F. Patrick Butler

Cavorting with Strangers - (Great Ideas and Their Champions: Paris)

Cavorting with Strangers - (Great Ideas and Their Champions: Paris)

Paris in the eighteenth, nineteenth and twentieth centuries was home to some of the most creative people on earth.

But what people!!

These famous men and women, whose names many know, but only vaguely so, have egos that were uniquely altered and are now acclaimed revolutionaries of the human spirit.

But, they were a sleazy lot. Consider this: despite fathering the ideals behind the French and American revolutions, bringing down some of the great monarchies of Europe, Jean-Jacques Rousseau's youthful indiscretions included dropping his pants and exposing himself from the darkened corners of the village square titillating the girls and faking insanity when he was caught. And none other than Victor Hugo it was rumoured, deflowered his young daughter's first communion companion after Mass. Or Napoleon leaving his men to die in the Russian snow, while he hastily returned to Paris to save his throne; or Chanel collaborating with the Nazi's to keep her suite in the Ritz Hotel, or Sartre sleeping with his lover's students and adopting one.

Notwithstanding their vaunted reputations, these people were just as sick as the best of us. So we don't have to bend over far to see the underbelly of fame. Therefore, put those pompous testaments of their superlative qualities away, their disembodied quotes hung out on the line to impress us. This book isn't about their fresh linen, but the personal lives of the people who soiled them.



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