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Bookslut illuminates City of Light’s insurrectionary past in a review of The Invention of Paris

Jessica Turner 8 July 2011

A few short weeks ago, Bookslut reviewer Angela Meyer praised The Invention of Paris: A History in Footsteps by historian Eric Hazan for enabling her to "place [herself] not just topographically but, temporally" in Paris.  Just published, the new paperback edition of The Invention of Paris includes new maps, fresh images and an updated introduction by the author. What could be a better companion for a radical walking tour of La Ville-Lumière?

With Hazan's insights to guide her, Angela Meyer uncovers the revolutionary narratives of the Boulevard Montmartre, Rue du Chevalier-de-la-Barre, right and left bank, and old quarters on a recent trip to Paris:

I didn't know much about the French Revolution and the ongoing struggles. The section on Red Paris is spirited and moving. So many names, so much blood and such continual resistance.

She continues,

The book is also a guide. So that you may visit, or live in Paris, and be aware of the layers of history under, above and around you. The crowds, dirt, ceremonies, entertainments, visions, the struggles and losses.

In what could be called a literary guidebook, Hazan convinces readers that the best way to experience the formation of "Red Paris" is à pied, his tome in hand. Meandering through sites of historical significance to the Paris Commune, French Revolution and 1968 student revolts, we see that the city's insurrectionary history is ever-present, right alongside its more mainstream cultural and literary ones.

Visit Bookslut for Meyer's full review of The Invention of Paris.

Filed under: reviews