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The measure of Paris /
Stephen Scobie.
edition
1st ed.
imprint
Edmonton : University of Alberta Press, 2010.
description
xiv, 340 p. : ill. ; 23 cm.
ISBN
0888645333, 9780888645333
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Edmonton : University of Alberta Press, 2010.
isbn
0888645333
9780888645333
catalogue key
7261452
 
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2010-12-01:
As Alain De Botton does in The Art of Travel (2002), Scobie offers a personal, evocative meditation on the meaning of place. For him, the place is Paris, a city that has inspired a multitude of literary responses. This one--which is illustrated with romantic, painterly photographs by Eugene Atget (1857-1927)--is especially notable: with a poet's sensibility and eloquence, the author combines literary criticism, cultural history, poetry, and memoir to create a work that is astonishingly fresh and engaging. Scobie resists the temptation to bathe Paris in what he calls "a nostalgic glow." He invites some famous Paris residents--Gertrude Stein, Robert McAlmon, Djuna Barnes, for example--to join the discussion and also welcomes a Canadian perspective through the works of such writers as Gail Scott, Sheila Watson, and Lola Lemire Tostevin (with whom some readers may not be familiar). Most fascinating is Scobie's evocation of the "ethos of Paris topography" through an architectural and historical tour of the city's streets; and most elegant and moving is his remembrance of his last visit to Paris, when, grieving over the death of his wife, he revives his love for a city that embraces him. A fine example of travel writing. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty; general readers. L. Simon Skidmore College
Reviews
Review Quotes
#4 on the Edmonton Journal "Edmonton Top 10" Bestseller list
#7 on the Edmonton Top 10 Non-Fiction List (Edmonton Journal), Aug 15/10
"As Alain De Botton does in The Art of Travel (2002), Scobie offers apersonal, evocative meditation on the meaning of place. For him, the placeis Paris, a city that has inspired a multitude of literary responses. Thisone--which is illustrated with romantic, painterly photographs by EugeneAtget (1857-1927)--is especially notable: with a poet's sensibility andeloquence, the author combines literary criticism, cultural history, poetry,and memoir to create a work that is astonishingly fresh and engaging... Mostfascinating is Scobie's evocation of the 'ethos of Paris topography' throughan architectural and historical tour of the city's streets; and most elegantand moving is his remembrance of his last visit to Paris, when, grievingover the death of his wife, he revives his love for a city that embraceshim. A fine example of travel writing. Highly recommended. Lower-divisionundergraduates through faculty; general readers." L. Simon, Choice, December2010
"Bringing all the elements together under one Parisian banner, Scobie shares his enthusiasm and knowledge of this great city by creating a diverse text and organizing it into six parts. Blending historical exploration with memoir, poetry, and assorted 'travel guide bits'..." Linda Alberta, Prarie Books Now
"Measure of Paris by Stephen Scobie is a travelogue, memoir, literarycriticism and poetic look at Paris....Scobie is the ultimate fl neur and his philosophical meanderings throughParis takes readers to sites of art, architecture and transit. His historyof the city planning, and the itineraries of Canadian writers in Paris,makes for interesting reading and a different look at a city that is largerthan life.His personal musings were my favourite, along with the insights intoHaussman s influence and transformation of Paris through the large-scaleconstruction of the streets and boulevards that make the Paris we knowtoday." September 26, 2010[http://www.somisguided.com/weblog/book-review-measure-of-paris-by-stephen-scobie/
"Measure of Paris by Stephen Scobie is a travelogue, memoir, literarycriticism and poetic look at Paris....Scobie is the ultimate fl'neur and his philosophical meanderings throughParis takes readers to sites of art, architecture and transit. His historyof the city planning, and the itineraries of Canadian writers in Paris,makes for interesting reading and a different look at a city that is largerthan life.His personal musings were my favourite, along with the insights intoHaussman¹s influence and transformation of Paris through the large-scaleconstruction of the streets and boulevards that make the Paris we knowtoday." September 26, 2010[http://www.somisguided.com/weblog/book-review-measure-of-paris-by-stephen-scobie/
"Scobie's interest has turned to love and part of the intent of The Measure of Paris is to express this love by examining the many ways in which Paris can be "measured": that is, experienced, understood, viewed, appreciated, and fondly collected in memory and art - in short, the way a lover recalls his mistress. Scobie's approach is multidimensional and he appreciates that ultimately Paris is unattainable. To paraphrase the British writer John Berger, Paris is an older woman loved by a young man, and in this case it is Scobie who is the young man.It is also a book about seeing (after all, are not one's feelings about the beloved based on how she appears?) the city through the eyes of past and contemporary writers as well as through the very personal eye/I of Scobie near the end of the book.The book thus is layered, or works like a mosaic with a series of sharp, well-defined but varied tiles, allowing for a complete picture only when the viewer pulls back." Carmelo Militano, Prairie Fire, April 2011 [Full review found at http://ojs.lib.umanitoba.ca/prairie_fire/article/view/137/128]
