Paul Bowes

(TOP 500 REVIEWER)
 
Top Reviewer Ranking: 439
Helpful votes received on reviews: 89% (1,396 of 1,572)
Location: Wales, United Kingdom

 

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Top Reviewer Ranking: 439 - Total Helpful Votes: 1396 of 1572
Andre Gide and the Second World War: A Novelist's &hellip by Jocelyn Van Tuyl
This is a detailed, nuanced account of André Gide's negotiation of the tricky waters of the Occupation and the immediate postwar years.

Neither Gide nor most of his critics come well out of this. Gide was accused both (from the Left) of covert support for Vichy - or at the very least of hedging his bets - and (from both Right and Left) of having been one of the leading cultural figures whose libidinous and irresponsible writings had undermined the French character and led to defeat in 1940.

His accusers were in many - but not all - cases hypocrites or bigots. Nonetheless, there was a case to answer. Gide, fêted as a writer and commentator, but approaching the… Read more
Works (French Literature Series) by Edouard Leve
'Works' is a translation of Edouard Levé's 'Oeuvres' (2002). Presented without comment on its form, it is a bald list of 533 numbered descriptions of art projects "conceived but not executed". The first of these projects describes, paradoxically, the book itself.

The reader has a choice of strategies. The book may taken straight, as a list of proposed projects conceived by a writer who had already produced work in the general area of conceptual art: as a conceptual artwork in itself; as a parody or pastiche of such a work; as a work of fiction, postmodernist and ludic in its formal choices; or as a form of disguised autobiography. In truth, 'Works' is all of these… Read more
Paris After the Liberation: 1944 - 1949 by Antony Beevor
This book manages a difficult task: to make a serious historical account readable for the non-specialist. The authors have achieved this by narrowing their focus - making Paris central to the narrative and depending heavily on diplomatic, intellectual and artistic sources - and by relying fairly heavily on a limited range of personal accounts.

Nonetheless, 'Paris After the Liberation' is real history, and a useful pendant to general histories of France or Paris during the Occupation. Beevor and Cooper do a fine job of explaining the politics of the period, while humanising a potentially dry subject by weaving personal stories in and out of the detailed explication. For the most… Read more