This book shows the wonderful spray-painted street stencils of Paris and environs, most of which are political in nature. I remember well as a student in Poitiers, France, in , the political stencils that would appear overnight at my bus stop and around town. For "graffiti" they were very elegant and powerful.
To me, they elevated spray paint to a higher form of art. I learned a lot about stenciling while living in France, and still use the technique in my own art today. This book is a collection of stencils found on the street, some more sophisticated than others, but all united in their silent voice for justice.
Now let's take a look at several interesting film magazines we have in the French aisle. Wonderful black and white photographs, analysis of French directors, and excerpts from French films fill these slim pamphlets. I often find myself drawn to inexpensive mass market paperbacks in the French section simply because of their arresting cover art. This book has been published thousands of times, but perhaps never with such a fleur du mal as this copy. The silhouette of a flower filled with naked women represents the intense contrasting forces Baudelaire felt towards women.
For Baudelaire, women embodied the combination of the ideal and the malignant. Thus his fixation with death and decay becomes intertwined with his perception of women as inspiration towards God, but also symbols of temptation and the Devil. Pauvre Baudelaire! Such angoise! I swear I am going to do a blog post of just French books with people smoking on the cover.
It would be a very long blog post. Evidently Melina, the smoking sophisticate that she seems to be, has written about her love of Greece and her life there between the two world wars. I don't think she left anything out — it sounds like this book has it all! It is time for another look inside the fantastique French aisle at Powell's City of Books.
It's only been a month since the last posting, but I could not wait another day to show you the truly amazing out-of-print treasures I have discovered. Les voila! First of all, you must feast les yeux on this truly lovely edition of La Main Enchante? This story shows de Nerval's profoundly sensitive writing style, and this particular edition is absolutely lovely! Published in , it is unbound en planches and held in a cardboard case. The papers are in fantastic condition, incredibly thick and soft and clean, although the cardboard case is a bit shabby.
The book is beautifully illustrated by black and white original lithographs by Camille Berg. There are brilliantly illuminated letters adorning the title pages and at the beginning of each chapter. It is number 63 of a limited edition of A side-note about the author: he was known to keep a lobster as a pet, and would take it for walks in the gardens of the Palais Royale, on a blue silk ribbon. We all know the torrid love story of Cathy and her brooding Heathcliff, but have we ever read such a cool edition as this? A pocket-sized late mass market paperback in good condition with a wonderful cover featuring a goofy, Scooby-doo style font.
This cover blows my mind. It looks like Norman Mailer's mind is blown as well, all entangled with hipster gals and political signage.
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I love this graphic! This classic work by Mailer about his controversial views of women's liberation was published by Robert Laffont in This is an account of two young French communists who lived in Russia and wrote about Russian daily life at the time. Published in by France Loisirs, this edition is a slightly worn hardback with a great cover photo. Now, speaking of history and politics, check out Mademoiselle Angela Davis!
Elle est fe? This is a great paperback edition of Femmes, Race et Classe Women, Race, and Class that is her critical analysis of feminism from the past and present and how it relates to the struggles of the black woman. A great perspective from an iconic activist. This is a one-of-a-kind find! This is also a loose-leafed book that comes in a cardboard slipcase. The pages are in great shape, very clean, but the most stunning element of the book are the illustrations.
All of the flags from each district, each one more amazing than the last. The prints within are in brilliant, glossy full-color, illustrated replicas each with ornate symbols and lettering. They are absolutely special and inspiring.
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For the French history buff this book would be a fantastic gift. This is a charming book about mountain climbing in the French Alps, circa There are no fancy carabineers, gortex jackets or aluminum crampons here, this is the old-school method, with wool sweaters, knickers, and hemp rope. There is a chapter on knot-tying that gives me vertigo just imagining how important those knots might be. Another fabulous gift for the modern mountain enthusiast, this shows you how the real men used to do it.
