The Invention of Paris is a tour through the streets and history of the French capital under the guidance of radical Parisian author and publisher Eric Hazan.
Hazan reveals a city whose squares echo with the riots, rebellions and revolutions of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Combining the raconteur’s ear for a story with a historian’s command of the facts, he introduces an incomparable cast of characters: the literati, the philosophers and the artists—Balzac, Baudelaire, Blanqui, Flaubert, Hugo, Maney, and Proust, of course; but also Doisneau, Nerval and Rousseau.
It is a Paris dyed a deep red in its convictions. It is haunted and vitalized by the history of the barricades, which Hazan retells in rich detail. The Invention of Paris opens a window on the forgotten byways of the capital’s vibrant and bloody past, revealing the city in striking new colors.
“[Hazan] stalks the capital, fulminating about the nineteenth and twentieth centuries' artistic and political rebellions.”
“Detailed, passionate ... Any visit to [Paris] would be made richer by taking the time to read Hazan's book.”
“This is a wondrous book, either to be read at home with a decent map, or carried about sur place through areas no tourists bother with.”
“Hazan is all business. He trudges through Paris street by street, quoting what Balzac, Hugo, Baudelaire or Kafka said about a particular spot, pointing out where barricades were once erected and thieves gathered for drinks.”
“Amid the intellectual murkiness of the European scene, a few bright flames are burning: as witness the work of Eric Hazan.”
“[F]ew will be able to resist... Hazan's brick-by-brick account of the city's history of strife and political posturing is riveting.”
“Do you want to be happy? Buy this book and take a stroll.”
“Hazan wants to rescue individual moments from general forgetting and key sites from the bland homogenization of international city development; he is also a passionate left-wing historian seeking to rescue the truth of Paris’s revolutionary past.”
“One of the greatest books about the city anyone has written in decades, towering over a crowded field, passionate and lyrical and sweeping and immediate.”
“This book is both a political and aesthetic delight, uncovering the real mysteries of Paris.”
“With its astonishing breadth of reference and incredible detail, this is a must for all lovers of Paris.”
“[A] stunning book.”