France

Book review: Arthur Symons: The Symbolist Movement in Literature, Archive.org

By Paul St John Mackintosh
May 16, 2015 // 0 Comments

  This is another review of a long-extant book (originally published in 1899), but a new digitization of this hard-to-find work over at Archive.org made a good case for this. The Symbolist Movement in Literature, by the English sometime poet and critic Arthur Symons, has not been made [...]

After Charlie Hebdo, Michel Houellebecq soils his readers

By Paul St John Mackintosh
January 9, 2015 // 5 Comments

Sadly, Michel Houellebecq and his Islamophobic new novel Soumission (Submission) look to be among the all-too-predictable beneficiaries of the Charlie Hebdo attack – alongside anti-Islamic hate groups and far-right politicians everywhere. The Bookseller has already felt the need to run a [...]

Charlie Hebdo and the Michel Houellebecq connection: Free speech’s martyrs

By Paul St John Mackintosh
January 8, 2015 // 5 Comments

As per my earlier report on the Charlie Hebdo massacre, other commentators have been picking up on the coincidental timing of the attack with the publication of Michel Houellebecq’s new novel Soumission (Submission), with its (to say the least) controversial portrayal of a near-future [...]

Speak out in France and be shot – unless you’re fellow traveling with the far right

By Paul St John Mackintosh
January 7, 2015 // 1 Comment

I’m sure there’s already enough ambulance-chasing going on around the horrible massacre at the offices of Charlie Hebdo in Paris, and though I may be a hack of sorts, I can only claim the most vicarious solidarity with chief editor Stephane Charbonnier and the other journalist victims. [...]

Franck Bohbot captures the world’s grandest libraries

By Paul St John Mackintosh
January 5, 2015 // 0 Comments

French photographer Franck Bohbot has created a marvelous series of photographs of the great libraries of Europe – although Harvard Public Library does feature as well – as part of an ongoing project called House of Books which will eventually expand to embrace South America, Asia and [...]

Good Christmas news for sadists everywhere: Marquis de Sade’s descendant reclaims his title

By Paul St John Mackintosh
December 24, 2014 // 0 Comments

One of France’s most notorious literary sons is receiving fresh rounds of literary rehabilitation. After the recovery and display earlier this year of the toilet roll-like original manuscript of The 120 Days of Sodom, the most infamous work of Donatien Alphonse François de Sade, a.k.a. the [...]

French AdBlock case shows crisis – and inertia – of advertisers

By Paul St John Mackintosh
December 11, 2014 // 4 Comments

A case in France being contemplated by Le Geste, the professional organization of online publishers, and IAB France, which dictates the standards for online advertising in France, against AdBlock Plus, the internet ad blocking software, and its parent Eyeo GmbH. As reported in Les Echos, the case [...]

Shakespeare first folio surfaces in France

By Paul St John Mackintosh
November 28, 2014 // 0 Comments

A rare first folio edition of the plays of William Shakespeare has been rediscovered in the Library of Saint-Omer in France. Described in the local newspaper that first broke the news as “an incredible discovery,” and “one of the two most celebrated books in the world,” the [...]

French government’s cultural pretensions exploded by ministerial gaffe

By Paul St John Mackintosh
October 31, 2014 // 2 Comments

France can be proud that one of its best veteran writers, Patrick Modiano, has lived up to its great literary and intellectual traditions by winning the 2014 Nobel Prize for Literature. It can be far less proud of its current government’s continuing antics in its own rearguard action against [...]

France’s anti-Amazon minister goes

By Paul St John Mackintosh
August 30, 2014 // 0 Comments

In the latest of a series of ministerial exits from the deeply unpopular government of French President François Hollande, minister for culture Aurélie Filippetti has quit during a ministerial reshuffle, ostensibly over Hollande’s new austerity policies. She joins former education minister [...]

Amazon gives finger to French anti law, mocks government stupidity

By Paul St John Mackintosh
July 12, 2014 // 0 Comments

Amazon has just neatly demonstrated how dumb it is for governments to try to constrain free markets and pursue ideological vendettas against particular companies. Of course, the French government may be more thick-skinned than most on those counts, but then Amazon has shown some chutzpah in both [...]

The Sick Man of Europe’s disease gets contagious

By Paul St John Mackintosh
July 10, 2014 // 0 Comments

U.S. journalist Pamela Druckerman has outlined in the New York Times her sympathy for the anti-Amazon stance of France, and the cultural policies behind it. Entitled “The French Do Buy Books. Real Books,” her article lauds the French for anti-market policies designed to protect the [...]

UK’s Nina Allan wins France’s Grand Prix de l’Imaginaire short story prize

By Paul St John Mackintosh
June 5, 2014 // 0 Comments

UK fantastic fiction author Nina Allan has won the Foreign Short Fiction category in the prestigious Grand Prix de l’Imaginaire, France's equivalent of a Hugo or Arthur C. Clarke award. The prize was awarded for her collection of linked short stories The Silver Wind (Complications in the French translation), all revolving round the theme of time travel. Her translator Bernard Sigaud also won the Jacques Chambon Award for Translation for his French rendition of her work. [...]

Scarlett Johansson sues over French novel featuring character that looks like her

By Chris Meadows
May 14, 2014 // 3 Comments

Pop culture can be a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it gives us a set of shared experiences that we can use to find common ground with even a complete stranger. Who trifles with discussing something as prosaic as the weather anymore when you can instead discuss your mutual reactions to [...]

French chain Fnac resurgent as traditional book chains revive

By Paul St John Mackintosh
March 3, 2014 // 0 Comments

Fnac, the dominant French book and multimedia products retailer, has delivered 2013 financial results that demonstrate that not every book chain is crumbling under digital disruption and the Amazon assault. As reported in Le Mondeand elsewhere, Fnac has surmounted years of difficulties and is no [...]

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