Synopses & Reviews
In this marvelously original book, Dan Hofstadter shows how a great treasure of forgotten personal writing—diaries, memoirs, and letters written by George Sand, Anatole France, and Marcel Proust, among others—bears on the erotic lives of the writers, and how the fine French tradition of conducting love affairs developed as an art form. As his subtle analysis makes clear, the love letters exchanged in a series of highly charged liaisons also suggested the themes of celebrated future novels.
"This stimulating, well-wrought work relies on the letters of George Sand, Anatole France and Marcel Proust to penetrate the love-lives of major 19th-century French writers. The author retrieves an artful form of making love, which is a thing of the past in our age of technology. As he justly observes, with the telephone, fax, and E-mail, 'we've given up exploring our emotions in long, inky letters.' As a result we lack, in our own love-lives, something of what the author calls 'the musicality of love.'" Reviewed by Daniel Weiss, Virginia Quarterly Review (Copyright 2006 Virginia Quarterly Review)
“A fascinating account of the great love affairs of the French 19th century and their evolution from letters and journals into even greater literature . . . An excellent book.”—Louis Auchincloss, The Wall Street Journal
“Evokes a 19th-century world in which love letters were an art form [and] raises questions about the vexing relation between art and life . . . a pleasure to read.”—Victor Brombert, The New York Times Book Review
Includes bibliographical references (p. 303-307) and index.