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Bordry, Guillaume – Modernité à vendre. Meyerbeer et l’art du puff




The subject of this paper is a term which was regularly used in France in the mid-19th century, but which has today fallen into disuse: the puff. An English word, whose pronunciation and spelling fluctuated, frequently used then soon forgotten, the puff meant roughly the same as the word fashionable in English or the French expressions en vogue or à la mode. Retaining its strange or borrowed character, the puff was also an indication that advertising had intruded into literary discourse, where it was highly visible, incongruous and sometimes misplaced. Comparable to the modern term buzz, combining hyperbole, emphasis or exaggeration in fiction, the “puff” held a special place in the musical press of the mid-19th century when talking about an opera, writing about an opera, or building suspense for a long-awaited opera. Consequently, this study examines the “puff” which preceded and greeted the first performances of the Prophète by Giacomo Meyerbeer in Paris.

    Person - 1
  • MEYERBEER, Giacomo (1791-1864)
  • Theme - 1
  • Institution – Opéra de Paris
  • Symposia - 1
  • French Modernity in the time of Berlioz (2010)