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“The Order of the Day,” a Goncourt Laureate Like no Other

For the first time since it was founded, the Prix Goncourt has been awarded to a historical account instead of a novel. The winner is none other than The Order of the Day by Eric Vuillard, a staggering work of some 130 pages which was recently translated and published in the U.S. After the initial surprise, readers will be firmly...

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Jeanne Damas’ Love Letter to Parisian Women

The book of photographs À Paris, which was released in France last year, is now available in the United States under the title In Paris: 20 Women of Life in the City of Lights. According to French fashion designer and model Jeanne Damas, it is impossible to define what the archetype of la Parisienne really means: there are as many Parisian...

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France and the United States From Liberation to Exasperation

How did Americans go, in the mind of the French, from gum-chewing liberators to Coke-swilling invaders? A U.S. historian and a French cheesemonger examined this transformation in a book published this summer. During the Liberation, American GIs used calvados brandy to fuel their Zippo lighters. In 1948, the French communist party called for a boycott of the American soda giant, accusing...

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How Three Celebrated Women Captured the Imagination of Marcel Proust

At the turn of the 19th century, three celebrities of their day reigned supreme in the uppermost crust of Paris. These three women, Madame de Chevigné, Straus, and Greffuhle, are important to us today not because of their status but because they inspired the pen and passion of Marcel Proust. The famed author conflated their characteristics to create the fictional...

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Flying Free: U.S. Pilots Saved by the Normans

American fighter planes and bombers supported the Allies in the Battle of Normandy from June through August 1944. During the war, some 2,700 pilots were forced to execute an emergency landing. Local inhabitants came to their rescue, and the soldiers were instructed to blend in with the French until the country was liberated. One such aviator, Major McLeod, went on...

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May ’68: All Power to the Slogans!

Whether scribbled on tables, put up on posters in the streets, or chanted during protests, the slogans from May ’68 have become a part of French popular culture. As part of the 50th anniversary of the “events,” a collection of the slogans has been translated into English and published by the MIT Press. The spirit of May ’68 may have...

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Book Clubs in France and the United States

While the American style of book club is growing in popularity with French people, particularly via social media, the culture of group reading is not as widespread in France as in the United States. Publishing historian Jean-Yves Mollier compares U.S. book clubs — originally inspired by religion — and their French counterparts — born of worker’s rights and activism. France-Amérique: What is...

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Adrien Bosc: “The New Yorker Has No Equivalent in France”

The Avignon-born publisher and writer Adrien Bosc learned English by reading in-depth stories in the pages of Harper’s Magazine and The New Yorker, and went on to found the Editions du Sous-Sol publishing house and the Feuilleton review in Paris. He has since published the works of leading American reporters in French, and continues the very U.S. tradition of creative...

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A Musical Journey Through New Orleans After Katrina

Music holds sway in New Orleans. In Faubourg Tremé, a book published in French and English on October 12, Parisian photographer Alexis Pazoumian studies the role of music in the reconstruction of the city ten years after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. New Orleans has always held a deep attraction for photographers. Lee Friedlander, Bernard Hermann, William Claxton, and George...

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Philippe Labro, the Tireless “Americanologist”

Through diverse chapters of U.S. history such as the conservative South of the 1950s, the election of Barack Obama, the 1960s, and the assassination of JFK, French journalist and writer Philippe Labro has observed, recorded, analyzed, and tried to understand America. The president of the United States was assassinated on November 22, 1963, and Philippe Labro was sent to Dallas...

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Jean-Jacques Audubon in America

Like Lafayette before him, Jean-Jacques Audubon (1785-1851) is one of several French people who are less known in France but who enjoy immense popularity in the United States. The French ornithologist and naturalized U.S. citizen wrote the reference work The Birds of America, and spent the early 19th century exploring the American wilderness of Louisiana, Missouri and Mississippi, where he...

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The Graphic Novel Unveiling the Underbelly of Silicon Valley

In 2013, along with her husband and daughter, French cartoonist Laureline Duermael left Metz and moved their video games developing business to San Francisco. The experience quickly became a living nightmare. She started to blog her misadventures as a comic strip, which was then published as a graphic novel called Comme convenu (As Agreed) in 2015. She recently launched an online crowd-funding campaign to help...

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“Pablo”, A Lively Portrait of Picasso

Pablo is a four-tome biography started in 2012, retracing the artist’s footsteps from his first difficult experiences in Paris to his success as the cubist “Picasso”. The full graphic novel has been translated into English by SelfMadeHero, and is now available in the United States as a single volume, and more recently as a digital version. Pablo opens with the...[Subscriber]

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Cruising Through the Louvre

Co-published by the Louvre Museum in Paris, this graphic novel takes the form of a surreal stroll through the renowned institution, and has just been translated into English. The Louvre launched its own graphic novel collection ten years ago, offering carte blanche to a meticulously chosen panel of artists such as the Frenchmen Nicolas de Crécy and Étienne Davodeau, the...[Subscriber]

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Gauguin, Off the Beaten Track

Paul Gauguin (1848-1903) gave us the Pont-Aven School master paintings, mystical canvases of a yellow Christ in a style almost imitating fauvism, and the long, lithe bodies of Polynesian women languishing on the beaches in Tahiti. A far cry from this post-card paradise, this beautiful new graphic novel follows the last two years of the artist’s life, from his arrival...[Subscriber]

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The American Library in Paris: “An Open Window to the World”

Nestled away on a picturesque street in the 7th arrondissement, a stone’s throw from the Eiffel Tower, the American Library in Paris has over the years become an integral feature of the capital city’s cultural landscape. Boasting over 120,000 books and 500 periodicals, it is the largest English-language lending library in mainland Europe. It has patronized American cultural icons including...[Subscriber]

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The Art of French Conversation for Dummies

Using tennis matches, good wine that needs time to breathe and English-style gardens, Julie Barlow and Jean-Benoît Nadeau have an impressive arsenal of metaphors when it comes to illustrating the subtleties of French conversation. This couple of journalists from Quebec lived in Paris for four years, and observed the codes that govern verbal interactions between French people during a bus...

The New Age of the Shakespeare & Company Book Store

Sylvia Whitman has been the proprietor of Shakespeare and Company since 2006. She grew up among thousands of books and took up the reins from her father, George Whitman, who founded the bookstore in 1951. She has brought the shop into a new age—with festivals, performances, a packed calendar of readings, and lots of technological improvements—not to mention a publishing...[Subscriber]

Henry Miller’s Paris

In 1930, the American author Henry Miller (1891-1980) settles in Paris. He spends the next nine years there, penniless but happy. It is in Paris that he becomes a writer, publishing his first novel Tropic of Cancer (1934), which is rooted in personal experience. Miller has something of a reputation even before the release of his early works. He is...[Subscriber]

David Bellos : The Irresistible Translator

“If you thought translating Proust might be difficult, just try Asterix”, says David Bellos, Professor of French and Comparative Literature at Princeton University (New Jersey), where he has directed the intercultural translation and communication program since 2007. Bellos is acknowledged as the master of complex translation and the first to have tackled the French-language virtuoso Georges Perec. “I had no...