The Big Store

Norman Hampson

  • The Bon Marché: Bourgeois Culture and the Department Store 1869-1920 by Michael Miller
    Allen and Unwin, 266 pp, £12.50, September 1981, ISBN 0 04 330316 1
  • Ladies of the Leisure Class: The Bourgeoises of Northern France in the 19th Century by Bonnie Smith
    Princeton, 303 pp, £15.00, November 1981, ISBN 0 691 05330 8
  • Marianne into Battle: Republican Imagery and Symbolism in France 1789-1880 by Maurice Agulhon, translated by Janet Lloyd
    Cambridge, 235 pp, £18.50, June 1981, ISBN 0 521 28224 1

When she regretfully consigned the old world to the dustbin of history in North and South, Mrs Gaskell had no illusions about the nastiness of the new, but still saw it as conferring an unprecedented independence on the working man. Dickens put the emphasis on the dehumanised pursuit and efficient accumulation of material wealth, as an end in itself: the replacement of Squire Allworthy by Mr Bounderby. In this interesting and original book, Michael Miller suggests that they may have ordered these things better in France.

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