La Belle Epoque: Background information when reading The Painted Girls

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The Painted Girls

by Cathy Marie Buchanan

The Painted Girls
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  • First Published:
    Jan 2013, 368 pages
    Feb 2014, 416 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Jennifer Dawson Oakes

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Beyond the Book:
La Belle Epoque

The more than forty year period from the early 1870s to the beginning of World War I saw peace across much of Europe. Fueled by the continuing advancements of the Industrial Revolution, the era was marked by optimism and prosperity - for some. In France, this period is known as La Belle Époque, 'the beautiful age', a description applied to it in hindsight after the horrors of the First World War. During this time, the arts flourished. Theater, music, visual arts and literature evolved and gained worldwide attention.

The Moulin Rouge Many well-known artists came in to prominence during the Belle Époque. Artists Paul Gauguin, Henri Matisse, Henri Rousseau, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and a very young Pablo Picasso were hard at work. Writers Guy de Maupassant, Émile Zola, Marcel Proust and Colette had their works published, some with great controversy attached (as we read about in Zola's case in The Painted Girls). Musicians like Eric Satie, Claude de Bussy and Maurice Ravel also came ...

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