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Mon cher Monsieur

Julian Barnes: Prove your Frenchness, 22 April 2021

Letters to Camondo 
by Edmund de Waal.
Chatto, 182 pp., £14.99, April, 978 1 78474 431 1
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The House of Fragile Things: Jewish Art Collectors and the Fall of France 
by James McAuley.
Yale, 301 pp., £25, March, 978 0 300 23337 7
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... room. ‘It’s a mess, a train wreck, an incredible junk store.’ The centre of his ire was the Louis XVI salon. Here were masterpieces of art and furniture, acquired for ‘the sovereigns of Israel’ from dealers across Europe. And, ‘in the middle, like a trophy, there is the incomparable harpsichord of Marie Antoinette, which is heartbreaking to find ...

Among the Gilets Jaunes

Jeremy Harding, 21 March 2019

... in disarray: Macron had been trying to keep a ‘Jupiterian’ distance, while the prime minister, Edouard Philippe, and various members of his cabinet were shoved forward to condemn the violence and announce that there would be no change of position on fuel tax. But the gilets jaunes now had bigger, more nebulous ambitions than the price of fuel. The time had ...

Who does that for anyone?

Adam Shatz: Jean-Pierre Melville, 20 June 2019

Jean-Pierre Melville: Le Solitaire 
by Bertrand Teissier.
Fayard, 272 pp., €22, October 2017, 978 2 213 70573 6
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Jean-Pierre Melville, une vie 
by Antoine de Baecque.
Seuil, 244 pp., €32, October 2017, 978 2 02 137107 9
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... scathing documentary of French complicity, The Sorrow and the Pity (1969), or, in a different way, Louis Malle in his ambiguous portrait of a collaborator, Lacombe, Lucien (1974). If he was silent about what he had seen, he shared that silence with everyone who had lived through the war, whatever side they had been on. Melville himself made no secret of his ...

On the library coffee-table

Clive James, 17 March 1983

An Illustrated History of Interior Decoration 
by Mario Praz, translated by William Weaver.
Thames and Hudson, 396 pp., £35, March 1982, 0 500 23358 6
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Degas 
by Keith Roberts.
Phaidon, 48 pp., £10.50, March 1982, 0 7148 2226 4
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Monet at Argenteuil 
by Paul Tucker.
Yale, 211 pp., £15, April 1982, 0 300 02577 7
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... Plate Series which has been bumped up to the new Colour Library format – the flap refers to Edouard Degas, which makes you wonder whether there will be a book on Edgar Manet. Meanwhile the remainder shops fill up with stacks of the Phaidon Colour Plate series. These I buy at a cut rate as I would not have bought them at full price, having been spoilt by ...

‘J’accuse’: Dreyfus in Our Times

Jacqueline Rose: A Lecture, 10 June 2010

... impossible to settle in law, he was almost certain to be found guilty. ‘It is impossible,’ Louis Begley writes in his recent book about the affair, Why the Dreyfus Affair Matters, ‘to overstate Zola’s courage.’2 Zola’s trial was billed as the social event of the decade. It was the place where anyone who was anyone went to see and be ...

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