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Explorations Read-Aloud: “Of Love and Paris” by John Baxter

Friday, December 22, 2023 @ 11:00 am 12:00 pm

Every Friday, at 11:00 am, on the library’s YouTube Channel and Facebook Page, the library will stream a brand new recording of local thespian, Joseph Coté reading aloud selections from a wide variety of fascinating and entertaining books of fiction and non-fiction.

For December 22, Coté will read aloud from John Baxter’s book Of Love and Paris.

Summary:  The French may not have invented love but they perfected it, and the laboratory in which they did so was Paris.

James Joyce called the city “a lamp for lovers, hung in the wood of the world.”

From the Middle Ages, Paris has drawn those who wish to experience the limits of love – intellectual, spiritual, carnal. In Of Love and Paris, John Baxter turns the spotlight on some of them, from the medieval troubadours who seduced court ladies with flowery verse to Man Ray, whose camera conferred immortality on his lover and model Kiki, and Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin, who turned their moans of sexual pleasure into music.

The “grandes horizontals” of the belle epoque, accomplished technicians of eroticism who drew the rich and powerful of both sexes to Paris, had their modern incarnation in Gala, who left the bed she shared with poet Paul Éluard and painter Max Ernst to seduce the young Salvador Dalí.

Love in Paris, however, can take unexpected forms. Was the devotion to Marcel Proust of his housekeeper Céleste Albaret any less passionate than that of Anne Desclos to Jean Paulhan, for whom she composed “the strangest love letter any man ever received”—the notorious novel Story of O, the predecessor of Fifty Shades of Grey? Love has a multitude of faces, and some of the most mysterious and surprising are unveiled in Of Love and Paris.

Click the links to find the library’s YouTube Channel and Facebook Page.

Thoughts to share? Book ideas to suggest?
Contact Joseph at friday-explorations@usa.net

55 Main Street
Camden, ME 04843 United States