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Sunday, 3 March 2013

Writers in Paris

Thursday, March 3rd., Paris.

I resumed "A Great Man" today.
I walked a good deal yesterday: extremely cold. I called in at the Petit Palais and saw some good things that I had not noticed before.

The Petit Palais (Small Palace) is a museum in Paris. Built for the Universal Exhibition in 1900 to Charles Girault's designs, it now houses the City of Paris Museum of Fine Arts (musée des beaux-arts de la ville de Paris). Arranged around an octi-circular courtyard and garden, the palace is similar to the nearby Grand Palais. Its ionic columns, grand porch and dome echo those of the Invalides across the river. The tympanum depicting the city of Paris surrounded by muses is the work of sculptor Jean Antoine Injalbert.

I was in search of ideas for the continental part of "A Great Man". But I could not keep my mind off the serious novel which is to make a third to "Anna" and "Leonora". I thought of a fine name for the title: "Carlotta". About 6 o'clock, after useless efforts all day, I got the leading idea I wanted for "A Great Man". In the evening, concert. Quartets of Brahms and Beethoven, and songs by Brahms, Schumann and Schubert. Full House. The affair was most inspiriting. Again I could not keep my thoughts off 'Carlotta' (as I shall now call it), and it seems that after all I may do this book before  I do "The History of Two Old Women" ... This morning, snow.

Somerset Maugham came up for tea. He has a very calm almost lethargic demeanour. He took two cups of tea with pleasure and absolutely refused a third; one knew instantly from his tone that nothing would induce him to take a third. He ate biscuits and gaufrettes very quickly, almost greedily, one after the other without a pause, and then suddenly stopped. He smoked two cigarettes furiously, in less time than I smoked one, and solidly declined a third. I liked him. He said he had sold a play to Liebler through Fred Kerr, on the terms of £300 down, and £100 every quarter until they produced it - in advance of royalties. I asked him if he liked the Quartier Montparnasse and he said: "Yes; the atmosphere of it is rather like Oxford." He said that as soon as he could he should spend three years in travel.
See "Woman" November 17th.

1 comment:

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    ReplyDelete