Concert Reviews | CD Reviews | DVD Reviews | Opera | Early Music | News | Film | Art | Books | Kids

12.9.07

À mon chevet: Le flâneur des deux rives (pp. 9-10)

Available at Amazon:
available at Amazon
People do not separate themselves from anything without regret, and they do not abandon painlessly even the places, things, and people who render them the most unhappy. Thus it was that, in 1912, I did not leave you without bitterness, faraway Auteuil, charming neighborhood of my great sadnesses. I would not come back to you until 1916, to be trephined at the Villa Molière.

When I moved to Auteuil in 1909, the Rue Raynouard still looked like it was in the time of Balzac. It is really ugly now. There is still the Rue Berton, illuminated by oil lamps, but soon, no doubt, they will change that. It is an old street situated between the neighborhoods of Passy and Auteuil. Without the war it would have disappeared or at least would have become unrecognizable. The local government had decided to modify its general look, to widen it and make it accessible to carriages. Thus they destroyed one of the most picturesque corners in Paris.

-- Guillaume Apollinaire, Le flâneur des deux rives (1918), trans. Charles T. Downey
A great opening line, which caused me to pick this book up again. For more on the author, including why he was receiving a medical procedure at Auteuil in 1916, see this post from 2005. This book is part of the Paris Reading Project.

No comments: