Contemplating undressing Albertine, his muse, Marcel, the narrator of Proust’s In Search of Lost Time, hesitates for a second,
« Il me semblait que si j’avais pu la faire déshabiller et l’avoir dans sa chemise de nuit blanche, dans laquelle elle semblait plus rose, plus chaude, où elle irritait plus mes sens, la réconciliation eût été plus complète. Mais j’hésitai un instant, car le bord bleu de la robe ajoutait à son visage une beauté, une illumination, un ciel sans lesquels elle m’eût semblé plus dure. »
Unlike Marcel, who ponders undressing Albertine with great ambivalence, New Yorkers have been much less prudish over the past month. As they stripped the shelves of Albertine Books of their contents, we realized that New Yorkers actually have a voracious appetite for both French and English literary works.
The daring scribes who weave moments of ambivalence or assuredness into these texts with the needle of tone and the thread of language have long caught the attention of critics and thinkers on both sides of the Atlantic. This November, we offer the editors and authors of fiction and literary critique, as seen in journals and publications (or revues), a new haven for collaboration and reflection. At “French and American Journals: A Literary Salon,” on November 7-8, 2014, we will connect French and American thinkers around one table at the Cultural Services of the French Embassy. Public debates and one-on-one professional meetings will provide opportunities for attendees to engage in informal discussions and new projects.
The event will take place within the Cultural Services of the French Embassy and at Albertine, under the constellation mural sky that mimics the color of Albertine’s dress. The soul of Albertine is wrapped up in that sky, which alludes to the Renaissance and unites diverse identities and disciplines. Albertine is a place for science and history, math and art, and above all, it is a place for all of you. Thinkers, students, writers, visitors, New Yorkers, we invite you to come explore the literary creations of this country and places near and far.
I hope to see you at some of the energizing debates and conversations that will take place within our walls over the coming months. (Find more here.)
See you soon,