We often think we know everything about a famous work, an author that has been studied many times, a historical event that has been endlessly revisited, or even his village that has been surveyed many times. Here is a list of works that remove this false impression and bring us back to that demand that should never leave us: the curious, the educated, of course. What did the cinema say about Nazism? From which abyss would Kafka draw his inspiration; stars who did not wait for confinement to practice excessive mass exodus from the countryside; The things Picasso surrounded himself to create, the life of Condé Montrose Nast, the man who invented people’s journalism…Here are some great holiday reading projects that are already coming up.
Inside Kafka’s Head
Have you ever dreamed of entering the everyday thoughts of the author of “La Métamorphose”? To find out what inspired Flaubert’s correspondence, or the sound of a broom in the room next to him? Discover his correspondence with his friend Max Brod, his executor who saved many of the great writer’s great works against his will? Or the tormented letters he wrote to Phyllis Bauer, who has been engaged twice? The publication in two volumes of “Kafka’s Journals and Letters” in the Bibliothèque de la Pléiade is the literary event of this spring.
It is a fascinating dive into the psyche of the master of the absurd, and his discovery, through his 1,700 letters, of the most enchanting dialogue for the deaf of all time. He exchanged it with journalist Milena Jesinska Pollack, with whom he had a short and passionate relationship, before he parted with her because she was married, betraying what he calls “afraid” to live. “I can’t make you or anyone else understand what’s going on inside me,” He ends up trusting her. The whole is supplemented by a collection of very useful texts on his relationship with Jewish culture, including his writings “Letter to Father”And precious proverbs, such as these: “March yourself against humanity. It makes the skeptic doubt, and it makes those who believe in it.”
Kafka’s Memoirs and Letters. Bibliothèque de la Pléïade, two volumes, 1566 and 1788 pages, 68 and 72 euros, supplemented by the release of this year’s Kafka album.
They were Nazi movie stars
They were called Kristina Soderbom, Olga Chekova, Cathy von Nagy, Marica Rock, Lilan Harvey or even, for the most famous, Zara Linder, who became a gay icon and died in 1981. During the twelve years of the disastrous Nazi regime, she was replaced on screens by Greta Garbo or Marlene Dietrich, permanently lost to cause. These actresses, often unlike Botches, achieved the heyday of UFA, the great production company of Time III.And Reich alarmed Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels.
Oddly enough, they were real movie heroines, reduced to only anti-Semitic productions like “The Jew Süss”, and imposed a fantasy inspired by the glam of Hollywood. A disturbing phenomenon, some of their films found a second life after the war. It remains that these icons played an important role in diverting the attention of millions of Germans to the imagined magic of the gods as terror settled in their country and the persecution and deportation of the Jews. Isabel Mitte tells her story here in incredible context and it’s fascinating.
« Actresses IIIAnd Reich”, by Isabel Mitte. Perrin Editions, 347 pages, €22. Released May 25.
Famous Villagers Guide
On March 5, 1967, a Sunday, the Twenty Club, Loison-sous-Lens Village Hall, was far from full on the advertised “Big Morning Dance”. But the astonishment of fifty or so people is at its climax when they see a tall stilt on stage in a hussar’s jacket, his Stratocaster around his neck. This small mining town you don’t know yet, but it made world rock history by welcoming… Jimi Hendrix. Six years later, the drama became known as Le Cheix-sur-Morge, a small village in Puy-de-Dôme.
The Rolls-Royce convertible driven by Fernand Raynaud has crashed into the wall of his tomb. The comedian wouldn’t be buried there, but a street in the city now bears his name. A fascinating journey provided by Mathias Deborough, who has set out on the roads of France to track down the celebrities who frequent our villages. A sort of holiday tour guide where you know you can rent Maurice Ronet’s reasonably priced house in Bonnieux or, for more money, one of Ridley Scott’s three luxury villas in Provençal.
“The Earthly Guide to the Villages of France” by Mathias Deborough. Allary editions, 687 pages, €20.
In the genesis of the Cold War
Here is a book that strangely resonates in our ears because the war in Ukraine has just opened a dramatic new chapter in relations between the West and Russia. From Yalta to the signing of the North Atlantic Treaty in April 1949, which led to the birth of NATO, English historian Giles Melton recounts the intense four years that led to the fragile balance of power in Europe. This first battle of the Cold War was told with rare evocative force.
