Synopses & Reviews
The Invention of Paris
is a tour through the streets and history of the French capital under the guidance of radical Parisian author and publisher Eric Hazan.
Hazan reveals a city whose squares echo with the riots, rebellions and revolutions of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Combining the raconteur’s ear for a story with a historian’s command of the facts, he introduces an incomparable cast of characters: the literati, the philosophers and the artists—Balzac, Baudelaire, Blanqui, Flaubert, Hugo, Maney, and Proust, of course; but also Doisneau, Nerval and Rousseau.
It is a Paris dyed a deep red in its convictions. It is haunted and vitalized by the history of the barricades, which Hazan retells in rich detail. The Invention of Paris opens a window on the forgotten byways of the capital’s vibrant and bloody past, revealing the city in striking new colors.
"This is a wondrous book, either to be read at home with a decent map, or carried about sur place through areas no tourists bother with." Adam Thorpe
"Hazan is all business. He trudges through Paris street by street, quoting what Balzac, Hugo, Baudelaire or Kafka said about a particular spot, pointing out where barricades were once erected and thieves gathered for drinks." The Guardian
Amid the intellectual murkiness of the European scene, a few bright flames are burning: as witness the work of Eric Hazan.Do you want to be happy? Buy this book and take a stroll.Hazan wants to rescue individual moments from general forgetting and key sites from the bland homogenization of international city development; he is also a passionate left-wing historian seeking to rescue the truth of Paris’s revolutionary past. --Julian Barnes
This book is both a political and aesthetic delight, uncovering the real mysteries of Paris. --Andrew Hussey, author of Paris: The Secret History
With its astonishing breadth of reference and incredible detail, this is a must for all lovers of Paris. --Kevin Rushby, author of Paradise: A History of the Idea that Rules the World
A radical guide to Paris through art, literature and revolution.
In The Invention of Paris, radical author and publisher Eric Hazan takes the reader on an exciting and historically rich tour through the construction of Paris, exploring the places and struggles that have marked its growth. Concentrating both on the literary and cultural representations of the city, as well as riots, rebellions and revolutions'"throughout the nineteenth century and up until 1968'"Hazan acts as a guide who is simultaneously personal and rigorous in tone. Introducing us to characters as varied as Balzac, Baudelaire, Blanqui, Flaubert, Hugo, Manet and Proust, Hazan charts the formation of a 'Red Paris' through the sedimentation of acts and sources of insurgency, and gives us an unparalleled history of the barricade in the life of the city. The Invention of Parisopens a window on a Paris too often hidden beneath tourist kitsch and bourgeois complacency.
About the Author
Eric Hazan is the founder of the publisher La Fabrique and the author of several books, including Notes on the Occupation and the highly acclaimed The Invention of Paris. He has lived in Paris, France, all his life.