Allan Massie

Plus Paris Change…

Paris: The Secret History


Viking 462pp £20 order from our bookshop

Paris is not what it was. But then it never has been. We may all have our own ‘real Paris’, the delight of our imaginations. Admirers of Richard Cobb (among whom I count myself) will know his essay ‘The Assassination of Paris’ and may share his dismay at the disappearance of so many familiar and loved landmarks, and at the transformation of the Marais into a tourist’s paradise, as a result of which, he wrote, ‘the quarter has lost all warmth and originality’. Perhaps so. We all have our moments of deploring embourgeoisement or gentrification, no matter where it takes place – Paris, London, Rome, Edinburgh; but really of course what it means is that more people are well off and the middle class is becoming larger. The warm life of the streets was a product of poverty.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • 'One of the best aspects of Kaufmann’s book is its optimism' Here's @BurlM11's review of @epkaufm's Whiteshift. ,
    • Whom did Picasso label a 'bristly pig'? Read Rosalind P Blakesley's review of The Collector by Natalya Semenova to… ,
    • Alexandra Gajda on Anna Beer's new biography, Patriot or Traitor: The Life and Death of Sir Walter Ralegh ,
    • Mark Lawson reviews @jonathancoe's Middle England - The Rotters' Club for our Brexit age. ,
    • 'Behind every book that is published lies ... a haunted landscape, populated by the ghosts of things written and ex… ,
    • 'We once more live in a great age of dragon invention' Here's Tom Shippey on Martin Arnold's The Dragon ,
    • RT : Man at the q&a part of the book panel: Don't say it Don't say it Don't say it Don't say it Don't say it Don't s… ,