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John Watson / Octaves: A Paris Labyrinth

  • John Watson / Octaves: A Paris Labyrinth
In Montparnasse between the wars, Kiki, ‘Queen of Montparnasse’, danced and sang; Prévert created Baptiste there; Desnos travelled astrally, then woke to harvest the crop; painters - Kisling, Pascin, Foujita, Modigliani, Derain and others - laboured and partied there; Bronia came from Holland, destined to meet Radiguet, Cocteau’s Boy Wonder; later she would marry René Clair; Satie opened umbrellas there, always hoping for rain. There are triumphs, infatuations, liaisons, marriages, deaths. As the Carousel of Montparnasse turns, John Watson deftly notes its music - like Anton Walbrook in La Ronde or Jean Renoir in Les Enfants du Paradis. The octave ‘at once same and different, like a waterfall’ suggests the verse form, as unvarying as Ravel’s Bolero and orchestrated in two thousand tetrameters.
978 1 76051 489 4, 132pp




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