Hooper and Whyld, Oxford Companion to Chess, p. 245; Peter Bloom, “A Review of Fétis’s Revue musicale, ” in Music in Paris in the 1830s, ed. Peter Bloom (Stuyvesant, N.Y.: Pendragon, 1987), p. 72. [BACK]
50. Lady Sydney Owenson Morgan, France in 1829–30 (London: Saunders and Otley, 1830), excerpted in Lady Sydney Owenson Morgan, Lady Morgan in France, ed. Elizabeth Suddaby and Philip John Yarrow (Newcastle upon Tyne: Oriel, 1971), pp. 234–38; Henri [Heinrich] Heine, “Les Nuits florentines,” La Revue des deux mondes, 4th ser., 6 (15 April 1836): 224–26 (help with the translation from Heinrich Heine, The Works of Heinrich Heine, trans. Charles Godfrey Leland, 20 vols. [New York: Croscup and Sterling, n.d.], vol. 1, pp. 41–43); George Sand, “Lettres d’un voyageur. VII.,” La Revue des deux mondes, 4th ser., 8 (15 November 1836): 407–44. [BACK]
51. “Faits divers,” Le Moniteur universel, 9 October 1857, p. 1108. [BACK]
52. Vautrin, by Balzac, was performed at the Théâtre Porte-Saint-Martin in March 1840; Paganini en Allemagne, by Desvergers and Varin, was performed at the Théâtre des Nouveautés in April 1831; La Czarine, by Adenis and Gastineau, was performed at the Théâtre de l’Ambigu-Comique in 1868. [BACK]
53. Samuel Edwards [pseud. of Noel Bertram Gerson], The Vidocq Dossier: The Story of the World’s First Detective (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1977), p. 104. In his article “First Steps toward a History of Reading,” Robert Darnton reminds us how common it was, at least until the end of the eighteenth century, if not later, for books to be read out loud to others rather than silently to oneself: “For most people throughout most of history, books had audiences rather than readers”; Robert Darnton, The Kiss of Lamourette: Reflections in Cultural History (New York: Norton, 1990), p. 169. [BACK]
7. Exalting Technical Skill
In L’Homme machine (Man a Machine, 1748), the philosophe Julien Offroy de La Mettrie theorized that “the human body is a watch, an immense watch, constructed with such skill and ingenuity that if the wheel that tracks the seconds happens to stop, the minute wheel still turns and makes its rounds, just as the hour wheel continues to go, and likewise with all the others when the first wheels, because they are rusty or for any other reason, have stopped.”  La Mettrie’s book is a celebrated argument for materialism, a worldview holding that matter, physical stuff, is the fundamental constituent of the universe. Although commentators disagree as to whether the book should be called famous or notorious, they generally agree that it devalues God and things of the spirit.
But one could with equal justification consider it from the opposite perspective, by looking at what La Mettrie revalues upward. When we consider his philosophy from this perspective, we still see that he regards humans as machines, but we now also see that he does not regard them as mere machines. Rather, he regards them as admirable machines, as the absolute epitome of machinery. Human beings are marvels because they function so well. And whoever or whatever—La Mettrie refuses to choose between God and Nature—designed and constructed these admirable machines is also admirable. He values machine-makers as a class, and God or Nature sits at the head of that class, which includes human beings too. Thus, La Mettrie values humans highly both as machines and as machine-makers, and for their potential in both categories:
Both as machine-makers and as machines, humans rank high on the scale of beings, and certain individuals rank high on the scale of human beings.
If Vaucanson needed more skill to make his Flûteur than to make his Canard, he would have to employ still more to make a Parleur [talker], a machine no longer to be regarded as impossible, especially in the hands of another Prometheus. It was likewise necessary that nature employ even more skill and apparatus in making and sustaining a machine [i.e., a fully endowed human] that could for a whole century indicate all the movements of a heart and a mind; for if the pulse does not tell time, it does at least register warmth and vitality, by which one can judge the nature of the soul.
Naturally La Mettrie’s views were not typical of those of mideighteenth-century Frenchmen, not even those of the philosophes. His opinions were extreme, but examining extreme opinions can often facilitate our perception of the direction of movement of mainstream opinion. The philosophes’ celebration of artisans and inventors and the revolutionaries’ introduction of patents and industrial expositions testified to the increasing value placed on technical skill as expressed in material products. The Encyclopédie’s exposition of accumulated wisdom in terms of the sciences, arts, and manual trades rather than, as was traditional, in terms of theology and philosophy, and Napoleon’s technocratic conception of government testified to the increasing value placed on technical knowledge. And the successive leaps of acrobatism testified to the increasing value placed on technical skill as expressed in bodily exercise. In France in the second half of the eighteenth and first half of the nineteenth century the value of technical expertise, both skill and knowledge, soared like a liberated spirit.
In his “Discours préliminaire” (Preliminary Discourse) to the Encyclopédie, d’Alembert, a highly esteemed mathematician himself, asked:
Beginning with the philosophes’ vindication of artisans and inventors in the middle of the eighteenth century, the French bid up the value of technical skill as expressed in material products. The virtuosos, as craftsmen, designers, and technological innovators, shared in this appreciation.
Why are not those to whom we owe the fusee, the escapement, and the repeating-works of watches esteemed equally with those who have worked successively to perfect algebra? Moreover, if I may believe a few philosophes who have not been deterred from studying the manual arts by the prevailing contempt for them, there are certain machines that are so complicated, and whose parts are all so dependent upon one another, that their invention must almost of necessity have been due to a single man. Is not this rare genius, whose name is shrouded in oblivion, well worthy of being placed beside the small number of creative minds who have opened up new paths for us in the sciences?
For the first volume of the Encyclopédie, d’Alembert not only wrote the “Discours préliminaire” but also contributed the articles “Androïde” (Android) and “Automate” (Automaton). These two articles consist largely of extracts from Vaucanson’s exhibition prospectus, a long extract describing the Flûteur in the case of the first article, shorter extracts describing the Canard and Tambourinaire in the case of the second. After quoting Vaucanson’s description of the Flûteur, d’Alembert concludes: “If this article, instead of being the description of a functioning machine, were the description of a proposed machine, how many people would consider it anything but a chimera?”  This high praise from a member of the Académie des Sciences followed Voltaire and La Mettrie’s comparison of Vaucanson to Prometheus. If the God who made humans is the greatest mechanician, then mechanicians who make androids are little gods.
The philosophes exercised a strong influence on Thomas Jefferson, who lived in Paris for several years (1784–89) as the U.S. ambassador to France and then back in his own nascent republic became a leading figure of the Enlightenment. He published, first in Paris in French translation (1786), then in London in its original English (1787), only one full-length book, Notes on the State of Virginia, a descriptive and promotional account of his state, and to a lesser extent of his United States, principally for European consumption. In it he responded to Abbé Raynal’s allegation that America had not yet produced anyone illustrious:
Jefferson’s American Pantheon had different admission standards from ours. For him, Franklin won immortality as a scientist and inventor, the creator of the Franklin stove, bifocal eyeglasses, and the lightning rod, rather than as a writer or statesman. The now-eclipsed David Rittenhouse shone in Jefferson’s mind for having constructed an orrery, a mechanical model of the solar system, with a surrogate sun surrounded by orbs that both rotated and revolved at rates proportional to their planetary originals. Jefferson, a true son of the Enlightenment, glorified the new stars of technology.
In war we have produced a Washington, whose memory will be adored while liberty shall have votaries.…In physics we have produced a Franklin, than whom no one of the present age has made more important discoveries, nor has enriched philosophy with more, or more ingenious solutions of the phænomena of nature. We have supposed Mr. Rittenhouse second to no astronomer living: that in genius he must be the first, because he is self-taught. As an artist he has exhibited as great a proof of mechanical genius as the world has ever produced. He has not indeed made a world; but he has by imitation approached nearer its Maker than any man who has lived from the creation to this day.
The last volumes of the Encyclopédie appeared at the beginning of the reign of Louis XVI, and although he was not a particularly enlightened monarch, he too had a certain appreciation for what Diderot in the article “Art” had referred to as the unjustly scorned mechanical arts. The king invited Jaquet-Droz fils to court where the young mechanician’s Dessinateur sketched his and his queen’s portraits. He also learned the art of the locksmith and spent many hours with his locks diverting himself from the cares of state. Even those furthest from manual occupations were now tak-ing an interest in them.
In Popular Culture in Early Modern Europe, historian Peter Burke explains that in the Middle Ages two parallel streams of culture had flowed, each spilling over into the other at intervals but separately embedded: elite culture and popular culture. The elite tradition consisted of such things as formal dances, composed music, and written literature, much of it in classical languages; the popular tradition included such things as folk dances, improvised music, and oral recitation and storytelling in the vernacular, for the vast majority of people received practically no schooling. An asymmetry existed in that the elite participated in popular culture, which could be found in public spaces, such as festivals and fairs, taverns and town squares, while the people did not participate in elite culture, much of which was restricted to the courts, salons, books, and other private spaces of the upper classes. Then, Burke argues, in the early modern period, the sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries, the elite gradually withdrew its participation from popular culture. Finally, in the latter part of the eighteenth century, the elite rediscovered popular culture, which had become something foreign and exotic to it. Burke’s model of the changing relationship between the elite and popular culture is too simple to satisfactorily explain an evolution that took place over hundreds of years in dozens of different states. Nevertheless, the French elite of the Old Regime had certainly abandoned the mechanical arts to the people, cultivating the liberal arts instead, so that its new interest in the mechanical arts in the second half of the eighteenth century accords well with Burke’s hypothesis of a rediscovery of popular culture on the part of the European elite of that period.
But Burke’s model only explains how mechanical tinkering became a leisure-class hobby, as it indeed became for many, something like extramarital sex or breeding racehorses. For others, however, it became a respected occupation. The philosophes were greatly influenced by the writings of Bacon, Locke, and Hume, who led the way toward the acceptance of “utility” or “usefulness” as a standard of value, first in Great Britain and then in the second half of the eighteenth century in France. “The advantage that the liberal arts have over the mechanical arts, because of their demands upon the intellect and because of the difficulty of excelling in them, is sufficiently counterbalanced by the quite superior usefulness which the latter for the most part have for us,” wrote d’Alembert. Gradually, aided in some cases by their appeal as “transcendent” activities that imitated God or Nature, in other cases by their appeal as “exotic” activities of the forgotten classes, the mechanical arts attracted the serious interest of the elite. This new interest led to the inventions of the Industrial Revolution, creations by and large of substantial landowners, merchants, and professionals, rather than of peasants and artisans. At the end of the eighteenth century, after usefulness had grown sufficiently in value and mechanical inventions had grown sufficiently in usefulness, French society instituted formal rewards for inventors.
The two most important forms of societal recognition and encouragement given to inventors were patents and industrial expositions, both of them introduced by the revolutionaries. The French imported patent law, like utilitarianism, from Great Britain. There inventors had had the exclusive right to the commercial exploitation of new inventions since the early seventeenth century. France did not have a patent law until the National Assembly adopted one in the last decade of the eighteenth century, and not until the nineteenth century did such laws become widespread in Europe. These laws had only limited effectiveness, since smuggling ideas across borders in the technologically advanced and relatively compact states of Western Europe was easy and common until international agreements began to be negotiated at the end of the nineteenth century. As an indication of changing values, though, the official recognition the new laws gave to inventors had considerable significance. At the same time that the revolutionaries were abolishing the old privilèges, such as those that had been acquired by theaters, aristocrats, and craftsmen through purchase, family inheritance, or membership in a corporate body, the revolutionaries were also creating a new privilège to be acquired through technical skill. If the reign of the public began with spectacle-makers courting the public, it proceeded with the public deferring to technicians as members of a new privileged estate.
The industrial exposition materialized at the social space where the spread of spectacle intersected the elevation of technical skill. Its peculiarity and popularity made it an event highly characteristic of the Western world in the nineteenth century. The industrial exposition may have been hatched in London in the 1750s, but it grew to be most at home in Paris. England led France not in technological inventions but in their commercial reproduction, while France led England in their spectacularization. Paris held industrial expositions eleven times in the half-century from 1798 to 1849, during which period the number of exhibitors increased fortyfold. A whole range of governments, from the revolutionary Directory to the imperial regime of Napoleon to the “bourgeois monarchy” of King Louis-Philippe, supported this celebration of French inventions and their inventors. The national industrial exposition was soon adopted by other European countries and then by their former colonies in North and South America. By the second half of the nineteenth century the industrial exposition had become international, beginning with the Great Exhibition of London in 1851, and jumping at irregular intervals to various other capitals, but still landing most often and with the biggest splash in Paris, site of the Exposition Universelle in 1855, 1867, 1878, 1889, and 1900. The respective attendance figures for the latter four of these, in a world without airplanes or manufactured automobiles, were 9 million, 16 million, 39 million, and 50 million people! The steel tower named for its engineer, Alexandre-Gustave Eiffel, built on the Champ de Mars for the exposition of 1889 to be the world’s tallest edifice, represented a high point in the industrial exposition’s synthesis of spectacle-making, technical skill, and self-promotion. And this is the construction that has become the symbol of Paris.
Several of the virtuosos used the Paris industrial expositions to exhibit their inventions. Maelzel moved to the French capital in 1807 and promptly presented his Trompeter to the Société d’Encouragement pour l’Industrie Nationale, the group that staged the expositions, mostly recently in 1806 but not again until 1819, at which time Maelzel was touring Great Britain. At the exposition of 1823, Maelzel showed his talking dolls and perhaps also his automaton slack-rope acrobat. Vidocq, among his myriad activities, did a little tinkering:
But he won no medals. Among the virtuosos, Robert-Houdin had the most success at the expositions. He exhibited his automaton Cups-and-Ball Ma-nipulator and his transparent Mysterious Clock in 1839, winning a bronze medal, his automaton Writer-Sketcher in 1844, winning a silver medal, and several electrical inventions in 1855, winning a first-class medal, the equivalent of a gold.
I invented a burglar-proof door, with a locking mechanism resistant to all attempts to open it, and then an absolutely forgery-proof paper, on which no alterations can be attempted without leaving indelible tell-tale traces. These inventions were exhibited [at the industrial exposition] in 1834 and they earned for me a citation, and an unsolicited nomination as titular member of the Academy of Agriculture, Manufacturing, and Commerce.
A novelty of many of the toys and games invented in this period was their requirement of technical skill. Maelzel’s talking dolls and Robert-Houdin’s singing bird automata required technical skill to produce. Kieseritzky’s three-dimensional chess and Vidocq’s card game, featuring pictures of the leaders of the Revolution of 1830 on the cards, required technical skill to play.
The virtuosos frequently combined mechanics and music in their inventions. The mechanicians created automaton musicians, Vaucanson the Flûteur and Tambourinaire, the Jaquet-Drozes at least two android keyboardists and many songbirds, Robert-Houdin at least three songbird-and-serinette-player combination pieces, for example. The musicians tinkered with mechanics, the mechanics of stringed instruments in the case of Paganini, keyboard instruments in the case of Liszt. Paganini had the bridge of his concert violin flattened out and lowered; he used thinner-than-normal strings; and he designed a “contraviola.” Liszt designed a “clavecin-orchestre.” Maelzel, accomplished both as a musician and as a mechanician, produced an automaton trumpeter, two Panharmonicons, several ear trumpets, and a mass of metronomes.
Both Paganini and Liszt had a great appreciation for the instruments of their art and for instrument makers. Paganini referred to Vuillaume, who won a silver medal at the exposition of 1834 and a gold at the exposition of 1839 for his work on stringed instruments, as “the surgeon of my violin.” Paganini amassed a fabulous collection of instruments, including eleven Stradivari (seven violins, two violas, and two cellos), five Guarneri (four violins and a cello), and two Amati violins. For Liszt, the latest was the best, and for him this meant in instruments the pianos of the Érard brothers, who won gold medals at the expositions of 1819, 1823, and 1827 and a medal of the Légion d’Honneur at the exposition of 1834, and in transportation railroads. The “knight-errant of every order” could not have made his “grand galop chromatique” around the Continent on his circuit of 175 cities, nor could he have had a seven-octave double-escapement piano waiting for him at every one of them, without extensive use of the iron horse. If the names of the inventors of the fusee, escapement, and repeating-works of watches are unknown to us while the name of railway inventor George Stephenson is in every history of modern Europe, and if the names Stradivarius and Steinway are as well known to us as those of any violinist or pianist, this is some measure of how the value placed on technical skill as expressed in material objects increased not only in France but throughout the West during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
And if the names Vaucanson and Rittenhouse are less well known today than they were in the eighteenth century, it is because the early promoters of this revaluation were tendentiously excessive in their praise of contemporary inventors. In their effort to overcome the Old Regime’s longstanding disdain of the mechanical arts, the believers in the new watchmaker-god exaggerated the achievements of leading mechanicians, calling the achievements miracles and the mechanicians demigods.
A filiation of learning connects the Encyclopédistes of the third quarter of the eighteenth century to Napoleon’s technocrats of the first quarter of the nineteenth century. The two groups and their intermediaries all prized technical knowledge. So, too, did the virtuosos. The common purpose of amassing technical knowledge seemed to be to increase one’s power over one’s world.
The publication of Diderot and d’Alembert’s thirty-five-volume Encyclopédie between 1751 and 1780 constituted an imposing campaign on behalf of practical, specialized learning. The Encyclopédie’s subtitle, Dic-tionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts, et des métiers, might be translated as “systematic enumeration of the sciences, arts, and manual trades.” The word “systematic” implies a system, and to the philosophes the word “raisonné” implied their particular system, the application of human reason to the material world. Historian Robert Darnton contrasts the system opposed by the philosophes with their own: “Diderot and d’Alembert did not seek out the hand of God in the world but rather studied men at work.”  The Encyclopédie’s twelve volumes of plates depict in great detail the workshops, tools, methods, and products of an extensive range of physical labors. D’Alembert’s “Discours préliminaire” disregards theologians and other purely mental laborers, venturing the revolutionary idea that “it is perhaps among artisans that one must look for the most admirable manifestations of the sagacity, the patience, and the resources of the mind.” 
The Académie des Sciences put out an even larger compilation of industrial, craft, and occupational techniques and lore, the seventy-three-volume Description des arts et métiers of 1761–88, at least one edition of which appeared under the slogan-title Description et perfection des arts et métiers. The Paris publisher Panckoucke weighed in with a reorganized and expanded version of the work of Diderot and d’Alembert, the 166-volume and half-century long Encyclopédie méthodique of 1782–1832, for which thirty more volumes were projected. But the most massive monument to the new knowledge was a work organized by Berliner Johann Krünitz, the 242-volume Oekonomisch-technologische Encyklopädie whose publication sprawled across eighty-five years, from 1773 to 1858. The Encyclopédie of Diderot and d’Alembert also inspired the two encyclopedias that have proven most enduring, because of their broader appeal, the Encyclopædia Britannica, whose three-volume first edition ap-peared in 1769–71, and the Brockhaus Conversations-Lexikon, whose eight-volume first edition appeared in 1809–11; both have been continually revised and republished over the past two centuries and are still in print. Thomas Carlyle complained in 1833 of the “exaggerated laudation of Encyclopedism.”  In the West, the encyclopedia of technical knowledge, a work of many volumes produced by the collaboration of many experts, was a creation of the second half of the eighteenth and the first half of the nineteenth century.
