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