Saturday, 12 July 2014

Paris in July - Paris was Yesterday - 1929

1929 happenings in France according to Janet Flanner for Paris in July

The Hours Press

An item of exceptional interest to New York bibliophiles is the Hours Press, just set up by Nancy Peronnik the Fool, to be followed by The Eaten Heart, by Richard Aldington; One Day, by Norman Douglas; A Plaquette of Poems, by Iris Tree; Canto, by Ezra Pound; and La Chasse au Snark  (Carroll’s famous The Hunting of the Snark), translated into French by Louis Aragon. 
Cunard in her country place, Puits-Carré, at Chapelle-Réanville, in the nearby Eure. The hand press is Belgian, eighteenth-century Elzevir type is used, and the book list includes only rare, modern, and new itens, in limited editions signed by the authors. The first issue is a revised version of George Moore’s

Marshal Foch (1851-1929)

The funeral of Marshal Foch, Commander-in-Chief of the Allied Armies in France during the last year of the war, was the greatest mourning event held in Paris since the nationalisation of the death of Victor Hugo. Pasteur was given an official interment, but a less spectacular one than the semi-governmental cortege recently accorded the less important Anatole France. The French populace clings to poets and soldiers, when alive or dead, and instinctively buries them with the greatest tenderness and grief.
Since 1918 the war has not been so close as it was during the obsequies of Marshal Foch. Satisfaction was, however, much farther away. It was estimated that three million people saw the procession; but only a fraction could have done it comfortably, well, or even at all. The few tribunes were erected for official families only. Windows in the Rue de Rivoli rented at five thousand francs. A perch on a lamppost cost fifty. Men swarmed in trees, on roofs, and sat on chimney pots. For the most part women saw the Marshal’s caisson by turning their backs to it and looking into mirrors held aloft. At his house and at the Cathedral, while thousands waited to pay homage, the lines were closed from twelve to two – in deference to that unflinching French luncheon, a tradition, which apparently even death does not alter. 

Little Review

The interment number of the famous Little Review has at last been published here; like any other mythical good American, this Middle-Western radical finally went to heaven in Paris. And not unsuitably. Of the many illustrious and now saleable writers whom it was the first in America to print, if not to pay – Sherwood Anderson, Ernest Hemingway, James Joyce, Gertrude Stein, Glenway Wescott, etc – the greater number today live in France. Picasso, Léger, Picabia, Juan Gris, Miró – all were introduced in the States by the Little Review, and all are residents of Paris.In a sense, then, the Little Review, though it had never been in Paris before, came to its home to die.

Georges Clemenceau (1941-1929)

Georges Clemenceau, twice Premier of France and chief antagonist of Woodrow Wilson during the Paris Peace Conference, was considered the greatest Jacobin and fighter of his time. Known as the Tiger, he fought everybody, including his government, until he was near to his ninetieth year; died poor, and asked to be buried standing upright. The position suited him. Even his enemies never questioned his probity and by his friends it was known he never lay down before events; he even attempted not to lie down for the last event of his life. Forced to bed, finally, he still kept his clothes on. 

He was buried without benefit of clergy. All his life he thought coldly and believed hotly. As he said, ‘The greatest sin of the soul is to lack warmth.’

Sergei Diaghilev (1872-1929)

Genius is a talent only for living; those who possess it have little gift for dying. Diaghilev’s recent demise has furnished a new and sadder version of Death in Venice. His famous Russian Ballet would soon have been twenty-five years old, a remarkable antiquity for a theory and practice so dependent upon youth. … Memories do not pay. Of its great originals – Mordkin, Bakst, Pavlova, Nijinsky,
Stravinsky, among others – Diaghilev was the only one who persisted in following the initial imperial tradition; the others quietly became middle-aged, went mad, grew addicted to perpetual farewell tours, or died. Therefore, the recent coffers of the Ballet that altered stage décors in England, France, and America, and left a new rich heritage of colour and form to a generation that originally whished for neither, were often empty.  According to report, Diaghilev had only two thousand lire to his name at the beginning of his last illness and hope by dying quickly to die within his means; but bills to Venetian chemists and hotelkeepers left him a posthumous pauper. It is said he was buried through the generosity of his friend Gabrielle Chanel, the famous and loyal dressmaker.

Wall Street Crash

The Wall Street crash has had its effect here. In the Rue de la Paix the jewellers are reported to be losing fortunes in sudden cancellations of orders, and at the Ritz bar the pretty ladies are having to pay for their cocktails themselves. In the Quartier de l’Europe, little firms that live exclusively on the American trade have not sold one faked Chanel copy in a fortnight. A wholesale antiquaire in the Boulevard Raspail has a cellar bulging with guaranteed Louis XIV candlesticks which are not moving.

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