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Left Bank: Art, Passion and the Rebirth of Paris 1940-1950 (Hardback)
  • Left Bank: Art, Passion and the Rebirth of Paris 1940-1950 (Hardback)
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Left Bank: Art, Passion and the Rebirth of Paris 1940-1950 (Hardback)

(author)
£25.00
Hardback 400 Pages / Published: 08/03/2018
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A captivating portrait of those who lived, loved, fought, played and flourished in Paris between 1940 and 1950 and whose intellectual and artistic output still influences us today 'The live fire of the war, the furnace of emotions, the passion of politics, the spectacular falling-outs, the brutal sex, the insane and beautiful ideas - so many failures and some remarkable achievements' After the horrors of war that shaped and informed them, Paris was the place where the world's most original voices of the time came - among them Norman Mailer, Miles Davis, Simone de Beauvoir, James Baldwin, Juliette Greco, Alberto Giacometti, Saul Bellow and Arthur Koestler. Fuelled by the elation of the Liberation, they hoped to find an independent and original alternative to the Capitalist and Communist models for life, art and politics - a Third Way. Those same pioneers also reinvented their relationships with others, questioning, shaking and often rejecting the institutions of marriage and family. They consumed drugs, cigarettes and alcohol with passion; their heightened sexuality proved an inherent part of their creativity and permeated everything they did. The fertility of the interaction between literature, theatre, anthropology, philosophy, politics and cinema was unrivalled by anywhere else in the world at that time, and Paris seemed to be at the heart of all that was new and brave and controversial. Yet what did they achieve, these intellectuals in whom so much fierce hope had been placed? Postwar Parisian irresponsibility is as much the focus of Left Bank as political, artistic, moral and sexual incandescence. Agnes Poirier skilfully weaves together a collage of images and a kaleidoscope of destinies and the voices clamour from the pages, as fresh, vital and challenging as when they first were raised.

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
ISBN: 9781408857441
Number of pages: 400
Weight: 742 g
Dimensions: 234 x 153 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
Briskly plotted, gossip-fuelled, character-driven cultural history ... Poirier's hugely enjoyable, quick-witted and richly anecdotal book is magnifique' * The Times *
A tour de force ... weaves together so many people, ideas, trends, occurrences, and above all Parisian places, into a tapestry of fascinations - a distillation of the essence of an amazing time ... the best of its kind I have ever read -- A.C. Grayling
A brilliant recapturing of a fascinating era. Artistic and intellectual Paris comes vividly and memorably alive in these pages. A tremendous achievement -- William Boyd
Weighty thought and earthy behaviour are the twin engines behind Agnes Poirier's briskly entertaining ride through France's most mouvemonte decade * Sunday Times *
Poirier does not shy away from exposing the joy and pain of experimental living or from exploring with sensitivity the moral ambiguity of living through the Occupation ... compulsive reading -- Anne Sebba, author of 'Les Parisiennes: Resistance, Collaboration, and the Women of Paris Under Nazi Occupation'
A book which combines rich and subtle intellectual history with all the pleasures of a great soap opera. Its gallery of characters is wonderfully realised - but the most wonderfully realised of all is Paris herself -- Tom Holland
A remarkably exhilarating read ... Left Bank is an enchanting account of how these exceptionally talented and original people not merely endured these harsh years but also found pleasure, and even a kind of joy, in creating small pockets of private utopia ... Poirier is acute and witty on the love-hate relationship between Paris and America -- Kevin Jackson * Literary Review *
Left Bank reads as an erudite and deeply satisfying gossip column, in which each story is more incredible than the last * New Republic *
A detailed chronicle of a decade alive with intellectual and political ferment. London-based journalist Poirier (Touche: A French Woman's Take on the English, 1997), a panel member of the BBC's weekly program Dateline London, offers a gossipy, well-informed cultural history of her native Paris, beginning in 1938, with Europe on the brink of war, and ending in 1949, with the Marshall Plan in effect to help the continent recover ... An animated, abundantly populated history of dramatic times * Kirkus *
Poirier does not miss a trick in her lively accounts of the intense discussions and adulterous liaisons that centred on the Cafe de Flore or the nearby nightclub Le Tabou; but her real achievement is to contextualise these politically and culturally ... Entertaining and well-written story -- Andrew Lycett * Spectator *
[Paris] is undeniably a mythic sort of town, and almost no period is richer in myths than the decade that Agnes Poirier charts in her excellent Left Bank...It has a huge cast, any of whom could be the subject of a book on their own, but Poirier marshals them deftly***** * Daily Telegraph *
Poirier's unbounded energy, particularly in research, brings forth an entertaining, stimulating and, at times, insightful book ... Left Bank is gloriously vibrant * Sunday Herald *
With mastery of her sources, Agnes Poirier provides an engrossing synthesis of a great capital city's cultural and intellectual life in this crucial decade. It is acute, often brilliant and beautifully written. When liberal values on both sides of the Atlantic are being threatened by a recrudescence of xenophobia and nationalism, Left Bank could hardly be more timely and vital -- Oliver Kamm

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