segunda-feira, 31 de março de 2014

Celebrating the Stradivarius

Celebrating the Stradivarius



From left, the 1714 'Leonora Jackson' Stradivarius, played by Chee-Yun; the 1708 'Ruby,' played by Philippe Quint; and the 1716 'Milstein,' played by Margaret Batjer. Associated Press
Los Angeles
The prized string instruments made by Antonio Stradivari are rarely out of the news. Already this year, music lovers felt a collective shudder on learning that the concertmaster of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra was relieved of his 1715 Stradivarius in a mugging shortly after a performance. (Happily, the fiddle was recovered in good condition and the alleged thieves apprehended about a week after the incident.) And now we're facing the news that one of Stradivari's few violas, from 1719, will soon be on the auction block at Sotheby's with an asking price starting at an unprecedented $45 million. The cost of these instruments—many more than 300 years old—has long far outpaced inflation. But until recently, successful artists could still afford to buy one if they scrimped and saved. Those days may be gone, however. In 2002, Joshua Bell, perhaps the most famous classical violinist of our day, paid $4 million for a Stradivarius once owned by Bronislaw Huberman. But Mr. Bell probably couldn't match the winning bid fetched in 2011 by the "Lady Blunt" Stradivarius of 1721. It sold for $15.9 million, the current record for a Stradivari violin, of which some 600 are said to survive.
So it was with some pride that the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra organized a four-day event last week titled "Strad Fest L.A.," in which eight Stradivarius violins came together in various combinations for the aural delectation of Angelenos partial to the warm, honeyed and substantial sound so famously produced by these instruments. While the festival was far from the largest concentration of such instruments ever assembled, it was an unusually rich gathering for this city.
Not that Los Angeles is bereft of Stradivarii. The Los Angeles Philharmonic has a Stradivari cello and two fiddles—one of which, the 1711 "Kreisler," is played regularly by the orchestra's concertmaster, Martin Chalifour, who was featured prominently with that instrument at this festival. Likewise, Margaret Batjer, the concertmaster of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra (LACO), also plays a Stradivarius—well, sometimes at least. Though her own primary instrument is a so-called composite—part Stradivarius, part Amati (the master violin maker who taught Stradivari)—she also performs regularly on the "Milstein" Stradivarius of 1716, an instrument purchased by local philanthropists Jerry and Terri Kohl from the estate of Nathan Milstein, one of the 20th century's most celebrated violinists. (Mr. Chalifour also uses this instrument occasionally.)
With LACO looking for a way to honor Mr. and Mrs. Kohl, who last year became the chamber orchestra's most generous benefactors but didn't want to be feted, Ms. Batjer recalled a seminal experience from her youth: a monthlong festival held in 1987 in Cremona, Italy—long the world center of violin making—to mark the 250th anniversary of the death of Stradivari, the city's most famous son. And so a sort a miniature version of that effort was undertaken, saluting the Kohls while keeping the spotlight from them. In addition to a gala fundraising dinner and concert this past Saturday, events included an invitation-only lecture and demonstration at the Huntington Library in nearby San Marino on Wednesday, a portion of an all-Baroque concert at the Colburn School in downtown Los Angeles on Thursday, and a program of violin bonbons called "Fiddlefest" at the Broad Stage in Santa Monica on Friday.
In addition to the "Milstein" and "Kreisler" Stradivarii, two others of the eight featured also now reside in Southern California. The 1714 "Leonora Jackson" is owned by William Sloan, a urologist and accomplished amateur fiddler; the 1720 "Red Mendelssohn," said to have inspired the film "The Red Violin" (1998), belongs to Elizabeth Pitcairn, a local violinist. The rest were visitors: the "Serdet" of 1666 and the "Beechback" of c.1720, brought from England by Peter Beare, a respected luthier and scion of a storied family of violin dealers; the 1708 "Ruby," lent by the Stradivari Society to Philippe Quint, a New York-based violinist; and the "Titian" of 1715, which the Taiwanese-American soloist Cho-Liang Lin purchased a decade ago.
Mr. Lin, who in addition to performing teaches at the Juilliard School in New York and at Rice University in Houston, was the most famous performer on these programs. The remaining ones were Chee-Yun, from South Korea; Xiang Yu, born in Mongolia; and Ray Ushikubo, a 12-year-old from Riverside, Calif. But the real stars were the violins. On Saturday night, Mr. Yu, who now studies at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, remarked that his fiddle for the evening—the "Serdet," the oldest known Stradivarius in existence—reminded him "of a wild, gorgeous horse," like those in his homeland. And on the same program, Chee-Yun said of the "Leonora Jackson": "All Strads have a big sound, but this one also has warmth. I really don't want to give it back."
Speaking before the festival began, Mr. Lin attempted to characterize his "Titian" in lay terms. "If I can use wine as an analogy," he began, "this instrument is like a great Burgundy, made from pinot noir grapes. It has a ringing, beautiful, bell-like quality. It's effortless. I can just draw the bow across the strings."
Others, on both sides of the stage, might use different words to describe a Stradivarius's singular qualities, but they'd be no less effusive. Stradivari's unique craftsmanship, and his legend, continues to endure. But a chance to hear these instruments up close and in person reveals that their magic is real. Maintaining that connection—between instrument and audience—could prove more challenging in future, which makes events like this one that much more important.
Mr. Mermelstein writes for the Journal on classical music, film and television.


