Here is the opening paragraph of Caroline Weber's review from yesterday's NY Times Book Review of a book I hope to read, Andrew Hussey's Paris: The Secret History:
Years ago, while strolling through a Parisian flower market, I was accosted by a man with a posy in his hands and a poem on his lips. “Here are some fruits, some flowers, some leaves and some branches,” he declaimed, quoting the poet Paul Verlaine, “And here is my heart, which beats only for you.” At which the stranger dropped his bouquet, unzipped his pants and presented me with an organ quite different from his heart. In Paris, I reflected as I hurried away, the boundary between lyricism and squalor is as fragile as a rosebud, and as permeable as a man’s fly.
I have Hussey's biography of Guy Debord--which looked to be largely about his drinking--around here somewhere, unread. I wanted to put parts of Society of the Spectacle on my Humanities course reading list this semester, but didn't fit it in; I find that when I need to choose between "theory" and actual facts, sociology, or literature, theory doesn't seem nearly as important.
We are going to Prague in March. But not Paris.