I would like to believe what John Leonard said in 'Brilliant Together in Paris': that the reader needs only to be reminded that he or she was not one of those prurient souls, "....who are incapable of imagining backwards except to finger sores, and seem never with a shiver to appreciate nobility of sentiment, heroic action or genuine regret." So ours, like theirs, despite our faults, is a mission. To seek the best in ourselves and perhaps change the course of history.....or, failing that, at least keep our guests amused at dinner.
Perhaps there are no heroes left. Man, once elevated by Descarrtes to the master and proprietor of nature, is now seen by many as a mere thing to the forces of technology, politics and even history that bypass him, surpass him and possess him. To paraphrase Milan Kundera, it seems the more man advances in scientific knowledge, the less clearly he can see or be seen. It's time to take a hard look at this fellow, man, through the prism of his culture. And who better than the French?
Please join me on an unusual trip to Paris, with our friend James Joyce...
(sample pages from the book)
Book I: New York
Book II: ROUSSEAU
Book III: NAPOLEON In Love
Book IV: VICTOR HUGO on the wild side
Book V: CLAUDE MONET: Impressionist
Book VI: Maurice RAVEL
Book VII: COCO CHANEL
Book VIII: Charles de Gaulle arrogant autocrat
Book IX: Jean-Paul Sartre
Book X: Cousteau