At Drouot’s in Paris (the French equivalent of Sothby’s or Christie’s) a big literary sale has just taken place: The manuscript of Jacques Prévert’s “Quai des brumes” (the 150-page scenario of the film directed by Marcel Carné in 1938) was bought by the “musée des lettres et manuscripts” on boulevard Saint-Germain in Paris for 557,640 euros. The manuscript of what may be Prévert most famous song lyrics, “Feuilles mortes” (of which there are at least 600 recorded versions) was sold for 185,880 euros, also to the boulevard Saint-Germain museum — which further bought “Toros y toreros,” a book illustrated by Pablo Picasso for 161,096 euros, and an envelope with a color crayon drawing by Picasso for which they paid 37,156 euros. Should you come through Paris this summer, you can check out all of these items (& many more) at the museum in question, at 222, boulevard Saint-Germain.
And here a gorgeous version of “Autumn Leaves / les feuilles mortes” sung by Nicole Peyrafitte with George Muscatello on guitar from a series of songs they called Twisted Standards:[audio:http://www.pierrejoris.com/blog/audio/Feuilles.mp3]
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I have often cited his work on this blog, and an article in the German paper Der Freitag now indicates that Pierre Assouline’s blog “La république des livres” (sponsored by the — nearly bankrupt & sponsor-searching daily Le Monde) may well be the most successful literary blog going today. Assouline writes his blog since 2004, with on average between 20 and 31 (& on some occasions more than forty) posts a month. A more interesting number even than the several thousands hits a day he gets, is the incredible number of comments. As der Freitag reports, a recent post on de Gaulle as writer brought 1,200 responses, and a post on the translation work of Georges-Arthur Goldschmidt generated over a thousand, while his review of Alain Robbe-Grillet‘s latest novel was commented on some 900 times. In 2008 Pierre Assouline (“Passou” as he is called for the url handle of his blog, which is http://passouline.blog.lemonde.fr/) published a book based on the blog, but consisting not of his own writings but of a selection from the 280,000 commentaries generated to date. Said book is called Brèves de blog, possibly translatable as Blog Briefs, and published by Les Arènes.
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And good old Béchamel, I mean BHL, i.e. Bernard Henri Lévy is at it again. Just a day or so before the Israeli’s army murderous raid on the Gaza flotilla, he lauded said army as the most democratic, thoughtful and just army in the world. And now he has come out with a piece in Haaretz in which he claims that all “liberal” reporting on the events that is not pro-Israel is “misinformation.” I.e. anyone who is saying that Israel is blockading Gaza and who does not mention that Egypt also has a blockade in effect therefore “misinforms” the world and shouldn’t be believed.