domingo, 30 de março de 2014


O que podes querer da vida,.
se nela, poeta, tentas plantar
o que dela mesma colheste? .
Que rumo há de ter sentido .
 se não expressares somente .
                        palavras que te constituem?
                                       Angla Mazle


Paris : la socialiste Anne Hidalgo remporte la mairie

Paris : la socialiste Anne Hidalgo remporte la mairie


Municipales 2014 : la gauche conserve Paris.

Après des années passées dans l'ombre de Bertrand Delanoë, Anne Hidalgo devrait accéder au siège de maire de Paris lors du prochain conseil municipal. En remportant les arrondissements clés que sont le 14e et le 12e, et malgré le basculement à droite du 9e, elle s'assure une majorité parmi les élus.

La succession de Bertrand Delanoë, « cela fait plusieurs années que j'y pense en me maquillant le matin » confiait Anne Hidalgo au Monde. C'est le 4 septembre 2012, après onze années passées dans les pas du maire de Paris, que l'ancienne inspectrice du travail quitte les arcanes de l'hôtel de ville pour se lancer dans la campagne. Un coup de semonce à gauche ! La discrète se lance dans la lumière et double dès le départ les ambitieux de sa famille politique. Adoubée par le maire sortant, forte de son avance et sans bruit médiatique, elle enchaîne les étapes, rallie ses adversaires internes et les inclut dans son équipe de campagne, pose un accord avec ses partenaires, constitue les listes et le programme.
En face, Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet adopte la méthode opposée. De la primaire UMP jusqu'aux dernières semaines de campagne, la candidate multiplie les coups et dépense autant d'énergie à combattre la candidate socialiste qu'à parer les attaques des dissidents de sa famille politique. « Nathalie s'est crue plus intelligente que tout le monde », laisse tomber un ancien ministre sarkozyste. Mais comme Françoise de Panafieu en 2008 et Philippe Séguin en 2001, l'ancienne ministre s'est noyée dans le marigot de la droite parisienne, entraînée vers le fond par les barons locaux de l'UMP.
« Anne a construit son truc brique par brique, et un jour on s'est réveillés et c'était fait, constate Marie-Pierre de La Gontrie, l'une de ses rivales historiques, première vice-présidente du conseil régional d'Ile-de-France et désormais assagie dans l'équipe de campagne de la candidate. Elle nous a surpris par son habileté et il faut dire qu'elle a plutôt fait un sans-faute. Elle a réussi à se mettre tout le monde dans la poche, à s'imposer dans son camp à bas bruit. »
Une discrétion qu'elle marie avec suffisamment d'autorité. « Elle sait articuler des moments de grande fermeté et une capacité d'écoute », décrypte Sandrine Mazetier, députée socialiste de Paris. « Elle a hérité du maire de Paris le même autoritarisme », poursuit Yves Contassot, conseiller de Paris EELV. François Hollande lui a rappelé ses «colères froides », le 18 septembre, alors qu'il épinglait la Légion d'honneur au revers de sa veste.
Anne Hidalgo, est à 54 ans, la première femme maire de Paris.





A mulher que passa

A mulher que passa

Rogel Samuel

Passa. Ela passa, a viúva, elegante, balanço, o festão, o debrum, nobre, exata, ágil, belas pernas de estatuária, passa, e ele a vê, do café onde bebe ele a vê, perdido, crispado, ele a vê, a sente, a sabe, no seu olhar há o germe de um furacão, no seu olhar há a
doçura que se embala, há o frenesi que mata, o relâmpago... ou é o tempo, a noite? Ele, a aérea beldade, e de seu olhar vem um relâmpago de renascimento... ela a verá outra vez? ou só a verá por um instante na eternidade?

Bem longe, tarde, além, jamais provavelmente!
Não sabes aonde vou, eu não sei aonde vais,
Tu que eu teria amado - e o sabias demais.

A uma Passante

A rua em derredor era um ruído incomum,
Longa, magra, de luto e na dor majestosa,
Uma mulher passou e com a mão faustosa
Erguendo, balançando o festão e o debrum;
Nobre e ágil, tendo a perna assim de estátua exata.
Eu bebia perdido em minha crispação
No seu olhar, céu que germina o furacão,
A doçura que se embala e o frenesi que mata.
Um relâmpago, e após a noite! - Aérea beldade,
E cujo olhar me fez renascer de repente,
Só te verei um dia e já na eternidade?
Bem longe, tarde, além, jamais provavelmente!
Não sabes aonde vou, eu não sei aonde vais,
Tu que eu teria amado - e o sabias demais.

