Books 2010

Books 2009

« Avocets!! | Main | B. O. P. »

Sunday, 25 May 2008


I haven't read Debray's book either but I guess he wanted the book to be voluntarily provocative. And it is the typical kind of an intellectual exercise that a typical French intellectual can produce.
Mitterrand on the contrary was a true passionate about Venice and went there as a private traveller very often over the years. I guess Debray probably heard of it and this must have helped growning his loathing for Venice. And not to mention the inevitable very bad aspects that such an overtouristy place carries along.

Re the sentence you quoted and Mr Cornflower's comment (below)
You have to imagine that the Italian boot is a whole leg and it is the left leg, then supposedly there must be a right leg (ie facial view and not side view). That said, I must now add that the French call "family jewels" (a plural indeed) the so-called tender parts of a man - it is rather slang-ish and familiar though... Although I haven't checked out the original text I believe that sentence is not only provocative but also very saucy, quite metaphorical and delighfully witty - a true intellectual exercise as I said before.
I wouldn't have mentioned that if someone else hadn't commented about that before but given that such an erudite debate has arisen, I had to have my say...
More seriously and from a more bookish perspective, I think the person who translated the book ought to have written a note about the meaning of that sentence... unless he/she didn't fully understand it or was too shy...

For those who are really eager to read more French essays about Venice, there are also those written by Philippe Sollers (a true Venice lover and another typical French intellectual) and "Venises" (a plural indeed) by Paul Morand.

I haven't read Debray on Venice, but at the risk of being flippant, if Italy is a boot then Venice is on the wrong side for the groin. Perhaps rather the fold of a callipygous Friulian buttock?

Hugely enjoyed your gallery of photos from Afganistan. The soviet tank in the snow especially graphic. Well done. I recently read Alan Bennett's The Uncommon Reader -- a delight. Suspended studio work -- I make pots -- for the duration while I blissed and read to the very last sentence and the last laugh.

I most enthusiastically support your recommendation of "The Periodic Table" by Levi. I wondered about going to see the Cranach, but I'm not really sure it is my sort of thing. Anyway I'm swamped with marking at the moment (which means I don't mind the horrible rain in London over the weekend).

The comments to this entry are closed.


  • Nothing is of greater consolation to the author of a novel than the disovery of readings he had not conceived but which are then prompted by his readers. (Umberto Eco, Reflections on The Name of the Rose)
  • ... relatively few persons in London ... can afford the luxury of one or more servants. No fewer than 3,700,000 have no servants at all, and of the half million that have servants 227,000 have only one. (The Times, 6 June 1895)
  • Standing among savage scenery, the hotel offers stupendous revelations. There is a French widow in every bedroom, affording delightful prospects. (Tyrolean inn brochure, according to Gerard Hoffnung)
  • (A doctor is at an elderly relative's deathbed) "The old sawbones, eh?" he bellowed ... "Just in the nick, perhaps. Haul the old girl back by the short hairs, if you ask me. Devilish smart at his work ... Always take a fence with more confidence when I know he's out with us."
  • Too often, when a man of Monty Godkin's mental powers is plunged in thought, nothing happens at all. The machinery just whirs for a while, and that is the end of it. (P G Wodehouse, Heavy Weather)
  • ...the breed that take their pleasures as Saint Laurence took his grid (Kipling, The Five nations)

Photo Albums

Blog powered by Typepad