Cover image for A passion for Paris : romanticism and romance in the City of Light
A passion for Paris : romanticism and romance in the City of Light
Downie, David.
Personal Author:
First St. Martin's Griffin edition.
Publication Information:
New York : St. Martin's Press, 2016.

Physical Description:
xiv, 304 pages : illustrations ; 21 cm
"'A top-notch walking tour of Paris. The author's encyclopedic knowledge of the city and its artists grants him a mystical gift of access: doors left ajar and carriage gates left open foster his search for the city's magical story. Anyone who loves Paris will adore this joyful book. Readers visiting the city are advised to take it with them to discover countless new experiences'--Kirkus Reviews (starred); A unique combination of memoir, history, and travelogue, this is author David Downie's irreverent quest to uncover why Paris is the world's most romantic city--and has been for over 150 years. Abounding in secluded, atmospheric parks, artists' studios, cafes, restaurants and streets little changed since the 1800s, Paris exudes romance. The art and architecture, the cityscape, riverbanks, and the unparalleled quality of daily life are part of the equation. But the city's allure derives equally from hidden sources: querulous inhabitants, a bizarre culture of heroic negativity, and a rich historical past supplying enigmas, pleasures and challenges. Rarely do visitors suspect the glamor and chic and the carefree atmosphere of the City of Light grew from and still feed off the dark fountainheads of riot, rebellion, mayhem and melancholy--and the subversive literature, art and music of the Romantic Age. Weaving together his own with the lives and loves of Victor Hugo, Georges Sand, Charles Baudelaire, Balzac, Nadar and other great Romantics, Downie delights in the city's secular romantic pilgrimage sites asking, Why Paris, not Venice or Rome--the tap root of 'romance'--or Berlin, Vienna and London--where the earliest Romantics built castles-in-the-air and sang odes to nightingales? Read A Passion for Paris : Romanticism and Romance in the City of Light and find out"--
Part I. Romantic Encounters in a Maid's Room, or how the innocent author from San Francisco followed Felix Nadar to Paris and was seduced by the city, becoming obsessed by the world's obsessions and fantasies about romance in the City of Light -- 1. Overhead in a Balloon -- 2. Deciphering the Paris Palimpsest -- 3. A Tramp Steamer to Pere-Lachaise Cemetery -- Part II. Discovering the First Great Romantic Circle in my new Backyard, the Marais and Ile Saint Louis -- 1. Bastille Day -- 2. Guest Appearances -- 3. The Romance of Rebelliosness -- 4. Defining the Undefinable : Romanticism -- 5. An Arsenal of Poetic Weaponry -- 6. Love Triangle : Victor, Adele and Sainte-Beuve -- 7. The Battle of Hernani -- 8. Romeo Seeks Juliette -- 9. The Conquest of Victor -- 10. Knight Templar -- 11. The Historic Present -- 12. Balzac's Marais -- Part III. Baudelaire's Island -- 1. Joie de Tristesse or The Romance of Unhappiness -- 2. Sex, Drugs and Striking Poses -- 3. Islands in the Dream -- Part IV. The Cult of the Les Grands Hommes (et Les Femmes?) or How the Pantheon of Gods came to Earth in Paris' Latin Quarter -- 1. The Architecture of Romance -- 2. The Anti-Romantics -- 3. The Academy of the Dead -- Part V. Romantic Romps in the Luxembourg Garden, Latin Quarter, and Saint Germain des Pres -- 1. A Leafy Pantheon of Romance -- 2. The Sand Pit -- 3. Butterfly Catcher -- 4. Merry-go-Rounds and Talking Heads -- 5. Merging into Bohemia -- 6. The Water Drinkers -- 7. Momus is the Word -- 8. Color Versus Line -- 9. A Drunken Boat, a Starving Writer, and Two Giant Clarinets -- 10. Delacroix's Last Stand -- Part VI. Quai Voltaire -- 1. The Seine's Scene -- 2. D'Artagnan's Cask of Amontillado -- 3. Delacroix Rebuffs Dumas -- Part VII. The New Athens and Montmartre, From the Heyday of Romanticism to the Resurgence of Romantic Decadence and the Birth of Modernism -- 1. Delacroix's Permanent Ephemera -- 2. Parisian Acropolis -- 3. Chopin's Hand -- 4. A Real Butte -- 5. Devil May Care -- 6. Slumming Stein and Picasso's Blue Rose -- 7. Spirits Set in Stone -- Part VIII. Open Endings and Musings on the Looping Lanes that Link the Balzac House and the Great Romantics to their Unwitting Descendants and Modern-Day Paris -- 1. The Long and Winding Road -- 2. Quiet Days in Passy -- 3. Sending Out an SMS : From Balzac With Love -- Key Dates -- Key Characters.

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