BAUDELAIRE, Charles. As Flores do Mal. São Paulo: Círculo do Livro, 1995. Tradução, posfácios e notas de Jamil Almansur Haddad.




foi então que cheguei ao cais
e as barcaças estavam todas
amarradas ancoradas.
caronte me disse amargamente
– “não voltarão mais nem dante nem virgílio.
nem será dado a orfeu
ir salvar eurídice
a passagem está vedada
e as barcaças ancoradas
não mais navegarão por mares ignotos” –
quando olhei para o mar vi na praia
os escombros da batalha.
pontas de lança arcos flechas
corpos destroçados almas insepultas.
uma criança brincava com as conchas
e com a caveira de um herói
– se não me engano era de aquiles –
seus olhos eram de fogo
e suas mãos de lírio.
a criança então me disse – “depois
que a serpente me feriu no calcanhar
nunca mais fui ao deserto nem
ao mar.
as águas não me sustentam mais
e somente caminho na praia
pois temo naufragar.

espero o pássaro ferido
e se quiseres esperar comigo
senta-te na praia e não vás ao mar.
o mar é muito vasto e fera enraivecida.
já engoliu noivos e pescadores
e seduziu o pássaro ferido.
não te lembras do mar de suas pompas
e de seus sedutores artifícios?
de seus cantos falazes e dos apelos sedutores
com os quais arrasta para o abismo
do seu próprio nada os navegantes
inexperientes e desprevenidos?
não procures no mar no buliço das vagas
a sombra do teu amor.
eu mandei prender as barcas
e aguardo o pássaro ferido.
canta uma canção ao teu amor.”
como cantarei cantos de amor
nesta solidão?
os cantos nascem apenas da união
do brilho da estrela com o ritmo do vôo.
como hei de cantar canções de amor
se ainda estou peregrinando
por essas praias de vidro?
a criança então cantou assim –




Sobre esta minha adesão a um ponto de vista crítico abrangente, interdisciplinar (recuperado de diretrizes fenomenológicas, para interagir com a representação do poder político de Pierre Bataillon e com a dimensão extraordinária do Manixi, enquanto espaço geográfico ficcional diferenciado e, ao mesmo tempo, submisso às regras do Capitalismo Primitivo de base familiar do início do século XX, que por ali imperava, exercendo, por conseguinte, poderes de vida e de morte), será válido lembrar, aqui, a indução teórico-crítica de Roberto Machado, em sua “Introdução: Por uma genealogia do Poder”, sobre a “teoria geral do poder” de Michel Foucault, percebida como importante na nona edição brasileira de Microfísica do Poder.
Por este prisma foucaultiano, percebo atualmente o inter-relacionamento teórico-crítico dos diversos saberes analítico-interpretativos do momento, os quais promovem o entendimento do texto ficcional dos ficcionistas da pós-modernidade. Neste meu tempo de pluri-atividade intelectual, por certo submetida a pluri-rotatividade criativa do ficcionista pós-moderno-pós-modernista de Segunda Geração, não há como fugir à regra. Para pensar a atuação do personagem Pierre Bataillon, senhor do Seringal Manixi, e repensar os limites ilimitados que confirmam o seu fabuloso poder, enquanto espaço extravital, não poderei observar apenas a sua efetiva localização geográfica na região amazonense. Pelo ponto de vista dos tratados descritivos, sobre o local (de fato) desta ímpar recriação ficcional, a ilimitação não existe. O Manixi natural não poderá conter o (competir com o) Manixi ficcional. Se me adéquo às regras analíticas, subservientes aos cientificistas conceitos críticos cerceadores (oriundos de antigas normas estruturalistas, ou da já ultrapassada teoria de exclusão do silêncio ), criticadas alhures por críticos fenomenológicos, o espaço geográfico em questão se reduzirá a um trecho da Floresta Amazônica, onde se localiza uma região propícia ao plantio de mandioca e um lago, que foi chamado de Manisi Avani pelos antigos habitantes indígenas do lugar, o qual, a seguir, sofreu assimilação vocabular com o nome de Manixi. Investigando, no mapa do Brasil, o singular Amazonas e outros Estados adjacentes, buscando o nome do lugar (lugar que me embaraça reflexivamente, por não conhecê-lo internamente) e as diversas denominações dos rios caudalosos e igarapés ostensivos, que aparecem, em grande quantidade, atravessando o relato, acharei, com certeza, vestígios esclarecedores, sem custo teórico, como costumo dizer. Existe realmente esta sugestiva nomeação geográfica, habilmente recriada pelo narrador rogeliano, em seu diferenciado romance sobre a glória e declínio do Amazonas. O Manixi de lá (o geográfico) é um local que abriga um lago piscoso (Lago Manixi), situado na Bacia do rio Solimões, submisso ao Município de Iranduba. O nome do local se notabiliza pelo fato de existir ali, entre a variegada flora equatorial, o armazenamento de uma árvore (ou arbusto) chamada manixeiro, cujos frutos saborosos são conhecidos por manixi (espécie de mandioca), além da planta chamada maniva ou maniwa (espécie de amendoim). Manixi, segundo outras fontes, provém de Manibí (maniibí), que quer dizer, em sentido lato, Terra da Mandioca. A deusa indígena Mani era, por exemplo, cultuada como a deusa da mandioca, o que, no caso, simbolizava a divindade indígena protetora da fartura, da prosperidade. Além disto, segundo informações governamentais, existe ainda (atualmente sem esplendor) o Seringal Manixi, sobredito ficcionalmente e distinguidamente nesta narrativa pós-moderna. Entretanto, o Seringal Manixi que anima minhas reflexões poderá ser interpretado reflexivamente por intermédio da filosofia de Gaston Bachelard, quando este interage filosoficamente com a poética da casa primordial, em seu livro A Poética do Espaço, ou mesmo, ainda reflexivamente, por meio dos pensamentos foucaultianos sobre o poder.
O Manixi, o que me acena provocativamente, não é o Manixi real dos manuais geográficos da região amazonense. Encontro-me, aqui, acanhada pelo mítico-ficcional Seringal Manixi e por seu Palácio magnificente, “supremo, inominável, majestoso” ; inclusive, por seu dono extraordinário, cuja alcunha reputada é Pierre Bataillon, “um homem que vivia debaixo do ouro no Alto Juruá” ; além de deparar-me enlaçada nas inúmeras questões pós-modernas deste diferenciado romance. Entretanto, para deslindá-lo reflexivamente, com convicção teórico-interpretativa, buscando o plano do silêncio fenomenológico à moda dos atuais pensamentos interativos, ou do filósofo francês Gaston Bachelard, ou pela poderosa lente genealógica de Michel Foucault, não me furtarei a um cotejamento com a realidade histórico-geográfica do Amazonas, confrontando-a com o sistema mítico-social da ficção rogeliana, em benefício de esclarecimentos interpretativos. Por conseguinte, buscarei, no texto ficcional pós-moderno, as informações proveitosas ao meu interativo e reflexivo pensamento dialetizado.

