Thursday, 18 September 2008

Ah, Paris. . .

A nice write-up in Maitresse on this new book by David Burke - Writers in Paris: Literary Lives in the City of Light. As she writes:

Burke's book fills a certain niche on the shelf of books written about literary Paris: not only a walking tour of French literature, or of Paris in letters, Burke has produced a geographically organized catalogue of writers' writings on Paris. The reader is led street by street, neighborhood by neighborhood, as Burke tracks the ghosts of writers past, pinning down what happened where in the long history of literature produced by Parisian writers, punctuated with citations of great Parisian moments in French literature.

It looks like a very interesting study. The most recent book I've read set in Paris was Zola's The Ladies' Paradise about the rise of a huge department store told through the stories of its visionary owner and a poor sales clerk who he falls in love with. It was fascinating on late 19th century consumerism and marketing ideas and gender, class and work issues, if the story was somewhat awkward and unconvincing.

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