La Parisienne in cinema

Between art and life

By Felicity Chaplin

<i>La Parisienne</i> in cinema


  • eBook
  • Paperback

Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-1-5261-0953-8
  • Pages: 216
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £80.00
  • Published Date: July 2017
  • BIC Category: Cultural studies, SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / Urban, PERFORMING ARTS / Film & Video / History & Criticism, PERFORMING ARTS / Film & Video / General, SOCIAL SCIENCE / Popular Culture, HISTORY / Europe / France, The arts / Film theory & criticism, Society & social sciences / Cultural studies, The arts / Films, cinema, France, Urban Communities, Film and Media, Popular culture, Films, cinema, Film history, theory & criticism, European history


Chic, sophisticated, seductive, and enigmatic, the Parisienne possesses a je ne sais quoi which makes her difficult to define. Who or what is the Parisienne and how she is depicted in cinema is the subject of this new and exciting book. In the first book-length publication to explore la Parisienne in cinema, Chaplin expands on existing scholarship on the Parisienne type in fields such as art history, literature, and fashion history, and builds on scholarship on the films discussed to both enrich and offer new perspectives on these films. Accessible and wide-ranging, this interdisciplinary and lively work will be of immediate interest to students and researchers working in Film Studies and French Studies and the broader humanities as well as a general interest audience. It is also essential reading for cinephiles and Francophiles alike.


'In this well-researched and insightful monograph, Felicity Chaplin presents the figure of the Parisienne in cinema "between art and life", concentrating on 1950s and 1960s French and Hollywood film. She covers approximately four films per chapter, over six main sections, using "Parisienne" as both a noun and an adjective, and writing of what she terms the "Parisienne-ness" of her subjects.This book is a valuable addition to film studies, fashion studies and general cultural studies. The style is engaging, and the research is wide-ranging and thought provoking.'
Dervila cooke, Dublin City University, H-France Review Vol. 18 (April 2018), No. 92

''La Parisienne', as Chaplin explains, stands for an image of the city personified by a female figure. In the mid-nineteenth century, this became synonymous with the figure of an urban woman, an emblem of modernity whose mode of dress expressed her identity. She can be both artist and muse. Her class origins are not fixed: she might come from the demi-monde or the bourgeoiseie. In context, she can embody sexual openness and experimentation, or refined elegance and restraint.
In her deft, dense, intriguing book, Chaplin has delineated an area of research; she has also created a space or set of possibilities for studies that can take her project further, deeper, into more specialised areas or specific forms of critical engagement.'
Philippa Hawker, Australian Book Review

'Any study of as broad a corpus as is indicated by this book's title is likely to have multiple aims, and Felicity Chaplin's book seems to set itself not just the objective of adding cinema to the list of art forms in which La Parisienne frequently figures and has been studied (painting and drawing), but of using a typically art historical methodology (iconography) to do so. Approving of Alloway's anti-evaluative and implicitly anti-auteurist idea of culture as a continuum, Chaplin introduces her corpus as one that ranges across this continuum. Chaplin's book certainly does extensive impressive groundwork for further studies of the Parisienne figure in cinema.'
Kate Ince, University of Birmingham, EuropeNow, Issue 22 (2018)


Felicity Chaplin teaches in the French Studies Program at Monash University



Nominated for the 2018 Richard Wall Memorial Award, honoring books on film and broadcasting


Introduction: 'What's she like?'
1 Muse
2 Cosmopolite
3 Icon of fashion
4 Femme fatale
5 Courtesan
6 Star
Conclusion: 'Look, let's start all over again. What's she like?'
Films cited

Sign up to our newsletter
and receive 20% off all future book orders