Wednesday, June 26
David Burke will host a free literary walk titled "A Band of Outsiders" at Place de la Contrescarpe/Rue Mouffetard.
The Latin Quarter’s colorful Place de la Contrescarpe/Rue Mouffetard fringe has long been a magnet for outsiders, three of the 20th century’s greatest writers among them: Irish exile James Joyce struggling to finish his masterpiece Ulysses, young Ernest Hemingway during the "very poor and very happy" period he writes about in A Moveable Feast, and young George Orwell launching his literary career with Down and Out in Paris and London, all in the 1920s.
We go to the houses undefined all still there undefined where they lived at these crucial points in their lives. Long before that, medieval poet, thief, and priest-killer François Villon caroused in the taverns of what is now the Place de la Contrescarpe, as did François Rabelais, whose Rabelaisian novels put him at the risk of getting burned at the stake for lampooning religious dogma.
Later, in Honoré de Balzac’s novel Le Père Goriot, set in 1819, a whole raft of outsiders lives in the actual house where Balzac placed them, while in Victor Hugo's Les Misérables Jean Valjean nearly gets nabbed by Javert in a dramatic moment at the church of Saint Médard.
For a preview of this walk take a look at David's excellent video "Woody’s Writers in Paris Redux," http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=miH9U0FiesY