Thursday, March 22, 2012

Paris: French Letters

A couple of Parisian book notes, gleaned from hanging out at Gilbert Joseph on the Boule Mich,  One, Saint-Simon: it's not hard to find editions of his memoirs around Paris but what with the 17th-Century style and all those grand personages, comprehension can be daunting.   Happily, Livre de Poche has brought out a nice user-friendly title with the properly grand title Cette pute me fera mourier...--"this whore will be the death of me,."  There's a brief and accessible intro by François Raviez along with text notes and little insert-cues like you might find in a school translation text.  Which in a sense it is, although I expect the intended audience is French speakers, not English.  There seem to be some other volumes in the same series, including some notes by Prince Metternich.

Two: I long suspected that this existed and here it is--an edition of Montaigne's Essais in modern French.  I have to admit I have never had a lot of success with Montaigne in the original--a little too archaic and too much Gascon dialect.  Reassuring to know the French seem to have the same problem.

Oh, and a third: in another shop I saw a two-volume Histoire du XXe siècle by Raymond Aron.  Aron might qualify as kind of a French Tony Judt (or maybe Judt as an American Raymond Aron).  He's been dead for near 30 years now, but this seems to be a first-time publication.  Ought to be worth a read. 

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