sábado, 29 de março de 2014

Where to Find the Best Croissants in Paris, France

Where to Find the Best Croissants in Paris, France

Taste the most perfect pastries in the capital of France, made by a new generation of artisanal bakers

GOOD BAKED | Du Pain et des Idées, near Canal St. Martin Beatriz da Costa for The Wall Street Journal  
THOUGH I HAVE zero medical training, I feel qualified to tinker with one of the most timeworn adages about health. Having lived in Paris for 27 years, I've concluded that a croissant a day keeps the doctor away. At the very least, it's the best way to start the day.
A croissant safari is also a delicious way to explore Paris—especially now. In a welcome rebuff to the many bakeries that use industrially made dough, a new generation of pastry chefs committed to top-quality ingredients and traditional methods is leading a renaissance of the emblematic indulgence. Sampling their wares will also not only get you out of bed early (croissants tend to be best in the morning, when they're freshly baked), but take you to parts of the French capital you probably wouldn't see otherwise. Some of today's best croissants are made in lovely neighborhoods where Parisians actually live, as opposed to the well-trod precincts around major museums and monuments.

Photos: Incroyable Croissants

Click to view slideshow
The first thing I learned about one of the most quintessentially French of foods, by the way, was that they weren't originally French at all. Austrian-born Marie Antoinette is said to have introduced the kipferl, a crescent-shaped Viennese pastry, in the 18th century after she arrived to marry King Louis XVI. Another story attributes the croissant's French debut to Austrian baker August Zang, who opened a shop in Paris in the 1830s. What is certain is that local bakers refined the pastry by making it with a yeast-leavened dough that's layered and folded several times with chilled butter, a process known as laminating. This labor-intensive routine is what gives the croissant its flaky quality, and part of what made the pastry so popular.
My own croissant connoisseurship began under the tutelage of Maria, the Spanish concierge in the elegant Seventh Arrondissement building where I lived when I moved to Paris in 1986. I was an unlikely tenant; everyone else in the building was in bed by 9 p.m., and many of my genteel neighbors walked with canes. Every morning, Maria tied a black scarf over her head, went to early mass, then bought a morning baguette and croissants for my landlord, a retired British diplomat, and his French wife.
'It takes 48 hours to make good croissant dough,' he said.
One morning Maria surprised me in my pajamas when she knocked on the door with my mail (she usually slid it under the doormat). When I peered around the heavy oak door, she handed me the post and a white paper bag. "Feliz cumpleaños, Señor," she said with a slight bow. Since she knew it was my birthday, I guessed she'd been paying keen attention to my mail, but any uneasiness vanished when I tucked into the best croissant I'd eaten in my life, a lightly buttery pastry turban with a crust that flaked apart in golden, rectangular crumbs and hid a delicate, cottony interior. That afternoon, when I stopped by to thank her with a bunch of rust-colored chrysanthemums, she crossed herself before taking the bouquet—unbeknownst to me, in France the flowers are seen as appropriate only for cemeteries—but we became friendly. I asked her where to find the best pastries in the neighborhood; that night I found a tidy hand-written treatise pushed under my door.
Maria bought her croissants at La Maison Pradier during the winter and Gosselin in summer, because, she explained, the latter's fours (ovens) were newer and therefore hotter when it was humid, which meant better crusting. Her favorite shop, though, was Gérard Mulot in Saint-Germain-des-Prés, often the destination of her midday walk.
"You should know from the smell that a croissant was made with good unsalted butter, but it should not be the dominant taste," she wrote. "They should be a nice golden color, but not too dark, which means they've cooked too long and could be dry."
Croissants from Blé Sucré Beatriz da Costa for the Wall Street Journal
I became an eager student of croissants. The key to spectacular examples is the dough, bien sur. "It takes 48 hours to make good croissant dough," said Fabrice Le Bourdat of Blé Sucré bakery in the 12th Arrondisement. "First you make the dough and let it rest for a day chilled. The following day you add the butter and do the feuilletage [laminating]. Then you spread and stretch it, roll it again, and let it rest so that it rises slowly. It's a very time-consuming process involving a lot of manual labor, and this is why so many Paris bakeries now buy their croissant dough ready-made."
