Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program

Romance Languages


Foreign Languages

Major Professor

Williams, John


In the mid-to-late 1800s, French writers and artists resolved to shed their Romantic skins in favor of new self-conscious "husks"--to borrow Baudelaire's poetic term--that is to say: Naturalism, Realism, Impressionism and Symbolism. Some of the older reformers found themselves in an awkward, transitional stage contrary to the younger vanguardists who bore no allegiance to the past. The first group included Baudelaire, Flaubert, Courbet, Manet, Degas and Pissarro while the latter listed among its most successful members: Zola, Mallarmé, Huysmans, Morisot, Monet, Renoir and Cézanne. This thesis argues that specularity--a sort of mirror mimesis--was part of the fertile, artistic exchange between these representative writers and artists who shaped nineteenth century French literature and plastic arts during a period of turbulent social and political change. It is important not to conventionalize specular-mimesis into an automatic looking glass response between literature and art. Its primary function in this thesis is to single out, investigate and inter-relate literary and artistic chefs-d'oeuvre which, at times, bear remarkably similar hallmarks, for one reason or another. Given that cultivated conversation was highly esteemed by the Parisian bourgeoisie and held to be an elegant art form by salon and soirée intellectuals, four Dialogues constitute the internal structure of this paper. Each Dialogue is preceded by its own Cadre which serves to introduce and familiarize the reader, using a mise-en-scene framework, with background information that supports the discourse.


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