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Street, Life, and Other Signs: Heine in the Rue Laffitte



In a dream sequence that Heine describes in Ludwig Börne: A Memorial (1840), the narrator finds himself at night on a street corner exposed to the pulsating street life of nocturnal Paris. Read with recourse to the notion of Derrida's voyou (rogue), the paper examines the significance of street life in the 19th century and the critical issues and concern Heine's text poses. A unique view of the experience of modern city life, the narrator's observations from the corner stone at the intersection of Rue Laffitte and the Boulevard des Italiens articulate a visionary critique of the complex of the socio-economico-political and esthetic issues that define modern urban experience.