Many, but not all. I recently embarked on a week-long tour des fours with a baker friend who was visiting from abroad. On our expedition, I learned how important the raw ingredients—butter, flour, milk, sugar and yeast—are to a great croissant. The new generation of bakers painstakingly sources minimally processed, often organic, components for dough. (Mr. Le Bourdat, for example, said he uses organic yeast, because "it contains no extraneous chemical agents and produces a slower fermentation, which allows the flavors to develop more fully.") I was also reminded of why Paris is the only city where I don't mind hearing the alarm clock go off.
Top Spots for Croissants in Paris
A fresh crop of bakeries serves up flaky delights—and other very tasty baked goods
Tousled 30-something baker Gontran Cherrier came to Montmartre, the storied quartier the locals often call "Le Village," in 2010, and it's easy to see why he quickly found a following. Mr. Cherrier's croissant is a soft scroll of pale-yellow, butter-scented pastry tissues that are a pleasure to pluck apart. Another delectable choice at this simple, white-tiled bakery is his miso-seasoned rye bread, which makes flavorful bookends for sandwiches when lightly toasted. 22 rue Caulaincourt and other locations,
A sure sign of the new affluence of the Ninth Arrondissement, the central Paris district also known as "La Nouvelle Athènes" for its neoclassical early 19th-century architecture, is that it's attracting craftsmen like Sébastien Gaudard. He opened La Pâtisserie des Martyrs, which has a handsome Belle Époque-style décor with marble counters, glass lanterns and a check tiled floor, on its main market street at the end of 2011. It's since become a neighborhood institution. Mr. Gaudard's croissants have a gossamer glaze of sugar that brightens the taste of the butter in the pastry. When pieces are torn off, the fluffy interior remains fused to the crunchy outer layers, a sign of a transcendently good croissant. Mr. Gaudard's are the ones that end up on my own breakfast table most often. 22 rue des Martyrs,
Not far from Canal St. Martin, the old industrial waterway that's become the aquatic spine of one of the hippest neighborhoods in eastern Paris, is baker Christophe Vasseur's Du Pain et des Idées. (Its magnificent painted glass ceiling from 1875, cast iron bread racks and gilded details bespeak his former career as fashion executive.) Since Mr. Vasseur relaunched the bakery in 2002, it's acquired a cult following for its bread—try the thick-crusted pain des amis—and fluffy, crispy-tailed croissants. For a perfect breakfast, pick up a couple and head over to Ten Belles, the coffee shop on the other side of the canal. And don't leave without one of Mr. Vasseur's apple tartlettes—a fine fan of sliced apple spread atop a smear of deeply reduced apple compote on a disk of crunchy pastry. They're what the French would call une tuerie (absolutely fantastic). 34 rue Yves Toudic,
La Pâtisserie Cyril Lignac Beatriz da Costa for The Wall Street Journal  
As a main host of culinary programming for France's M6 television channel, Cyril Lignac is one of the country's best-known food television personalities. He also runs a cooking school and several restaurants in Paris. In 2011, he and former Fauchon pastry chef Benoît Couvrand opened the pretty but edgy La Pâtisserie. Its facade is painted oxblood red and the marble-faced counters are lighted by a forest of spotlights. Stopping by on a recent winter morning, I wondered if the croissants would live up to Mr. Lignac's somewhat hyped reputation, but the downy golden crescent I tucked into did him and Mr. Couvrand proud indeed; it just might be the lightest croissant in town. There are also seasonal offerings, like the éclair à la figue de Solliès, or fig-filled éclair, a riff on another great French classic. 24 rue Paul Bert (and 2 rue de Chaillot),
It was vexing to find a line at Fabrice Le Bourdat's Blé Sucré for its 7 a.m. opening, but once we withdrew to the adjacent Square Trousseau for our tasting, I realized that the wait had been worthwhile. My still-warm croissant had an alluringly brittle, shell-like crust, but it was the interior that was so good—fluffy but elastic, it tore apart in fine layers and was redolent of high-quality butter. My pal insisted I try one of her madeleines, which had delivered what she described as a "perfect Proustian moment." But I was still trying to figure out why Mr. Le Bourdat's croissant was so good, and then I got it: What the waking palate needs is a little salt, and that's exactly what this pastry almost imperceptibly delivered. Mr. Le Bourdat's shop is rightly vaunted as one of the best—maybe even the best—of the new breed of Paris bakeries. 7 rue Antoine Vollon,
Corrections & Amplifications
Sébastien Gaudard Pâtisserie des Martyrs is a bakery in Paris. An earlier version of this article called it La Pâtisserie des Martyrs.


