‘Une lueur douteuse’: Artificial Light and the Literary Imagination (1841–1913)

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftartikelForskningfagfællebedømt

Between 1841 and 1913, the lighting of Paris’ streets, outdoor spaces, buildings and homes underwent the most radical transformation in the city’s history. New degrees of brightness, colours, tones, effects and rituals found their way into literature, as writers used them to evoke emotions. This article, specifically focusing on literary scenes where emotions relating to romantic love are evoked at the same time as artificial lighting, posits that lighting as a narrative device was a way to to generate romantic tension, to set scenes for love to happen, to depict emotional states, and to affect the reader’s attention and feelings. Readings from a range of texts written between 1841 and 1913 are given as examples of lighting technologies’ influence on writing about emotion, suggesting that the development of artificial lighting expanded the possibilities of narrating emotional experience. The implication is to invite more literary analysis into emotions that take new technologies as a starting point.
Udgave nummer1
StatusUdgivet - 22 maj 2024

ID: 325472825