The Vision of Rome in Late Renaissance France
Hardcover ISBN: 0300085354
The extraordinary richness of ancient Rome was a recurring inspiration to writers, artists, scholars, and architects in sixteenth-century France. This engrossing book explores the ways in which the perception of Rome as a physical and symbolic entity stimulated intellectual endeavor across the disciplines. Examining work by writers such as Du Bellay, Grévin, Montaigne, and Garnier, and by architects and artists such as Philibert de L’Orme and Jean Cousin, Margaret McGowan shows how they drew upon classical ruins and upon their reconstruction not only to reenact past meanings and achievements but also, more dynamically, to interpret the present. She describes how Renaissance Rome, enhanced by the presence of so many signs of ancient grandeur, provided a fertile source of intellectual and artistic creativity. Study of the fragments of the past tempted writers to an imaginative reconstruction of whole forms, while the new structures they created in France revealed the artistic potency of the incomplete and the fragmentary. McGowan carries the underlying themes of the book--perception, impediments to seeing, and artistic transformation--to the end of the sixteenth century, when, she claims, they culminated in the transfer to France of the grandeur that was Rome.
Artists Under Vichy
A Case of Prejudice and Persecution
Hardcover ISBN: 0691040885
While France endured one of the darkest hours of its entire history, from the occupation of Paris in June 1940 to the liberation of the city four years later, the French art world displayed an astonishing burst of creativity, an atmosphere of laissez-faire and pluralism that seems at odds with the repressive nature of culture under authoritarian regimes. So reveals Michele Cone in this provocative work on the art of Vichy and occupied France. But, as Cone also discloses, Vichy xenophobia and Nazi racism kept many artists from participating in this bonanza of artistic activity. In Artists under Vichy, both narrative and illustrations demonstrate in full detail the contrast between the "haves" and the "have-nots" during a vital but until now little explored artistic period. The first section of the work analyzes the lavish attention paid to both academic and nonacademic art by the official French press, by Vichy, and by German observers. Cone hypothesizes that the German strategy in Vichy France was to allow the display of nonconformist art, outlawed as "degenerate" in Germany, in order to distract the public from the secret seizure of museum pieces and Jewish art collections--and from other, far greater Nazi crimes. Neither among the "haves" nor the "have-nots," Picasso, forbidden to exhibit, lived through this period in Paris, quietly but productively. The second section of this book considers his production and that of the true "have-nots"--persecuted artists, including resisters and Jews, in hiding or self-imposed exile from Paris in the free zone. Among the "have-nots" discussed here are Arp, Sophie Taeuber-Arp, Sonia Delaunay, Alberto Magnelli, Otto Freundlich, Victor Brauner, and Hans Bellmer. With increasing public interest focused on art branded "degenerate" by Hitler, Cone's text provides exciting new insights into creativity, collaboration, and resistance in artists' milieux under a repressive regime.
Paperback ISBN: 0061120669
Henri Charrière, called "Papillon," for the butterfly tattoo on his chest, was convicted in Paris in 1931 of a murder he did not commit. Sentenced to life imprisonment in the penal colony of French Guiana, he became obsessed with one goal: escape. After planning and executing a series of treacherous yet failed attempts over many years, he was eventually sent to the notorious prison, Devil's Island, a place from which no one had ever escaped . . . until Papillon. His flight to freedom remains one of the most incredible feats of human cunning, will, and endurance ever undertaken. Charrière's astonishing autobiography, Papillon, was published in France to instant acclaim in 1968, more than twenty years after his final escape. Since then, it has become a treasured classic -- the gripping, shocking, ultimately uplifting odyssey of an innocent man who would not be defeated.
Lincoln in American Memory
Hardcover ISBN: 0195065700
A noted historian traces the place of Abraham Lincoln in the imaginations of Americans from the time of his death to the present day, showing how people have shaped the image of the great president to suit their own agendas.