Da felicidade sem medo

Da felicidade sem medo

Rogel Samuel
"A felicidade entrega-se àquele que venceu o seu medo de viver, e que considera a sua vida como uma chama sagrada, na longa continuidade das eras" (Dugpa Rinpochê).

A vida é sagrada? Para ele, sim. Um luz sagrada, na longa continuidade das eras.

Difícil de acreditar.

Porém, quando ele diz que a felicidade se entrega àquele que não tem medo de viver, nós reconhecemos o fato.

Lembro-me de um amigo, cujo nome não posso ou não devo confessar, que, depois de se saber com uma doença gravíssima, em vez de se deixar mergulhar no desespero, deu uma virada existencial e se tornou vitorioso, e até quase rico.

Anthony Burgess escreveu "Laranja mecânica" depois de se saber com um câncer.

Philip Roth interview: 'The horror of being caged has lost its thrill'

Philip Roth interview: 'The horror of being caged has lost its thrill'

Two years after he announced his retirement, the great American novelist Philip Roth reflects on the freedom of a life without writing

Philip Roth: 'Writing for me was a feat of self-preservation'

know that you have reread all of your books recently. What was your verdict?
When I decided to stop writing about five years ago I did, as you say, sit down to reread the 31 books I’d published between 1959 and 2010. I wanted to see whether I’d wasted my time. You never can be sure, you know.
My conclusion, after I’d finished, echoes the words spoken by an American boxing hero of mine, Joe Louis. He was world heavyweight champion from the time I was four until I was 16. He had been born in the Deep South, an impoverished black kid with no education to speak of, and even during the glory of the undefeated 12 years, when he defended his championship an astonishing 26 times, he stood aloof from language. So when he was asked upon his retirement about his long career, Joe sweetly summed it up in just 10 words. “I did the best I could with what I had.”
In some quarters it is almost a cliché to mention the word “misogyny” in relation to your books. What, do you think, prompted this reaction initially, and what is your response to those who still try to label your work in that way?
Misogyny, a hatred of women, provides my work with neither a structure, a meaning, a motive, a message, a conviction, a perspective, or a guiding principle. This is contrary, say, to how another noxious form of psychopathic abhorrence — and misogyny’s equivalent in the sweeping inclusiveness of its pervasive malice — anti-Semitism, a hatred of Jews, provides all those essentials to Mein Kampf. My traducers propound my alleged malefaction as though I have spewed venom on women for half a century. But only a madman would go to the trouble of writing 31 books in order to affirm his hatred.
It is my comic fate to be the writer these traducers have decided I am not. They practice a rather commonplace form of social control: You are not what you think you are. You are what we think you are. You are what we choose for you to be. Well, welcome to the subjective human race. The imposition of a cause’s idea of reality on the writer’s idea of reality can only mistakenly be called “reading.” And in the case at hand, it is not necessarily a harmless amusement. In some quarters, “misogynist” is now a word used almost as laxly as was “Communist” by the McCarthyite right in the 1950s — and for very like the same purpose.
Yet every writer learns over a lifetime to be tolerant of the stupid inferences that are drawn from literature and the fantasies implausibly imposed upon it. As for the kind of writer I am? I am who I don’t pretend to be.

Philip Roth in the 1968 (Bob Peterson/Getty)
The men in your books are often misinterpreted. Some reviewers make the, I believe, misleading assumption that your male characters are some kind of heroes or role models; if you look at the male characters in your books, what traits do they share — what is their condition?
As I see it, my focus has never been on masculine power rampant and triumphant but rather on the antithesis: masculine power impaired. I have hardly been singing a paean to male superiority but rather representing manhood stumbling, constricted, humbled, devastated and brought down. I am not a utopian moralist. My intention is to present my fictional men not as they should be but vexed as men are.
The drama issues from the assailability of vital, tenacious men with their share of peculiarities who are neither mired in weakness nor made of stone and who, almost inevitably, are bowed by blurred moral vision, real and imaginary culpability, conflicting allegiances, urgent desires, uncontrollable longings, unworkable love, the culprit passion, the erotic trance, rage, self-division, betrayal, drastic loss, vestiges of innocence, fits of bitterness, lunatic entanglements, consequential misjudgment, understanding overwhelmed, protracted pain, false accusation, unremitting strife, illness, exhaustion, estrangement, derangement, aging, dying and, repeatedly, inescapable harm, the rude touch of the terrible surprise — unshrinking men stunned by the life one is defenseless against, including especially history: the unforeseen that is constantly recurring as the current moment.
It is the social struggle of the current moment on which a number of these men find themselves impaled. It isn’t sufficient, of course, to speak of “rage” or “betrayal” — rage and betrayal have a history, like everything else. The novel maps the ordeal of that history and, if it succeeds, by doing so probes the conscience of the society it depicts.