In the center, the city of Berlin, hostage to all ambitions between West and East. In the maneuver, dignitaries, Winston Churchill, Franklin D. Roosevelt and especially Joseph Stalin balance all his strong character in negotiations and whose resemblance to Vladimir Putin’s behavior makes spine-shivers. We are in Yalta, 1945, and the British Permanent Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs Alexander Cadogan describes Stalin as follows: “Uncle Joe is by far the most impressive. He speaks little and remains very calm… During his rare interventions, he never utters a word superfluous and goes straight to the heart of the matter.” Book at the right time.
“Berlin Year Zero” by Giles Melton. Black on White Editions, 443 pages, 24 euros.
Picasso garage sale
Picasso was notorious for never getting rid of anything, fortunately, because his genius for turning the smallest thing into a work of art would surely remain unparalleled for a very long time. The works of Diana Widmaier-Ruiz Picasso, art historian, and Philippe Charlier, anthropologist and director of research at the Musée du Quai Branly Jacques Chirac, set out to discover the depth of the painter’s existence through the fetishes that surrounded him. Himself. Thus, he imparted magical powers to the hair, and always put off the moment to go to the hairdresser for fear that it would harm his manhood.
We learn how he liked to use urine to enlarge certain sculptures, or his children’s stools for still life drawings. His relationship to the primitive arts consists of attraction and repulsion, for if they frighten this great superstitious faith, he likes to deal with eternal subjects through the representation of animals, and excels at manipulating threads, knots, or rags. Nicely illustrated with works or objects in the artist’s legacy – including his soles! This book is fun for those looking for CV deals.
“The Wizard Picasso” by Diana Widmayr Ruiz Picasso and Philippe Charlier. Gallimard editions, 152 pages, €22.
Citizen Kane of glossy paper
Since the 1920s, Condé Nast magazines have been dictating the rules of international style and revealing the underside of the glamorous lives of ‘beautiful people’. In a way, the man with that name that was the origin of Vogue and Vanity Fair’s creations was the antithesis of what he offered to see in his luxury publications. Condé Montrose Nast was elegant but austere, disturbing his staff with endless memoirs, hardly seeming to enjoy life, despite the lavish partying of his Manhattan home at 1040 Park Avenue, and subject to pathological shyness, just enough to make him presume for little obvious stories. which were removed from the screens of high society by the editors of “Vanity Fair”.
Jerome Kagan’s evocation of this devious character Fitzgerald, kind of a hardworking Gatsby, a devious husband rather than elegant, takes us back to those glorious twenties when America, with a title like “Vogue”, wore makeup and dresses for its new status, frantically celebrating compelling femininity, claims Take control of the life of the community as you do now all over the world. His rivalry with William Randolph Hearst, set against the backdrop of the 1929 crisis, adds spice to this glossy paperback story of this Citizen Kane.
“Condé Nast, The Elegance Factory,” by Jerome Kagan. Seguier, 416 pages, €21.50.
Anonymous for human rights
In this delicious biography, François Delac resurrects the character of the Marquis de Bonnay, the aristocrat from Nevers who played a crucial role in crafting the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen. The guard of Louis XVI, he at the same time frequented the salons of intellectual women in the Age of Enlightenment, such as M.me de defand and m.me d’Epinay, broke up with Jean-Jacques Rousseau, who became his mistress. The love of his life was another great lady of the period, Adélaïde de la Briche, with whom he kept regular correspondence for over thirty years.
The elected representative, Charles François de Bonnay, styled himself as a central figure in the First National Assembly, even stealing the spotlight from Mirabeau while drafting the Declaration of Rights. Despite his “right-wing” personality, he will head this association, thanks to his mental agility that allows him to go from thinking about creating a European metric system to writing a song about the guillotine. Forced to flee the terror, Bonai embarked on his long European exile which was to take him from London to Berlin, but above all to Vienna. A listening advisor to Louis XVIII, the moderating influence of this close friend of Talleyrand enraged radical royalists such as Chateaubriand. The governor of the Château de Fontainebleau died, at the age of 75, under the supervision of his second wife, Catherine, who was then 36 years old.
“The Marquis de Bonnay, the forgotten father of the Declaration of the Rights of Man,” by François Delac. Traffic/vehicle permits, 416 pages, €24.