This course is an inquiry into constructions of identity and desire in nineteenth-century French literature. How do the enchantments and disenchantments of modernity produce new visions of selfhood and its projections into the world? In what distinctive ways does an “I” emerge from the crossroads of the modern city? How are passions for experience, people and things shaped by the horizon of modernization, including patterns of consumption, the fascination for fashion and commodities, the acceleration of time, the dissemination of print literature? How does the literary experience become a site for experimenting on identity and desire? We will pursue these questions through close readings of Balzac, Hugo, Baudelaire, Flaubert and others.