Books 2010

Books 2009

« Elegance and disorder at Mapperton | Main | Ocean views »

Thursday, 01 October 2009


Please, do tell us why not Colette, Mr Bagshaw; I am longing to know why like Dark Puss. The reasons are often more interesting than the statement itself and they allow further thought and possibly further discussion. Since this is only an online and belated conversation, unless you don't give away all details at once, your readers can't understand your opinion very well.
Thank you in advance for your answer.
If you are a bit bored by the mention of Colette by me or by Dark Puss, you can tell it aswell - we are very open-minded and it is your blog after all.... but it is not sure the Cat and I will stop discussing Colette too soon.

Why not Colette Lindsay? I admit that the Claudine novels are not her finest work, but she is in my mind one of the greatest writers of the 20th C and well worthy of enthusiastic and avid reading.

Thank you to Glo for the very informative comments.

Glo - thanks for your comment - I'd forgotten about French paperbacks, although sublimally I obviously recognised it in the picture! But, no, not Colette, surely Zola. But if not Zola, it should be!

Part 1

I visited the blog on Thursday and decided I wouldn't comment on this since I was about to write more or less the same comment as Dark Puss. Finally, I withdrew my comment, as I didn't want to sound -once again- opposing! Or at least I was not in the mood for being opposing then.
But now, I really can't decline a comment!
1- Reading or not reading?
This girl is clearly very focused on the reading, you can't deny that, Mr Bagshaw. The outfit is loose indeed, but that doesn't mean that she isn't reading properly. Then, since you are malicious (or provoking, or gossipy, or all of that), I decide that you owe us a post on the most appropriate outfit for a thorough and perfect reading session. My opinion is; the more comfortable the outfit, the better the reading.
2- The girl and her outfit
No doubt she is one of Renoir's model. She is in the painter's study and we can even see another painting and its frame on the right side. She is probably taking a break or she will soon start sitting for the master. Then, since Renoir has painted a string of naked girls, she will probably undress rather than get herself a more decent outfit - sorry, Mrs Cornflower.
At the end of his life, Renoir was living in the South of France like most of his fellow painters. The weather is very hot there, hence the bare feet, the hairdo and the loose outfit, which all allow her to be at ease. Her shirt and her skirt are probably made of linen or cotton, both very common fabrics then, and rather adequate when the temperatures rise.

Part 2

3- The book she is reading
She is reading very eagerly, and she can't wait discovering what will happen next. I would suggest the book is "Claudine à l'école" by Colette - and I know someone here does agree with me. The book was released in 1900, it was a good novel and an instant success because the content was very scandalous - and it still is, even after our 21st Century standards.
4- Finally, the paperback issue
It looks like a paperback and it obviously is one. All novels published in France were and still are paperback books. We don't use to publish hardback novels in this country, even for the first publication. The only hardback books you can find are school books ( so they can resist bad handling), coffee table books and some luxury books/limited editions/very old books.
I hope I could help. I just want to add that I quite like the parting between the blu shades in the upper side of the painting and the red shades in the lower side.
Have a nice week end, all.

It works, I go on then. The comment function was working better a month or two ago.

To Dark Puss
"The Ladies' Paradise" is a novel about the fall of small businesses and the beginning of those big stores where customers could find everything in the same store. The Ladies' Paradise is the very name of said store, then you can easily imagine what they sell there; fabric, ribbons, lace, dresses, hats, etc, etc.

I have problems posting my comment but I have saved it. I just want to try posting this one.

TypePad HTML Email

I think its a paperback - or at least a soft book,
perhaps a stiffish linen cover or something - because it looks a bit bent in her
hands, and it seems quite small; but I could easily be wrong! Ive no idea
when paperbacks appeared in France - Glo?

On her frock, we'll have to wait for Cornflower to enlighten us.

Two questions:

What's wrong with her frock and why will the book "The Ladies' Paradise" encourage her to get a new one?

How can you tell this is a paperback and when were paperback books first produced?

How about "The Ladies' Paradise" ("Au Bonheur des Dames")? Then she might have the urge to nip into Le Bon Marche and get a decent frock.

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