This is a collection of Lennon's sweet and quirky stories and illustrations. Now we switch to some wonderful little gems from our French genre section. First, look out for La Nymphe de Montmartre. She is trouble! Barbara Cartland has outdone herself with this little paperback about pauvre Oona Thoreau who has lost her father and is destitute in the streets of Montmartre, Paris. Whatever will she do? It seems her winsome beauty help her, or will it just lead her farther down the dark path? I have selected some of our most beautiful and most surprising books for you to enjoy. On y va!
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There is no publication date listed but I'm guessing it was published in the s. It is in excellent condition, the soft papers still creamy and untarnished. A very special gem waiting for the right home! Published in by Gallimard, this is a play in seven acts, describing the assassination of a political leader in the fictional country of Illyria. Beautifully illustrated and a bit worn, this little book would still be a delightful addition to the drama section of your bookshelves. This lovely leather-bound tome has no publication date, but looks to be from the late s or early s.
La Harpe was considered in his day to be one of the finest critics of literature, philosophy, and the French school of tragedy. He even knew Voltaire and was a guest at his house! This book is in good condition considering its age, and its thin parchment-like papers are beautiful with their old, slightly warbled-looking text. A true time-capsule straight from a literary god to you! Now let's take a look at some serious thinkers.
Now here is an alarming photo. Boukovsky was a Soviet dissident who spent years in the prison and labor camps of the Soviet Union, exposing the horrors of the forced psychiatric abuses there. He was imprisoned and then deported for his activism, and has spent his life trying to bring justice to those wrongfully imprisoned and tortured by the Soviet government. This book is about the student riots in Paris in It is in great condition and is organized into interviews with some of the more prominent student leaders involved. A fascinating and explosive time that still inspires movements today.
I stumbled across this slender paperback edition of Moderato Cantabile by Marguerite Duras. This particular book is a bilingual reader which makes it easy for those not completely at ease with the language. This is a wonderful story, but my favorite thing about this book is the great author photo of Duras herself, complete with giant horn-rimmed glasses from Now we're off to some hyper-cool, chouette choices.
First, let's look at this great guide from the early days of skateboarding! Le Livre de Skateboard was probably pretty radical in its day. This book will either take you back to when you were younger and cooler or show your kids just how uncool you were. Either way, it's a great find! Even the most austere French academic needs a little thrill once in awhile, and they'll find it in our genre section with this pocket-sized paperback of Christine by Stephen King. We all know this book is about a car that eats people, but reading it in French makes it seem doubly nefarious.
Elle aurait une facture, n'est-ce pas? Another familiar author, but looking at things through an entirely different pare-brise , is C. Lewis and his Narnia series. Let's begin with this amazing leather-bound three-volume set by Antoine Hamilton. Oeuvres is a collection of Hamilton's works published by Augustin Renouad. The volumes are a bit worn, but still beautiful in their leather covers and filled with the old parchment-like papers.
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- à : to, toward, towards.
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This book won the Prix Goncourt, and NDiaye is the first black woman to have done so. Bernanos was critical of modern society and of government's role in censuring the privacy of the individual. His book Sous le Soleil de Satan was made into a starkly fierce movie starring, who else, Gerard Depardieu. It is a history of the written word and has black and white photographs of alphabets through the ages. You'll find illuminated manuscripts and hieroglyphics, ancient Arabic script and modern fonts. Next you must see this very old and beautiful book called Le Telephone , published in A short history, to be sure!
A bit worn, but still lovely with its blue cloth boards and embossed gold embellishments. A treasure from time gone by. Next from the literature section, I would like to share this absolutement adorable edition of Stendhal's Chartreuse de Parme. The Collection Nelson is a series that always seem to have beautifully illustrated covers and this is no exception.
This copy's dust jacket is a bit beaten, but is well-protected by Mylar. Now let's move on to the mystery section. I absolutely love the cover of this thriller Saint Crapule , or Holy Bastard , by Exbrayat — the perfect place to hide your gun Un pistolet dans la baguette, quelle horreur! This is a collection of science fiction movies, including an analysis of the Roger Moore Bond film Moonraker. Lots of great photos, including many shots of the wacky creatures from Sinbad.
