In January 1915 Madeleine Pagès, a 22-year-old schoolteacher, shared a carriage on the train from Nice with Guillaume Apollinaire. The poet had been visiting his mistress, Lou de Coligny-Châtillon, and was returning to train with his artillery unit in Nîmes before deployment on the front line. Strangers, they talked avidly for most of the journey. He wrote to her in April from the front, with his relationship with Lou on the wane, and Madeleine promptly replied with a gift of cigars. So began a passionate correspondence that lasted for a year. The letters were published in full for the first time in 2005 (a bowdlerised edition appeared in 1952), and are here translated into English.
Follow Literary Review on Twitter
'After all, who knows what anybody is really like, or what they really think? The biographer – same as a painter of portraits – cannot help but reproduce himself to some degree.'
From the archive: Beryl Bainbridge talks to Sebastian Shakespeare.
"fascinating piece of writing ...unexpectedly gripping read...The #RedCircleMinis are a really wonderful initiative; every one I’ve read has been so different and so good... #OneLoveChigusa is an excellent addition to the series! “Thank you @kaggsy59 🙂 https://bit.ly/2ZIdeqL
@johnkampfner's book traces the '"consensual culture" of contemporary Germany, its love of slogging processes and of "getting it right", characteristics epitomised by Angela Merkel.'
Do the Germans really 'do it better'? Thomas Kielinger explores.