How would you describe the unforgettable Mickey Sabbath, the main character in Sabbath’s Theater [which has just been published in Sweden for the first time]?
Sabbath’s Theater takes as its epigraph a line of the aged Prospero’s in Act 5 of The Tempest. “Every third thought,” says Prospero, “shall be my grave.”
I could have called the book Death and the Art of Dying. It is a book in which breakdown is rampant, suicide is rampant, hatred is rampant, lust is rampant. Where disobedience is rampant. Where death is rampant.
Mickey Sabbath doesn’t live with his back turned to death the way normal people like us do. No one could have concurred more heartily with the judgment of Franz Kafka than would Sabbath, when Kafka wrote, “The meaning of life is that it stops.”
His book is death-haunted — there is Sabbath’s great grief about the death of others and a great gaiety about his own. There is leaping with delight, there is also leaping with despair. Sabbath learns to mistrust life when his adored older brother is killed in World War II. It is Morty’s death that determines how Sabbath will live. The death of Morty sets the gold standard for grief. Loss governs Sabbath’s world.
Sabbath is anything but the perfect external man. His is, rather, the instinctual turbulence of the man beneath the man. His repellent way of living — he is a kiln of antagonism, unable and unwilling to hide anything and, with his raging, satirizing nature, mocking everything, living beyond the limits of discretion and taste and blaspheming against the decent — this repellent way of living is his uniquely Sabbathian response to a place where nothing keeps its promise and everything is perishable. His repellent way of living, a life of unalterable contention, is the best preparation he knows of for death. In his mischief he finds his truth.
Lastly, this Sabbath is a jokester like Hamlet, who winks at the genre of tragedy by cracking jokes as Sabbath winks at the genre of comedy by planning suicide. There is loss, death, dying, decay, grief — and laughter, ungovernable laughter. Pursued by death, Sabbath is followed everywhere by laughter.

“The struggle with writing is over” is a recent quote. Could you describe that struggle, and also, tell us something about your life now when you are not writing?
Everybody has a hard job. All real work is hard. My work happened also to be undoable. Morning after morning for 50 years, I faced the next page defenceless and unprepared. Writing for me was a feat of self-preservation. If I did not do it, I would die. So I did it. Obstinacy, not talent, saved my life. It was also my good luck that happiness didn’t matter to me and I had no compassion for myself. Though why such a task should have fallen to me I have no idea. Maybe writing protected me against even worse menace.
Now? Now I am a bird sprung from a cage instead of (to reverse Kafka’s famous conundrum) a bird in search of a cage. The horror of being caged has lost its thrill. It is now truly a great relief, something close to a sublime experience, to have nothing more to worry about than death.

You belong to an exceptional generation of postwar writers, who defined American literature for almost half a century: Bellow, Styron, Updike, Doctorow, DeLillo. What made this golden age happen and what made it great? Did you feel, in your active years, that these writers were competition or did you feel kinship — or both? And why were there so few female writers with equal success in that same period? Finally: What is your opinion of the state of contemporary American fiction now?
I agree that it’s been a good time for the novel in America, but I can’t say I know what accounts for it. Maybe it is the absence of certain things that somewhat accounts for it. The American novelist’s indifference to, if not contempt for, “critical” theory. Aesthetic freedom unhampered by all the high-and-mighty isms and their humorlessness. (Can you think of an ideology capable of corrective self-satire, let alone one that wouldn’t want to sink its teeth into an imagination on the loose?) Writing that is uncontaminated by political propaganda — or even political responsibility. The absence of any “school” of writing. In a place so vast, no single geographic center from which the writing originates. Anything but a homogeneous population, no basic national unity, no single national character, social calm utterly unknown, even the general obtuseness about literature, the inability of many citizens to read any of it with even minimal comprehension, confers a certain freedom. And surely the fact that writers really don’t mean a goddamn thing to nine-tenths of the population doesn’t hurt. It’s inebriating.
Very little truthfulness anywhere, antagonism everywhere, so much calculated to disgust, the gigantic hypocrisies, no holding fierce passions at bay, the ordinary viciousness you can see just by pressing the remote, explosive weapons in the hands of creeps, the gloomy tabulation of unspeakable violent events, the unceasing despoliation of the biosphere for profit, surveillance overkill that will come back to haunt us, great concentrations of wealth financing the most undemocratic malevolents around, science illiterates still fighting the Scopes trial 89 years on, economic inequities the size of the Ritz, indebtedness on everyone’s tail, families not knowing how bad things can get, money being squeezed out of every last thing — that frenzy — and (by no means new) government hardly by the people through representative democracy but rather by the great financial interests, the old American plutocracy worse than ever.
You have 300 million people on a continent 3,000 miles wide doing the best they can with their inexhaustible troubles. We are witnessing a new and benign admixture of races on a scale unknown since the malignancy of slavery. I could go on and on. It’s hard not to feel close to existence here. This is not some quiet little corner of the world.