The Encyclopédistes’ belief in the superiority of practical, specialized learning led them to argue for educational reform. Indeed, publications on this subject by them and other reformers constitute a recognized genre of Enlightenment literature. Rousseau’s Émile, ou De l’éducation, published in 1762 but banned in France until 1770, had the greatest popularity and remains the most famous of these works. Also influential were Louis-René de La Chalotais’ Essai d’éducation nationale (1763), Joseph Priestley’s Essay on a Course of Liberal Education (1764), and Diderot’s Plan d’une université pour le gouvernement de Russie (1775). Significantly for their views on education, Rousseau was the son of a watchmaker, Priestley the son of a cloth finisher, and Diderot the son of a cutler. Rousseau’s compatriot and follower Johann Pestalozzi successfully ran a series of schools emphasizing learning through concrete experiences that had a wide influence on primary education in both Europe and the United States.
It may be a myth that Napoleon’s generalship developed in school snowball fights, but it is true that technical education in France snowballed out of the army. The opening of the École Royale Militaire (Royal Military Academy) in 1751 opened the second half of the eighteenth century, a period in which, according to historian Frederick Artz, “The interest in all aspects of military science was enormous; in the writings in this field the French outdistanced all other European peoples both in originality and in influence.” The first comprehensive artillery school was established in 1756 with a curriculum that united theory and practical exercises. “From the artillery schools, this method of instruction passed into the advanced technical schools of the later eighteenth century and thence into the École Polytechnique.”  Here is a key not only to Napoleon’s—and France’s—successes on the battlefield, but also to his administrative and social policies.
The revolutionaries founded the École Polytechnique, a national engineering college, and the École Normale Supérieure, a national teacher-training college. These two colleges composed the nucleus of what came to be a small set of Grandes Écoles. The Grandes Écoles, all located in Paris, have educated the French elite for the past two centuries. The revolutionaries also founded écoles des arts et métiers, or trade schools. Indeed, Artz concludes:
Or was the French faith that led to the opening of these new schools the faith that anything could be mastered with the help of a trained corps?
Inspired by many of the same motives that led to the creation of the écoles des arts et métiers and of the Conservatoire was a whole series of special educational enterprises which were set up in the decade 1793 to 1803. The French faith that anything could be improved by found-ing a school to teach it led to the opening of new schools for soldiers, sailors, midwives, pharmacists, veterinarians, schoolteachers, the blind, deaf-mutes, students of the fine arts, of music, and of living oriental languages, miners, and agriculturalists.
France still led the world in science during the reign of Napoleon, even though the revolutionaries had guillotined the father of modern chemistry, Antoine Lavoisier, and had fatally incarcerated the long-time secretary of the Académie Royale des Sciences, the marquis de Condorcet, both of whom died in 1794 at the age of fifty-one. Napoleon strongly supported scientific and technical education. He opened more trade schools and several schools of mines. He reorganized the university system, adding for the first time a faculty of sciences. He raised the number of medical faculties in France from three to seven. To Napoleon education essentially meant technical training and the inculcation of discipline. He wanted skilled but obedient subjects and favored independent thinking only in confined areas. He neglected primary schools, reorganized public secondary schools along military lines, and tried to limit advanced and specialized schools to professional or occupational training. Channeled in education, the same will to control produced French superiority in military science, natural science, and an array of technical fields.
The practice of systematically drawing on technical experts for government administration can be traced back at least to the first government of Louis XVI, the Turgot ministry of 1774–76. A.-R.-J. Turgot was an Encyclopédiste and economist. “To bring forward the expert and give him the authority there where interest and routine misgoverned, that was the thrust of his administrative purpose,” argues historian of science C. C. Gillispie. As an example, Gillispie cites Turgot’s creation of the Régie des Poudres (Gunpowder Administration) and his appointment of Lavoisier as one of the Régisseurs, in 1775. At that time France produced only half of the saltpeter, the principal ingredient in gunpowder, consumed by its military and had to import the other half. By 1788, as a result of the reforms for which Lavoisier was mainly responsible, France had become totally self-sufficient in saltpeter, and its gunpowder had become both the best in Europe and less expensive than in 1775.
Although the revolutionary governments contained more men of the law, one of the old liberal arts, than members of any other occupational group, men of science exercised an influence disproportionate to their numbers. Jean-Paul Marat, the Jacobin firebrand, had been a physician and physicist. Jean-Marie Roland de La Platière, minister of the interior in 1792–93, had had a long career as an inspector of manufactories, like Vau-canson, and had written numerous monographs on a variety of French industries with proposals for their modernization. Lazare Carnot, “organisateur de la victoire” of the armies of revolutionary France over those of monarchical Europe, had been an army engineer. The revolutionary governments also delegated to scientists particular projects, for example, the development of a rational system of weights and measures to be used throughout France, where in the eighteenth century almost every region, and in some regions almost every town, had its own system. A committee that included the chemist Lavoisier and the mathematicians Monge, Laplace, and Lagrange devised the metric system, the system used today not only throughout France, but throughout the world. The revolutionaries encouraged science and technology by enacting patent law, by establishing the industrial exposition, by founding technical schools, and by reconstituting the art-favoring academies of the Old Regime as the sciencefavoring Institut National des Sciences et des Arts. In this reorganization, they suppressed the most prestigious of the Old Regime academies, the Académie Française, and incorporated three others, the academy of painting and sculpture, the academy of architecture, and the academy of music, into one “class” of the Institut, the “class for literature and the fine arts.” Moreover, they made this the second class of the Institut, while they made the “class for physical and mathematical sciences,” the new version of the old Académie Royale des Sciences, the first class. The control of nature had become more important than the imitation of nature.
The artillery officer Napoleon Bonaparte was elected to the first class of the Institut two years before he became first consul, and he always prized that membership, which gave him the status of an elite technician. When he led his famous expedition to Egypt, he took with his army the equivalent of a small polytechnical institute, including two leading mathematician-physicists, Fourier and Monge. As first consul, then emperor, he appointed individuals to high office who lacked administrative experience but who had shown themselves to be brilliant scientists or masters of some technical discipline, such as the mathematician Laplace, the chemist Chaptal, the physician-chemist Fourcroy, and the naturalist Lacépède. These were not always Napoleon’s most successful appointments, but they do say something about his conception of government. He also rewarded technological pioneers, employing Nicolas-Jacques Conté, the first to put graphite in a pencil, and offering a million francs to anyone who could perfect the mechanical spinning of linen and hemp. In the words of one of his private secretaries, “the emperor loved technical men.” Surveying the administrative reforms of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, C. C. Gillispie observes: “The historian has become used to seeing a movement from aristocracy toward liberalism and democracy in all these developments, whereas what needs to be perceived is a movement from bureaucracy toward technocracy.” 
The publication of voluminous encyclopedias of the sciences, arts, and trades, the reorientation of education toward practical, specialized learning, and the employment and encouragement of experts by government all promoted the desirability of acquiring technical knowledge and the importance of showing what one had acquired. In the ordinary course of their work, experts exhibited their knowledge, but not necessarily comprehensively. Many experts also published repertoires of techniques, and the virtuosos published some of the most extensive of these repertoires.
Philidor’s Analyse du jeu des échecs aimed at comprehensiveness in two dimensions of chess analysis. The original 1749 edition analyzes only a few chess games, but it analyzes them from start to finish, including in each case several branches of possible play in addition to the main line. In his preface, Philidor complains of the incompleteness of the works of his predecessors:
Philidor knew well that his discussion of situations at every stage of the game gave his analysis an unprecedented longitudinal comprehensiveness, an achievement that made his treatise both important and popular. The expanded edition of 1777 contains both individual endgame analyses and an innovative section called “Observations sur les fins de parties” (Obser-vations on Endgames), which specifies for fifteen different types of endgames, defined by the material forces confronting each other, whether the more powerful side should win or only draw. Philidor’s systematization of endgame study reduced a large number of possible endgame situations to a small number of types, each of which was susceptible of analysis as a unit. Furthermore, using his method, other types of endgames in addition to his fifteen could be defined and analyzed, and have been. Philidor’s innovation postulated the complete analysis of one stage of the game of chess, an unprecedented latitudinal comprehensiveness. The further-expanded edition of 1790, the last worked on by Philidor, contains more complete game analyses, more endgame analyses, and the records of the games played in three of his blindfold exhibitions, a state-of-the-art treatise.
I return now to Don Pietro Carrera, who, to all appearances, served as the model for Greco and for other authors; however, neither he nor any of the others have given us (in spite of their great prolixity) anything but very imperfect instruction, quite insufficient to train a good player. They have only applied themselves to the openings of games, and then abandoned us to study by ourselves the endings, so that the player remains almost as lost as if he had had to open the game with-out instruction.
Among chess masters whose lives overlapped Philidor’s, neither his mentor Légal, nor his successor Deschapelles, nor any of his strongest contemporaries in Britain published a chess treatise, although four of his strongest contemporaries in France did collaborate on one. By contrast, in the first half of the nineteenth century Labourdonnais, Alexandre, and Kieseritzky in France and Sarratt, Lewis, and Cochrane in Britain all produced at least one chess treatise apiece. For the leading players to publish had become the norm. Experts displayed their knowledge as well as their skill.
Cookbooks had always been repertoires of techniques, unlike chess treatises. Before Philidor’s, most chess treatises explained good moves in terms of the very particular configuration of the game in which they occurred, when they bothered to explain them at all, or else gave only the most general principles. Guidance closely tailored to a unique situation tends to be nearly inapplicable, the uselessness of History, while guidance applicable to many situations tends to be nebulous, the uselessness of Philosophy. Philidor’s pioneering endgame studies balanced applicability and specificity, maximizing their usefulness and making his treatise a true repertoire of techniques. Cookbooks have rarely ever taken either a historical approach, describing the preparation of particular dishes as unique events, or a philosophical approach, expounding a system of gustatory thought. Thus, in producing a culinary repertoire of techniques, Carême did not—did not need to—innovate as Philidor did. On the other hand, Carême’s repertoire had an imperial monumentality lacking to Philidor’s.
The master chef’s L’Art de la cuisine française au XIXe siècle filled five volumes. This ambitious set of recipes for French cooking, on top of Carême’s two-volume set of recipes for French pastry in Le Pâtissier royal parisien, made a towering collection. One of his contemporaries, an epicurean official of Napoleon’s court, called gastronomy “the art of a thousand resources”:
The 124 designs for pièces montées in Le Pâtissier pittoresque and the two volumes of menus in calendrical order in Le Maître d’hôtel français are also professional repertoires, although repertoires of ideas rather than repertoires of techniques. Taken as a whole, these four works of Carême approximate an encyclopedia of the culinary arts such as he had originally proposed be done collaboratively by the leading French chefs of his time.
Good soups abound; take your pick from among the recipes of Carême: There are 500 of them, with or without meat. He has described 200 entrées; 50 garnishes and purées; 500 dishes for whole large fish; 1,000 for beef, fowl, ham, and pork; and 1,000 more delicious preparations of vegetables, fruits, and desserts. It’s really innumerable. This fabulous superabundance can have reality only for the wealthy and their guests.
Vidocq’s Les Voleurs (Thieves) is a kind of miniature encyclopedia of the French underworld of his era. Like the Encyclopédie of Diderot and d’Alembert, its overall organization is that of a dictionary: It is composed of articles that define or explain words of underworld argot, in alphabetical order. Many of the articles are short, consisting of a one-sentence, one-phrase, or even one-word definition. For example, in underworld argot “hospital” meant “prison” and “ill” meant “in prison.” As a dictionary of argot, Les Voleurs is significant for containing a large number of entries and for being one of the first published separately rather than as a glossary appended to another book. Incidentally, Carême included a glossary of culinary terms in L’Art de la cuisine française au XIXe siècle. Vidocq’s Les Voleurs contains enough longer articles describing thieves’ methods to justify considering the book in part a repertoire of thieves’ techniques. In fact, when a French historian edited the book for republication a century after its original appearance, he grouped those articles together into one section. Vidocq explains fifty-odd techniques, some with several variations, of burglars, robbers, sharpers, swindlers, etc., not as in most repertoires, so that the reader may use them, but so that the reader may prevent their use. In this respect it is an “anti-repertoire.” Les Voleurs also contains longer articles that relate the stories of celebrated, unusual, or interesting crimes or portray particular criminals. These stories and portrayals in many cases involve disguises, impersonations, or misrepresentations of oneself. Underlying the dictionary organization of Les Voleurs is a repertoire of deceptions: words with hidden meanings, activities that mask thefts, and people who appear other than they really are.
Robert-Houdin’s Les Tricheries des Grecs dévoilées is also an anti-repertoire. As Vidocq’s dictionary informs us, “Grec” (Greek) signified in argot “cardsharper,” so the title of Robert-Houdin’s book translates as “Tricks of Cardsharpers Exposed.” The first half of the book, like one group of longer articles in Vidocq’s Les Voleurs, consists of narrative episodes showing wrongdoers at work. The second half, entitled “Partie Technique” (Technical Part), is a systematic presentation of some thirty different methods of cheating at cards, concluding with chapters on related subjects such as card tricks in prestidigitation, the psychology of card players, and ethical gray areas in card play. Robert-Houdin published three repertoires of techniques, the how-to-avoid-it compilation Les Tricheries des Grecs dévoilées on cheating at cards and two how-to-do-it compilations, Comment on devient sorcier on sleight of hand and Magie et physique amusante on illusions requiring complex apparatus. Robert-Houdin’s milieu was “play,” ranging from cards among friends to gambling at spa casinos, from parlor tricks to professional prestidigitation, from stage magic to legitimate theater—that is, from play as recreation to play as performance. Robert-Houdin found lying under the milieu of play what Vidocq found lying under the milieu of crime: deception.
Play as performance was the milieu of Paganini and Liszt. Paganini’s 24 capricci, published eight years before he ever left Italy, baffled many contemporary violinists until they were able to see him perform and to read others’ explanations of his methods. Even today, few pianists venture to perform the middle versions of either the Études d’exécution transcendante or the Grandes études de Paganini of Liszt. Other violinists and pianists may have felt that in published form these works presented unplayable techniques, but the deception lay in their inability to figure out how to do the very difficult, not in any claim of Paganini and Liszt to be able to do the impossible. The incomprehension came from the fact that in written form the pieces are more like repertoires of ideas than repertoires of techniques. They record what Paganini and Liszt were able to do but do not explain how. Only their near-perfect execution of the pieces in concert told others how such pieces could be performed. Paganini and Liszt significantly enlarged instrumental technique by composing music that demanded increased speed, reach, strength, agility, and flexibility in players’ hands and then executing it. For difficulty and comprehensiveness the 24 capricci of Paganini and two sets of transcendental études of Liszt set enduring standards. At the end of the twentieth century musicologist Boris Schwarz could still conclude that Paganini’s caprices “incorporated virtually the entire arsenal of violin technique,” and musicologist Alan Walker could still conclude that “the modern pianist may disparage Liszt’s studies, but he should be able to play them. Otherwise he admits to having a less than total command of the keyboard.” 
The virtuosos not only acquired an armory of techniques but also recorded what they had acquired. Their repertoires of techniques can be seen most simply as a manifestation of the encyclopedism of the Age of Revolution that was epitomized by multiple-volume compilations of technical knowledge. Their repertoires can also be seen as a form of spectacle-making, especially in the case of Paganini and Liszt’s repertoires, which originated as performance pieces. But all the virtuosos had some audience in mind when they wrote their repertoires. The public had to be pleased. From yet another perspective, the virtuosos’ repertoires can be seen as a form of self-promotion, like their advertisements and autobiographies, two other media they exploited, since all these publications ultimately pointed back to them. Through their repertoires of techniques the virtuosos could compensate for having to bow to the public by demonstrating to that public a quasi-Napoleonic mastery of their world.
As technicians, the virtuosos produced marvelous mechanical objects, pub-lished marvelous technical knowledge, and performed marvelous bodily exertions. The leaps of acrobatism in the second half of the eighteenth and first half of the nineteenth centuries testified to the increasing value the French placed on technical skill as expressed in bodily exercise. The vaulting popularity of acrobatics brought into the spotlight skills cultivated by the virtuosos, skills such as agility, flexibility, mobility, balance, stamina, and fluency of movement, which enabled them to execute feats unprecedented in their respective arts. The virtuosos thus pointed the way to a new transcendence, not to a heavenly eternity but to an earthly future of ever-expanding possibility in which there seemed to be no limit to what the human body, including the brain, could be trained to do.
The leaps of acrobatics into a variety of more highly regarded art forms and into cultural prominence in its own right had a lot to do with the success of the Paris fairs in the eighteenth century. The success of the fairs as spaces for public spectacles led to the development of larger and more permanent spaces for public spectacles, the Grands Boulevards and the Palais-Royal. The success of the fair theaters led to the founding of boulevard theaters and the defeat of the privileged theaters during the Revolution. There ensued an explosive growth of popular theater and its arts du spectacle—acrobatics, equestrianism, puppetry, pantomime, etc.—as arts in their own right, as vehicles for the presentation of dramas, and as elements to be incorporated into elite theater. Elite culture’s adoption of the arts du spectacle, like elite culture’s adoption of the mechanical arts, seems to support Peter Burke’s hypothesis of a rediscovery of popular culture by the elite in the second half of the eighteenth century, for it followed the increasing attendance of popular theater at the fairs and on the boulevards by the elite. Acrobatics in particular gained phenomenal favor among the elite and among the masses and invaded not only theater but also dance, tennis, music, mechanics, detection, chess.…
At the beginning of the eighteenth century, acrobats had low status among performers, a group that as a whole had low status in society at large. But acrobatics had been a mainstay of the fair theaters since well before that time. And a mainstay of fair theater acrobatics was funambulism or rope-dancing, gymnastics performed on a rope, whether a tightrope or a slack rope, whether a rope with both ends secured above the ground or a rope with one end secured at ground level. Funambulists would imitate the stagger of a drunkard, dance with chains attached to their feet, or simply balance while playing a violin between their legs. Performances of aerial and terrestrial acrobatics became increasingly frequent when, beginning in the 1760s, the impresarios of the fair theaters began to establish permanent theaters on the Boulevard du Temple. The first such impresario to set up on the Boulevard, Jean-Baptiste Nicolet, like his followers, eventually expanded into spoken and musical drama, but his players were originally an acrobatics troupe. One of Nicolet’s star rope-dancers was Jean-Baptiste Lalanne, the father of Mme Saqui. Nicolet’s players attracted the attention of King Louis XV, who invited them repeatedly to perform at court. Louis XV’s grandson the comte d’Artois, who later became king himself as Charles X, solicited from Nicolet’s funambulists a series of equilibristic lessons, which however did not keep him from falling off his throne in the Revolution of 1830. Nor did the revolutionaries disdain demonstrations of bodily skill, for a fête staged by the Directory in 1799 included a gymnastics competition. Napoleon, we know, became the admiring patron of Mme Saqui, one of whose specialties was tightrope-walking over the Seine in the middle of Paris. During the Empire, Mme Saqui acquired a celebrity surpassing that of any other rope-dancer and equaling that of any contemporary actor or singer. Milliners sold hats and collars à la Saqui, and confectioners sold boxes of candy bearing her portrait. At the beginning of the Restoration she bought a theater on the Boulevard du Temple and renamed it the Spectacle-Acrobate.
The boulevard theaters of Nicolet and his imitators, we have learned, gradually encroached on the exclusive right of the privileged theaters to perform spoken or musical dramas. Nicolet’s theater had as its motto “de plus fort en plus fort,” which translates as “stronger and stronger” or “louder and louder”—the crescendo of the virtuoso. Many of the boulevard pieces, acrobatic, balletic, operatic, pantomimic, and zoologic alike, used music from the comic operas of Philidor, music distinguished by its technical perfection. The monarchy helped to erode its own system of theatrical privilege when King Louis XV invited Nicolet’s players to the royal court and then allowed them to change their name from the Grands Dan-seurs de Corde (Grand Rope-Dancers) to the Grands Danseurs du Roi (Grand Dancers of the King). Soon acrobatics was everywhere in theater. Alexandre Placide, another of Nicolet’s star funambulists, moved to the United States, where he became a successful producer of French boulevard pieces and never quit performing on the rope. Among prominent Paris theaters of the early nineteenth century, the Funambules featured acrobatic pantomime; the Porte-Saint-Martin, known for five years as the Jeux-Gymniques, acrobatic ballet; the Cirque-Olympique, acrobatics on horseback; the Gymnase, acrobatic vaudeville.
The invasion of dance by acrobatics was readily apparent to contemporaries. In 1804 the German playwright August von Kotzebue was in Paris, where he wrote of the dancer Louis Duport: “He possesses among other things the absolutely extraordinary strength and agility to pirouette forty or fifty times on one leg. However, since he knows that every time he does it he will be applauded as loudly as if the entire world had assembled for the purpose of clapping, he takes any opportunity to use this tour de force. The Parisians clearly do not find it tiresome.”  According to one theater historian, “The French male dancers, especially before the time of the ballerina sur la pointe, were the leading dancers throughout Europe owing to the dazzling virtuosity achieved by new techniques.” Dancing sur la pointe—on tiptoe—evolved in France and Italy around 1820, probably out of fair theater acrobatics. The first great ballerina of this modern technique was Maria Taglioni, who danced at the Paris Opéra from 1827 to 1837 and whose advent, writes another theater historian, meant not only “a victory for the ballerina over the male dancer,” but also “a victory for virtuosity.” 
Clearly, acrobatics, if not all of athletics, was on a roll. In the first half of the nineteenth century, the leading mime in France, Jean-Baptiste Deburau; the leading comic dancer in France, Charles Mazurier; the leading serious dancer in France, Jules Perrot; the leading actor in France, Frédérick Lemaître; and the leading actor in England, Edmund Kean, all started their careers in theater doing acrobatics.
In a variety of guises, acrobatics spread from the fairgrounds to every sort of public space, became popular with every class of society, invaded every sort of activity. Take tennis, for example, not lawn tennis, which scarcely existed, but “rackets,” a form of tennis that was and still is played on indoor courts such as the one at Versailles where the revolutionaries took their famous oath to continue meeting until they produced a constitution. During the Age of Revolution, the best rackets players in Europe were French. Although no formal championships had yet been established, Raymond Masson is generally considered to have been the best player from around 1765 to around 1785. He played so much better than most of his contemporaries that to make his games competitive he would often play two opponents at once, or play while mounted on an ass, or serve from inside a barrel, jumping in and out of the barrel between every stroke. Louis Labbé, a leading player of the 1830s and 1840s, played a match carrying the scorekeeper on his back. Edmond Barre, European champion from 1829 to 1862, used to make shots holding his racket in his weak hand, or hitting the ball between his legs, or striking the ball with the handle of his racket. Charles Delahaye, the second best player in France during the reign of Barre, played a match in the full dress uniform of a National Guardsman, with a pack on his back, a shako on his head, and a rifle and bayonet in his left hand.
Acrobatism in music was fortissimo. Paganini epitomized it in his story of “the Viennese fiacre driver who charged a man a ‘Paganinerl’ for a short trip. When the man asked how much that was, the driver answered: ‘A Paganinerl is five gulden—the price of a ticket to a Paganini concert in Vienna.’ To this the man responded: ‘You ass! How dare you charge five gulden for such a short distance! Paganini plays on one string; can you drive on one wheel?’”  Many of the anecdotes told about Paganini had circusy circumstances. According to one, Paganini astonished the composer of a violin concerto by sight-reading it using a reed cane in place of his bow. According to another, at a party in Paris given by Rossini he played a melody on a monocle cord stretched across the punch bowl. According to a third, he sight-read the first-violin part of a Mozart string quartet with the music upside down on his stand. Whatever the veracity of these three anecdotes, there is general agreement that Paganini had amazing sight-reading skill and dexterity. One musician wrote: “All violinists, some more often, some less, slip into discord, because a note can get away from anyone; but in the five concerts that I have heard Paganini give, I have not had the satisfaction of hearing him misplace a finger once, while he executed the greatest difficulties. His fingers were geometrical compasses.” 
Both Paganini and Liszt had plaster casts taken of their hands, which show long and, as contemporaries remarked, extremely flexible fingers. Liszt could play tenths with the same facility that most pianists played octaves, and he worked to make his fingers mutually interchangeable on the keyboard. Many of the distinguishing characteristics of Liszt’s playing—wide and rapid leaps, rapid note repetitions including trills and tremolos, chromatic scales in glissando, and interlocking hands—were digital acrobatics routines. There is no need to rehearse the previously cited contemporary accounts of his contriving technical challenges for himself or of his performing difficult passages at breakwrist speed. Liszt himself confessed in one of his “Lettres d’un bachelier ès musique” that as a young man on display in salons “I even went so far as insolently to add a quantity of embellishments and cadenzas” to the works of Beethoven and other composers. In this article, he denounced his earlier antics and renounced his career as “a musician in service to aristocrats, patronized and paid by them like a conjuror, or the canine-savant Munito.” 
The other side of the coin showed that conjurors, along with acrobats, had attained the social status of concert musicians. After all, prestidigitation was also digital acrobatics. With other forms of acrobatics, prestidigitation had been a mainstay of the fairs since before the turn of the eighteenth century. Many prestidigitators were empirics, too, and vice versa. Sleight-of-hand artists sold potions, elixirs, and panaceas to supplement their earnings, and purveyors of secret remedies made objects disappear, did the cups-and-ball routine, and performed card tricks to attract crowds of potential customers. Comus began his career doing prestidigitation and continued to do it after acquiring scientific and popular renown for his expériences and even after acquiring the titles “tutor of physics to the children of the king” and “physician of the king.” He gave lessons in prestidigitation to the duc de Chartres, rebuilder of the Palais-Royal and father of King Louis-Philippe. In the first half of the nineteenth century the best conjurors continued to be patronized by royalty, Comte by Louis XVIII and Robert-Houdin by Louis-Philippe, for example. And like the most successful acrobats, the most successful conjurors had their own theaters.
Both Maelzel and Robert-Houdin built mechanical acrobats. Maelzel’s slack-rope dancer perplexed another mechanician:
Robert-Houdin made a mechanical trapeze artist: “He executed tours de force on the trapeze, such as raising himself up by his arms into a handstand while making semaphore signals with his legs. In order to demonstrate that his mechanism was self-contained, my little Diavolo let go of the rope with his hands, hung upside down by his feet, and then left the trapeze entirely.” Could we be at all surprised to learn that despite the claims in these descriptions the two humanoids were probably controlled from the outside and thus not true automata? Such pseudo-automaton acrobats had already been exposed in the second volume of La Magie blanche dévoilée, published in 1785. Maelzel and Robert-Houdin themselves were the true “acrobats”—in the original Greek sense of “walkers on tiptoe”—for they had to make careful and deft movements to preserve their deceptions.
The most surprising thing about this little masterpiece of mechanics is the impossibility of figuring out how all of its various movements can be produced, because the automaton suspends itself now by one hand, now by the other, now by its knees, now by its toes, then it straddles the rope and twirls its body around it, thus abandoning one by one all of its points of contact with the rope, through which must necessarily pass whatever communicates movement to it.
There was also something acrobatic in the pseudo-automaton Chess Player: a Café de la Régence chess master, hunched over to fit within a small cabinet, reduced to near immobility for the space of several hours, and bent back unnaturally at the neck to see the board overhead—in short, a contortionist.
When Vidocq gave his exhibition of crime and crime detection paraphernalia in London, the Times wrote:
Vidocq developed athletic skills both as an outlaw, hiding in confined spaces, running on rooftops, and leaping from third-story windows, and as a detective, pouncing on suspects, holding them down, and handcuffing them. He learned how to fight with his fists in his youth, how to fence in the army, and how to kick-box using savate in prison. Most of the virtuosos had something athletic about them. A chess enthusiast reported that Labourdonnais could play “above forty games of chess at a sitting,” both because he played long hours without interruption and because he played rapidly. Carême boasted of his having “worked 53 extras without taking a day off” in 1805, of having constructed 150 pièces montées during the Consulate “and more than double that number” during the Empire. Paganini gave around 400 concerts during his European tour of 1828–34, including 140 concerts during one ten-month stretch in the British Isles. Liszt gave more than 1,000 concerts in 175 different cities, crisscrossing the Continent from Portugal, Spain, and Ireland in the west to Russia, Rumania, and Turkey in the east, between 1839 and 1847.
The principal curiosity in the collection will be found to be M. Vidocq himself, whose appearance is very much what might be anticipated by those who have read his memoirs or heard of his exploits. He is a remarkably well-built man, of extraordinary muscular power, and exceedingly active. He stands, when perfectly erect, 5 feet 10 inches in height, but by some strange process connected with his physical formation, he has the faculty of contracting his height several inches, and in this diminished state to walk about, jump, etc.
The virtuosos dispensed with external visual assistance in curious, and curiously similar, demonstrations of cerebral acrobatics. They played chess without a chessboard, identified crime suspects without the suspects’ presence, gave concerts without written music, and described objects without any sensory exposure to the objects. The blindfold performance shone a black light on cerebral agility.
Balzac reversed a cliché when he wrote: “There may exist between geniuses and other people the same distance that separates the blind from the seeing.” He likened geniuses not to seeing individuals in a blind population, but to blind individuals in a seeing population, attributing to geniuses “an inner vision superior to that of the seeing.”  The virtuosos based their inner vision on a highly developed memory and a highly structured system of technical knowledge.
Napoleon sometimes dictated three, four, five, six, even seven letters at once on as many subjects to as many secretaries, never getting confused and always having in focus the significant points of the current subject. According to one of his secretaries,
In order to have all the necessary information in his mind, Napoleon studied a continuously updated collection of livrets, or records booklets. The livrets laid out in tabular form the disposition and status of all the personnel and materiel belonging to a ministry, its requisitions and expenditures, and other similar sorts of data. Napoleon required each of his ministers to submit one or more livrets to him on a biweekly or monthly basis, and he used to call the livrets, particularly those from the war ministry, his favorite reading. According to another of Napoleon’s secretaries: “Each compartment of his memory had its supplement in a livret, and he made excellent use of this resource. His office thus became a veritable keyboard where all the strings of government seemed to end, and alone, with one secretary, he played whichever of them it pleased him to.” 
Napoleon used to explain the clearness of his mind, and his faculty of being able at will to prolong his work to extreme limits, by saying that the various subjects were arranged in his head, as though in a cupboard. “When I want to interrupt one piece of work,” he used to say, “I close the drawer in which it is kept, and I open another. The two pieces of business never get mixed up together, or trouble or tire me. When I want to go to sleep, I close all the drawers.” 
Labourdonnais, whose skill at blindfold play was explained by a contemporary, had “the power of actually setting up in his mind a chess-board and pieces, which remained throughout the game palpably visible to his organs of calculation.” Zukertort, a great simultaneous blindfold chess player of the later nineteenth century, “used to say that if he was playing 14 opponents, he would visualize 14 boards, each numbered, placed side by side in a row in separate closets, each closed by a door. Having made his move on board 1, the door closed and that of board 2 opened. In this way he passed from board to board, dismissing from his mind all the boards, except the one before him.”  To play not just blindfolded, but several games simultaneously, a chess master must be able to recognize and respond to most situations without having to think about them, in order to save time and effort for the particularly difficult ones. The anatomization of chess into recognizable patterns began with the beginning of openings analysis, centuries before the Café de la Régence dynasty. But Philidor, with his pioneering endgames analysis, advanced the project considerably.
Vidocq named Fossard as the artisan of the medal-gallery theft solely on the basis of a cut made by the thief in a panel of the gallery.
Vidocq’s ability to make such identifications was based on the files he kept on thousands of convicted criminals and on the efforts he made to memorize the faces of as many of them as possible. As an oracle of detection Vidocq had a predecessor in John Fielding, cofounder with his half-brother Henry of the Bow Street Runners, who lost his sight as a young man but was said to be able to recognize three thousand criminals by their voices alone.
Through experience, I ended up by acquiring in my occupation a sort of intuition that was almost like a prodigy. How often I struck with astonishment someone who came to me to report a robbery: he had scarcely mentioned two or three circumstances than I was already ahead of him; I either completed the story for him or without waiting for more detailed information I rendered this oracle: the guilty parties are such-and-such.
M. Prunaud, a fashion merchant on the rue Saint-Denis, had been robbed during the night. The robbers had broken into his store, from which they had removed fifty bolts of Indian-print fabric and several valuable shawls. The next morning, M. Prunaud ran to my office, and he had not finished telling the story of his misadventure before I named those responsible for the theft. “It could only have been committed by Berthe, Mongodart, and their cronies.”…I knew who their current fence was; I ordered a search of his residence and the merchandise was recovered.
The young Mozart gave a sort of blindfold performance, playing the harpsichord with a cloth spread out over both the keyboard and his hands. Paganini and Liszt were among the first to play whole concerts without written music. A system something like Napoleon’s must have been used by them, consciously or unconsciously, especially by Liszt, with his huge repertoire of performance pieces. Liszt gave other kinds of blindfold performances, too. He extemporized variations on themes given to him by members of his audiences. And he played long passages from pieces that he had never seen in written form and had heard only once, improvising improvements.
Robert-Houdin called his, or more accurately his son’s, blindfold performance Seconde Vue (second sight). Théophile Gautier described it in a review of the Soirées Fantastiques:
This trick above all others in Robert-Houdin’s repertoire impressed Gautier and, to judge from the number of magicians who imitated it, other spectators as well. Gautier, in writing that Robert-Houdin had “no communication” with his son during the trick, made precisely the inference the magician wanted him to make, an invalid one. Gautier meant that Robert-Houdin had no material communication with his son, for the magician was in speaking communication with his son the whole time. Nearly all observers failed to grasp that the magician’s apparently banal prompting of his son to guess the object was in a fact a sophisticated prompting of the correct answer by means of a prearranged code. Once again the performance depended on a highly developed memory and a highly structured system of knowledge.
Here is the expérience of M. Robert-Houdin: He takes his small son, a boy of around twelve years of age, makes him sit in a chair, bandages his eyes hermetically, moves away from him out into the audience, and asks the spectators for different objects: rings, watches, coins, or whatever they want to give him. The boy, with whom he has no communication, names the objects that are passed in the most secret ways to his father. He tells the value and the date of coins, the hour, minute, and second on the faces of watches, the maker’s name as it is engraved in their cases, the shape of rings and their monograms—incredible details! You are going to say “accomplices,” but one does not fill an entire hall with accomplices, and we are sure, for our part, of not being an accomplice of M. Robert-Houdin and yet the object given to him by us was named instantaneously.
In 1859, Jean-François Gravelet, alias Blondin, crossed Niagara Falls on a tightrope 160 feet above the rushing water and the twenty-five thousand spectators crowding its banks. He made several crossings that year, one of them blindfolded. Two years later he performed in London in the Crystal Palace, walking a tightrope while cooking an omelette on a portable stove, then while wearing shackles and chains, then while playing the violin, etc. Blondin at the site of industry’s Great Exhibition represented the meeting of two kinds of technical skill: technical skill embodied in the supreme acrobat of the century of mechanics and technical skill materialized in the latest machines of a society of clever hands.
Three aspects of the exaltation of technical skill have been considered here. In the second half of the eighteenth and first half of the nineteenth century, the belief was growing in the Western world that everything, even the most complicated thing, is a kind of machine and thus ultimately susceptible to analysis and reproduction by human beings, or at least by highly skilled individuals. Growing too was a related belief that a detailed understanding of the workings of the world gave one power in the world. Finally, there was a growing belief that what the human body and mind could do was limitless, at least for highly skilled individuals.
The view of the world as human-controlled was replacing the view of the world as God-controlled. This replacement extended over a period of time much longer than a century and resulted from the activities of many agents. But a milestone was reached in the middle of the nineteenth century when church attendance in the technologically advanced countries of Western Europe dropped below half the population. And historians have not sufficiently emphasized the role played by technicians. Great technicians had a strong sense of their own might and felt little need to appeal to God. Others redirected their admiration from God to great technicians. In a world conceived of in material terms, God seemed to be less important and further away from everyday life. At the same time, individuals with great ability to manipulate the material world seemed to be more important and more imminent. God was gradually replaced in the veneration of the public by individuals with great technical skill, in biology, chemistry, and physics, in government, finance, and war, in all sorts of performance arts, and, naturally, in machinery.
All translations of quotations from other languages into English are the author’s unless otherwise noted.
