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Exiled in Paris: Richard Wright, James Baldwin, Samuel Beckett, and Others…

by James Campbell

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991203,415 (3.7)None
Exiled in Paris provides a compelling look at the personalities who fueled the literary and philosophical dramas of postwar Paris: James Baldwin, Alexander Trocchi, Boris Vian, Maurice Girodias, and many others. James Campbell provides a fresh look at Samuel Beckett's early career; reveals the facts behind the publication of the scandalous best-seller The Story of O; and tells the poignant story of Richard Wright's years in exile. He captures the sense of deliverance that Wright, so accustomed to daily humiliations in his own country, experienced during his sojourn on the Left Bank, where, for the first time in his life, he was treated as a great man of letters. Here, too, are all the circumstances surrounding Wright's mysterious death, which many close to him regarded as suspicious.… (more)

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James Campbell interweaves the cultural and societal happenings in post-WWII Paris. Writers, musicians, communists, opportunists; some combination of them all – they gathered on the Left Bank. Jazz, “rude and erotic,” “the black man’s mastercrime of cultural defiance” thrived.

In literature, Merlin magazine’s writers collaborated with Olympia Press’ Maurice Girodias to mass-produce pornography, while the Paris Review did its own thing.

Black American writers and musicians came to escape racism in the U.S., and some with communist leanings were escaping that stigma.

The main thing they all sought in the Left Bank was freedom, Campbell believes. And for the most part, there they found it. ( )
  Hagelstein | Mar 10, 2020 |
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This book was published in the UK under the title "Paris Interzone" (see Wikipedia entry on "Exiled in Paris")
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Exiled in Paris provides a compelling look at the personalities who fueled the literary and philosophical dramas of postwar Paris: James Baldwin, Alexander Trocchi, Boris Vian, Maurice Girodias, and many others. James Campbell provides a fresh look at Samuel Beckett's early career; reveals the facts behind the publication of the scandalous best-seller The Story of O; and tells the poignant story of Richard Wright's years in exile. He captures the sense of deliverance that Wright, so accustomed to daily humiliations in his own country, experienced during his sojourn on the Left Bank, where, for the first time in his life, he was treated as a great man of letters. Here, too, are all the circumstances surrounding Wright's mysterious death, which many close to him regarded as suspicious.

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