Engine of Modernity: The Omnibus and Urban Culture in Nineteenth-Century Paris examines the connection between public transportation and popular culture in nineteenth-century Paris through a focus on the omnibus - a horse-drawn vehicle for mass urban transport which enabled contact across lines of class and gender. A major advancement in urban locomotion, the omnibus generated innovations in social practices by compelling passengers of diverse backgrounds to interact within the vehicle’s close confines. Although the omnibus itself did not actually have an engine, its arrival on the streets of Paris and in the pages of popular literature acted as a motor for a fundamental cultural shift in how people thought about the city, its social life, and its artistic representations. At the intersection of literary criticism and cultural history, Engine of Modernity argues that for nineteenth-century French writers and artists, the omnibus was much more than a mode of transportation. It became a metaphor through which to explore evolving social dynamics of class and gender, meditate on the meaning of progress and change, and reflect on one’s own literary and artistic practices.
In an 1883 article in the Journal des Demoiselles , writer Lucien Griveau declares that omnibus travel is essential to understanding Paris and Parisians:
J’aime l’omnibus pour lui-même, pour sa physionomie particulière tout à fait humaine. Il est rare que je le quitte sans qu’il m’ait fourni un sujet d’observation ou de songerie. Il est un des pistons par quoi fonctionne une machine comme Paris, un des multiples agents qui concourent à son mouvement et à sa vie. Tout le jour, dans le lourd véhicule, la société défile avec sa diversité de types, chacun le
Omnibus literature and popular culture in nineteenth-century Paris
Setting the stage
On 25 May 1828, one month after the launch of Stanislas Baudry’s omnibus service in Paris, a new vaudeville play premiered at the Théâtre de Vaudeville. Titled Les omnibus, ou la revue en voiture , the play portrays a bitter dispute between drivers of the newly introduced omnibuses and those of the individual vehicles for hire – fiacres , coucous and cabriolets 1 – that had previously dominated the Parisian transportation market. The drivers of vehicles for hire accuse the omnibus of unfairly luring customers away from other modes of
Le voyage en omnibus unit toutes les classes sociales sans distinction ni division. De tous les milieux parisiens où l’on se puisse rencontrer, la voiture d’omnibus est évidemment celle qui offre la plus parfaite image de démocratie et de fraternité courtoise. Ouvriers, boutiquiers, rentiers, savants, poètes, financiers, comédiens et comédiennes, domestiques et maîtres, musiciens et chanteurs, académiciens et ramasseurs de bouts de cigare s’y coudoient chaque jour quelques courts moments dans le plein air de l’impériale, l’étranglement de la plateforme
Shakespeare said, ‘All the world is a stage :’ we say, ‘All the world is an omnibus. ’
George W. M. Reynolds, The Mysteries of London
In 2013, experimental poet Jacques Roubaud published Ode à la ligne 29 des autobus parisiens , a volume of whimsical poems that takes us on a journey through Paris aboard a bus crossing the city eastward from the Gare Saint-Lazare to the Porte de Montempoivre. 1 Inspired by the poet’s own experience of urban locomotion and his long-standing fondness for Parisian cityscapes, the volume is organised in six cantos
Mais tante, je n’ai besoin de personne. Je suis venue toute seule.
-Seule! A pied? En voiture?
-Non, tante, dans Panthéon-Courcelles.
-Mon Dieu, mon Dieu, que Claude est coupable…. 1
Colette, Claudine à Paris
When 17-year-old Claudine, the eponymous protagonist of Colette’s 1901 novel, informs her prim and proper Aunt Cœur that she arrived at her house not only unaccompanied but also by way of the Panthéon–Courcelles omnibus, her aunt is profoundly scandalised. Why, we may wonder, did Aunt Cœur find it so inappropriate for a young woman from
This book examines the relationship between environmental justice and citizen
science, focusing on enduring issues and new challenges in a post-truth
age. Debates over science, facts, and values have always been pivotal within
environmental justice struggles. For decades, environmental justice activists
have campaigned against the misuses of science, while at the same time engaging
in community-led citizen science. However, post-truth politics
has threatened science itself. This book makes the case for the importance of
science, knowledge, and data that are produced by and for ordinary people living
with environmental risks and hazards. The international, interdisciplinary
contributions range from grassroots environmental justice struggles in American
hog country and contaminated indigenous communities, to local environmental
controversies in Spain and China, to questions about “knowledge justice,”
citizenship, participation, and data in citizen science surrounding
toxicity. The book features inspiring studies of community-based participatory
environmental health and justice research; different ways of sensing,
witnessing, and interpreting environmental injustice; political strategies for
seeking environmental justice; and ways of expanding the concepts and forms of
engagement of citizen science around the world. While the book will be of
critical interest to specialists in social and environmental sciences, it will
also be accessible to graduate and postgraduate audiences. More broadly, the
book will appeal to members of the public interested in social justice issues,
as well as community members who are thinking about participating in citizen
science and activism. Toxic Truths includes distinguished contributing authors
in the field of environmental justice, alongside cutting-edge research from
emerging scholars and community activists.
Dwarf Omnibus (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1992).
Better Than Life is the title of the second volume (originally published in 1990), but the most significant section of the text in relation
to the immersive potential of the computer game is to be found in the
closing section of the first volume, pp. 255–98. (Both these volumes
are included in the Omnibus.)
3 Computer games manufacturers address this perception of the danger of their product in a number of ways. The manuals now usually
include sensible epilepsy warnings, but then go on to protect themselves with warning
Three (1944), taking over from Harry Watt, and having
proved himself was assigned an episode of the omnibus ghost film,
Dead of Night (1945). 1
Hamer’s episode, ‘The Haunted Mirror’,
locates him on the shadow side of Ealing, in the maverick strain that
included Alberto Cavalcanti and Alexander Mackendrick. The episode not
only conjures up a dark, dangerous world of violence and sexuality, but
Ian Kennedy, oversight and accountability in the 1980s
. See also Foucault, The Birth of
Biopolitics, pp. 225–6.
146 Kennedy, The Unmasking of Medicine, p. 115.
147 Ibid, p. 118.
148 Ibid p. 119.
149 Ibid, p. 129.
150 Ian Kennedy, ‘The Patient on the Clapham Omnibus’, Modern Law
Review, Vol. 47, no. 4 (1984) pp. 454–71 (p. 468).
151 R. B. Welbourne, ‘The View of an Editor of The Journal of Medical
Ethics’, in ‘Report of a Conference on the Teaching of Medical Ethics,
held on Thursday 16 February 1984’ (General Medical Council)
pp. 18–20 (p. 20). National Archives FD7/3268. This talk was
reprinted as R. B