1. La Mettrie, Man a Machine, pp. 71 (French), 141 (English). [BACK]
2. Ibid., pp. 70 (French), 140–41 (English). [BACK]
3. Jean Le Rond d’Alembert, “Discours préliminaire,” in Encyclopédie, vol. 1, p. xiii; idem, Preliminary Discourse to the Encyclopedia of Diderot, trans. Richard N. Schwab (Indianapolis, Ind.: Bobbs-Merrill, 1963), pp. 42–43. [BACK]
4. “O” [d’Alembert], “Androïde,” and “Automate,” in Encyclopédie, vol. 1, pp. 448–51 and 896–97, respectively. [BACK]
5. Howard C. Rice, Jr., Thomas Jefferson’s Paris (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1976), p. 79. [BACK]
6. Thomas Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia in Writings, ed. Merrill D. Peterson (New York: Library of America, 1984), pp. 190–91. [BACK]
7. [Diderot], “Art,” in Encyclopédie, vol. 1, pp. 713–17. Cobban, History of Modern France, vol. 1, p. 113, writes of Louis XVI: “He was a better locksmith—for in true Rousseauist fashion he had learnt a manual craft—than king.” [BACK]
8. Peter Burke, Popular Culture in Early Modern Europe (New York: Harper and Row, 1978), chaps. 1, 2; concluding summary of his argument on pp. 270–81. [BACK]
9. d’Alembert, “Discours préliminaire,” in Encyclopédie, vol. 1, p. xiii; idem, Preliminary Discourse, p. 42. [BACK]
10. Tulard, Fayard, and Fierro, Histoire et dictionnaire de la Révolution, p. 601; Charles Coulton Gillispie, Science and Polity in France at the End of the Old Regime (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1980), pp. 459–60; “Patent,” in The New Encyclopedia Britannica, 15th ed., 32 vols. (Chicago: Encyclopedia Britannica, 1974), vol. 9, pp. 194–95. [BACK]
11. “Espozione,” in Enciclopedia italiana di scienze, lettere ed arti, 36 vols. (Rome: Istituto Giovanni Treccani, 1929–39), vol. 14, pp. 363–64; Colmont, Histoire des expositions des produits, pp. 317–18. Industrial expositions were held in Paris in 1798, 1801, 1802, 1806, 1819, 1823, 1827, 1834, 1839, 1844, and 1849. There were 110 exhibitors in 1798 and more than 4,000 exhibitors in 1849. [BACK]
12. Zeldin, France 1848–1945, vol. 2, p. 613. [BACK]
13. Vidocq, À M. le Président, p. 7. [BACK]
14. Gazette des tribunaux 6, no. 1739 (11 March 1831): 440. [BACK]
15. Colmont, Histoire des expositions des produits, pp. 327, 556. [BACK]
16. Ibid., pp. 53, 157–64. [BACK]
17. Heine, Lutèce, p. 221, refers to Liszt as the “knight-errant of every or-der.” Liszt titled one of his virtuoso showpieces the “Grand galop chromatique.” Walker, Franz Liszt, vol. 1, pp. 294–95, lists the cities where Liszt gave concerts between 1838 and 1847. [BACK]
18. Robert Darnton, “Philosophers Trim the Tree of Knowledge: The Epistemological Strategy of the Encyclopédie, ” in The Great Cat Massacre and Other Episodes in French Cultural History (New York: Vintage, 1984), p. 198. [BACK]
19. d’Alembert, “Discours préliminaire,” in Encyclopédie, vol. 1, p. xiii; idem, Preliminary Discourse, p. 42. [BACK]
20. On the Académie des Sciences encyclopedia: Frederick B. Artz, The Development of Technical Education in France, 1500–1850 (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1966), p. 72. See also Robert L. Collison, Encyclopedias: Their History throughout the Ages (London: Hafner, 1966), pp. 108–9 (Oekonomisch-technologische Encyklopädie), 110–12 (Encyclopédie méthodique), chap. 4 (Encyclopédie of Diderot and d’Alembert), chap. 5 (Encyclopædia Britannica), chap. 6 (Conversations-Lexikon), p. 174 (Carlyle’s quotation); “Encyclopedias and Dictionaries,” in The New Encyclopedia Britannica, 30 vols. (Chicago, 1986), vol. 18, pp. 365–94; “Encyclopédie,” in Grand dictionnaire encyclopédique Larousse, 10 vols. (Paris, 1983), vol. 4, pp. 3734–35. [BACK]
21. Paul Hazard, European Thought in the Eighteenth Century, from Montesquieu to Lessing, trans. J. Lewis May (Gloucester, Mass.: Peter Smith, 1973), pt. 2, chap. 6; Mornet, Rousseau, pp. 144–49; Artz, Development of Technical Education, pp. 65–71; Harvey Chisick, The Limits of Reform in the Enlightenment: Attitudes toward the Education of the Lower Classes in Eighteenth-Century France (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1981), esp. pp. 167–75; F[rançois] de La Fontainerie, ed., trans., and intro., French Liberalism and Education in the Eighteenth Century: The Writings of La Chalotais, Turgot, Diderot, and Condorcet on National Education (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1932). [BACK]
22. Bourrienne, Mémoires de M. de Bourrienne, vol. 1, pp. 25–26; Tulard, Napoléon, ou Le mythe du sauveur, p. 41. [BACK]
23. Artz, Development of Technical Education, pp. 87–98. [BACK]
24. Zeldin, France 1848–1945, vol. 2, p. 333. [BACK]
25. Artz, Development of Technical Education, p. 147. [BACK]
26. Gillispie, Edge of Objectivity, pp. 175–78; idem, Science and Polity in France, p. 74. [BACK]
27. Robert B. Holtman, The Napoleonic Revolution (Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1967), p. 116, chap. 7, “The Educator”; Artz, Development of Technical Education, pp. 133–35, 145–46; Ackerknecht, Medicine at the Paris Hospital, pp. 31–37. [BACK]
28. Henry May, The Enlightenment in America (New York: Oxford University Press, 1976), p. 212, observes, “Great ages of science seem to be associated not with frugal and Spartan republics but with centralized and even warlike national or imperial states.” [BACK]
29. Gillispie, Science and Polity in France, pp. 21 (quotation), 50–65 (Gunpowder Administration). [BACK]
30. Alfred Cobban, “The Myth of the French Revolution,” an inaugural lecture delivered at University College, London, 6 May 1954 (London: H. K. Lewis for University College, 1955), app., pp. 22–25. [BACK]
31. Tulard, Fayard, and Fierro, Histoire et dictionnaire de la Révolution, pp. 506, 888, 1106–7. [BACK]
32. Maurice Daumas, ed., Histoire générale des techniques, 5 vols. (Paris: P.U.F., 1962–79), vol. 3, pp. 417 (Conté), 659 (million-franc prize). On Conté: Henry Petroski, The Pencil: A History of Design and Circumstance (New York: Knopf, 1992), chap. 6. The source of the quotation of Fain, secretary to Napoleon: Baron [Agathon-Jean-François] Fain, Mémoires du baron Fain (Paris: Plon, 1908), p. 153. The source of Gillispie’s quotation: Gillispie, Science and Polity in France, p. 22. See also Fernand Beaucour, “Techniques,” in Dictionnaire Napoléon, pp. 1627–31. [BACK]
33. Philidor, L’Analyze des échecs, 1749 ed., unpaginated pref. [BACK]
34. Editions discussed here: ibid.; Analyse du jeu des échecs (London: n.p., 1777); Analysis of the Game of Chess (London: P. Elmsly, 1790). Unfortunately, the last edition published by Philidor did not bring together all of his general principles of play, many of which had been collected in a few pages of a holograph manuscript of the 1780s but which in the publication of 1790 were dispersed among the analyses of particular games. The holograph manuscript: “Manuscript believed to be in the handwriting of Philidor” [1780s], John G. White Collection, Fine Arts and Special Collections Dept., Cleveland Public Library, Cleveland, Ohio. [BACK]
35. Société des amateurs [Verdoni, Léger, Carlier, and Bernard], Traité théorique et pratique du jeu des échecs (Paris: Stoupe, 1775). [BACK]
36. Eales, Chess, pp. 114–15. [BACK]
37. Cussy, “L’Art culinaire,” in Classiques de la table, 1855 ed., vol. 1, p. 361. [BACK]
38. Michel, Études de philologie comparée sur l’argot, pp. i–xxii, esp. xvi–xvii; Émile Chautard, La Vie étrange de l’argot (Paris: Denoël et Steele, 1931), p. 7; Sainéan, Sources de l’argot ancien, vol. 2, pp. 4–12, 97–108. [BACK]
39. Vidocq, Voleurs, 1957 ed., pt. 3. [BACK]
40. “Paganini’s Concert,” Times (London), Monday, 6 June 1831, p. 7; Fétis, Biographical Notice of Nicolo Paganini, p. 79; Pulver, Paganini, the Romantic Virtuoso, pp. 211, 318; Schwarz, Great Masters of the Violin, pp. 157, 168. [BACK]
41. Schwarz, Great Masters of the Violin, p. 196; Walker, Franz Liszt, vol. 1, p. 307. [BACK]
42. Root-Bernstein, Boulevard Theater and Revolution, pp. 34–37, 49–50, 64–65, 235–36, finds that the evolution of fair and boulevard theater generally supports Burke’s hypothesis. Isherwood, Farce and Fantasy, pp. 37–38, 250, does not find distinct elite and popular theatrical cultures in eighteenth-century Paris, contrary to Burke’s hypothesis, but he does find that fair and boulevard theater attracted the elite more and more over the course of the century. [BACK]
43. Albert, Théâtres de la foire, p. 5, argues that acrobatics was so important to the fair theaters that “les premiers et les plus célèbres de leurs acteurs seront toujours en même temps de très agile sauteurs ou danseurs de corde, et dans leurs pièces les plus littéraires il y aura presque toujours place pour des exercices de force et d’adresse. Comme le drame antique est sorti des danses de vignerons grecs, la comédie foraine est née des danses d’acrobates français.” For examples of funambulist routines: Isherwood, Farce and Fantasy, pp. 38–41. For information on Nicolet’s players in this paragraph and the next: Albert, Théâtres de la foire, pp. 221–32; idem, Théâtres des boulevards, chap. 1; Henri Beaulieu, Les Théâtres du boulevard du crime (1752–1862) (Geneva: Slatkine, 1977; reprint of Paris ed., 1904), pp. 11–16; Brazier, Chroniques des petits théâtres de Paris, vol. 1, pp. 12–25; Root-Bernstein, Boulevard Theater and Revolution, passim; Isherwood, Farce and Fantasy, pp. 167–80. On Lalanne, the father of Mme Saqui: Ginisty, Mémoires d’une danseuse de corde, p. 30. On the inclusion of gymnastics in the fête of 1799: Ozouf, La Fête révolutionnaire, pp. 44–45. For information on Mme Saqui: Ginisty, Mémoires d’une danseuse de corde, pp. 84–132; Beaulieu, Théâtres du boulevard du crime, p. 47. [BACK]
44. For information on Nicolet’s players, see the previous note. On the use of Philidor’s music in boulevard theater: Winter, Theatre of Marvels, p. 17; idem, “Le Spectacle forain,” in Histoire des spectacles, p. 1448. For information on Placide: idem, Theatre of Marvels, pp. 15–17; idem, “Le Spectacle forain,” in Histoire des spectacles, pp. 1447–49. In both of these works, Winter repeatedly insists on the importance of acrobatics in the evolution of the theaters of the fairs into the theaters of the Boulevard du Temple. [BACK]
45. August von Kotzebue, Erinnerungen aus Paris im Jahre 1804 (Berlin: Frölich, 1804), pp. 497–98. On the excessive use of pirouettes by early-nineteenth-century French dancers, see also Ivor Guest, The Romantic Ballet in Paris (London: Dance Books, 1980), p. 17. [BACK]
46. The source of the “French male dancers” quotation: Winter, Theatre of Marvels, p. 85. Lincoln Kirstein, Dance: A Short History of Classic Theatrical Dancing (New York: Dance Horizons, 1969), p. 229, writes of the same period: “The French had not been slow to abuse their reputation for virtuosity.” For the evolution of dancing sur la pointe out of fair theater acrobatics: Guest, Romantic Ballet in Paris, pp. 17–18; Winter, Theatre of Marvels, p. 123. The source of the “victory for the ballerina” quotation: Bronislaw Horowicz, “Le Romantisme: La mise en scène d’opéra et le ballet,” in Histoire des spectacles, p. 955. Kirstein, Dance, p. 246, writes: “Taglioni inaugurated the brilliant, dangerous tradition of modern virtuosity.” [BACK]
47. Winter, Theatre of Marvels, p. 66. [BACK]
48. On the recognition of Masson as European champion: Evan Baillie Noel and J. O. M. Clark, A History of Tennis, 2 vols. (London: Oxford University Press, 1924), vol. 1, p. 91; Albert de Luze, La Magnifique histoire du jeu de paume (Bordeaux/Paris: Delmas/Bossard, 1933), p. 340; Morys George Lyndhurst Bruce, Baron Aberdare, The Willis Faber Book of Tennis and Rackets (London: Stanley Paul, 1980), p. 335. The Parisian glazier Ménétra mentions Masson in his autobiography; see Ménétra, Journal of My Life, pp. 192–94. On the acrobatics of Masson: [comte de Mannevieux or Manevieux], Traité sur la connoissance du royal jeu de paume…par M. de Man***eux, amateur (Neuchâtel: n.p., 1783), pp. 140–42. On the acrobatics of Labbé, Barre, and Delahaye: Julian Marshall, The Annals of Tennis (Baltimore: Racquet Sports and Information Services, 1973; reprint of 1st ed., London, 1878), p. 49, incl. note 1; E. Nanteuil [de Lanorville], G. de Saint-Clair, and [Charles] Delahaye, La Paume et le lawn-tennis (Paris: Hachette, 1898), p. 102. The original source of this information appears to be Eugène Chapus (the author is often erroneously listed as Édouard Fournier, who wrote the preface), Le Jeu de paume, son histoire et sa description (Paris: Didier, 1862); see Aberdare, Willis Faber Book of Tennis and Rackets, p. 81. [BACK]
49. Harrys, Paganini in seinem Reisewagen und Zimmer, pp. 33–34. [BACK]
50. The sources of the first anecdote: Imbert de Laphalèque, Notice sur le célèbre violiniste, pp. 58–61; Schottky, Paganinis Leben und Treiben, p. 311. The sources of the second and third anecdotes: Codignola, Paganini intimo, pp. 362 n, 363 n, and 227 n, respectively. [BACK]
51. Letter of Niccola Zamboni to Giancarlo Conestabile, 22 October 1844, in Giancarlo Conestabile, Vita di Niccolò Paganini (Perugia: Bartelli, 1851), p. 301. [BACK]
52. The plaster casts of the hands of Paganini and Liszt are pictured in Day, Paganini of Genoa, between pp. 302 and 303, and Searle, “Liszt,” in New Grove Dictionary, vol. 11, p. 34, respectively. On the distinguishing characteristics of Liszt’s playing: ibid., pp. 33–35; Walker, Franz Liszt, vol. 1, pp. 297–305. The source of Liszt’s quotations: Liszt [and d’Agoult], “Lettres d’un bachelier ès musique,” in Pages romantiques, pp. 102–4. [BACK]
53. On prestidigitators and empirics: Fournel, Vieux Paris: Fêtes, jeux, spectacles, p. 245. On Comus, see the works cited in chapter 6, note 30. [BACK]
54. The source of the quotation describing Maelzel’s acrobat: Hamel, Nouveau manuel complet du facteur d’orgues, vol. 3, pp. 458–59. The source of the quotation describing Robert-Houdin’s acrobat: Robert-Houdin, Confidences et révélations, unpaginated app., “Programme général.” See also Decremps, Magie blanche dévoilée, vol. 2, Supplément à la magie blanche dévoilée, chap. 4, sec. 8; Houdini, Unmasking of Robert-Houdin, pp. 166–75. [BACK]
55. “M. Vidocq’s Exhibition,” Times (London), 9 June 1845, p. 6. [BACK]
56. For the quotation about Labourdonnais, see chapter 1 in this volume, p. 44. For quotations of and information about Carême, see chapter 2 in this volume, p. 67. For information about Paganini: Courcy, Chronology of Paga-nini’s Life, pp. 34–64; Pulver, Paganini, the Romantic Virtuoso, p. 270. Paganini himself counted 151 concerts that he gave from March 1831 to March 1832; Codignola, Paganini intimo, p. 360. For information about Liszt: Walker, Franz Liszt, vol. 1, pp. 285, 294–95. [BACK]
57. William R. Paulson, Enlightenment, Romanticism, and the Blind in France (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1987), chap. 5, “From Chateaubriand to Balzac: Literature and the Loss of Sight.” The source of the first quotation: Balzac, Louis Lambert, in Comédie humaine, vol. 10, p. 381. The source of the second quotation: Paulson, Enlightenment, Romanticism, and the Blind, pp. 146–47. [BACK]
58. Louis Chardigny, L’Homme Napoléon (Paris: Perrin, 1987), p. 54. [BACK]
59. Baron Claude-François de Méneval, Mémoires pour servir à l’histoire de Napoléon Ier, depuis 1802 jusqu’à 1815, 3 vols. (Paris: Dentu, 1893), vol. 1, p. 422; Baron C. F. de Méneval, Memoirs of Napoleon Bonaparte, trans. uncredited, 3 vols. (New York: Collier, 1910), vol. 1, p. 352. Mnemonic systems based on the mental representation of a compartmentalized space go back at least to classical Rome: Frances Yates, The Art of Memory (London/Chicago: Routledge and Kegan Paul/University of Chicago Press, 1966), chap. 1, “The Three Latin Sources for the Classical Art of Memory.” [BACK]
60. Fain, Mémoires du baron Fain, p. 76. On the livret system of Napoleon: ibid., pt. 1, chap. 8; Méneval, Mémoires pour servir à l’histoire, vol. 1, pp. 417–18. [BACK]
61. The source of the quotation about Labourdonnais: Walker, “Chess, without the Chess-Board,” Fraser’s Magazine 21, no. 123, p. 312. The source of the quotation about Zukertort: Anne Sunnucks, ed., The Encyclopedia of Chess (London: Robert Hale, 1970), p. 32. [BACK]
62. Vidocq, Mémoires, pp. 509–10. [BACK]
63. Schonberg, Great Pianists, pp. 175–79. [BACK]
64. Gautier, Histoire de l’art dramatique, vol. 4, pp. 163–64. [BACK]
65. Robert-Houdin, Confidences et révélations, pp. 262–66, 277–80; Houdini, Unmasking of Robert-Houdin, chap. 7. [BACK]
66. “An Exciting Scene: M. Blondin’s Feat at Niagara Falls,” New York Times, 4 July 1859, p. 3; G[eorge] Linnaeus Banks, ed., Blondin: His Life and Performances (London: Routledge, Warne and Routledge, 1862); “Ropewalker Blondin Dead,” New York Times, 23 February 1897, p. 7; “Obituary: M. Blondin,” Times (London), 23 February 1897, p. 7. [BACK]
67. Zeldin, France 1848–1945, vol. 2, pp. 983–86. [BACK]
8. Ballooning the Self
“Let me be the best then, at no matter what,” Jean-Jacques Rousseau had told himself in his youth, according to the Confessions of his maturity. He condemned his younger self for this attitude, calling it foolish. But he was still yearning to be the best at something when he wrote his Confessions, a work in which he claimed to have reached his goal: “Here is the sole portrait of a man, painted exactly according to nature and in all truth, that exists and that probably ever will exist.” Not that he was vain: “I believe that no individual of our species has ever had less natural vanity than me.”  Best again.
