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Parisians: An Adventure History of Parisby Graham Robb
Synopses & Reviews
This is the Paris you never knew. From the Revolution to the present, Graham Robb has distilled a series of astonishing true narratives, all stranger than fiction, of the lives of the great, the near-great, and the forgotten.
A young artillery lieutenant, strolling through the Palais-Royal, observes disapprovingly the courtesans plying their trade. A particular woman catches his eye; nature takes its course. Later that night Napoleon Bonaparte writes a meticulous account of his first sexual encounter. A well-dressed woman, fleeing the Louvre, takes a wrong turn and loses her way in the nameless streets of the Left Bank. For want of a map—there were no reliable ones at the time—Marie-Antoinette will go to the guillotine.
Baudelaire, the photographer Marville, Baron Haussmann, the real-life Mimi of La Bohème, Proust, Adolf Hitler touring the occupied capital in the company of his generals, Charles de Gaulle (who is suspected of having faked an assassination attempt in Notre Dame)—these and many more are Robb’s cast of characters, and the settings range from the quarries and catacombs beneath the streets to the grand monuments to the appalling suburbs ringing the city today. The result is a resonant, intimate history with the power of a great novel.
The secrets of the City of Light, revealed in the lives of the great, the near-great, and the forgotten--by the author of the acclaimed The Discovery of France.
Praise for The Discovery of France by Graham Robb:
A New York Times Notable Book of the Year
A Slate Best Book of the Year
A Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year
Winner of the Royal Society of Literature Ondaatje Prize
“Rid your mind of the idea—suggested by the title—that this is an ordinary book.”—Literary Review
“An exhilarating account of how the geographical entity that has become ‘France’ emerged out of the jumbled mosaic of its unconnected parts.”—The Independent
“Brilliant. Robb, who writes beautifully, . . . has accomplished quite a feat. He has reintroduced France to itself.”—New York Times
“Scintillating and resourceful.”—Harper’s
“For his meticulous research, [Robb] deserves a standing ovation . . . to paraphrase Proust, this is a priceless glimpse into history.”—Seattle Times
About the Author
Graham Robb is the award-winning biographer of Balzac, Victor Hugo, and Rimbaud. His other books include The Discovery of France, Parisians, and Strangers: Homosexual Love in the Nineteenth Century. He lives in Oxford, England.
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