"...Scobie weaves together a book that is part straightforward academiccriticism, part anecdotal history and part autobiography." Michael Brown,http://www.expressnews.ualberta.ca/en/NewsArticles/2010/08/AuthorlooksbackattheEnglishdepartmentsrisetoprominence.aspx
“Stephen Scobie is a prolific poet and literary critic, the author of 23 books, the founding publisher of Longspoon Press, a retired University of Alberta English professor and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. In his latest work, Scobie takes the measure of Paris through personal journal entries, poetry, literary theory and criticism as well as through architectural and cultural history. It is the act of moving through the city on foot, however, that ties these disparate approaches together&. The Measure of Paris is also autobiography; it is an expression of personal fascination by a lifelong intellectual. When walking Paris with Scobie, the reader is alternatively dazed by a surfeit of the unfamiliar and exhilarated by the thrill of discovery.” Doug Horner, Alberta Views
Stephen Scobie is a prolific poet and literary critic, the author of 23 books, the founding publisher of Longspoon Press, a retired University of Alberta English professor and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. In his latest work, Scobie takes the measure of Paris through personal journal entries, poetry, literary theory and criticism as well as through architectural and cultural history. It is the act of moving through the city on foot, however, that ties these disparate approaches together…. The Measure of Paris is also autobiography; it is an expression of personal fascination by a lifelong intellectual. When walking Paris with Scobie, the reader is alternatively dazed by a surfeit of the unfamiliar and exhilarated by the thrill of discovery.” Doug Horner, Alberta Views
"Stephen Scobie is a well know figure in Canadian literary circles and his book The Measuer of Paris is clearly from the hand of a poet and critic. In fact, it sometimes breaks into verse. It is the work of a geographical outsider who has come to know the palce deeply over the years, and who is generous with his wide reading and shrewd personal observation." George Feterling, Diplomat and International Canada, Spring 2011
The Measure of Paris by Stephen Scobie won an award for it's Jacket Design during the Association of American University Presses Book, Journal & Jacket Show.
"This cover is elegant and understated, as befits the subject matter, yet still rich and eye-catching; indeed, it grabs one immediately, and makes a lasting impression. The tone and content of the photo convey the subject matter perfectly, and the design itself is marked by a well-resolved, elegant integration of type and image. The typeface is strong and appropriate, the subtle graphic element added to the cover enriches it, and the overall composition is beautifully handled." Winner of Book Cover / Jacket Design, 2011 Alberta Book Publishing Awards Jury
"'We'll always have Paris.' Bogart's immortal farewell in Casablanca couldalso serve as a fitting conclusion to Stephen Scobie's recent book TheMeasure of Paris. Here, he explores the iconic city as not only a place butan inexhaustible, mutable idea that shapes and is in turn shaped by thosedrawn to walk its streets. Paris, Scobie claims, is a city that "neverends.' ... Scobie is clearly a man of keen and dynamic mind. But this bookalso shows us a man in love-in love with his subject, with literature, andwith the personal Parisian experiences he shared with his wife, whose memoryand influence are touchingly honoured in the book's later chapters.... Whatemerges clearly from Scobie's book is that Paris is indeed a city ofdreams-a locus of memory, inspiration, and creativity that is continuallydreamed into fresh myth and meaning by new visitors who are themselvessubtly changed forever. As Scobie says, in an echo of Bogart, 'There aremany farewells to Paris, and none of them is ever final.'" Amy Reiswig, TheMalahat Review, May 2011 [Full review athttp://www.malahatreview.ca/issues/174reviews_reiswig.html]
Winner of an Award for Jacket Design at the Alberta Book Awards 2011
This item was reviewed in:
Reference & Research Book News, November 2010
Choice, December 2010
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Bowker Data Service Summary
Scobie provides a personal survey, a discussion, & an analytical assessment of the myth of Paris, city of lights, as seen through the writings of various English-Canadian & American expatriates of the 20th century. He also gives us glimpses of urban planning & a touching homage to his deceased wife.
