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beverley bie brahic's Blog

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Jun.19.2011
paw print.jpeg
Stein--rue de Fleurus--is the star:  generous, bossy, with an overdose of female common sense, lording it over Hemingway and Picasso. Cameos from Matisse, Dali and Degas.   It's charming, constantly at risk of sentimentality, but never really toppling.   Behind the screen, our local movie house,...
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Jun.06.2011
Yesterday, coming back from a hike, I picked a white poppy from the large clump of them that will be in bloom on Frenchman's Road, a block or two away, until September.  Then I ran into a neighbor who scolded me for picking roadside flowers:  "What if everyone picked one?" This morning,...
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Jun.05.2011
I'm still reading Baudelaire's "Spleen," that is, his prose vignettes, in which one finds scenes that also turn up, in whole or part, in the "Fleurs du Mal.  Most of the situations in the "Spleen" are clichés by now.  This morning I'm reading one called "Le Joujou du...
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Jun.03.2011
There is the couple I hear upstairs, mostly hammering; there is the couple I see from my living room window, with a big-screen tv, which I too can watch; and there is the neighbor with nothing but a bedroll and a backpack who sleeps in the doorway of the church across the street.  When at dusk I...
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Jun.01.2011
I'm afraid that GCE's letters are banal, although her love and concern are not, nor are her engravings, even if it is hard to appreciate their scale in the reproductions I have.  She writes effusively, naively, repetitively; his letters are short, full of imagery that is unique and moving.  His...
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May.31.2011
  from At One O'clock in the Morning  At last!  alone!  The last lingering, worn-out fiacre has clattered by.  For a few hours, we shall have silence, if not repose.  Finally!  the tyranny of the human face has vanished, and I alone will be the cause of my suffering.  At last!  I've the...
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May.30.2011
It is absolutely startling--and I have to write this down before it simply seems ordinary--to translate an exchange of letters between Paul Celan and his to-be-wife,  herself an extraordinarily moving graphic artist, and to see, first of all, the richness of his language, although the language in...
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May.30.2011
Funny how a piece of writing gets started.  Twenty minutes ago I picked up the Baudelaire Pleiade bible in one hand and a slice of (cranberry-walnut) toast in the other, and reading around in the notes to Le Spleen, I encountered Arsène Houssaye's short prose piece "Le Vitrier," [The...
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May.25.2011
From "Hygiene, conduct, method" [1862?]: I swear from now on these  will be the eternal rules of my life:  Every morning pray to God, reservoir of all strength and all justice, to my father, to Mariette and to Poe, as intercessors; pray to them to give me the strength necessary to do my...
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May.23.2011
Underneath us we used to have a family of four:  small girl, mother and father, Israeli-Americans, doctors, and then, last fall, a new baby.  Now they have moved to a house, and we miss them, though we see them from time to time.  I miss the sound of their washer-dryer coming up from below, the...
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May.22.2011
"Venus eternal (caprice, hysteria, fantasy) is one of the seductive forms of the Devil."  [can't decide about this one; obviously not politically correct, but tantalizing nonetheless].  "The day the young writer corrects his first proof, he is as proud as a schoolboy with his first...
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May.19.2011
from Baudelaire's "Journaux intimes [private diaries]XXVII":  "I've always been astonished they let women into churches.  What kind of conversations can they have with God?"   *  The decent thing for Strauss-Kahn to do (I'm assuming there is a fair amount of truth in the...
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May.13.2011
The plot thickens--the birch trees, I mean, the one with tinsel, and the other one: I can't see through them.  My ears take over: I hear workmen talking to one another in Spanish, and a chain saw, a sound I prefer to the jackhammer tearing up the street to lay fiber internet. Thank you Google (...
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May.09.2011
Baudelaire's prose poems in Paris Spleen (1869) are a lot like blog posts although, if the rule of a blog post, as for a journal entry, is spontaneity and no (little) rewriting, I imagine Baudelaire's texts are more worked upon.  Here is a quick draft of # 35 (aka XXXV), "Les Fenêtres....
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May.08.2011
When I can't fall asleep at night, which happens frequently, or when I wake up in the middle of the night, to keep my mind off the things that keep me from falling asleep, I have two strategies.  The first is that I revisit in my head  apartments in Paris that I once fell in love with and wanted to...
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