PARIS by Julian Green


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 Nineteen evocations of the City of Light, by the American novelist/essayist/playwright whom Jacques Maritain called ``the greatest French writer of our time.'' Born in Paris of American parents in 1900, Green (The Other One, 1973, etc.) has spent most of his life in the French capital; here, he's celebrating the spirit of the city rather than providing a guide to its more familiar monuments and attractions. He tells of a visit to the garden outside Eugäne Delacroix's studio, of entering Notre Dame one windy night in 1940 to reverence the relics of the Crucifixion, and of leisurely strolls through remote districts, remarking, ``until you have wasted time in a city, you cannot pretend to know it well.'' The text is studded with such memorable observations, although Green occasionally also fulminates against the changes he finds taking place in Paris--the cutting down of many trees to broaden car-clogged streets, the erection of the new School of Medicine on the Left Bank. Paraphrasing an old Roman saying, he comments, ``what the Barbarians left undone, Parisians have accomplished.'' The selections have been written over the past half century, with nearly all appearing in English for the first time here. Green's French text is printed on the facing pages to Underwood's graceful English translation, and the work is illustrated with the author's own photographs of the city. A series of love notes, subtle and charming.

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 1991
ISBN: 0-7145-2927-3
Page count: 160pp
Publisher: Marion Boyars
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1st, 1991


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