Gemma Betros reviews 'Left Bank: Art, Passion and the Rebirth of Paris 1940–1950' by Agnès Poirier

Gemma Betros reviews 'Left Bank: Art, Passion and the Rebirth of Paris 1940–1950' by Agnès Poirier

Left Bank: Art, Passion and the Rebirth of Paris 1940–1950

by Agnès Poirier

Bloomsbury, $39.99 hb, 377 pp, 9781408857441

'A country that fails its purge is about to fail its renovation,’ warned French-Algerian writer Albert Camus in a January 1945 editorial. Camus’ ominous edict, issued in the weeks following the end of Germany’s occupation of France, encapsulates something of what Agnès Poirier is trying to say in this, her second book in English. The Occupation and its aftermath form the start of an exuberant tour of the cultural and intellectual life of 1940s Paris, centred on the French capital’s Left Bank.

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Gemma Betros

Gemma Betros

Gemma Betros is Lecturer in European History at The Australian National University. She studied History and French at the University of Queensland, completed an M.Phil and PhD at the University of Cambridge, and has held a one-year fellowship at the Harvard Divinity School.

(Photograph by Rhianne Grieve)

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Published in December 2018, no. 407

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