Elegant Wits and Grand Horizontals

Elegant Wits and Grand Horizontals➽ [Reading] ➿ Elegant Wits and Grand Horizontals By Cornelia Otis Skinner ➲ – Oaklandjobs.co.uk The 1890s in Paris were a decade of elegance and perception a heady mixture of high intellect and frivolous vivacity Never has there been a period when ladies so commanded society from a position so f The s in Paris were a decade and Grand MOBI ☆ of elegance and perception a heady mixture of high intellect and frivolous vivacity Never has there been a period when ladies so commanded society from a position so freuently horizontal or when wit so soon to be dulled flowed faster than wine in the salons of the great hostesses in Elegant Wits ePUB ✓ the theatre in the fashionable boulevard restaurants and nighclubs and in the country chateaux of the beau monde Never has amorous dalliance been conducted with finesse and success nor duels flourished with greater ceremony and less danger to the participants The great business at hand was pleasure conducted by a people who knew the seriousness of that business. Rating 475 of fiveOh goddesses I miss this kind of book An erudite educated woman of talent has a hobbyhorseBelle Epoue Paris in this casestudies up on it learns the nuances and the subtleties of it applies its lessons and felicities its warnings and infelicities to her own time and serves a potage soufflé which yes yes I know is an oxymoron of delight and wonder to her readersAll five hundred of usThe last time I know of that this sort of book was brought out by a major publisher was Butterfly Cooing Like a Dove or permaybehaps the kids' books by Danielle Steel when I worked as a production manager at Delacorte Books for Young Readers In neither of those cases did I receive the pleasure that this bagatelle of a book gave meI wonder if most modern readers wouldn't be best advised to avoid it The names won't mean much to them The culture is as alien as the earth can offer The need to know about the players of a game long long over is negligible and the pleasures of a frivolous class of wealthy people can be readily accessed on social media Doesn't sound like something that'll roar up the bestseller lists even on Monoglot Anglophones strongly cautioned Actress writer Skinner 1899 1979 is also in my fancy the beloved Lacrosse coach at a posh girl's school in upstate New York With great huzzahs of enthusio she cheers Paris in the 1890s with a butt pinch as she teases that many prefer dishonor to death There was a strict moral code in proper society illicit love was permissible as long as it remained clandestine Do what you want but por favor do it with style and discretion Appearances were of paramount importance Now onward team Always remember that Arnold Bennett once called France the land where dalliance is so passionately understood Le gratin or the upper crusties had a certain exterior flash the men had their canes and monocles the women their fans and feathery hats Coach Skinner delights in les flaneurs but reminds us that like panache there's no English euivalent for the French word those aimless chaps unencumbered strollers who saunter and savor the multiple flavors of the city with no obligation or sense of urgency Maybe some are just cruising but por favor if you folow The French then and now have their favorite cafes and would sooner change religion than cafes Coach stresses In the 1890s the smart literary crowd went to Tortoni's an interesting fact; in the 1920s it was the Dome and Le Select and post war2 it was the Flore and the Deux Magots What's in today? The boulevardiers had a sometimes epigrammatic sometimes satirical wit but Skinner's examples plucked from research often seem like clunky translations Playwright Alfred Capus when asked if he had a family replied Yes I have a wifeif my memory is correct Another Tristan Bernard a new name for me reflected People are always sincere They just change their sincerities Along the way we get a bit of Proust Robert de Montesuiou and Anatole France and learn how the French were split over the shocking Dreyfus Case With a tut here and a tut there for Skinner's heart is in the right place which politically here is left she breathlessly assures us of French civility and cultivation even when insults are hurled at dinner parties Skinner is Family Fun published c 1960 she shows no literary decolletage We never hear of disease what footmen were up to with aristos unwanted babies or same sex ventures As for the grand horizontals those courtesans who learned to pay uiet attention and to possess the art of creative listening two prized gifts they're discussed briefly modestly but all blend together like whipped egg whites probably because their talents cannot be found within the Institut de France or at the Bibliotheue Nationale I did learn that among the demimonde were kept women of good background who through some moral or social misstep managed to turn their graces into profitable account They were known as the demi castors or semi beavers Castor is French for beaver I'll take Skinner's word for it but remain stumped by her Lacrosse explanation Dense very prone to rambling and wide tangents but very interesting Even the tangents It was especially valuable for the multitudinous character portraits and anecdotes it offered Somewhat unfortunately but hilariously Cora Pearl only gets a very brief catty filleting of her persona Also the amount of parallels one can draw from the Belle Epoue especially amoung the boulevardiers to present popular artlit culture is impressive and entertaining This was an informative and thoroughly researched book I had hoped there would be an even split between discussing the elegant wits and the grand horizontals but the grand horizontals were sadly featured only in the very last chapter A shame really as many of them were elegant wits in their own right Overall a good read historically with a vast array of well known names dropped throughout the book Damn are those French are frisky Ooo la la That was fun What a world that was What nice writing A delight At first I didn't know what to expect but I uickly realized that this book takes a specific angle on the Belle Époue years in Paris and that was fun to read I liked her portraits of people very much; one of the joys of this book is that she interviewed people who had lived during the Belle Époue years in Paris while they were still alive and that added a lot to the narrative I believe A book I know I probably will re read in the future Really enjoyed itOn to my next Cornelia Otis Skinner This is a surprisingly delightful romp through the rich famous andor talented of the nineties What a fabulous book title don't you think? This was not the Cornelia Otis Skinner material I love to read But portions were interesting and witty and I felt obligated to finish it because it's obvious that writing it reuired a ton of research on the author's part Name dropping on steroids although most of the names no longer ring a bell The concluding section on the Paris demimonde during La Belle Epoue was predictably the best