Rousseau had a lot of practice painting his own portrait. He did it in “Mon portrait” (10 pages, written sometime between 1755 and 1762), “Quatre lettres à M. le président de Malesherbes, contenant le vrai tableau de mon caractère” (20 pages, written in 1762), Confessions (650 pages, written between 1766 and 1770), Rousseau juge de Jean-Jacques (350 pages, written between 1772 and 1776), and Rêveries du promeneur solitaire (100 pages, written between 1776 and 1778 and unfinished at his death in 1778). Rousseau’s first self-portrait set the tone for the rest. It began, “Readers, I like to think about myself and I say what I think,” and ended, “When I am dead the poet Rousseau [Jean-Baptiste Rousseau, no relation] will be a great poet. But he will not be the great Rousseau.” 
A trend toward increasingly unrestrained self-promotion developed almost imperceptibly in French, indeed Western, society over the course of the second half of the eighteenth century. This trend became unignorable in the first half of the nineteenth century, when the virtuosos could be found in its vanguard.
Rousseau distinguished two very different feelings of self-love in human beings. The French language already had two terms for self-love, amour de soi-même (love of oneself) and amour-propre (self-love), so Rousseau simply applied one term to one feeling and the other to the other:
Rousseau made quite a lot of this dichotomy, treating it in three major works, the Discours sur inégalité (Discourse on Inequality), Émile, ou De l’éducation (Emile, or On Education), and the set of dialogues collectively titled Rousseau juge de Jean-Jacques (Rousseau Judges Jean-Jacques).
Amour de soi-même is a natural feeling that motivates every animal to look out for his or her own preservation and that, guided in human beings by reason and tempered by pity, produces humaneness and virtue. Amour-propre is only a relative, artificial feeling, born in society, that motivates every individual to do more for himself or herself than for any other person, that inspires in human beings all the evils they do to one another, and that is the true source of honor.
Why did Rousseau devote so much attention to the analysis of self-love? Most people’s thinking is in part guided by their reading, and Rousseau’s reading included several seventeenth-century French authors who had established a tradition of such analyses. Pascal had written in his Pensées: “The nature of self-love (amour-propre) and of this human ‘me’ is to love only the self and to consider only the self.” La Rochefoucauld had written in his Maximes: “Self-love (amour-propre) is the love of oneself (amour de soi-même) and everything for the self; it makes people worship themselves and it would make them tyrannical toward others if they had the means to be.” In the seventeenth century, no distinction had yet been made between amour de soi-même on the one hand and amour-propre on the other. It was all self-love, and the whole drift of seventeenth-century French thought was to condemn it. In general, the French moralists of that era, following the Dutch theologian Cornelis Jansen, blamed people’s neglect of God for the development of self-love. By contrast, Rousseau did not condemn all self-love, and for that portion of it that he did condemn, he blamed society.
Even if he had not blamed society, but especially because he did, one might infer that the society in which he lived, as well as literary tradition, influenced his choice of subjects. True, the Jansenists had condemned society before Rousseau. In the Discours sur inégalité, Rousseau’s apparent condemnation of all of human society since human beings first left “the state of nature” seemed to echo the Jansenists’ condemnation of all of human society since “the fall of man.” But for the Jansenists society was essentially static in its badness, while for Rousseau society had definitely gotten worse. In the Discours sur inégalité he argued that the amourpropre of individuals and the inequality of conditions in society had reinforced each other in a widening spiral to the point that both the amour-propre of certain individuals and the inequality of social conditions had become monstrous. In Émile, ou De l’éducation he argued that society taught people to compare themselves to others instead of teaching them to recognize and develop their own interests and capacities. In Rousseau juge de Jean-Jacques he argued that other authors’ amour-propre, and maybe some of his own, lay at the bottom of society’s unjust treatment of him. Clearly, when Rousseau condemned “society” he was often thinking of his own society, that of eighteenth-century Europe. He took old concepts—self-love, aboriginal golden age, tyranny of the powerful—that had been forged to criticize society in general, and turned them to a new purpose, to criticize his society in particular.
Rousseau did forge at least one new concept, as we have already learned, the distinction between amour de soi-même and amour-propre. His own society’s particularly serious affliction with self-love he proposed to treat not by discouraging but by encouraging self-love, albeit of a different, nonpathological kind. In the ideal society, Rousseau wrote in Rousseau juge de Jean-Jacques, people “do not seek their happiness in appearances but in internal feelings,…knowing well that the happiest condition is not the one most honored by the crowd, but the one which most satisfies the heart.”  The moralists of the seventeenth century condemned all self-love. Rousseau distinguished two kinds of self-love, condemning one and approving the other. How many people in Western society today would condemn even the kind of self-love that Rousseau condemned, the kind of self-love that gives them a sense of honor and prompts them to excel? Rousseau was both an early observer of and an early activist in the legitimization of self-love as a human motivation.
Rousseau appears to have been near the origin of an important reconceptualization of society. From the middle of the eighteenth century onward, rapidly increasing numbers of Westerners placed their own individual self at the center of their social world. Formerly, some figure of authority, the local lord or priest, or the king or the pope, for example, had occupied that position in people’s minds. In no socially recognized way could Rousseau claim to be an authority figure, yet he persisted in his voluminous writings in making his social world revolve around himself. He simply assumed that his primary function on earth was to do not what the socially recognized authorities told him to do, but what was in his own self-interest. They had greater power, but he had equal right. Other ordinary people began to adopt this view in their own minds, and on paper, after identifying themselves with ordinary Jean-Jacques while reading his works. Rousseau gave countless examples of what it meant in everyday life, while Jefferson inscribed “that all men are created equal; that all men are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” This revolutionary declaration presupposes both the legitimacy of self-love and a self-centered worldview.
Thus Rousseau was not the only writer of his era to promote a self-centered worldview, although no one else did so at such length, with such intensity, and on such a broad front, in politics, religion, ethics, education, love, psychology, literature. He had the backing of a large chorus, full of other distinguished soloists, whereas his predecessors, such as Montaigne and Cellini in the sixteenth century, were only isolated voices. In the realm of imaginative literature, many mid-eighteenth-century writers, consciously or unconsciously, contributed to the same end. The graveyard poetry of Edward Young and other British authors (1740s) and the Sturm und Drang works of Goethe and other German authors (1770s), for example, tended to encourage self-absorption: “Tempted by hermitages, grottoes in picturesque gardens, or mountain rocks, the reader of Rousseau’s Rêveries, Werther’s confidences, or Young’s Night Thoughts dreamed of intensely experiencing the existence of the ‘I.’” 
A historian of Western literature, John O. Lyons, argues that one of that tradition’s most significant products, the literary self, began to take definitive form in the 1760s. Lyons thinks that Rousseau, Goethe, and perhaps also Boswell contributed the most to “the invention of the self.” For earlier authors, “experience, personal experience, was largely beside the point and they saw with eyes that they assumed to be no different from any other.” For later authors, by contrast, “seeing became a confirmation of the self rather than a process by which the outer world of nature was understood.”  It was the end of Western society’s two-thousand-year-old subordination of self to nature. From now on in Western society the goal was to be the domination of self over nature, through literature, through technical skill, through philosophy.
In his Prolegomena zu einer jeden künftigen Metaphysik (Prolegomena to Any Future Metaphysics), Immanuel Kant cited David Hume as the thinker who “gave my investigations in the field of speculative philosophy a quite new direction,”  but one wonders whether Rousseau, whose influence on Kant’s thought in the fields of education, ethics, and politics Kant freely acknowledged, did not also guide him toward his celebrated “Copernican Revolution” in metaphysics of the 1780s. Kant wrote of Copernicus:
In other words, the universe as we know it—the universe of phenomena, in Kant’s terminology—is largely of our own making, a construction of our perceptual apparatus. More precisely, any individual’s universe is the construction of that individual’s perceptual apparatus, although Kant assumed that for human beings generally this apparatus is fundamentally the same. Kant called his revolution in metaphysics Copernican because he extended Copernicus’s recognition of the role of the spectator in astronomical perceptions to all perceptions. But Kant’s revolution could just as well be called anti-Copernican, since Copernicus had put the spectator in motion around a different fixed center, while Kant again made the spectator, or the spectator’s given perceptual apparatus, the fixed center and put the universe of phenomena in motion around that central self. Kant extended Rousseau’s self-centered worldview into the sphere of metaphysics.
Failing of a satisfactory progress in explaining the movements of the heavenly bodies on the supposition that they all revolved round the spectator, he tried whether he might not have better success if he made the spectator to revolve and the stars to remain at rest. A similar experiment can be tried in metaphysics, as regards the perception of objects. If perception must conform to the constitution of the objects, I do not see how we could know anything of the latter a priori; but if the object (as object of the senses) must conform to the constitution of our faculty of perception, I have no difficulty conceiving such a possibility.
German Idealism, the most important school of European metaphysical thought of the first half of the nineteenth century, based itself on Kant. According to Kant, our perceptual apparatus perceives real things, but we cannot know them as they really are, as “things-in-themselves” or noumena, only as they appear to us, as phenomena. Along one path of German Idealism, these things outside of us, the outside world, diminished from unknowable to insubstantial, and the “we” diminished to “I.” In the system of Fichte, the outside world has no independent existence: “My system liberates him [mankind] from the chains of the thing-in-itself, from everything that affects him from without.”  It does this by reducing the outside world to an idea. The idea of the outside world comes originally from the “absolute I,” or the “infinite I,” or God, but it also comes from each of us, as an “empirical I.” The world has many centers, although only one original center. In the similar system of Hegel, the “world soul,” or the “world spirit,” or God, creates the world, then sees it as a separate other, and finally recognizes it as part of itself. Again the outside world has no independent existence. And again the world has many centers, but the gravity of the original center seems stronger this time, and the philosopher who simultaneously comprehends, describes, and completes the world system, in so doing, finds himself back in that privileged place. In Max Stirner’s Der Einzige und sein Eigentum (The Ego and Its Own, 1845), the “I” is all; all things that appear other, even other human beings, aye, even God, exist only in the eye of the I.
The literary movement known as Romanticism also received much of its early momentum, or force in a particular direction, from Rousseau and Kant. “The poet has moved into the center of the critical system and taken over many of the prerogatives which had once been exercised by his readers, the nature of the world in which he found himself, and the inherited precepts and examples of his poetic art,” writes critic Meyer Abrams of Romantic aesthetic theory. “What I see first of all in Romanticism is the effect of a profound change…in the spatial projection of reality,” writes another critic, Northrop Frye: “The creative world is deep within, and so is heaven or the place of the presence of God.” Romanticism was the literary exploration of the self-centered worldview, and of self-love. Abrams sees a similar narrative structure in Wordsworth’s Prelude, Schiller’s Spaziergang, Hölderlin’s Hyperion, Goethe’s Faust, Coleridge’s Ancient Mariner, Blake’s Four Zoas, Shelley’s Prometheus Unbound, Carlyle’s Sartor Resartus, and Hegel’s Phenomenologie der Geist. This structure is a spiral, a spiral of consciousness, in which a consciousness recounts the change in itself and in the appearance of the outside world as it turns outward from itself into the world and then back inward into itself again, during which it also revolves from a lower state to a higher state, the substance of its change. Abrams calls this “the circuitous journey.” 
Although Romanticism first swelled up in Rousseau, the wave seems to have reached its crest in Germany and Britain before rolling cyclically back to France. But it was the same wave. Romanticism “was only to be found within,” wrote Charles Baudelaire in the essay “What is Romanticism?” “The artist never goes outside of himself,” he added in another place. “An artist should only and can only love himself,” affirmed Alfred de Vigny. A bit later the novelist Champfleury, an early Realist disgusted with Romanticism, complained of “the mania of talking about oneself”:
The epidemic of the “I” has so infected the blood of today’s writers that they are hardly bothered by it. This disease, which goes back to Montaigne and which developed considerable virulence in the last century, is borne by every one of us; everyone publishes his memoirs while he is still alive, exposes to the public what he has done, reports without modesty his feelings, his reactions, his sufferings, his passions.
The rise of the self-centered worldview took place at all levels, from abstruse philosophy and allusive poetry to grammar-school instruction, from the airiest ideas to the earthiest behaviors. Historians Roger Chartier and Dominique Julia have studied elementary books of manners of sixteenth- through eighteenth-century France: “The developments with respect to spitting and blowing one’s nose, are, in their trajectories, quite significant.” As one might intuitively expect, spitting and blowing one’s nose with one’s fingers became less and less acceptable. Perhaps more surprising is the shifting basis for the strengthening prohibition. From the earlier books to the later books, “the discourse…slides from a precept where the principle is the disturbance of others to a recommendation of hygiene for oneself.”  The celebrated historical sociologist of Western European manners Norbert Elias, whom Chartier and Julia cite, preceded them in the study of books of manners and generalized more broadly than they do. Elias interpreted the strengthening prohibitions against the two expellant behaviors as part of what he called “the civilizing process,” in which force and violence in human relations was gradually replaced by self-control. In this replacement, the center of one’s attention shifted from people of greater power to oneself.
Another long-term change in mores in which movement is detectable between the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries was the growth and spread of a desire for privacy. Several historians, Elias and Chartier and Julia among them, have documented the shift from the communal bed to the private bed. One or two large beds used to sleep whole extended families, including well-to-do families, whose bedmates sometimes included their servants. As material wealth increased, however, the individual bed multiplied and the familial bed retreated down the socioeconomic ladder. By the end of the eighteenth century, even servants had a personal bed, and a personal room. Sébastien Mercier observed: “In the past all the servants warmed themselves at a common hearth; today the chambermaid has her fireplace, the tutor his fireplace, the maître d’hôtel his fireplace, etc.” Of course, other members of the lower classes who had to find their own housing continued to live in more crowded conditions. If increasing material wealth was the main cause of the proliferation of beds and rooms, an increasing desire for privacy was at least a consequence.
A leading architect of the late eighteenth century, Claude-Nicolas Ledoux, took it as a principle that every person needed to be able to be alone. As indicated above, this “need” was promoted by the pre-Romantic literature of Rousseau, of the graveyard, and of Sturm und Drang, and then by Romantic literature proper. While in his architecture Ledoux parceled out private space for the individual, in his urban design he projected unobstructed lines of sight from as many points as possible for the citizen, concentric development for the city, and a panorama for the designer himself. All of this, summarizes historian Mona Ozouf, “allows one to affirm oneself, at a glance, as the proprietor of the world.” 
Thus, no real paradox existed between the privatization of life touched upon here and the simultaneous publicization of life that has already been discussed at length. What was happening systemically was the division of life into two distinct spheres, private and public, both of them selfcentered. Self-love manifested itself in the private sphere as a drive for the exclusion of others and in the public sphere as a drive for recognition by others. One can see this clearly in the simultaneously reclusive and ambitious Rousseau. Just as the desire for privacy became acute in the second half of the eighteenth century, so too did the desire for fame. In his history of fame, Leo Braudy writes that in that period, “what had been an urge in few, in many became a ‘frenzy of renown,’ as Matthew G. Lewis’s novel The Monk (1796) calls it.” 
In our glance at private life in the second half of the eighteenth century, let us turn from self-love to love. It is well known that many people in prerevolutionary French society had a cynical view of love. “Love, such as it exists in society, is only the exchange of two fantasies and the contact of two skins,” wrote the salon wit Chamfort in what may be his most famous aphorism. A number of celebrated books of the period seem to have been written to illustrate what he meant: the Histoire de ma vie (Story of My Life) of Casanova, who, although from Venice, lived for a long time in France, wrote in French, and gave himself the French title “chevalier de Seingalt”; Les Liaisons dangereuses (Dangerous Liaisons) of Choderlos de Laclos; the novels and plays of Crébillon fils; the semiautobiographical, semi-fictional works of Restif de la Bretonne; and the novels of the marquis de Sade. Pornography flourished. The illegitimate-birth rate soared. “Love, properly speaking, no longer exists in Paris, if we dare to face the truth, except as moderated libertinism,” wrote Mercier. “As if love were not the most egotistical of all feelings,” wrote Benjamin Constant. In other words, for many in this brilliantly disintegrating society, love was self-love.
More specifically, love for them was the kind of self-love that Rousseau called amour-propre. Rousseau, we recall, dichotomized self-love into amour de soi-même and amour-propre. Amour de soi-même is based on the instinct of self-preservation, leads from the concern for one’s own self-interest to a regard for the self-interest of others, produces humaneness and virtue, and is self-liberating. Amour-propre is based on the comparison of one’s own situation with that of others, leads to aggressiveness toward others, produces a sense of honor, and is self-aggrandizing. The legitimization of self-love and the adoption of the self-centered worldview in the second half of the eighteenth century meant the expansion of both kinds of self-love. The expansion of amour de soi-même contributed to the elaboration of the self-liberating principles of the American “Declaration of Independence” and the French “Declaration of Rights,” and to many of the self-liberating acts of the French Revolution that have been repeatedly mentioned: the abolition of the guild system, the abolition of privilèges, the abolition of internal customs barriers, the institution of democratic government, the institution of freedom of the press and freedom of public expression, the institution of “careers open to talents.” The expansion of amour-propre contributed to the elaboration of the self-aggrandizing principles of nationalism and colonialism, and to self-aggrandizing actions: the confiscations of the property of the nobility and the Church by the revolutionaries, the wars of the revolutionary and Napoleonic governments, and the conquests of the French Empire.
Napoleon extended Rousseau’s approval of one kind of self-love to both kinds, for he was among the first to use the term amour-propre without pejorative connotations. Like most of his contemporaries, Napoleon had as his first principle the pursuit of his self-interest. He distinguished himself from them by how aggressively he pursued his own self-interest and how little regard he had for theirs. One historian refers to the “hypertrophy of his ego” and concludes that “his egocentrism is almost total.”  Yet he was a popular leader for much of his tenure as first consul and emperor—that is, for as long as his aggrandizement of himself also aggrandized France and a large number of French people. Thus the emperor became the model of the imperial self. Balzac regretted “the example of Napoleon, so fateful for the nineteenth century in the pretensions he inspired in so many mediocre people.”
But Balzac also remarked in the same work, “For artists, the great problem to solve is how to get oneself noticed.” And he cited the Palais-Royal publisher Charles Ladvocat’s placarding of Paris with advertisements for his authors’ books as a novel solution to this problem. To succeed in the new society, we have seen, one had to please the public, but before one could please the public, one had to attract the public’s attention. The example of Napoleon no doubt encouraged the exaggerated pretensions of more than a few people. The desire to attract the public’s attention also encouraged exaggerated pretensions. These two encouragements were not entirely separate, since one of Napoleon’s exemplary characteristics was his ability to fix public attention on himself. From the vantage point of the late twentieth century, the inflation of advertising into an art in itself seems like a natural result of the growth of self-love and the self-centered worldview. Although he lacked the advantage of historical perspective, Balzac already saw clearly, without being entirely reconciled to what he saw, that for everyone in the new society—Napoleon, artists, even mediocre people—success depended on advertising.
