Edmond de Goncourt (1822–1896) and Jules de Goncourt (1830–1870) spent the majority of their lives in Paris. Having attended the finest schools, the Goncourts formed one of the most famous literary partnerships. After an unsuccessful novel and some attempts at drama, they began publishing books on various aspects of art and society in eighteenth-century France. Between 1860 and 1869 the brothers published six novels which they described as “history which might have taken place” and which were as carefully documented as their historical works.
No evocation of Parisian life in the second half of the nineteenth century can match that found in the journals of the brothers Goncourt.