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In the Metro

2002
Author:

Marc Augé
Translated by Tom Conley
Introduction by Tom Conley
Afterword by Tom Conley

In the Metro

A lyrical and dynamic consideration of the Paris metro.

Translated with an introduction and afterword by Tom Conley

Tourists climb the Eiffel Tower to see Paris. Parisians know that to really see the city you must descend into the metro. In this revelatory book, Marc Augé takes readers below Paris in a work that is both an ethnography of the city and a personal narrative.

As an anthropologist, Augé finds the Métro a fascinating site of memories, interconnecting solitudes and correspondences. This is a small volume that would fit neatly into the pocket and might be worth dipping into on a dull stretch between Rome and Stalingrad, or Alexandre Dumas and Colonel Fabien.

Times Literary Supplement

Tourists climb the Eiffel Tower to see Paris. Parisians know that to really see the city you must descend into the metro. In this revelatory book, Marc Augé takes readers below Paris in a work that is both an ethnography of the city and a personal narrative. Guiding us through history, remembrance, and physical space, Augé juxtaposes the romance of the metro with the reality of multiethnic urban France. His work is part autobiography, with impressions from a lifetime riding the trains; part meditation on self and memory reflected in the people and places underneath Paris; part analysis of a place where the third world and the first world meet, where remnants of cultures move and press together; and part a reflection on anthropology in an era of globalization and urban development.

Although he is a pillar of French thought, In the Metro is Augé’s first major critical and creative work translated into English. It shows him to be firmly rooted in a tradition of literary ethnography that reaches back to Claude Lévi-Strauss and Michel de Certeau, but also engaged in current theoretical debates in literary and cultural studies. In Augé’s idiosyncratic and innovative approach, the act of observing the quotidian is elevated to an art. The writer and his history become part of the field he observes, and anthropology interacts with a site-urban life-usually reserved for sociology and cultural studies. Throughout, Augé reveals a passion for his milieu, seeing the metro as a place rich with history and literature-an eclectic egalitarian society.

In the Metro

Marc Augé is the former director of École des Haute Études en Sciences Sociales, Paris, and is the author of numerous books, including The War of Dreams (1999), Non-Places: Introduction to an Anthropology of Supermodernity (1995), and Les Formes de l’oubli (forthcoming in English translation from Minnesota).

Tom Conley is professor of Romance languages at Harvard University and the author of The Self-Made Map (Minnesota, 1996).

In the Metro

As an anthropologist, Augé finds the Métro a fascinating site of memories, interconnecting solitudes and correspondences. This is a small volume that would fit neatly into the pocket and might be worth dipping into on a dull stretch between Rome and Stalingrad, or Alexandre Dumas and Colonel Fabien.

Times Literary Supplement