Thus, advertising lay at the heart of an apparent paradox, in which the principle of pleasing the public was intimately tied to the principle of loving the self. Performers asserted their selves by mounting a stage above the public and then tried to please the public by entertaining it. Technicians asserted their selves by cultivating unusual technical skill, incidentally pleasing the public by astounding it. Self-promoters asserted their selves by expounding on their superiority to the public, perversely pleasing the public by scorning it. It seems almost as though the more extremely an individual expressed self-love and self-centeredness the more that individual was embraced by the public. One ended up being able to please the public simply by publicly distancing oneself from it, by advertising one’s extraordinariness. Naturally, advertising proper contributed greatly to this conclusion.
Reviewing a mid-nineteenth-century play entitled “Le Puff, ou Mensonge et vérité” (The Puff, or Lie and Truth), Théophile Gautier maximized an in-vogue but vague word: “A puff is an announcement entangled with boasting.” The use of “puff” in this sense originated in mid-eighteenth-century English and was imported into French toward the end of the eighteenth century. It described a form of advertising, indeed a form of culture, highly characteristic of the Western world in the Age of Revolution.
Advertising is many hundreds or even a few thousands of years old, if we consider a wooden sign hanging above the door of a shop as advertising. Such signs are still used, but the spirit of advertising has changed since its earliest manifestations. From the announcement, such as a wooden sign or a notice in a newspaper, to the puff, advertising made a leap. In the middle of the eighteenth century, Samuel Johnson appraised contemporary advertising in one of his essays. “The trade of advertising is now so near to perfection,” Johnson wrote, “that it is not easy to propose any improvement.” Johnson was using “perfection” ironically, for he deplored the tricks of the advertising of his time, and the improvement he proposed was “that these abuses may be rectified.” But he was also using “perfection” literally, in the sense of fully developed. However wrong Johnson may have been in thinking that advertising was already in the eighteenth century almost fully developed, the mere fact that he had such a thought is significant. That thought would scarcely have occurred to anyone before his time. Even the idea that advertising was susceptible of development, or that it could be regarded as a trade, or an art as Johnson also referred to it, was new then. Johnson thought that advertising was approaching its culmination because he was witnessing the leap from the announcement to the puff. The announcement had merely declared, while the puff sought to persuade; the announcement had spoken prosaically, while the puff spoke exaggeratedly; the announcement had emphasized a product, service, or work, while the puff emphasized the person presenting the product, service, or work.
We recall that the meaning of the word publicité, French for “advertising,” changed from the eighteenth to the nineteenth century. In the eighteenth century publicité had meant “the act of bringing to public knowledge,” while in the first half of the nineteenth century it took on its modern meaning of “the act or art of producing a psychological effect on the public.”  This change in semantics reflected the change in the reality of advertising.
The tremendous proliferation of periodical papers in the eighteenth century certainly encouraged the development of the puff. The sixteenth century saw the first halting attempts in Europe to publish periodicals of greater frequency than the annual almanacs. In seventeenth-century Paris Théophraste Renaudot founded both the Gazette (1631), the first long-lived regularly appearing newspaper, a weekly, and the Feuille du Bureau d’adresse (1633), the first regularly appearing advertising paper, also a weekly; each was the first of its kind in France and perhaps in all of Europe. Not until the eighteenth century, however, were advertising papers able to survive more than a few years or newspapers able to publish daily. In London, the first long-lived advertising paper, the Collection for the Im-provement of Husbandry and Trade, began in 1692; the first daily newspaper, the Daily Courant, began in 1702; and the use of “puff” to describe a certain kind of advertising began around mid-century. In Paris, the first long-lived advertising paper, the Annonces, affiches et avis divers, began in 1751; the first daily newspaper, the Journal de Paris, began in 1777; and use of “puff” began toward the end of the century. Incidentally, eighteenth-century papers already carried what late-twentieth century American papers call “personals”—advertising of the self.
In the development of the puff, the boasting that became “entangled” with the announcement began modestly but advanced brazenly. The announcement lost its conspicuousness, sometimes overwhelmed by the boasting, other times appearing as a report of a past event. An announcement generally refers to a future event, such as the coming sale or availability or presentation of something. But it might do this only indirectly or only in a general way.
The London Times of 22 March 1794 carried a notice that began: “Mr. Philidor, this day, at two o’Clock precisely, will play three Games at once, against three good Chess Players, two of them without seeing either Boards, and the third on looking over the Table.” The notice concluded: “The Ottoman Ambassador is expected to honour the match with his presence.” A similar notice in the Times of 21 February 1795 mentioned that Philidor’s blindfold exhibition that day would be “the only one this Season.” And a third notice appearing in June of the same year specified that a few days hence Philidor would give an exhibition for “positively the very last time.”  Although these notices were for the most part simple announcements, each of them contained one stock ploy of modern advertising. The first pointed out the presence of a celebrity at the event; the second, the rarity of the event; the third, the finality of the event. Although we do not know how much of the advertising for the London chess exhibitions was due to the Chess Club and how much to Philidor, we do know that a contemporary chronicler ascribed the advertising of his Paris musical performances to him.
The poster and newspaper advertisements for Paganini’s concerts were likewise mostly simple announcements, giving the time and place of the prospective performance and listing the works to be performed. They did contain a few flourishes, however. For a concert in Naples the advertisement gave Paganini the title “Filarmonico,” implying membership in the Accademia Filarmonica of Bologna, which he did not have. Shortly after the pope awarded him the Order of the Golden Spur in 1827, an advertisement for a concert in Florence identified him as “Il Cavaliere Paganini.” And after he acquired a more prestigious title and before he discovered its illegitimacy, his visiting cards read: “Le Baron N. Paganini, Commandeur et Chevalier de plusieurs Ordres.” 
Whereas Paganini’s advertisements emphasized the violinist’s titles, Liszt’s emphasized the pianist’s name. The poster announcing Liszt’s first benefit concert in Vienna in 1838 for the flood victims of Hungary enumerated the concert’s program, listing piece number five, for example, as “Adelaide, von Beethoven, gesungen von Herrn Benedict Gross, auf dem Claviere begleitet von LISZT. ” That is, Liszt’s name appeared more prominently than both the name of the singer he was to accompany, Gross, and the name of the piece’s composer, Beethoven. Over time, the diminution of the other names next to Liszt’s proceeded from relative to absolute. The advertisements for Liszt’s “recitals on the pianoforte” in London in 1840 caused a stir by announcing a program with only a single performer and by making new use of the word “recital.” A reviewer for the Times, while defending the usage himself, observed that “the choice of the expression has been by some condemned as an affected singularity.” 
Unlike posters, newspapers and reviews reported on past concerts, sometimes whipping up enthusiasm for a foreign performer whom local concert-goers had never seen, heard, or even heard about. These reports often bore an announcement, sometimes explicit, sometimes only implicit, of a future concert near the reader by the same performer. George Sand’s travel piece in the Revue des deux mondes describing a trip through Switzerland she made in the company of a few friends, one of whom was Franz Liszt, functioned similarly: “It was only when Franz posed his hands freely on the keyboard and made us hear a fragment of his Dies irae, that we understood the superiority of the Fribourg organ over every other that we have heard.”  The emergence of the touring soloist followed the establishment of local newspapers and of more widely circulating reviews in Europe’s larger cities during the Age of Revolution, depending on and encouraging the development of the puff.
Paganini had much to say about the prices of admission to his performances; he had everything to say about what pieces he played; thus he probably also had at least something to say about the other things appearing in his concert advertisements. This seems all the more likely in that he never had a long-term business manager, instead hiring a new manager whenever his touring took him from one country or region of Europe to another. By contrast, Liszt retained his manager Belloni for six and a half years and several sweeps of Europe. When in 1840 the advertisements of Liszt’s concerts in Leipzig raised hackles, Felix Mendelssohn, who lived there and made the initial arrangements, blamed the manager rather than the pianist. In a private letter, Mendelssohn wrote:
But Heinrich Heine believed that Belloni was only Liszt’s executor and that, despite the occasional mishap, “no one in the world knows as perfectly as our Franz Liszt how to organize his successes, or rather how to stage them.”  As Gautier shrewdly implied by using the word “boasting” (hâblerie) in his definition of “puff,” even though it usually appeared to come from someone other than its object, it was almost always to some degree self-advertising.
It is a pity that he should be saddled with a manager and a secretary who, between them, succeeded in so thoroughly mismanaging things that the public were furious, and we had the greatest trouble to smooth matters to some extent for the second concert. The advertisements and subsequent modifications, the prices and programme,—in fact, everything that Liszt himself did not do was objectionable; and consequently the mildest of Leipzigers were in a rage.
If the puff had a natural home in the periodical publication, then it was natural that self-advertisers would want to have their own home. Liszt practically had his own space in the Revue et gazette musical de Paris, publisher of two series of articles written by d’Agoult and himself, “De la situation des artistes et de leur condition dans la société” and “Lettres d’un bachelier ès musique,” which unabashedly took his own personal experiences for their point of departure and thus ensured a considerable amount of self-advertising. The chess masters Labourdonnais, Saint-Amant, and Kieseritzky edited their own chess journals, each the sole French chess journal of its time, in which they blew their own horns.
Vidocq showed great skill at self-advertising. After his second, brief term as chef de la Sûreté, Vidocq founded his information and detective agency, the Bureau de Renseignements, to be funded by subscriptions sold to businesses. He began in 1833 by publishing a prospectus to attract clients. Two years later he published a compte rendu, a report to the subscribers to his service, boasting of its achievements. Periodically Vidocq issued new prospectuses. These publications of his agency, the letterhead of the agency, and the sign over the door to the agency’s offices all referred to Vidocq as “breveté” or “breveté du Roi.” He had a right to this title by virtue of the patent he had received for his “forgery-proof” paper, but the context in which he used the title implied that he had government or royal approval to operate his agency, which he certainly did not. In fact, the government prosecuted him in two major trials for the agency’s activities. When the first trial ended in his acquittal, Vidocq placarded the capital with posters bearing the headline “ LIBERTÉ! ” After he, and by implication his agency as well, was acquitted a second time in 1843, he repeated the procedure with posters headed, rather too optimistically as events were soon to prove, “ RÉSURRECTION! ” In both trials the judge scolded Vidocq for his use of the term “breveté.”  The second trial, with the expenses and disruptions it imposed on the agency, ruined the Bureau de Renseignements, but it made the agency’s founder and director more famous than ever.
By the time Robert-Houdin opened his theater in 1845, strident headlines, hyperbolic claims, and pompous titles had become the norm in advertisements generally and particularly in advertisements for magic shows. In his autobiography Robert-Houdin discusses the advertising of the Scottish magician John Henry Anderson. He relates that Anderson, returning to London after an absence, had “gigantic” posters made in the form of “a caricature of the famous painting, The Return of Napoleon from the Isle of Elba ”:
In his performances Robert-Houdin eschewed ostentatious costumes in favor of regular black-and-white evening attire, and in his advertising he eschewed exaggeration, emphatic italics, and exclamation points in favor of simple statements in plain fonts with standard punctuation. He brought to stage magic the new aesthetic, or advertising technique, of Beau Brummell, the English dandy whose advocacy of the principle that men’s dress should not call attention to itself called attention to himself.
In the foreground, one sees Anderson affecting the pose of the great man. Behind his head floats an immense pennant bearing the words the wonder of the world; behind him, and a little lost in the shadow, the emperor of Russia and several other monarchs stand respectfully. Just as in the original painting, fanatical admirers of the magician embrace his knees, while an immense crowd welcomes him with acclamations.…At the bottom is this inscription: Return of the Napoleon of Necromancy.
If advertising is “the act or art of producing a psychological effect on the public,” it might involve the media of print, the only mass media of communication during the Age of Revolution, directly, indirectly, or even not at all. A puff might be a puff of ink or a puff of smoke.
The negotiations that failed to bring about a match between Deschapelles and an English champion in 1836 were well publicized, indeed practically conducted, in the chess press. Deschapelles’s initial challenge to the English players was published, at his request, in Bell’s Life in London. Subsequent proposals and counterproposals appeared in France in Le Palamède and in England in the chess column of Bell’s Life. When several months of maneuvering ended in a fruitless misunderstanding, Deschapelles reiterated his position in a letter to Le Palamède: “For more than thirty years there has existed a permanent challenge from me to the world of chess: I offer pawn and two moves.” 
The arrangements for other matches had better success. Two years before Deschapelles declared his desire to play an English champion, Labour-donnais had actually played and defeated the British champion MacDonnell. This match is now seen as the first in a long series of championship matches, while at the time it was seen as an exceptional event, a latter-day single combat in which the best individual warriors fought for the honor of their countries, a sort of duel.
Vidocq tells in his Mémoires of having been a fencing master in the army in the 1790s and of having fought many sword duels during his army years. As chef de la Sûreté in the 1810s and 1820s he found a more respectable outlet for his persistent love of dueling. He pursued most-wanted suspects in the spirit of a one-to-one trial of wits, strength, and skill between himself and the suspect.
Paganini’s onstage violin duels with Charles Lafont, Karol Lipinski, and Heinrich Wilhelm Ernst and Liszt’s public piano duels with Sigismund Thalberg, Felix Mendelssohn, Charles Hallé, and Alexander Dreyschock have already been recounted.
Some of Robert-Houdin’s duels of magic with Algerian marabouts approached the real thing, a violent duel. During his show in Algiers, he challenged a marabout to mark a real bullet, load it into a real pistol, and shoot it at him while he held up an apple on the end of a knife. After the marabout fired, Robert-Houdin removed the marked bullet from inside the apple. Of course it was a trick, in which Robert-Houdin used sleight of hand twice, once to prevent the bullet from actually being loaded into the pistol and again to insert the bullet into the apple. He used a similar trick on another occasion in the hinterlands of Algeria, this time “catching” the marabout’s bullet in his teeth. With a second pistol, Robert-Houdin then fired at a wall, which began to bleed. He had slipped a hollow bullet filled with blood into his pistol.
Violent dueling experienced a revival toward the end of the eighteenth century. The revival lasted until the middle of the nineteenth century, at which point dueling began to decline into its present state of virtual extinction. Some historians ascribe the revival of dueling during the Age of Revolution to the adoption by the new ruling class of the institutions of the old ruling class, the aristocracy, to which might be added the latter’s last desperate assertion of its characteristic values. Other historians ascribe the revival to the glorification of martial virtues arising out of the large armies and battle-consciousness of a quarter century (1792–1815) of almost continuous warfare in Europe. But it can also be seen as yet one more blast of hot air from the howling gale of self-advertisement and self-promotion that blew athleticism into the performing arts and whirled science into a race between discoverers and technology into a race between inventors. Activities of all sorts were sucked into the updraft of competition, competition between individual performers for fame among masses of spectators.
Dueling as self-advertising reached its apogee in the Paris balloon duel of 1808. Like many violent duels, this one came about as a result of a quarrel over a woman. Unlike most violent duels, this one had thousands of witnesses, attracted by the sight of two large balloons tethered in the Jardin des Tuileries on a May morning. M. de Grandpré and M. de Pique arrived armed with blunderbusses. They stepped into the baskets of their aerostats, ordered the tethers cut, and began to ascend into the sky. At about 2,000 feet from the ground and 250 feet from each other, the two men of high honor opened fire. M. de Pique’s balloon plummeted to the ground, while M. de Grandpré’s balloon drifted away and landed softly some seventeen miles away.
What the late twentieth century calls “hype” and the Age of Revolution called “puffery,” Henri Decremps in the late eighteenth century had called “white magic”: the art of making what one does appear more than it actually is. In his book La Magie blanche dévoilée (White Magic Exposed), Decremps was one of the first to subject Kempelen’s Chess Player to a detailed analysis and to point out the principal deception. In the same book he ascribed the public’s failure to appreciate Abbé Mical’s talking heads to the fact that “he did not have that veneer of charlatanism so necessary in this age to win the approval of the multitude.” 
“One of the characteristics of the age of Revolution (1789–1832),” wrote the novelist Stendhal in 1832, “is that great success is not possible without a certain degree of immodesty, and even of genuine charlatanism.” The Age of Revolution, the Romantic era, the takeoff point of industrialization; the period around the turn of the nineteenth century is also sometimes referred to as the Age of Egotism. Stendhal’s writings seem to confirm, if indeed they did not suggest, this label. The above quotation comes from the first of his two autobiographies, in which he discusses the characters of the people he has known, including, of course, his own. He called the work Souvenirs d’égotisme: “In spite of the frustrations suffered by my ambition, I do not believe that people are mean; I do not believe myself persecuted by them; I regard them as machines driven in France by vanity and elsewhere by all the passions, vanity included.” 
The word égoïsme first appeared in French around the middle of the eighteenth century and meant either an “excessive attachment to oneself that causes one to subordinate the interests of others to one’s own interest” or a “tendency to talk too much about oneself.” The chevalier de Jaucourt wrote the article “Égoïsme” for the Encyclopédie: “The men of Port-Royal [the Jansenists] generally forbade in their writings the practice of speaking of themselves in the first person, conceiving that this practice, however infrequent, could only derive from vainglory and from a too high opinion of oneself.” But just as Rousseau thought there was a good self-love, which he called amour de soi-même, as well as a bad self-love, which he called amour-propre, Stendhal thought there could be a good reason as well as a bad reason to talk a lot about oneself. To contrast with égoïsme, a “tendency to talk too much about oneself,” Stendhal coined the nonpejorative word égotisme, a “tendency to talk about oneself, to make detailed analyses of one’s physical and moral self.” 
Stendhal wrote to his publisher apropos of the second of his two autobiographies: “I’m currently writing a book…; it’s my Confessions in a style like that of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, but with more frankness.” Three-quarters of a century earlier Rousseau had written apropos of his Confessions:
Rey [a publisher] had pressed me for a long time to write the recollections of my life. Although they were not up to that point interesting in their events, I felt that they could become interesting by the frankness that I was capable of putting into them, and I resolved to make a work unique in its unprecedented truth, in order that at least once one could see a man such as he was on the inside. I had always laughed at the false naïveté of Montaigne, who, pretending to admit his faults, took great care to give himself only appealing ones.
Stendhal had been an army staff officer during the Empire and was a great admirer of the emperor, whose biography he twice began. In his egotism Stendhal followed the example of Napoleon as well as that of Rousseau. One of the four sets of Napoleon’s recollections recorded by devoted followers who shared his exile on Saint-Helena reports the ex-emperor musing: “In society, one must be a charlatan. It’s only in behaving like that that one succeeds.” In the Mémorial de Sainte-Hélène, the largest of the four sets and the first to be published, Napoleon creates what historian Jean Tulard has called “the myth of Napoleon.” He presents himself as having saved France and finished the Revolution, both in the sense of ending the excesses of the revolutionaries and in the sense of completing the beneficial social reforms they advocated. The Mémorial de Sainte-Hélène, first published in 1823, did much to turn French public opinion from the hostility to himself that Napoleon had generated by the end of his reign back to sympathy.
