A Time We Knew: Images of Yesterday in the Basque Homeland Hardcover – 31 Oct 1991
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1990 University of Nevada Press Hardcover 1st Edition 1st Impression. Very good++ clean tight binding in very good++ unclipped dustjacket .
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In the fall of 1967, Allard spent two months in the Basque country of northeastern Spain and southwestern France, capturing with his camera the everyday life of the people who lived there. Although Allard spoke no Basque and was linked to the Basque country only through his Basque wife, his stunning photos evoke the tremendous power of the Basque landscape and people: the haunting flanks of the Pyrénées-Atlantiques at evening; the gloomy mountains of the northern coast of Spain just at the approach of a storm; a rough-hewn woman with a scythe at Behorleguy, on the frontier between youth and age, in whose face is reflected the painful past of the ancient Basque people. From a technical point-of-view, these incredible photographs are so good that they could truly be "images of yesterday": the color is brilliant. Alas, though, "yesterday" in the Basque country is no more. The years since 1967 have seen the heavy industrialization of both the French and Spanish sectors of the Basque homeland and the gradual passing of the ancient ways Allard captures here.
Laxalt's contribution to this book is his prose vignettes, some of the best of his characteristically exquisite prose-poetry. A second-generation Basque-American whose father grew up in the French Basque country, Laxalt knows the region as well as probably anyone in the United States. While one cannot miss the heavy dose of romanticism in his prose ("Girls slender as reeds walking hand in hand down the lane, singing an ode to spring in soprano voices pure and light as air") and even pastoralism (exacerbated by the fact that the Basques are some of the world's greatest shepherds), it is obvious that Laxalt is a remarkable writer.
A poetic look at "yesterday" in the Basque country. Get it on your shelf.
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