A great gift for the science fiction fan! Now here is a real curiosity. Published in , this paperback book describes the uses and science behind this modern health technology. There are some full-page drawings of people getting defibrillated, don't miss out! It would also make a great gift for a medical or nursing student. A slim paperback that gives recipes for country soups by Emilie Carles, pictured.
Somehow, I trust her to know her soups aux herbes sauvages. Switching gears, I'm going to show you one of my favorite books in the aisle. In this book, along with the completely vulgar argot of the street you can find many colorful and useful expressions such as le gros rouge qui tache et qui pousse au crime , which means "the ordinary red wine that stains and incites crime. If you had some pocket change you might refer to it as la feraille ; literally, scrap iron.
Use these terms correctly and impress a Frenchman. Use them incorrectly and you might get in trouble. Now for the sweeter side of the aisle. It is the story of a sweet camel that tells stories and has an adventure. Lovely simple illustrations give this book just the right feel and will delight you and your petits enfants. We are back with another look at the treasures hiding in the French aisle at Powell's City of Books!
There are too many for each post, so I will show you what I can, hoping that you can stop by sometime to explore further — you can be sure that you will be surprised! Published by Roger et Cie, the paper is wonderfully soft and in excellent condition. The cover text is embossed into the paper and the black and white prints inside are lovely.
Berelowitch has also established that the great majority of these books in French were acquired by Mikhail Shcherbatov himself, rather than inherited. For Mikhail, then, French was indisputably the language of culture. In fact his debut as a writer in the journal Articles and Translations for Use and Amusement consisted almost entirely of translations, mostly from French sources.
His correspondence is mainly monolingual and mostly in Russian. Shcherbatov also wrote in Russian to Catherine herself.
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This attitude towards language usage may go together with his views on noble education and on the evolution of Russian society, which we shall discuss shortly. The role of French in noble upbringing As a rule, Shcherbatov wrote to his children in Russian.
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We may therefore suppose that the three extant letters that he wrote entirely in French to Dmitrii had a special function and that his choice of language in them was highly significant. The crux of the matter is that the chief function of these three letters is pedagogical.
Dmitrii, who was born in , was a teenager at the time when the letters were written, that is to say he was in the formative period of his life, and had just been sent abroad for further study. They are not intimate, natural and spontaneous but formal, indeed formulaic, in both content and tone. In general, second-person pronominal usage seems less flexible in the French written by Russian eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century nobles than usage in their Russian.
He should be diligent in his studies, because a man who is not well educated cannot be virtuous or useful to his country or indeed lead a life which brings personal happiness. He should attentively study history, because it furnishes edifying examples of good actions which bring credit to a man and bad actions which bring dishonour and indelible shame.
Shcherbatov adduces his own examples of admirable conduct, such as the heroic self-sacrifice of the three hundred Spartans, led by their king Leonidas died BC , who defended Greece against the Persians at Thermopylae in BC, and the refusal of Socrates BC to flee from his native Athens, although he had been unjustly condemned to death.
He therefore sees it as an essential duty of the aristocrat to inculcate a sense of the worth of his family in each succeeding generation. His son too must learn that he has a duty as a subject as well as a responsibility as the son of an aristocratic line. Nonetheless, the concepts and values that Shcherbatov uses in order to define the relationship of the individual to the polity and to the society in which he finds himself are clearly novel in eighteenth-century Russia, and they are of foreign origin.
For the most part, these notions have their roots in classical antiquity, whence they were transmitted to European societies during and after the Renaissance through the writings of Cicero, Lucius Annaeus Seneca c. Nevertheless we are bound to note that the primary vehicle for their introduction to the young Shcherbatov is the French language, as it had been for Mikhail Shcherbatov in his own youth. He may have regarded such arts as artificial and futile. In this respect the conservative aristocrat would have come unexpectedly close to contemporary educators of non-noble origin who were eager to belittle the importance of these specifically noble preoccupations.
