Agnès Poirier

Baron of the boulevards

Rupert Christiansen’s City of Light opens on the evening of 5 January 1875, with the inauguration of Paris’s new opera house, designed by Charles Garnier ‘in a style of unabashed grandeur’, with its gilded and mirrored salons, shimmering candelabra and marbled colonnades, mosaics, statues, frescoes and ‘flaming gas torches enhancing a central stairwell that turned

A deep malaise

Here is a detail that says a lot. In the French translation of this latest book by the Israeli historian Shlomo Sand, the title was followed by a question mark. In the English translation there isn’t one. The author is making a statement, not asking a question. The French intellectual is dead, finished, a thing