The act of reading ... begins on a flat surface, counter or page, and then gets stirred and chopped and blended until what we make, in the end, is a dish, or story, all our own.
— Adam Gopnik
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September 29, 2010

From my reading: The Grand Days of Coppet

'Outside of Germaine's intimate family circle, no visitor to Coppet was more loyal than Juliette Recamier. ... Jeanne-Francoise-Julie de Recamier, daughter of a Paris lawyer, was married at the age of fifteen, at the height of the Reign of Terror, to a wealthy Parisian banker twenty-seven years her senior.  She opened the first salon in Paris after the Revolution and infused those gatherings with her own incomparable grace. A small, delicate woman with a timid, whispering voice, she adopted a manner at once frigidly chaste and playfully coquetish; her appearance was comely rather than beautiful:  pert oval face, pearly teeth, incomparably radiant skin. And for forty years her mysterious magnetism bewitched many distinguished men and women, eliciting their slavish devotion...

... Coppet was fuller than it had ever been before:  the guests' time was spent in various cheerful activities, such as boat outings on the lake, musical evenings, festive dinners, theatrical performances, amd varied excursions, the most arduous of which was Germaine's and Juliette's failed attempt to climb the Mont Blanc together. (Their decolletes were burned to a crisp before they even reached the bottom of the glacier.)'

{This Turner painting shows Mont Blanc from the other (Italian) side, but the colors are so pretty and September-like...}

-- from Madame de Stael:  the first modern woman,
by Francine du Plessix Gray

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