The Mémorial de Sainte-Hélène also precipitated a great outpouring of memoirs from civilian and military officials of the defunct Empire. In the heady days of imperial conquests it had seemed to the French as if “there were no longer any old men; there were only corpses and demi-gods.”  But the intoxicating warfare finally ended and the hangover began. After the Empire collapsed and the demigods of glory, power, and wealth awakened to find themselves mere mortals again, their heads remained swollen with exaggerated memories of themselves and their leader. They were convinced that the story of their deeds would attract a wide readership, especially now that the Empire was being recreated as a legend.
During Napoleon’s tenure as head of state he had in succession three principal private secretaries, Louis-Antoine Fauvelet de Bourrienne, Claude-François de Méneval, and Agathon-Jean-François Fain. Each of the three left a set of memoirs, and to consider them in succession is to retrace the launch trajectory of Napoleonic memoirs. Bourrienne compiled three volumes of notes for his, but he was apparently not sufficiently interested in the project to carry it to completion himself. Instead, he handed it over to the publisher Ladvocat, who had a better estimate of its potential as a best-seller and employed a professional writer to finish the job. The reader gets some notion as to Bourrienne’s sense of his own place in history from an exchange he reports having had with Napoleon. He says that one day Napoleon congratulated him on the fame that was certain to come to him for having been secretary to a great man and that he retorted by asking Napoleon to tell him who had been secretary to Alexander the Great. Méneval believed more in the importance of the role, while not forgetting that it was only a passive one. He recognized that it had made him an eyewitness to many historic events and took his task to be narrating them as he saw them, keeping the references to himself to a minimum. Similarly, Fain says in his preface that he was only an “instrument.” But then, as if offering a rejoinder to Bourrienne’s retort, he lists as many names of secretaries to famous historical figures as he can. (Fain’s preface is dated October of 1829, the same year in which Bourrienne’s memoirs first appeared.) He goes on to explain the evolution of his thinking about publishing his memoirs:
Rhetorical questions from a rhetorical age.
Indeed, several years ago I would not have dared to publish them with as many personal facts in what was only a rough draft intended to be read by my children. A revision seemed necessary, but my laziness for a long time kept me from further work. Today, is one not entitled to believe that this last effort may be dispensed with? Do not the publications that have abounded in recent years free me from such scruples? Now that readers have become familiar with so many “I”s of all sorts, can the “I” of a secretary still be considered shocking?
Historian Jean Tulard has written a critical review of eight hundred sets of personal memoirs of the Napoleonic period. He opens the preface to his survey by observing that “no period has given impetus to as large a number of memoirs as has the Consulate and Empire.” They began to appear under the next regime, the Restoration (1814–30), and to multiply under the subsequent regime, the July Monarchy (1830–48). Artisanal gave way to industrial production. Publishers hired teinturiers, or “dyers,” who added bright colors to the plain fabric of the narratives furnished by insufficiently literary authors. Sometimes the cloth had to be unraveled and rewoven again a little differently. Sometimes the publishers had to make the fabric for themselves in the first place. Ladvocat created a sort of memoir-factory, turning them out one after another. He employed a teinturier named Villemarest who produced at least three best-sellers, including the memoirs of Bourrienne.
The proliferation of literary self-portraits of all kinds—journals, memoirs, fragments of souvenirs, formal autobiographies—provides the clearest indication that the Age of Revolution abounded in egotism. In the West such writings date from at least the Confessiones of St. Augustine in fourth century A.D. Several important works of the kind came out of the Renaissance, for example the Essais of Montaigne and the Vita di Benvenuto Cellini…da lui medesimo scritta (Life of Benvenuto Cellini…Written by Himself). But before the middle of the eighteenth century, they were not common undertakings. One literary historian, in fact, asserts that “the eighteenth century was the first great age of biography and autobiography.” A French literary critic adds that “the current of confession and introspection, which had begun with Montaigne and Rousseau, was going to become a great river in the nineteenth century.” By the middle of the nineteenth century, the Revue des deux mondes was complaining:
Just as herds of completely unknown writers and artists are having their busts sculpted or their profiles stamped on medallions as donations to be offered to the national pantheon, so a herd of obscure personages, wrongly taking themselves to be important people, have started dictating their commentaries and making their confessions to their age and to the future.…The memoir-mania, which dates from the last years of the Restoration, is spreading at present like an epidemic.
Most of the virtuosos were infected with the mania for writing about one’s own life. For the sake of convenience, all such writings are referred to here as autobiographies, whatever their title, and whether or not they would be admitted into the literary genre of autobiography in a strict system of classification. Philidor lived and died before autobiographomania had spread much beyond his one-time collaborator Rousseau. The only sign he himself showed of any such tendency was to provide a few dates and anecdotes from his life to an English chess enthusiast, and perhaps to authorize the latter’s use of them in a biographical sketch. Carême, Vidocq, Paganini, Liszt, and Robert-Houdin all left accounts of their own lives. The three of them who were adults during Napoleon’s reign had fond memories of that period. The Empire provided Carême with lavish banquets in which to develop his talents, Vidocq with the métier of police detective, and Paganini with the patronage of Napoleon’s sister Élisa, princess of Lucca.
Carême seems to have been working on his autobiography when he died in 1833, the date on the only portion of it that has ever come to light, a dozen-page fragment published under the title “Antonin Carême: Souvenirs écrits par lui-même” by his former secretary Fayot in an anthology of gastronomic writings. Vidocq had his Mémoires published in 1828–29, shortly after his resignation from the post of chef de la Sûreté, when he was in his early fifties and still had another thirty years to live. He himself only made notes, which two teinturiers stretched into four volumes. Paganini dictated his two short autobiographical sketches of a few pages each, both of which appeared in print in 1830, toward the beginning of his triumphant six-year concert tour of Europe. The long article entitled “Franz Liszt,” signed J. Duverger, and published in the serial Biographe universel in 1843 when Liszt was in the middle of his eight-year, thousand-concert tour of Europe, is essentially autobiographical. It was produced in the same way that the articles appearing under Liszt’s name in the Revue et gazette musicale de Paris were produced, as a collaboration in which Liszt provided the basic ideas and d’Agoult the finished prose. Robert-Houdin put out his two-volume Confidences et révélations in 1858, several years after he retired from the stage.
In their autobiographies, the virtuosos do not focus on the great things around them—the events they witnessed, the people they met, or the places they visited—as do many Napoleonic memoirs. Nor do they focus on the ordinary aspects of themselves, in the tradition of Montaigne, Rousseau, and Stendhal. That is, they do not boast merely of their proximity to greatness or of great psychological insight into their ordinary lives; instead, following Cellini, they boast directly of their own extraordinary achievements. Carême boasts of his banquets, his cookbooks, and his pièces montées; Vidocq, of his knowledge of the argot and culture of the underworld, his arrests of particularly cunning and elusive criminals, and the victories won by his Brigade de Sûreté in its war on crime; Paganini, of how as a boy or in difficult circumstances he amazed his hearers; Liszt, of the triumphal march of his career as a performer; Robert-Houdin, of his blossoming mechanical skill and his normalization of magic.
When the virtuosos refer to other practitioners of their arts, they often cite the animosity of those others, which they generally ascribe to professional jealousy. The virtuosos saw themselves surrounded by inferior competitors envious of their success. “‘How lucky he is!’ people around me used to say, instead of attributing the difference in our positions to that of our efforts, the only thing that distinguishes one artisan from another,” declares Carême. Vidocq defiantly proclaims that officers in other departments of the Paris police force used to call the Brigade de Sûreté “la bande à Vidocq” (Vidocq’s gang), implying that it was more like a gang of thieves than a police brigade. He mocks his own agents for “always thinking ahead to my fall; they used to make predictions about it for their own amusement; and they divided among themselves the inheritance of ‘Alexander.’” Paganini relates this anecdote of antagonism he encountered from fellow musicians on one of his early concert tours:
As for the child-prodigy Liszt on his first tour, “musicians scrutinized first of all with distrust and then with a kind of stunned jealousy all the extraordinary things that the young virtuoso did on command.”  Robert-Houdin was greeted in Algeria by the miracle-working marabouts with undisguised hostility.
Leghorn, like so many other towns, had its own exclusive musical society, whose members took offense at my neglect to pay my respects to them and arranged things so that the regular orchestra players did not keep their agreement with me. The concert was to begin at eight o’clock; the hall was full, but not a single player was to be seen. Finally, three or four poor souls turned up. Naturally, I had to select other pieces than those on the program. My ambition provoked, I summoned all my powers, and for nearly three hours I entertained the audience with the liveliest youthful playing. My efforts were acknowledged with the loudest applause, a rebuke to my hateful opponents, so that my next concert in the theater was given to a packed house and had the accompaniment of a full orchestra. The members of the enemy party took that opportunity to excuse themselves, saying they had believed me too young to be able to do everything I had promised.
The virtuosos all employ tactics designed to forestall the potential charge against them of self-promotion. Carême’s “Souvenirs” begins with modesty: “My life does not aspire to the highest rank.” That is, he did not aspire to the prominence of the monarchs, aristocrats, diplomats, and financiers who employed him. Yet, “what I am going to say will perhaps not be without interest for our young practitioners and for the elite of Paris; the latter appreciate merit in a variety of endeavors.”  Paganini responds to Professor Schottky’s request for an autobiographical sketch to include in his book on the violinist with similar humility:
As with Carême, so with Paganini most of what lies “hidden” in the creases of his memory turn out to be his own achievements. Both the chef and the violinist did aspire to the artistic elite, which was at least valued by the social elite if not yet accepted into it. We are left to guess how they felt about that.
Your readers will have to be content with this; but perhaps this little bit which I am at the moment able to tell you is already too much for them: For an artist remains just an artist, and in our age of outstanding men, I cannot believe that such sketchy notes of my life will find a large readership. If you want rhapsodic phrases, if aphorisms will serve you, and if you have courage enough to bring such things to the public, then I am more than ready to smooth out the creases of my memory a bit and to search for whatever might be hidden there.
Vidocq’s Mémoires ridicule some of the more extravagant things the public is reported to have believed about him. The author apparently intends to amuse the reader and to put the reader on his side as they enjoy a laugh together at the extent of human credulity. The joke is also somewhat at Vidocq’s own expense, or at least at the expense of his superhuman reputation. “We [the agents of the Sûreté] were all colossuses.…We broke arms and legs; nothing stopped us; and we were everywhere. I was invulnerable; others claimed that I was armored from head to toe, which amounts to the same thing when one is not known for timidity.”  But to accept that the public indeed believed what Vidocq says it did is to be taken in oneself, for the belief itself, however much one makes fun of it, redounds to Vidocq’s credit.
The article “Franz Liszt” engages in preemptive self-criticism, as well as in the pretense that someone else was responsible for the article. He admits that as a youth he had his faults:
In other words, he loved the piano too much, he was too creative, he worked too hard, he devoted himself too exclusively to music, he was too sensitive, he showed too much enthusiasm. Liszt takes care to give himself only appealing faults.
Perhaps the exaggerated idea he had of the piano led him too far, or perhaps it was simply the confusion of his unformed mind that manifested itself in his works. He lacked all balance, and every sort of eccentricity seemed to him perfectly normal. In this period of his life, a total disregard for his appearance, an ignorance or rather an absolute heedlessness of good manners, an excess in his sensations and feelings, which manifested themselves in gestures, exclamations, and strange behavior, caused him to be accused of charlatanism. These excesses that were in him so natural, if one may say such a thing, were called affectation and pretentiousness.
Robert-Houdin’s discussions of other magicians dilate on their extravagances. He remarks on the flamboyant costume of Philippe, in contrast to his own stage attire of standard black-and-white evening clothes, the flamboyant advertising of Anderson, in contrast to his own restrained advertising, and the flamboyant ventriloquial stunts performed in streets and inns by Comte, in contrast to his own care not to disturb people with his tricks. He neglects to mention in his autobiography that he was the first magician to publish one, and that in doing so he gave himself the most attractive appearance, the longest-lasting advertising, and the best opportunity to put words in other people’s mouths of any magician.
Overt self-effacement effectuates covert self-promotion.
Neither Carême’s fragmentary “Souvenirs” nor Liszt and d’Agoult’s article “Franz Liszt” seems to have been much read by either contemporaries or posterity. Paganini’s two autobiographical sketches attracted a fair amount of contemporary interest, at least among music lovers. The two book-length autobiographical works of the virtuosos, Vidocq’s Mémoires and Robert-Houdin’s Confidences et révélations, had considerable short-term success. Each went through dozens of editions in several languages within a decade or two of its first appearance. But the two most successful writings about the author’s own life during the Age of Revolution, especially in the long run, were undoubtedly Rousseau’s Confessions and Napoleon’s Mémorial de Sainte-Hélène.
The autobiography from Rousseau to Robert-Houdin followed a trajectory from self-deceptive ingenuous self-promotion to self-conscious disingenuous self-promotion. Rousseau observed self-promotion in others, for which he blamed their amour-propre, and he himself engaged in self-promotion, but he had little awareness that he did so, even though he admitted that as an author he too had been infected with amourpropre. In his Confessions, he claimed to have left behind the desire to be the best at something. He also claimed to have little “natural vanity.” He truly believed that his Confessions were absolutely frank and that he would be remembered by posterity for his perfect frankness.
Napoleon was so fully engaged in living his life as to be incapable of taking a detached view of it. He had a remarkable lack of self-awareness, even while recounting the events of his life. It was as if he were reliving those events rather than looking back on them. Napoleon was self-mythologizing in the Mémorial de Sainte-Hélène, and even disingenuous in his self-mythologizing, but he was so fully engaged in his selfmythologizing as to be unself-consciously disingenuous.
Just as Napoleon believed in the self-made myth of himself as the savior of France and the completer of the Revolution, Vidocq seems to have believed in the self-made myth of himself as, first, the unholdable prisoner and, second, the omniscient policeman. The most successful autobiographies of the Age of Revolution were those in which the authors believed what they wrote, no matter how inaccurate, incomplete, or unbalanced their accounts of their lives.
Paganini gradually learned that the truth about his past did not appeal to the public as much as the tales invented about his pact with the devil, so he gave up denying the tales and allowed his talent to be seen as demonic. Liszt came of age together with the Romantic movement in the arts and already in his adolescence began to create his self-image as a Romantic genius. With d’Agoult’s help, he cultivated it carefully in his twenties and thirties, although he also clearly believed in this creation of himself. Both Paganini and Liszt presented their self-images quite self-consciously but only a little disingenuously.
In writing his Confidences et révélations, Robert-Houdin intentionally invented as much about himself as he related truthfully, because he had the goal firmly in mind to entertain as well as he could rather than to tell the truth as well as he could. Both Rousseau and Robert-Houdin were aggressive self-promoters. Rousseau promoted himself as the epitome of frankness, while Robert-Houdin promoted himself as the most entertaining deceiver. However, Rousseau in his Confessions was less frank than he made himself out to be, and Robert-Houdin in his Confidences et révélations was a less entertaining deceiver than he made himself out to be. Robert-Houdin by acknowledging his own deceptiveness proved himself more frank than Rousseau, but Rousseau by asserting his own frankness proved himself a more entertaining deceiver than Robert-Houdin, for Rousseau attracted the interest and admiration of far more people. In the art of self-promotion Rousseau finally found the art that allowed him to be what he always wanted to be: the best.
The puff, the duel, and the autobiography were three striking manifestations of the uninhibited self-promotion in and through which the virtuosos of the Age of Revolution lastingly distinguished themselves as individuals in a society undergoing publicization. Each of these virtuosos continues to be accorded a prominent position in the history of his art: Philidor as the first European chess champion, Carême as the grand chef of grande cuisine, Vidocq as the father of modern crime detection in both fact and fiction, Paganini as the musician who gave virtuosity a permanent place in concert performances, Liszt as the greatest pianist who ever lived, and Robert-Houdin as the greatest conjurer of the golden age of stage magic. All except Vidocq have had streets in Paris named after them.
Together, swelling self-love and the publicization of social life contributed largely to, or perhaps even created, uninhibited self-promotion. Swelling self-love and the publicization of social life also produced several individual-in-society antinomies. First, these two trends encouraged individuals to seek private space away from others but also to seek public recognition from others. Second, they encouraged individuals to assume a superiority over the public but also to solicit an acknowledgment of that superiority from the public. Third, they encouraged individuals to create a highly personal account of their own lives but also to submit that account to the public in the hope of mass acceptance.
The society of swelling self-love and publicization produced some spectacularly antinomic individuals, perhaps none more so than Rousseau. Rousseau had the ambition to be better than everyone else at something yet found that ambition foolish. He could not live for any length of time anywhere he tried to live—neither Protestant Geneva nor Catholic Savoy, neither cosmopolitan Paris nor provincial France, neither libertine Venice nor liberal England—where his sojourns always ended in either flight or expulsion. Yet he had thousands of adoring readers. Rousseau, ungovernable author of constitutions and meta-constitutions, was a hermitic social theorist.
And the new society, competitive and cacophonous, was a balloon race in a tumult.
