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France

Byron Kim, Synecdoche, 1991. Oil and wax on luan, birch plywood, and plywood, 120 1/4’’ x 350 1/4’’ (© Byron Kim. Courtesy of the National Gallery of Art/Richard S. Zeisler Fund)

Black and Blue and Blond

In 1517, Fray Bartolomé de las Casas, feeling great pity for the Indians who grew worn and lean in the drudging infernos of the Antillean gold mines, proposed to Emperor Charles V that Negroes be brought to the isles of the Caribbean, so that they [...]

Departures: Brussels, Belgium

January 17, 2013

    Gérard Depardieu / photo by Georges Biard   Editor’s note: We are very happy to announce that VQR contributor Delphine Schrank (@DelphineSchrank) will be joining VQR online twice a month to offer insight into intern [...]

Ezra Pound

Ezra Pound: Foreign Correspondent

On July 14, 1959, the Richmond News Leader ran an editorial by Ezra Pound entitled “Keynes Brainwashed Electorate with Economic Hogwash.” It was his first and last publication in the Virginia newspaper—despite a yearlong stint as its foreign correspondent in Europe. In typical Pound style, it was a scathing swipe at the English economist, occasioned by an article that Pound had not bothered to read. Nevertheless, his editor, James J. Kilpatrick, was relieved to find the article publishable.

An Army Of Chitterlings

Then retrieved my book and kept reading, because finally I was understanding France. I had lived in Paris a number of times before: twelve months across 1977 and ’78, six months in 1998, the summer of 2001, perhaps as many as a dozen shorter visits. Yet I had never asked myself why, which probably means I was enjoying myself; usually we don’t examine our pleasures unless they’re destructive ones, and even then only if we want to avoid them. Obviously, I wanted to keep coming back. Why, though? Why not someplace warmer and less expensive, a place where I could converse fluently? (Considerable effort notwithstanding, my French seems to be stuck permanently in second gear.)

This time, though, I intended to find out. I meant to discover what it was about France, and Paris in particular, that kept yanking me back. And I only had eight days to do so; Barbara and I had come to Paris over spring break, and we had to be back in the classroom the following Tuesday. But time, because it was brief, was on my side: in the past, I’d luxuriated thoughtlessly in French volupté, and now I meant to use my handful of days to force myself to come up with some answers.

 

Force, Order, and Diplomacy In the Age of Louis XIV

The great chronicler of the diplomatic method, Harold Nicolson, once wrote that the origins of modern diplomacy can be traced to the "determinant" influence of Cardinal Richelieu. Richelieu's achievement was the development of a coterie of trained "creatures" dedicated to promoting state interests through "ceaseless negotiation." By the time Richelieu died, in 1642, France had fostered a new class of diplomatists, and thus, somewhat inadvertently, had helped to pave the way for the great settlement of the Thirty Years War signed at Westphalia in 1648.