Cultural History Books: “Wicked City – The Many Cutures Of Marseille”

From a Literary Review online review:

Wicked City The Many Cutures of Marseille Nicholas Hewitt 2019The Toulousain Charles Dantzig wrote, ‘I find the Marseillais tiresome, especially those who, as soon as you speak to them, start to bang on about the uniqueness of being Marseillais, adding with a particular sort of whining machismo that no one likes them and everyone defames them. Their humour is nothing more than pitiable braggadocio.’ Régis Jauffret, who grew up there, is pithier: ‘Marseille is a tragic city. It formed my imagination.’ (It’s an imagination of peerless bleakness.)

Literary Review December 2019Nicholas Hewitt died in March, less than a month after completing the text of Wicked City. It’s a fine monument to his curiosity, compendious knowledge, resourcefulness and measured enthusiasm. He calls it ‘a series of snapshots’, which is perhaps too modest. If they are snapshots, they have been photoshopped and retouched to accord with his vision of the city and its well-rehearsed mythology of outsiderdom and exceptionalism, edginess and banditry. And his aspiration to explore Marseille’s hold on the ‘nation’s imagination’ is also too modest. The ‘international imagination’ would be more apt.

To read more: https://literaryreview.co.uk/babylon-on-sea

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