Sunday, 13 July 2014

Paris in July: Paris was Yesterday - 1930

Paris in July - Janet Flanner's news for 1930...

D.H. Lawrence (1885-1930)

D.H. Lawrence
The death of D.H. Lawrence cuts short the actively influential position he was beginning to assume in the estimation of France’s leading literary lights. Exiled by his malady from the fogs of hi native land, he spent the better part of his maturity in Continental towns. He was one of the first of what later became a large colony of Britons in Toarmina. He lived for a time in Florence, where his Aaron’s Rod was considered a portrait gallery of his local friends, Norman Douglas and Reginal Turner among others. He was a brilliant talker but, despite his years of living among foreigners, no exceptional linguist. Ill most of his life, he by degrees developed the erratic psychology of the brilliant invalid to whom, living among natives in out-of-the-way corners, anything was permitted. He had, among other eccentricities, a fancy for removing his clothes and climbing mulberry trees.

At the last he also suffered actively from persecution mania; he thought Jung had stolen his theories of psychoanalysis from a reading of the earlier Lawrence works; he thought his writer friends stole his Lady Chatterley’s Lover had, just before his death, been brought out by him in Paris for the express purpose, so his preface stated, of justifiably allowing him to reap some meagre royalties and, less justifiably, of permitting the book, because of its low price, to be within easy reach of every young boy and girl. The last work of Lawrence to be translated into French consisted of excerpts from his Mexican novel, its title, unfortunately, being construed as Serpent Dépouillé. Thus as The Plucked Serpent, The Plumed Serpent enters, with the author’s death, into the lexicon of French letters.
ideas. Owing to the peculiar quality of his later novels, he was constantly accusing printers everywhere, usually with justice, of stealing and pirating his works. A cheap edition of his much discussed


The reception accorded Sido, Colette’s new book, has been exceptional even for a writer to whom exceptional receptions have become a commonplace. Once again and at greater length than usual she has been hailed for her genius, humanities, and perfect prose by those literary journals which years ago (when hailing any one of these three would have encouraged a young provincial writer) lifted nothing at all in her direction except the finger of scorn.

French literature is peculiarly devoid of nature – indeed, there is hardly a tree in the whole lot of it; and to the French, despite their instinct to appreciate him, Hardy reads rather like pages from a seed catalogue. In their fine letters Colette is the first dendrophile they have possessed, the first writer to give them news of nature; she has the strangeness of a traveller who tells of an unknown land.

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