I can just imagine how tickled I would have been at 13 or 14, in full francophile and feminine bloom, to have received a series of biographies of great women in French — and in graphic novel format.
Naïve is a small independent French publisher of books and music, and they’ve come out with this series called “Grands Destins de Femmes.” Subjects include Angela Davis, Dian Fossey, Frida Kahlo, Agatha Christie, Eleanor of Aquitaine, Aung San Suu Kyi and Virginia Woolf.
Now I know what I’ll be doing for the rest of my life… As soon as I get an iPad, that is. Which may now be sooner than I had thought because the Bibliothèque nationale de France has just released Gallica for iPad. And it’s free. The app contains 240,000 books, 880,000 magazines and 470,000 images. Also original musical scores, manuscripts and other goodies. Watch the video, and download the app (French store link).
An 18th-century portrait sold in New York to a British gallery as a “woman in a feathered hat” turns out to actually portray a man dressed as a woman, becoming the earliest known painting of a transvestite. (Read how they figured it out…)
As part of a vigorous publicity campaign, the American Committee for Devastated France, a civilian relief organization, commissioned photographs and films designed to foster a humanitarian response to the plight of French refugees during and after the First World War. Full-page images ran in American newspapers and sets of prints were sold for three dollars a dozen. Among the most affecting images were portraits featuring the craggy faces of the proud, elderly farmers of Picardy and the beautiful faces of French children—some posed in shabby clothing; others neatly dressed as they engaged in volunteer-sponsored activities.
The bells that have been ringing every 15 minutes since 1856 in the towers of Notre Dame are being melted down and reforged. The Diocese of Paris says they’re ”mediocre in quality and of discordant tonality.”
Not sure I want bells that are in tune. It’s like having perfect teeth; no character…
We could wander these virtual stacks for days! So far, the Bibliothèque nationale de France has digitized more than one million works, including books, maps, manuscripts, images, periodicals, scores and sound recordings, and made them available for free to the public at the Gallica digital library. This is France’s answer to Google Books, and the result of the big fight from a couple of years ago.
…once upon a time, the ability to speak French properly was considered an absolute essential. In 26 chapters, each focusing on a different colourful Francophile, Fumaroli makes his way across 18th-century Europe. The book is a gallery of Russians, Prussians, Swedes, Poles, Italians and Englishmen; politicians, soldiers, kings and collectors, who all aspired to speak and write the French language beautifully…
During WWI, Léon Bel, creator of La Vache Qui Rit, saw the design above on trucks that transported fresh meat to the troops at the front. The troops named this cow the Wachkyrie, a play on the German word Walkyrie, to annoy their adversaries.
When the time came to design his packaging, Bel recalled having seen this design and decided to use it as a starting point. He asked Benjamin Rabier, the original Wachkyrie artist, to make him a friendly cow that would appeal to the public. Thus the Vache Qui Rit… And it was Léon Bel’s wife who asked them to give the cow earrings!
If you speak French, read the whole story and see some great vintage Vache packaging at Ma culture confiture and learn more about Benjamin Rabier’s role at ROCBO.
G. Lalo, the Parisian social stationery manufacturer since 1919, became throughout the years the stationery of reference both in Paris’ high society and in the royal courts of Europe such as Sweden, Holland, Monaco and Belgium.
G. Lalo products and many other French stationery brands are distributed in the US by Exaclair, the company that is providing our August 2011 giveaway. Find Exaclair paper products at the Francophilia Amazon store!
A compelling, intimate portrait of the Bonapartes, delving into the conflicted relationship between Napoleon and his beloved brother Lucien, the most talented of the Bonaparte brothers, who not only can be credited for helping Napoleon seize power, but who had a promising political career of his own. He was a romantic, an idealist, and an anti-monarchist whose love for Alexandrine, the woman he married in spite of Napoleon’s objections, caused him to fall out of favor with his powerful brother.
We have three hardback copies of this novel to give away this month. Go to the Community home page to see how to win! Offer ends July 31, 2011.