By Jeffrey Mehlman
This memoir is much less a chronicle of the lifetime of a number one student and critic of concerns French than a chain of another way angled fragments, each one with its attendant shock, in what one commentator has referred to as Jeffrey Mehlman's amour vache—his injured and sometimes injurious love—for France and the French. The reader will stumble upon masters of the paintings of studying in those pages, the excitement elicited through their achievements, and the unforeseen (and sometimes unsettling) resonances these achievements have had within the author's existence. With all its idiosyncrasies, Adventures within the French alternate depicts an highbrow iteration in ways in which will allure not just those that bear in mind the heady days of the increase and reign of French conception but in addition those that don't. This provocative booklet might be of curiosity to scholars of highbrow background, literary feedback, Jewish reviews, the heritage of yank academia, and the style of the memoir itself.
About the author
Jeffrey Mehlman is college Professor and Professor of French Literature at Boston college. he's the writer of 8 books, together with Walter Benjamin for kids: An Essay on his Radio Years (1993), Genealogies of the textual content (1995), and Emigré manhattan: French Intellectuals in Wartime long island, 1940–1944 (2000).
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Extra info for Adventures in the French Trade: Fragments Toward a Life (Cultural Memory in the Present)
After the beautifully restored opulence of Prague, the squalor of Kyiv’s inner city is a shock. There are shiny-suited Russian Maﬁoso everywhere—walking clichés wielding cell phones, big-haired Russian women on their arms. My thoughts take a paranoid turn. Does my cousin Roxolana, who is hosting me so generously, really like me, or does she just see me as a brutish westerner, stealing the soul of her country with my video camera? I don’t yet know that Roxolana normally stays up half the night and rarely breakfasts before noon.
She had with her a brown paper bag full of knobby, pockmarked tomatoes, purchased in town, which she intended to share equally with our entire brigade. The ﬁve of us stood there, tired and dusty from a day in the ﬁelds, each allowed one democratic bite out of a single, fresh tomato. I remember how quiet and how reverent we were. Few things I’ve eaten since have had such impact on my tastebuds, something indescribably sweet and tender unfolding there. Once, my Parisian friend Claire showed up unexpectedly at my door.
It made them sick. It tasted funny: not how they remembered. Sometimes when I am lying in bed, reaching unsuccessfully for sleep, I think about food. I create a theme, like potatoes. In my head, I conjure up the different potato dishes my mother cooked when I was a child, and they ﬂy magically across my mind’s eye like a scene from Bewitched. New potatoes in cream and dill; potato pancakes; pork chops with scalloped potatoes. The backdrop for these reveries is always summer: there is a yellow and red swing set that clangs to a stop as Mama calls our names for dinner, and screen doors that slam open and shut all along the lane, thwack, thwack, thwack.