Paris: The Secret History
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"Vivid, informed, delectably readable…an enlightened introduction to the city's best-kept secrets. No visitor to France should go without it."―Sunday Times (UK)
Paris captures everyone's imaginations: It's a backdrop for Proust's fictional pederast, Robert Doisneau's photographic kiss, and Edith Piaf's serenaded soldier-lovers; a home as much to romance and love poems as to prostitution and opium dens. The city's dynamic, conflicted identity is visible everywhere―between cobblestones, in bars, on the métro.
Andrew Hussey brings to life the urchins and artists who've left their marks on the city, filling in the gaps of a history that affected the disenfranchised as much as the nobility. Paris: The Secret History ranges across centuries, movements, and cultural and political beliefs, from Napoleon's overcrowded cemeteries to Balzac's nocturnal flight from his debts. Hussey takes us on a picaresque journey through royal palaces, brothels, and sidewalk cafés, uncovering the rich, exotic, and often lurid history of the world's most beloved city.
egg-shaped fool, topped off with a mane of curly hair. Daumier was funny and savage and, no less than Balzac, he summed up the age in his drawings. In particular, Parisians loved his character Robert Macaire, a rogue and thief who later became a huge hit in a stage adaptation by the actor Frédéric Lemaître. Most damagingly, Daumier captured in Macaire the chiselling and unscrupulous love of financial chicanery which most people held to be at the heart of Louis-Philippe’s government.1
Christian fortitude in the face of the most severe danger. This danger was not immediate or obvious to the inhabitants of Lutetia in the second and third centuries. They were none the less sufficiently disturbed by raids across the border made by the Franks and Alemanni to seek comfort in the newly arrived religion of Christianity. At this stage, it had only a precarious foothold in Gaul, and was mainly confined to the small Greek-speaking communities in Lyons or Marseilles. When Saint Denis,
strolls around the city in pursuit of adventure, stimulation or, if possible, pleasure. At first the activity was associated in the popular press simply with idleness – the journalist Jules Janin described in 1829 a provincial newly arrived in Paris as ‘lazy, without cares and a loafer [flâneur]’ – before becoming an end in itself. In 1837, Balzac describes one of his characters ‘wandering [flâner] the whole day on the boulevards, returning home only to dine. For the Parisian wanderer [flâneur]
Louandre, Les Idées subversives de notre temps (Paris, 1872). 2. Patrice Higonnet, Paris: Capital of the World (Cambridge, MA, 2002), p. 60. 3. Friedrich von Raumer, Briefe aus Paris und Frankreich im Jahre 1830 (Leipzig, 1831). 4. For the quotations from Hugo, see Pierre Citron, La Poésie de Paris dans la Littérature française de Rousseau à Baudelaire (Paris, 1961), p. 433. 5. Higonnet, Paris: Capital of the World, p. 32. 6. Quoted in Benjamin, The Arcades Project, p. 26. 7. Ibid., p. 311.
Bowd) Copyright � 2006 by Andrew Hussey All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission from the publisher except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews. For information address Bloomsbury USA, 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010. Published by Bloomsbury USA, New York Library of Congress control number for the hardback edition: 2006043038 ISBN-10: 1-59691-323-1 (hardcover) ISBN-13: