The Invention of Paris: A History in Footsteps by Eric Hazan reviewed for Bookslut

My review of Eric Hazan’s The Invention of Paris: A History in Footsteps (translated by David Fernbach) can be found in the July issue of Bookslut. I completed the review while in Paris a few weeks ago. It begins:

‘I’m sitting in an apartment in the twelfth arrondissement of Paris, and because I’ve finished Eric Hazan’s detailed, passionate The Invention of Paris: A History in Footsteps I can place myself not just topographically, but temporally, in this city. I know that the lines of some of the nearby streets have not changed since the Middle Ages, that in this area were, in Hazan’s words, “cabinetmakers, carvers, gilders, polishers and turners.” There was also a royal manufactory of wallpaper, and when wages were reduced in April 1789 there was an uprising. Troops intervened, several people died, and the incident is seen as a “prelude to the revolution.”

Any visit to this city would be made richer by taking the time to read Hazan’s book. He looks at Paris through a few specific lenses: section by section through the quarters of old Paris, the faubourgs, and then the villages of new Paris; and then (still both topographically and temporally) through “Red Paris,” through the eyes of flâneurs, and through the visual image.’

You can read the rest here.

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