Sunday, April 13, 2008


Last night I started "The Discovery of France" a Historical Geography from the Revolution to the First World War by Graham Robb and since it was warm I read about 40 pages.Much better than I thought it would be.It's amazing that much of France was pretty much just out of the Middle Ages well into the 19th century and even beyond in a few spots.The French language was hardly spoken by anyone in the country.Roads were crude or did not exist and govt was pretty much only in a few cities.Robb's style is very readable.Not what I would usually read but I heard so many good things about this book and it seems they are deserved.Robb has written books on Balzac,Victor Hugo and Rimbaud and this is his second general history the first being"Strangers"homosexual love in the nineteenth century which I doubt I'll read anytime soon.Not that there's anything wrong with that to steal a line from Seinfeld.I'm also about halfway throuh "The Portrait of a Lady" by Henry James which has been a revelation compared to the long strangled mangled sentences of James later works.I'd almost say he and his friend Edith Wharton are the same writer reading this.

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