Paris Unveiled: or an Expose of Vice and Crime in the Gay French Capital by a Celebrated French Detective.

One of my favourite parts of this era is the wordy book titles. You'll find books that could just as easily get by with three or four words for a title ending up with titles resembling thesis statements, like this book here:

The Apocalypse


Explained According to the Spiritual Sense

(not done yet)

In Which the Arcana Therein Predicted but Heretofore Concealed are Revealed

And with that the title is finished. This seems to be the case more in the late 19th century than the early 20th, when titles seem to resemble our modern book titles a lot more.

Around this time a guy named Richard K. Fox was creating crime novels with long-winded titles left and right, including this one about Paris which was known as a hotbed of crime. As Jules Huret wrote just a few years before the end of the era, it was a surprise to not be able to find that sort of seedy underbelly he was looking for in Berlin:

The man at the café you talk to is not humiliated by his job and seems to want to show you that he knows how to serve. The worker, while very aware of his rights and who wants them respected, does not for all this have the air of a thug in revolt like some of ours in France. The people who contribute to your happiness do not seem to feel hatred for you...  
and:
I asked to see Berlin's absolutely miserable neighborhoods; nobody was able to show me one. Even the outlying neighborhoods which date back just a few years are far from having the air of poverty that strikes you in the industrial villages in England or France...It is not what I was looking for. I wanted to see Berlin's version of Whitechapel, or some streets of the hill Montmartre, some sort of humid and sticky den of filth, something cutthroat like the ones that remain in such large numbers in London, Paris, Saint-Petersburg or Rome. Such things don't exist here. The suburban streets are kept as clean as those in the centre; the shops, while not altogether luxurious, have a bourgeois appearance...I do not intend to say that there is no misery in Berlin, for I know the opposite is true. But it is most significant that she hides it so well, and is ashamed of it.
Tomorrow's post will be a continuation of his book. In the meantime today though we have this Paris Unveiled book, where the wide-eyed reader follows along the tales of crime after crime, committed by the person you least suspect (always seems to be women and children doing it). Really colourful stuff for the late 1800s. This one was published in 1888, when Germany had three Kaisers in a single year (Wilhelm the II's grandfather, then his dad, then him).

Also note that this book claims to be translated. I haven't been able to find the French original though.






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