1. Rousseau, Confessions, in Oeuvres complètes, vol. 1, pp. 288, 3, 14. [BACK]
2. The source of the quotations: Rousseau, “Mon portrait,” in Oeuvres complètes, vol. 1, pp. 1120, 1129. For the dates of composition of Rousseau’s works: Gagnebin and Raymond, “Notes et variantes,” and “Chronologie,” in ibid., vol. 1, pp. 1839–44 and cx–cxvii, respectively. [BACK]
3. Rousseau, Discours sur l’origine et les fondements de l’inégalité parmi les hommes, in Oeuvres complètes, vol. 3, p. 219. [BACK]
4. Blaise Pascal, Pensées, in Oeuvres complètes, ed. Jacques Chevalier (Paris: Pléiade, 1954), pt. 1 (“L’Homme sans Dieu”), chap. 2 (“Misère de l’homme”), sec. 4 (“L’Amour-propre”); François de La Rochefoucauld, Maximes, in Oeuvres complètes, ed. L. Martin-Chauffier (Paris: Pléiade, 1950), maxime 563. On “amour de soi”: Émile Littré, Dictionnaire de la langue français, 4 vols. (Paris: Hachette, 1863–72), vol. 1, p. 134. See also Anthony Levi, French Mor-alists: The Theory of the Passions, 1585–1649 (Oxford, Eng.: Clarendon, 1964), pp. 226–27. [BACK]
5. Rousseau, Rousseau juge de Jean-Jacques, in Oeuvres complètes, vol. 1, passim, esp. pp. 668–77, and above all pp. 701, 733. [BACK]
6. “J’ai pris en mépris mon siècle et mes contemporains”; Rousseau, “Quatre lettres à Malesherbes,” in Oeuvres complètes, vol. 1, p. 1135. [BACK]
7. The distinction was not invented by Rousseau; he was preceded in employing it by Vauvenargues, who himself acknowledged having had predecessors in employing it. However, Rousseau may have independently reinvented it. Luc de Clapiers de Vauvenargues, Introduction à la connaissance de l’esprit humain, in Oeuvres complètes, ed. Henry Bonnier, 2 vols. (Paris: Hachette, 1968), vol. 1, pp. 227–28 (in section 24, entitled “De l’amour-propre et de l’amour de nous-mêmes”). [BACK]
8. Rousseau, Rousseau juge de Jean-Jacques, in Oeuvres complètes, vol. 1, p. 671. [BACK]
9. Lynn Hunt, in The Family Romance of the French Revolution (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1992), chaps. 1, 2, argues that the psychological overthrow of the king began decades before his actual overthrow, just as the present study argues that the psychological replacement of the king (or lord) with the self began decades before his actual replacement with democratic self-government. [BACK]
10. Corbin, Foul and the Fragrant, p. 81. [BACK]
11. John O. Lyons, The Invention of the Self: The Hinge of Consciousness in the Eighteenth Century (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1978), pp. 11–12. [BACK]
12. Immanuel Kant, Prolegomena to Any Future Metaphysics, trans. P. Carus and Lewis White Beck (Indianapolis, Ind.: Bobbs-Merrill, 1950; first German ed., 1783), p. 8. [BACK]
13. Immanuel Kant, Critique of Pure Reason, trans. Norman Kemp Smith (London: Macmillan, 1963; first German ed., 1781), p. 22. Smith’s translation of Anschauung as “intuition” has been changed to “perception.” [BACK]
14. Johann Gottlieb Fichte, Briefwechsel, ed. Hans Schulz, 2 vols. (Hildesheim: Olms, 1967; reprint of Leipzig ed., 1930), vol. 1, p. 449. For the citation of this passage and discussion of Fichte’s metaphysics: George Armstrong Kelly, Idealism, Politics, and History: Sources of Hegelian Thought (Cambridge, Eng.: Cambridge University Press, 1969), pp. 201–8; John E. Toews, Hegelianism (Cambridge, Eng.: Cambridge University Press, 1980), pp. 35–37. [BACK]
15. The source of Abrams’s quotation: Meyer H. Abrams, The Mirror and the Lamp: Romantic Theory and the Critical Tradition (New York: Oxford University Press, 1953), p. 29. The source of Frye’s quotations: Northrop Frye, “The Drunken Boat: The Revolutionary Element in Romanticism,” in Romanticism Reconsidered, ed. Northrop Frye (New York: Columbia University Press, 1963), pp. 5, 16. On “the circuitous journey”: M[eyer] H. Abrams, Natural Supernaturalism: Tradition and Revolution in Romantic Literature (New York: Norton, 1971), passim. [BACK]
16. Charles Baudelaire, “Salon de 1846,” in Oeuvres complètes, p. 879 (“Qu’est-ce que le romantisme” is the title of section 2 of “Salon de 1846”); idem, “Mon coeur mis à nu,” in Oeuvres complètes, p. 1296; Alfred de Vigny, Le Journal d’un poète, in Oeuvres complètes, ed. F. Baldensperger, 2 vols. (Paris: Pléiade, 1948–50), vol. 2, p. 904; Champfleury [pseud. of Jules-François-Félix Husson], Souvenirs des Funambules (Geneva: Slatkine, 1971; reprint of Paris ed., 1859), p. 73. Goethe had already associated Romanticism with sickness; Eckermann, Gespräche mit Goethe, 2 April 1829. [BACK]
17. Roger Chartier, Dominique Julia, and Marie-Madeleine Compère, L’Éducation en France du XVIe au XVIIIe siècle (Paris: Société d’Édition d’Enseignement Supérieur, 1976), pp. 143–44. [BACK]
18. Norbert Elias, The Civilizing Process, trans. Edmund Jephcott, 2 vols. (New York: Pantheon, 1978–82; first published in Basel, 1939), vol. 1, The History of Manners, chap. 2, sec. 6 (“On Blowing One’s Nose”), sec. 7 (“On Spitting”); vol. 2, Power and Civility, pt. 2, sec. 1 (“The Social Constraint toward Self-Constraint”). [BACK]
19. Ibid., vol. 1, History of Manners, chap. 2, sec. 8 (“On Behavior in the Bedroom”); Chartier, Julia, and Compère, L’Éducation en France, p. 144; Jean-Louis Flandrin, Families in Former Times: Kinship, Household and Sexuality in Early Modern France, trans. Richard Southern (Cambridge, Eng.: Cambridge University Press, 1979), pp. 98–102; Daniel Roche, The People of Paris: An Essay in Popular Culture in the Eighteenth Century, trans. Marie Evans and Gwynne Lewis (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1987), pp. 115–20. The translation made by Evans and Lewis of the Mercier passage cited by Roche has been altered slightly, upon consultation of this original: [Louis-Sébastien Mercier], Tableau de Paris, 2 vols. (Hambourg/Neuchâtel: Vichaux/Fauche, 1781), vol. 1, p. 49. [BACK]
20. Mona Ozouf, “L’Image de la ville chez Claude-Nicolas Ledoux,” Annales: Économies, sociétés, civilisations 21, no. 6 (November–December 1966): 1276–80. [BACK]
21. Leo Braudy, The Frenzy of Renown: Fame and Its History (New York: Oxford University Press, 1986), p. 14. Although in this passage Braudy speaks of the eighteenth century generally, it is clear he means particularly the second half of it, for that is when the economic, social, and political revolutions he alludes to took place, and that is when the writers—Rousseau, Voltaire, Boswell, Johnson, Sterne, Franklin—whom he alleges whipped up the frenzy (p. 372) succeeded in making themselves renowned. [BACK]
22. The source of the quotations: Chamfort, Maximes et pensées, p. 110; Mercier, Tableau de Paris, 1781 ed., vol. 2, p. 25; Benjamin Constant, Adolphe (Paris: Garnier, 1968; first published 1816), chap. 6, p. 92.
On the flourishing of pornography: Jean Marie Goulemot, “Les Pratiques littéraires ou la publicité du privé,” in Histoire de la vie privée, vol. 3, pp. 402–4; Lynn Hunt, “Introduction: Obscenity and the Origins of Modernity, 1500–1800,” in The Invention of Pornography, ed. Lynn Hunt (New York: Zone Books, 1993), pp. 21–24; Robert Darnton, “Sex for Thought,” New York Review of Books 41, no. 21 (22 December 1994): 65–74. The very word pornographe, the French word from which the English word “pornographer” and all of its relatives derive, was coined in 1769 by Restif de la Bretonne.
On the soaring illegitimate-birth rate: Edward Shorter, The Making of the Modern Family (New York: Basic Books, 1975), pp. 80–83 [BACK]
23. “Ôtez l’amour-propre de l’amour, il en reste trop peu de chose,” is another famous aphorism of Chamfort; Chamfort, Maximes et pensées, p. 110. [BACK]
24. “Amour-propre,” in Trésor de la langue française, vol. 2, p. 853. [BACK]
25. Jules Romain, “Mais qui était-il?” in Napoléon, ed. not credited (Paris: Hachette, 1961), pp. 288, 290. [BACK]
26. Balzac, Illusions perdues, in Comédie humaine, vol. 4, pp. 517 (first quotation), 588 (second quotation), 637 (Ladvocat’s advertising). On Ladvocat: L. Louvet, “Ladvocat,” in Nouvelle biographie générale, vol. 28, cols. 650–52. [BACK]
27. Gautier, Histoire de l’art dramatique, vol. 5, p. 212; Simpson and Weiner, eds., Oxford English Dictionary, vol. 12, p. 759; Robert and Rey, Grand Robert, vol. 7, p. 895. [BACK]
28. Samuel Johnson, “The Idler” no. 40, in “The Idler” and “The Adventurer,” ed. W. J. Bate, J. M. Bullitt, and L. F. Powell (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1963), pp. 124–28; “The Idler” no. 40 was first published in the Universal Chronicle, or Weekly Gazette of 20 January 1759. [BACK]
29. See chapter 6 above, p. 232. [BACK]
30. Hatin, Bibliographie historique et critique, pp. lx–lxii, lxxviii, 3–12, 17–19, 76–78. [BACK]
31. The quotation of the third notice is cited in Twiss, Miscellanies, vol. 2, p. 109, where it simply says that this notice was carried in “the newspapers.” The quotations of the first two notices are taken directly from the Times (Lon-don) of the dates indicated. [BACK]
32. See chapter 1 above, p. 28. [BACK]
33. Day, Paganini of Genoa, p. 127, and illustration between pp. 250 and 251; Pulver, Paganini, the Romantic Virtuoso, pp. 127, 206. [BACK]
34. Dezsö Legàny, ed., Franz Liszt: Unbekannte Presse und Briefe aus Wien, 1822–1886 (Vienna: Böhlaus, 1984), illustration between pp. 128 and 129. [BACK]
35. “Liszt’s Recitals,” Times (London), 2 July 1840, p. 6. [BACK]
36. Sand, “Lettres d’un voyageur. VII.,” La Revue des deux mondes, 4th ser., 8, pp. 440–41. [BACK]
37. Belloni was Liszt’s business manager from February 1841 until the end of the pianist’s touring in September 1847; Walker, Franz Liszt, vol. 1, pp. 365, 439. The source of Mendelssohn’s quotation: Felix Mendelssohn, Letters of Felix Mendelssohn to Ignaz and Charlotte Moscheles, trans. and ed. Felix Moscheles (Freeport, N.Y.: Books for Libraries Press, 1970; reprint of 1st ed., London, 1888), p. 204; on this incident see also Robert Schumann, Music and Musicians, trans. F. R. Ritter, 2 vols. (London: Reeves, ; first German ed., 1854), vol. 1, p. 149. For the Heine quotation, see chapter 4 in this volume, p. 153. [BACK]
38. Gautier makes this explicit when he gives examples of puffs; Gautier, Histoire de l’art dramatique, vol. 5, pp. 212–13. [BACK]
39. Vidocq, À M. le Président, pp. 7–11, where the first prospectus and the compte rendu are both reproduced. [BACK]
40. The letterhead of the Bureau de Renseignements and the heading of the Bureau’s first prospectus are reproduced in Vidocq, Procès de Vidocq, plates between pp. 48 and 49. The posters headed “LIBERTÉ!” and “RÉSURRECTION!” are reproduced in ibid., plates between pp. 72 and 73. On the judges’ scolding of Vidocq for his use of the word breveté: ibid., p. 117. [BACK]
41. Robert-Houdin, Confidences et révélations, p. 313. [BACK]
42. An extract of the challenge was also published in “Mélanges et correspondance,” Le Palamède, 1st ser., 1, no. 4 (June 1836): 147–48. [BACK]
43. “Défi à pion et deux traits,” Le Palamède, 1st ser., 1, no. 8 (October 1836): 292. It is not clear how often Deschapelles advertised this challenge, but he mentioned it again to a German player in a letter of 1844, when he claimed it had stood for “a half-century”; Berlin Schachzeitung 3, no. 7 (July 1848): 268–75. [BACK]
44. Robert-Houdin, Confidences et révélations, pp. 370–71, 393–94. [BACK]
45. On the revival of dueling during the Age of Revolution: J[ohn] G[ideon] Millingen, The History of Duelling, 2 vols. (London: Bentley, 1841), vol. 1, pp. 174, 188–89, 207, 228–69; vol. 2, pp. 84–91; Robert Baldick, The Duel: A History of Duelling (New York: Potter, 1965), pp. 42, 89–93, 96, 116, 134–36, 200; V. G. Kiernan, The Duel in European History: Honour and the Reign of Aristocracy (Oxford, Eng.: Oxford University Press, 1988), pp. 187–88, 199. Robert A. Nye, in Masculinity and Male Codes of Honor in Modern France (New York: Oxford University Press, 1993), p. 132, agrees that there was a revival of dueling during the Age of Revolution, but cites evidence to the effect that in France, in contrast to the rest of Western Europe, there was even more dueling in the second half of the nineteenth century than in the first half (pp. 135–37, 185). For the social class explanation: ibid., p. 145. For the pervasive militarism explanation: Kiernan, Duel in European History, pp. 194–95. [BACK]
46. Baldick, Duel, pp. 161–62. [BACK]
47. Decremps, Magie blanche dévoilée, vol. 2, Supplément à la magie blanche dévoilée, chap. 4, sec. 7. [BACK]
48. Stendhal, Souvenirs d’égotisme, in Oeuvres intimes, ed. Henri Martineau (Paris: Pléiade, 1955), pp. 1428–29 (first quotation), 1394 (second quotation). On the Age of Egotism: Vier, Comtesse d’Agoult et son temps, vol. 2, p. 53; Outram, Georges Cuvier, p. 184. [BACK]
49. Robert and Rey, Grand Robert, vol. 3, pp. 822 (definitions of égoïsme), 824 (definition of égotisme); Jaucourt, “Égoïsme,” in Encyclopédie, vol. 5, p. 431; Stendhal, Souvenirs d’égotisme, in Oeuvres intimes, p. 1448. [BACK]
50. Letter of Stendhal quoted in Henri Martineau, intro. to Stendhal, Vie de Henry Brulard, ed. Henri Martineau (Paris: Garnier, 1961), p. ii; Rousseau, Confessions, in Oeuvres complètes, vol. 1, pp. 516–17. [BACK]
51. Stendhal, Vie de Napoléon, written from 1817 to 1818, was first published in 1929; idem, Mémoires sur Napoléon, written from 1836 to 1837, was first published in 1876; both are unfinished. See Victor del Litto, pref. to Stendhal, Napoléon, ed. Victor del Litto (Lausanne: Éditions Rencontre, 1961), p. 19. [BACK]
52. The source of Napoleon’s quotation: Gaspard Gourgaud, Journal de Sainte-Hélène, in Napoléon à Sainte-Hélène, par les quatre évangélistes Las Cases, Montholon, Gourgaud, Bertrand, ed. Jean Tulard (Paris: Laffont, 1981), p. 527. On the myth of Napoleon: Tulard, Mythe de Napoléon, chap. 3, “La Création du mythe”; idem, Napoléon, ou Le mythe du sauveur, pt. 4, chap. 10, “La Légende”; idem, ed., Napoléon à Sainte-Hélène, pref. [BACK]
53. Alfred de Musset, La Confession d’un enfant du siècle (Paris: Gallimard, 1973), pp. 20–21. [BACK]
54. Louis-Antoine Fauvelet de Bourrienne, Memoirs of Napoleon Bonaparte, ed. R. W. Phipps, trans. uncredited, 4 vols. (New York: Scribner, 1891), vol. 2, p. 102; Méneval, Mémoires, vol. 1, p. vi; Fain, Mémoires, pref. (the quotation is on pp. xv–xvi). [BACK]
55. Jean Tulard, Bibliographie critique des mémoires sur le Consulat et l’Empire (Paris: Droz, 1971), pref.; Charles Louandre, “Statistique littéraire: De la production intellectuelle en France depuis quinze ans,” La Revue des deux mondes, new ser., 17th year, 20 (1847, tome 4): 434–35; Frédéric Masson, pref. to Roustam [Raza], Souvenirs de Roustam, mamelouck de Napoléon Ier (Paris: Ollendorf, ). [BACK]
56. The source of the quotation of the “literary historian”: Braudy, Frenzy of Renown, p. 379. The source of the quotation of the “French literary critic”: Henri Peyre, What Is Romanticism? trans. Roda Roberts (Birmingham: University of Alabama Press, 1977), p. 112. The source of the “just as herds” quotation: Louandre, “Statistique littéraire,” Revue des deux mondes, new ser., 17th year, 20, p. 435. [BACK]
57. Richard Twiss, “Anecdotes of Mr. Philidor, Communicated by Himself,” in Twiss, Chess, vol. 1, pp. 149–71. [BACK]
58. Carême, “Souvenirs écrits par lui-même,” in Classiques de la table, 1844 ed., pp. 453–64. An essay by the marquis de Cussy in the same book contains quotations from Carême’s manuscript not found in the above fragment; Cussy, “L’Art culinaire,” in Classiques de la table, 1844 ed., pp. 247–88. [BACK]
59. See chapter 3, note 38 in this volume. [BACK]
60. There are at least four extant letters of 1842 from Liszt to d’Agoult discussing plans for the article. For a while Liszt wanted it to appear under the name of his business manager, Belloni. Liszt and d’Agoult, Correspondance, vol. 2, pp. 233, 237, 238; letter of Liszt quoted in Haraszti, “Franz Liszt: Author Despite Himself,” Musical Quarterly 33, no. 4, pp. 498–99. In a letter of 1839 Liszt tells of his intention to have Joseph d’Ortigue, who was responsible for an 1835 biographical sketch of him that was printed in the Gazette musicale de Paris, “remake my biography”; Liszt and d’Agoult, Correspondance, vol. 1, p. 296; Haraszti, “Franz Liszt: Author Despite Himself,” Musical Quarterly 33, no. 4, p. 498. [BACK]
61. Savant, Vie fabuleuse et authentique, p. 299, suggests that the teinturiers of Vidocq’s Mémoires made him appear more of an egomaniac than he really was. However, many of Vidocq’s contemporaries did find him an egomaniac. Guyon, in Biographie des commissaires de police, p. 230, writes of Vidocq that “souvent il a l’air impudent et porte effrontément ses regards sur tous ceux qu’il rencontre, comme s’il avait le signalement du genre humain.” Gisquet, in Mémoires de M. Gisquet, vol. 2, p. 104, writes that Vidocq was “un peu tormenté du besoin de faire parler de lui.” [BACK]
62. Carême, “Souvenirs écrits par lui-même,” in Classiques de la table, 1844 ed., p. 455; Vidocq, Mémoires, pp. 379, 383; Paganini, “Paganini als Knabe und Jüngling,” in Schottky, Paganinis Leben und Treiben, pp. 255–56; Duverger, “Franz Liszt,” in Biographe universel, vol. 5, no. 2, p. 122 (see also p. 154). [BACK]
63. Carême, “Souvenirs écrits par lui-même,” in Classiques de la table, 1844 ed., p. 453. [BACK]
64. Paganini, “Paganini als Knabe und Jüngling,” in Schottky, Paganinis Leben und Treiben, pp. 256–57. [BACK]
65. Vidocq, Mémoires, p. 356. [BACK]
66. Duverger, “Franz Liszt,” in Biographe universel, vol. 5, no. 2, pp. 140–41. [BACK]
67. Hillairet, Dictionnaire historique, vol. 1, p. 93 (rue Antoine-Carême); vol. 2, p. 208 (rue Paganini); vol. 2, p. 266 (rue Philidor); vol. 2, p. 353 (rue Robert-Houdin); vol. 2, p. 600 (rue Vaucanson); suppl., p. 62 (place Franz-Liszt). [BACK]