Historian and biographer Artemis Cooper to write a cultural history of Paris for Weidenfeld & Nicolson, published to coincide with the 2024 Paris Olympics.
Editorial director Maddy Price acquired world rights in A View of Paris from Felicity Bryan of Felicity Bryan Associates to publish in spring 2024 in hardback, trade paperback, e-book and audio.
A View of Paris begins with the French Revolution, with coverage then extending to "the great sprawling novels of Balzac and Hugo to those of Gide and Camus; painting from the revolutionary but strictly neo-classical David, through the new ways of seeing developed by the Impressionists and the Surrealists to the wild exuberance of Picasso; fashion from Worth to Channel; architecture from Haussmann to the Eiffel Tower, in whose shadow the first Paris Olympiads were held in 1900 and 1924; and music from Gounod, Berlioz and Bizet to Satie. It ranges from the Folies Bergère, where Josephine Baker danced in a skirt made of sequinned bananas; to the smoke-filled cafés of Saint Germain where Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir wrote and held court, and Juliette Gréco sang in nightclubs packed with sweaty bodies doing 'le jive'."
According to W&N, above all, this cultural history of Paris "aims to reflect a creative tension that the Revolution uncovered but never resolved: the tension between order and anarchy, authority and liberty, classical and Romantic, the old and the new".
Cooper has authored books including Elizabeth Jane Howard: A Dangerous Innocence (John Murray), Patrick Leigh Fermor: An Adventure (John Murray), Writing at the Kitchen Table: The Authorized Biography of Elizabeth David (Faber) and Cairo in the War: 1939–45 (John Murray). With her husband, Antony Beevor, she also wrote Paris After the Liberation, 1945–1949 (Penguin).
Cooper, who is the granddaughter of Duff Cooper, the British Ambassador to France after the Second World War, and his wife Lady Diana Cooper, said she had "rarely felt so excited about starting a new book".
"When Weidenfeld & Nicolson suggested I write a cultural history Paris, I leapt at the chance," she said. "It allows me to explore Paris in a way I never have before, and to discover stories about salonières and courtesans, revolutionaries and boulevardiers, as well as the writers and artists – both French and non-French who celebrate the city. I have rarely felt so excited about starting a new book."
Image credit: Nella Beevor