Paris, Japan, and modernity: a vexed ratio
Chang, Ting (2015) Paris, Japan, and modernity: a vexed ratio. In: Is Paris still the capital of the nineteenth century? Essays on art and modernity, 1850-1900. Ashgate Publishing, Burlington, pp. 1-27. ISBN 9781472460141
Official URL: https://www.routledge.com/Is-Paris-Still-the-Capital-of-the-Nineteenth-Century-Essays-on-Art-and/Clayson-Dombrowski/p/book/9781472460141
This essay uses mobility as a way to tackle the nominal question, “Is Paris Still the Capital of the Nineteenth Century?” By examining the illustrated travel narratives of two Frenchmen in Japan, Émile Guimet, founder of the eponymous museum of Asian art in Paris, and the artist Félix Régamey, who accompanied him on his tour in 1876, I argue that travel and transport provide a vehicle through which to challenge the centrality of Paris, and by extension, the West in the nineteenth century. By moving our attention to Japan, we can better understand the changing balance of power between East and West in the nineteenth century, and the contested terms of center and periphery that have preoccupied recent scholars in the humanities and social sciences.
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