Monday, February 19, 2007

Andrew HUSSEY ... Paris: The Secret History (2006)

HISTORIAN Andrew Hussey explores the sordid aspects of Paris, supposedly the most romantic city on Earth, in Paris: The Secret History (Bloomsbury, 2007), first published in the U.K. in 2006. For an idea of what the book is all about, here are some extracts from it:

“As the siege [the Prussian attack of 1870] hardened, the most desperate among them took to digging up corpses in various cemeteries around the city, mincing the bones to make a thin sort of gruel, which offered little nutritional value but at least kept them warm.”

“In 1776, the common grave, into which the poor of Paris had been flung like so much garbage over the centuries, began to subside; dead bodies began to appear in rotten lumps, breaking through the cellar walls of nearby houses alongside flesh-eating rats.”

On François Ravaillac, the fanatic who assassinated King Henri IV in 1607:

“He was scalded, ripped into pieces and part of his torso was roasted and eaten by the mob before the rest of him was reduced to ashes.”


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why does the author Andrew Hussey use the heading "Vermin" when discussing the presense of Jews in medieval Paris (page 49 of the Bloomsbury edition)? Why has no one among all the favourable press reviews noted this? Am I the only person having a problem with this? Would it be any worse if he used the "N-word" in his chapter on Blacks in Paris? (Shemogue,New Brunswick, Canada)

Saturday, April 28, 2007 6:43:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Paris, The Secret History. However, I was stunned when I read the following on page 336:

“The true headquarters of the literary American exiles was, however, the bookshop Shakespeare and Company on rue de l’Odéon. This was maintained and run by the formidable Adrienne Monnier who did not flinch from funding and promoting the works of James Joyce when all English-speaking authorities had condemned them either officially or unofficially as unreadable or obscene.”

It is well known that Sylvia Beach, not Monnier, was the founder and proprietor of Shakespeare and Company and the publisher of James Joyce’s Ulysses. Monnier was Beach’s companion and the owner of the Maison des Amis des Livres bookstore at 7 rue de l’Odéon, across the street from Shakespeare and Company at 12 de l’Odéon. One reference did credit Monnier with assisting Beach in establishing her store.

Thursday, June 11, 2009 9:28:00 AM  

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