Paris Stories

Paris Stories

by Shaun Whiteside (Editor)

Hardcover

$16.00
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Overview

Paris Stories gathers classic stories about the City of Light by a wide range of writers across four centuries.

Perhaps no other European city has so captured the imagination of the artistically and romantically minded. Laurence Sterne explores the temptations of the French capital in a teasing study of foreign mores, and Restif de la Bretonne provides an eyewitness account of the horrors and glories of the French Revolution. Hugo, Balzac, Flaubert, and Zola offer fascinating portraits of the growing metropolis’s teeming humanity; the Goncourt brothers chronicle its glittering literary circles; and Huysmans describes a memorable evening at the Folies Bergère. Colette recounts the sensual adventures of a young girl in the decadent Paris of the early twentieth century, while F. Scott Fitzgerald revels in its urban glamour. Jean Rhys’s lost heroines wander from café to café, James Baldwin celebrates the city’s sexual freedoms, and Raymond Queneau gleefully reinvents the language of the street. In more recent decades, Michel Tournier’s North African immigrant walks a camel along the boulevards and Nobel laureate Patrick Modiano nostalgically maps the famed Parisian arrondissements. Theatrical and elegant, seamy and intellectual, Paris has never lost its alluring power, richly evoked in these compelling and seductive tales.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781101907566
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 03/01/2016
Pages: 416
Product dimensions: 4.90(w) x 7.10(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

SHAUN WHITESIDE is a translator of French, German, Italian, and Dutch works. He lives in London.

Read an Excerpt

PREFACE
 
We’ll always have Paris,Bogart tells Bergman at the end of Casablanca, establishing Paris once and for all as the romantic capital of the world, a position that the city continues to hold even today. This may account for its status as the worlds leading tourist destination, with its iconic landmarks, its boulevards and pavement cafés, its impeccable chic and, for Anglo-Saxon visitors at least, its dashing suggestions of freedom and, for some, impropriety. As I hope I show in this selection, there is of course much more to Paris than the tourists see. I have opened in the Paris of the early Renaissance, where Rabelaisgiant Gargantua, perched on the towers of Notre Dame, cheerfully relieves his bladder on the horrified crowd below, to stress another side of the city its robust, outrageous satirical streak, its disdain for convention and decorum.
 
Eighteenth-century travellers like Laurence Sterne enjoyed teasing their readers with accounts of lax morals and brazen forwardness unimaginable at home no doubt stirring many curious souls to make the journey themselves, or dream forlornly of doing so. Vivid accounts of the Revolution stress the potential for violence that lay beneath the citys surface. And its great anatomists, the realist novelists of the nineteenth century, captured in almost photographic detail the archetypal city not only of the elegant upper classes who set the tone for the rest of Europe, but of the multitudes who toiled in the streets down below. The vibrant city of the twentieth century is a place of both gleeful artistic experiment and existential gloom, attracting both the gilded and the lost.
 
I hope that in this collection I have captured some of Pariss great variety, its seamier side, the world of the petites gens, as well as its glitter, its glamour, its keen intelligence and its sexy, seductive allure. There is romance here, yes, but there is also cynicism, satire and revolt, and a refusal to be dragged down for long by historys darker turns. He who contemplates the depths of Paris is seized with vertigo. Nothing is more fantastic. Nothing is more tragic. Nothing is more sublime.So wrote Victor Hugo. I will raise a glass of champagne to that.
 
Shaun Whiteside

Table of Contents

PREFACE
 
FRANÇOIS RABELAIS
From Gargantua and Pantagruel (1534)
 
LAURENCE STERNE
From A Sentimental Journey through France and Italy (1768)
 
RESTIF DE LA BRETONNE
From Les Nuits de Paris (1792)
 
HONORÉ DE BALZAC
From A Harlot High and Low (1838–47)
 
VICTOR HUGO
From Les Misérables (1862)
 
GUSTAVE FLAUBERT
From A Sentimental Education (1869)
 
EDMOND AND JULES DE GONCOURT
From Journals (1871)
 
ÉMILE ZOLA
From L’Assommoir (1880)
 
GUY DE MAUPASSANT
A Parisian Affair (1881)
 
VILLIERS DE L’ISLE-ADAM
The Unknown Woman (1883)
 
J. K. HUYSMANS
The Folies-Bergère (1880)
 
ALPHONSE ALLAIS
The Polymyth (c. 1890)
 
COLETTE
From Claudine in Paris (1901)
 
LOUIS ARAGON
The Passage de l’Opéra (1926)
 
JEAN RHYS
From Quartet (1928)
 
LOUIS-FERDINAND CÉLINE
From Journey to the End of the Night (1932)
 
F. SCOTT FITZGERALD
From Tender Is the Night (1934)
 
GEORGES SIMENON
In the Rue Pigalle (1936)
 
DJUNA BARNES
La Somnambule (1937)
 
BARRY MILES
From The Beat Hotel: Ginsberg, Burroughs,
and Corso in Paris, 1957–63
 
JAMES BALDWIN
From Giovanni’s Room (1956)
 
JULIO CORTÁZAR
Blow-up (1959)
 
RAYMOND QUENEAU
From Zazie (1959)
 
GEORGES PEREC
From Things (1965)
 
RICHARD COBB
Paris Xe (1980)
 
MICHEL TOURNIER
From The Golden Droplet (1986)
 
PATRICK MODIANO
From Flowers of Ruin (1991)
 
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

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