Les Sœurs Vatard de Huysmans, ou Paris sous les bruits

Regarded as a painter of nineteenth-century Paris, J.-K. Huysmans writes repeated impressionist scenes in his novel Les Sœurs Vatard. His eyes are visiting working-class districts in detail. Nevertheless, on several occasions, the ear relieves the eye and meaning comes with sound. The novel shows a town that is threatened with darkness and still more with omnipresent noise invading together public, professional and private places. The noise is the expression of forces of nature (raging stormy weather on Paris) and, above all, of machines (locomotives, presses of a workshop). Through this noise, modern times come out as they are, busy and restless, and the author gazes at their aggressive racket with terror. (JS) (In French)

Solal, Jérôme
Volume 2009-2010 Fall-Winter; 38(1-2): 85-96