Hardcover ISBN: 284323753x
Marie-Antoinette, the last queen of France, fascinated her contemporaries with her temperament and independent spirit, her escapades and her frivolity. Born in Austria, she married the future Lois XVI at age 15, and then charmed her entire court with her small blonde build and grace. Crowned queen in 1774, she quickly stepped forward and upstaged her king. A great lover and rebel, she lost herself in gambling and social activity, angering her subjects who would never forgive her excessive expenses. From her powder pink boudoirs, to her apartments filled with lacquer furniture, from the Trianon, where she brought her lovers, to her milk house, where she played farmer's wife, this book traces the journey of the woman who left her mark on her time with a feminism that was both flirtatious and glamorous.
The Secret History of a City
Paperback ISBN: 1903517486
In Paris Noir, Jaques Yonnet tells us about some of the darker quarters of Paris's Left Bank, centred on the Place Mauberge and the Rue Mouffetard, as he experienced it. This book was mostly written during the 1940s, under the Occupation and in the immediate post-war period. There is a certain amount dealing with the resistance, but the main thrust of the book is a Paris that existed between the wars - and is well known from Film Noir - but has since disappeared. It concentrates on the people, a mixture of ordinary workers, tradesmen, artists, con men and criminals. It invests the area with a sense of mystery, including occasional supernatural events; its style is remarkable and Yonnet often draws on the language of the inhabitants of the area.
Hardcover ISBN: 0226424189
Brilliantly uniting the personal and the critical, French Lessons is a powerful autobiographical experiment. It tells the story of an American woman escaping into the French language and of a scholar and teacher coming to grips with her history of learning. Kaplan begins with a distinctly American quest for an imaginary France of the intelligence. But soon her infatuation with all things French comes up against the dark, unimagined recesses of French political and cultural life. The daughter of a Jewish lawyer who prosecuted Nazi war criminals at Nuremburg, Kaplan grew up in the 1960s in the Midwest. After her father's death when she was seven, French became her way of "leaving home" and finding herself in another language and culture. In spare, midwestern prose, by turns intimate and wry, Kaplan describes how, as a student in a Swiss boarding school and later in a junior year abroad in Bordeaux, she passionately sought the French "r," attentively honed her accent, and learned the idioms of her French lover. When, as a graduate student, her passion for French culture turned to the elegance and sophistication of its intellectual life, she found herself drawn to the language and style of the novelist Louis-Ferdinand Celine. At the same time she was repulsed by his anti-Semitism. At Yale in the late 70s, during the heyday of deconstruction she chose to transgress its apolitical purity and work on a subject "that made history impossible to ignore:" French fascist intellectuals. Kaplan's discussion of the "de Man affair" — the discovery that her brilliant and charismatic Yale professor had written compromising articles for the pro-Nazi Belgian press—and her personal account of the paradoxes of deconstruction are among the most compelling available on this subject. French Lessons belongs in the company of Sartre's Words and the memoirs of Nathalie Sarraute, Annie Ernaux, and Eva Hoffman. No book so engrossingly conveys both the excitement of learning and the moral dilemmas of the intellectual life.
Madame De Pompadour
Paperback ISBN: 094032265x
When Madame de Pompadour became the mistress of Louis XV, no one expected her to retain his affections for long. A member of the bourgeoisie rather than an aristocrat, she was physically too cold for the carnal Bourbon king, and had so many enemies that she could not travel publicly without risking a pelting of mud and stones. History has loved her little better. Nancy Mitford’s delightfully candid biography re-creates the spirit of eighteenth-century Versailles with its love of pleasure and treachery. We learn that the Queen was a “bore,” the Dauphin a “prig,” and see France increasingly overcome with class conflict. With a fiction writer’s felicity, Mitford restores the royal mistress and celebrates her as a survivor, unsurpassed in “the art of living,” who reigned as the most powerful woman in France for nearly twenty years. "No historian writing in English has given a better pen-picture of Versailles in its heyday." -- Time
Paperback ISBN: 0307277747
The acclaimed author of The Six Wives of Henry VIII describes the life of the doomed queen of France, from her betrothal as an unsophisticated, poorly educated fourteen-year-old girl betrothed to the future King Louis XVI, through her difficult marriage in the French court, to her courage in the face of revolutionaries who sent her to the guillotine twenty-three years later. Reissue. 75,000 first printing. (A Columbia Pictures film, directed by Sofia Coppola, releasing Fall 2006, starring Kirsten Dunst, Jason Schwartzman, Rip Torn, Judy Davis, & Asia Argento) (Biography & Autobiography)