One reason for this advice is pedagogical, inasmuch as acquisition of a language helps one to learn other languages of the same linguistic family although Shcherbatov did not put it in quite those terms. In an educational treatise on Ways of teaching Various Sciences Shcherbatov argued that knowledge of German would help one to study English, just as knowledge of French helps one to learn Italian or Spanish. He had learned Italian in this way as an adult, he explained.
First, this language was spoken in several provinces of the vast Russian Empire. Secondly, Russia was near to German-speaking countries. Fourthly, German might be useful for the Russian nobleman in military service, for he might in some provinces have to speak to people, including soldiers, who know only that language.
Shcherbatov is not at all pleased, though, with the progress Dmitrii has been making with his study of French. The boy ought to have a better knowledge of French to show for his five years of study of it, Shcherbatov thinks. The father urges the son to make up for the time lost in the giddy pursuits of youth and apply himself — as we know Shcherbatov himself did in his own youth — to the study of good French authors and to try to form his own style by following these models. Shcherbatov is troubled in particular by the spelling of homophonous forms e. He has difficulty distinguishing between preterite and past participial forms e.
He makes mistakes in agreement e. He also frequently uses the wrong gender e. This, then, is the written French of someone who may have learned the language in an unsystematic way and primarily through listening to it rather than through studying its written form.
The errors in his writing seem to have been commonplace among the francophone aristocracy, and not only in the age of Catherine but also later, in the Alexandrine age, when francophonie was at its peak in Russia. However, it would be wrong on this evidence to doubt that their command of French was of a very high order.
Indeed Viazemsky, as Irina Paperno and Iurii Lotman have argued, may even have conceived ideas in French in certain registers and transposed them — with detriment to the clarity of the ideas — into Russian. The new noble sociability, he believed, brought coquetry and an appetite for ostentatious luxury which corrupted mores and ruined noble families.
Consequently, his attitude towards the French language, whose use was inextricably bound up with this new sociability, was ambivalent. On the one hand, he did understand the utility of the main foreign languages — French and German — for the Russian nobility and appreciated their functions as lingua francas to be used in communication with other Europeans and as means of accessing foreign literatures.
French was therefore a language that the Russian nobleman, if he was to be worthy of his privilege, needed to master. On the other hand, Shcherbatov did not use French as a language of cultivated exchange in correspondence with his compatriots. Again, the value that Shcherbatov placed on French may have been limited by the fact that he regarded the arts and humanities, for which French was the major European vehicle in his lifetime, as of little practical use. In his ideal educational curriculum the only disciplines considered worthy of study even though they had no obvious immediate utilitarian function were history and geography; literature and philosophy had no place at all.
At the same time, we might place Shcherbatov in the Russian patriarchal tradition that was represented, so Lotman and Boris Uspensky have claimed, by the Old Believers, who saw the development of society as a process of corruption and imagined salvation in the rediscovery of authentic values that had been lost in the modern world. Although he was a leading spokesman for that section of the Russian aristocracy that based its claims to privilege on ancient lineage rather than merit, for instance, Shcherbatov did not wholeheartedly adopt the linguistic behaviour that many contemporaries in his milieu were coming to recognise as an important mark of their elite social and cultural identity.
Again, it is striking that while he complains, in his treatise On the Corruption of Morals on Russia, of the harmful effects of the introduction of a western way of life, including such features of salon culture as coquetry, Shcherbatov did not specifically mention the use of the French language. The omission seems the more surprising when we remember that other writers, especially Fonvizin and Nikolai Novikov , were beginning in the s and s vigorously to criticise Russian francophonie and Franco-Russian code-switching, in texts on which we shall comment elsewhere in our corpus.
Khrushchev and A. Voronov, 7 vols St Petersburg: tip. Akinfieva i I. Leontieva, Shcherbatov, On the Corruption of Morals in Russia, ed. Lentin Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, Shcherbatov], 2 vols St Petersburg: Kn. Shcherbatov, , vol. I, cols On this work see N. The Journey of Mr S.