Tag Archives: Cultural History

New Art History Books: “Finding Dora Maar – An Artist, An Address Book, A Life” – Brigitte Benkemoun

Finding Doram MaarIn search of a replacement for his lost Hermès agenda, Brigitte Benkemoun’s husband buys a vintage diary on eBay. When it arrives, she opens it and finds inside private notes dating back to 1951—twenty pages of phone numbers and addresses for Balthus, Brassaï, André Breton, Jean Cocteau, Paul Éluard, Leonor Fini, Jacqueline Lamba, and other artistic luminaries of the European avant-garde.

After realizing that the address book belonged to Dora Maar—Picasso’s famous “Weeping Woman” and a brilliant artist in her own right—Benkemoun embarks on a two-year voyage of discovery to learn more about this provocative, passionate, and enigmatic woman, and the role that each of these figures played in her life.

Longlisted for the prestigious literary award Prix Renaudot, Finding Dora Maar is a fascinating and breathtaking portrait of the artist.

Brigitte Benkemoun is a journalist and writer. She is the author of La petite fille sur la photo (2012) and Albert le Magnifique (2016). Jody Gladding is a poet and translator. She has translated some thirty books from French, including, most recently, Roland Barthes’s Album: Unpublished Correspondence and Texts (2018), Michel Pastoureau’s Yellow: The History of a Color (2019), and Jean Giono’s Occupation Journal (2020).

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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