Just listing a few more books which I've not remotely read from cover to cover but
found extremely useful for looking up specific tidbits -
- Jerold Seigel's "Bohemian Paris. Culture, Politics, and the Boundaries of Social Life, 1830-1930", which obviously covers a much broader era but gives you an idea of the public and private goings-on in the Quartier Latin (later Montmartre, ...) at the time (it's also one of these books that takes care to confront confirmable facts with representation in fiction, which can be very interesting when looking at the mythical stereotype of The Grisette, for example)
- Amy Wiese Forbes' "The Satiric Decade. Satire and the Rise of Republicanism in France, 1830-1840", which is very specifically satire-centred (er, unsurprisingly) but firstly makes caricatures that could be indecipherable in all their depth unless you've been buried in the era for ages (looking at a fair amount of members of this forum!) a little clearer and secondly obviously incorporates politics as well as developments in the arts scene
and (again rather specific)
- "Threshold of a New World. Intellectuals and the Exile Experience in Paris, 1830-1848" by Lloyd S. Kramer, which has a lot to say about (you guessed it) the huge amount of foreigners in Paris (especially Poles and Germans [lots of Mickiewicz and Heine]) and the exchange of political and literary influence between them and the local artists and intellectuals.
If you read French, by all means get
- "Les Romantiques 1820-1848" by Anne Martin-Fugier. What it does is basically take all the memoirs and letters and filter out the most reliable information/confront the conflicting reports, making for a varied and entertaining view of how everyone active in any field (literature/theatre, music, visual art) (the Hugo/Berlioz/Delacroix trinity is the starting point for much branching out) perceived the era at the time as well as how they reflected on it later on top of
discussing the actual works they produced (but there's not such a lot of that, so if you are going for the spirit of the age rather than hardcore analysis of its literature, this is the
book to pick up).
Adding to the memoirs list, again, if you read French, you might want to have a look at half of everything Théophile Gautier wrote in his later years (I ... never yet worked out what the actual title of 'Gautier's mémoirs' is, but the "Histoire du romantisme" collection has everything you could ask for as far as the Hugo circle for one is concerned) as well as Delphine de Girardin's "Lettres parisiennes" (published initially under the moniker of the Vicomte de Launay).
(And if you're going to do "Mademoiselle de Maupin", whose first ... sixty pages [famous prologue not counted] or so really elaborately prefigure the whole concept of mal-du-siècle [as does Musset. all the time. apparently it makes no difference at which end of a century you consider yourself to stand]-- complement it with Sand's "Lélia". Not just because they're both notorious for their queerish content but because they both do that quintessentially Romantic stream-of-consciousness hours-of-agonised-self-reflection thing [and do it a lot more bearably than the father
of that art form in France, Chateaubriand]. And because it's just an amazingly ahead-of-its-time novel and the best thing to go for in Sand's fiction [there's a lot] if you don't
either intend to read all of it or are interested in specific topics.)
(Speaking of 'there's a lot', if you do want to delve into Sand and Balzac and have no idea where to start - apart from Marianne's recommendation of the Goriot/Illusions/Splendeurs trilogy, which I heartily
second, as well as that of "Horace", which, apart from having the 1832 insurrection in it, takes a grand sweep and incorporates everything from artisans to bousingots, a rather Balzacian/Stendhalian aristocratic lady, Saint-Simonianism, and bits of feminism, and is just generally a fabulous read - but a vague idea of what you're looking for [and you can really get everything in them, from Everybody Who Survived The Russian Campaign Has A Crack Running Through Their Brain to Why You Shouldn't Shack Up With Gloomy Eastern European Artist Types], hit me up, 'cause I read them for a living. Sort of.)
You may also want to look into the two major French utopian socialists, Saint-Simon and Fourier. I've not been in contact with any primary sources for the former, but you can get much of "Le Phalanstère" (the journal in which the latter and his followers propagated much of their ideas) on Gallica. But it's really one of the outermost edges of nerdiness
Generally speaking, if you've either the time to trawl through a lot
or some specific day-to-day developments to check on, there is really nothing better than the periodicals digitalised on Gallica.fr (which was
recommended by a user on this forum but is really not getting the exposure it deserves here [unless everybody is merely assuming that everybody else has long been making the most of it] - what ever obscure French text you may wish to look at, be it prose fiction [it's got the illustrated oeuvres of everybody! so much fashion! so many people who are blatantly not as blond as they ought to be!], poetry, journalism, scientific treatise [you could just about trace the entire history of neurology in France there], government reports, or correspondence ... if they don't have it, nobody [on the internet, or in a library that is not in France and probably requires you to have multiple doctor titles to get access to] has). It also has out-of-print biographies of every individual you might conceive of (Nerval and Borel come to mind from the Romantic generation, but there's also lots to be found on the Great Revolution), though it's important to take these with a pinch of salt in the same manner as the memoirs, as they date from an era where biography definitely did not come with two hundred pages of footnotes detailing the sources for every statement.