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Popular culture was thus defined as patrimony, in accordance with a two-pronged grid that was both historical (the intrapolation of themes guarantees a historical commonality) and geographical (their general presence throughout a certain space bears witness to the cohesiveness of that space)...Thus secured, the popular domain ceased to be the disquieting world Nisard worked so hard to exorcize and confine less than a quarter century before.
De ce sacrifice d'ecrivain, Desire Nisard fait aussi les frais, mais quant a lui l'affaire n'est pas aussi simple qu'il n'y parait.
In the first part, entitled "Les Mots: les mots, les concepts et leur histoire," Bauer traces the etymology and usage of the words "decadencia," "decheance" and "decadence" in the first chapter, and "decadent" and "dilettante" in the second, using a wide variety of authors, from medieval chroniclers via Rousseau and Montesquieu to Desire Nisard, professor at the College de France, who tentatively started to reconsider the term, culminating in Baudelaire's use of "litterature de decadence" in a positive way.
Translator's Note: In his latest book, The Author and Me, Eric Chevillard (ostensibly) seeks to clear up a misunderstanding occasioned by an earlier novel, Demolishing Nisard. That book was a long rant against a now largely forgotten nineteenth-century literary critic, Desire Nisard, on whom the narrator pins the blame for all this world's sorrows.
(69.) James Buzard explores this tension in his excellent The Beaten Track: European Tourism, Literature and the Ways to Culture, 1800-1918 (Oxford, 1993); see also Le Disez, Etrange Bretagne; two other works that have shaped my thinking on discourses of decline and loss in tourism and travel writing are Michel de Certeau, "The Beauty of the Dead: Nisard," in Heterohgies: Discourse on the Other (Minneapolis, 2000); and Marilyn Ivy, Discourses of the Vanishing: Modernity, Phantasm, Japan (Chicago, 1995).
(16.) As part of her argument for the popular roots of Modernism, Mary Gluck reads the preface itself as a "parodic replay" of a debate over the value of popular culture between journalists Desire Nisard and Jules Janin.
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