Event—Adult Education

The Making of Modern Paris, 1852-1939

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In this class, we’ll explore the making of modern Paris from the Second Empire through the 1930s.

Perspective of the Foyer, New Opera House, Paris. 1879. Stereograph from the Oliver Barrett-Carl Sandburg Papers Photograph Collection, 1860-1950. Call number: Midwest MS Barrett-Sandburg Box 7

Class Description

Political and social turbulence, as well as an architectural and artistic efflorescence, characterized Paris from the Second Empire through the 1930s. Topics to be treated in this class’s exploration of the City of Light will include Baron Haussmann and the remaking of Paris; the everyday lives of ordinary Parisians; life in the city during the Prussian siege and the Paris Commune; the Great Expositions of 1867, 1878, 1889, and 1900; the experiences of the city’s inhabitants during the First World War; and the cultural vitality of Paris during the interwar years.

Frank Biletz received his PhD in history from the University of Chicago, with a primary specialization in modern British and Irish history. He is currently Adjunct Instructor in History at Loyola University Chicago and has been teaching seminars at the Newberry since 1994.

Materials List


  • Luc Sante, The Other Paris. New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2016. ISBN: 978-0374536459

First Reading:

  • No first reading assignment

Cost and Registration

This class is full, but you can still register for the waitlist on Learning Stream.

Eight sessions, $305 ($274.50 for Newberry members, seniors, and students). Learn about becoming a member.

To register multiple people for this class, please go through the course calendar in Learning Stream, our registration platform. When you select the course and register, you’ll be prompted to add another registrant.

Register for Waitlist

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