Long Description
Stephen Scobie, fl'neur extraordinaire, deftly blends travelogue, memoir, literary criticism, and poetry in The Measure of Paris. He re-presents a "peripatetic speculation" on Paris and those others who have walked and written this "infinite city." Scobie#146;s graceful wanderings into Parisian art, history, architecture, city planning, and fl'nerie prepare readers for his prolonged meditations on fellow Canadian writers such as Sheila Watson, Mavis Gallant, Gail Scott, Lola Lemire Tostevin, John Glassco, and Gerry Shikatani, and other literary visitors such as Gertrude Stein and Djuna Barnes. Scobie leaves us with personal observations, journal entries and lucid poems to mark and measure his own time there. Seldom do pleasures of form and content align so perfectly. Those who enjoy travel, great writing and great writers, and the city of light will love The Measure of Paris.
Long Description
Stephen Scobie, fl neur extraordinaire, deftly blends travelogue, memoir, literary criticism, and poetry in The Measure of Paris. He re-presents a “peripatetic speculation” on Paris and those others who have walked and written this “infinite city.” Scobie’s graceful wanderings into Parisian art, history, architecture, city planning, and fl nerie prepare readers for his prolonged meditations on fellow Canadian writers such as Sheila Watson, Mavis Gallant, Gail Scott, Lola Lemire Tostevin, John Glassco, and Gerry Shikatani, and other literary visitors such as Gertrude Stein and Djuna Barnes. Scobie leaves us with personal observations, journal entries and lucid poems to mark and measure his own time there. Seldom do pleasures of form and content align so perfectly. Those who enjoy travel, great writing and great writers, and the city of light will love The Measure of Paris.
Main Description
Paris remains one of the most fascinating cities in the world. It provides a measure of excellence in many areas of culture, and it is itself constantly being measured, both by its lovers and by its critics. This book presents a series of studies on the images of Paris presented by writers (mostly Canadian, from John Glassco to Mavis Gallant to Lola Lemire Tostevin), but also in such other areas as social history and personal memoir. The result is a wide-ranging discussion of the city's history in 20th century literature and thought, which will appeal to all those who love Paris, or who have ever walked on its streets.
Main Description
Scobie provides a personal survey, a discussion, and an analytical assessment of the myth of Paris, city of lights, as seen through the writings of various English-Canadian and American expatriates of the 20th century. He also gives us glimpses of urban planning and a touching homage to his deceased wife. The stance and tone of this book shift from chapter to chapter -- sometimes as literary criticism, sometimes as cultural history, sometimes as personal memoir. What holds the book together is Paris itself: A fluid and engaging mixture of literary criticism and personal experience, deftly written and lovingly researched.
Table of Contents
Acknowledgementsp. VII
Introduction: The Measure of Parisp. IX
Paris Perdup. 1
Conspiracy Theories: "Ineluctible intolerable oblivion"p. 3
The Baron of Alphavillep. 9
From the Tour Eiffel to the Tour Montparnassep. 19
"I is an other": Parisian Autobiographyp. 31
What Pleasure in a Name!: The Long Poem of Walkingp. 55
Missing The Direct Wayp. 57
The Street Map of Parisp. 61
The Flâneurp. 93
Devious Routes: Sheila Watson Walking in Parisp. 107
Mavis Gallant on The Streets of May 68p. 117
"Loving Walking Here": Gail Scott's Parisp. 127
John Glassco and the Ethics of Pleasurep. 135
Parisian Sitesp. 149
A Walk with Gertrude Steinp. 151
Wrestling with The Angel: Djuna Barnes and Saint-Sulpicep. 169
19 Rue Rousseletp. 185
Canadian Visionsp. 199
The Frog's Kiss: Lola Lemire Tostevin and the Mirage of Parisp. 201
A Travel of Indeterminate Stops: Gerry Shikatani's Aqueductp. 223
Personal Postscriptsp. 245
The First Time I Saw Paris (1970)p. 247
Catastrophe and Shame: Paris Journal (2002)p. 251
Notesp. 275
Works Citedp. 307
Image Creditsp. 315
Indexp. 317
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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