Do you feel that there is a preoccupation in Europe with American popular culture? And, if so, that this preoccupation has clouded the reception of serious American literary fiction in Europe?
The power in any society is with those who get to impose the fantasy. It is no longer, as it was for centuries throughout Europe, the church that imposes its fantasy on the populace, nor is it the totalitarian superstate that imposes the fantasy, as it did for 12 years in Nazi Germany and for 69 years in the Soviet Union. Now the fantasy that prevails is the all-consuming, voraciously consumed popular culture, seemingly spawned by, of all things, freedom. The young especially live according to beliefs that are thought up for them by the society’s most unthinking people and by the businesses least impeded by innocent ends. Ingeniously as their parents and teachers may attempt to protect the young from being drawn, to their detriment, into the moronic amusement park that is now universal, the preponderance of the power is not with them.
I cannot see what any of this has to do with serious American literary fiction, even if, as you suggest, “this preoccupation has [or may have] clouded the reception of serious American fiction in Europe.” You know, in Eastern Europe, the dissident writers used to say that “socialist realism,” the reigning Soviet aesthetic, consisted of praising the Party so that even they understood it. There is no such aesthetic for serious literary writers to conform to in America, certainly not the aesthetic of popular culture.
What has the aesthetic of popular culture to do with formidable postwar writers of such enormous variety as Saul Bellow, Ralph Ellison, William Styron, Don DeLillo, E. L. Doctorow, James Baldwin, Wallace Stegner, Thomas Pynchon, Robert Penn Warren, John Updike, John Cheever, Bernard Malamud, Robert Stone, Evan Connell, Louis Auchincloss, Walker Percy, Cormac McCarthy, Russell Banks, William Kennedy, John Barth, Louis Begley, William Gaddis, Norman Rush, John Edgar Wideman, David Plante, Richard Ford, William Gass, Joseph Heller, Raymond Carver, Edmund White, Oscar Hijuelos, Peter Matthiessen, Paul Theroux, John Irving, Norman Mailer, Reynolds Price, James Salter, Denis Johnson, J. F. Powers, Paul Auster, William Vollmann, Richard Stern, Alison Lurie, Flannery O’Connor, Paula Fox, Marilynne Robinson, Joyce Carol Oates, Joan Didion, Hortense Calisher, Jane Smiley, Anne Tyler, Jamaica Kincaid, Cynthia Ozick, Ann Beattie, Grace Paley, Lorrie Moore, Mary Gordon, Louise Erdrich, Toni Morrison, Eudora Welty (and I have by no means exhausted the list) or with serious younger writers as wonderfully gifted as Michael Chabon, Junot Díaz, Nicole Krauss, Maile Meloy, Jonathan Lethem, Nathan Englander, Claire Messud, Jeffrey Eugenides, Jonathan Franzen, Jonathan Safran Foer (to name but a handful)?

You have been awarded almost every literary prize, except one. And it is no secret that your name is always mentioned when there is talk of the Nobel Prize in Literature — how does it feel to be an eternal candidate? Does it bother you, or do you laugh about it?
I wonder if I had called Portnoy’s Complaint, The Orgasm Under Rapacious Capitalism, if I would thereby have earned the favour of the Swedish Academy.
In Claudia Roth Pierpont’s Roth Unbound, there is an interesting chapter on your clandestine work with persecuted writers in Czechoslovakia during the Cold War. If a young author — a Philip Roth born in, say, 1983 — were to engage in the global conflicts of 2014, which would he pick?
I don’t know how to answer that. I for one didn’t go to Prague with a mission. I wasn’t looking to “pick” a trouble spot. I was on a vacation and had gone to Prague looking for Kafka.
But the morning after I arrived, I happened to drop by my publishing house to introduce myself. I was led into a conference room to share a glass of slivovitz with the editorial staff. Afterwards one of the editors asked me to lunch. At the restaurant, where her boss happened to be dining too, she told me quietly that all the people in that conference room were “swine,” beginning with the boss — party hacks hired to replace those editors who, four years earlier, had been fired because of their support for the reforms of the Prague Spring. I asked her about my translators, a husband-and-wife team, and that evening I had dinner with them. They too were now prevented from working, for the same reasons, and were living in political disgrace.
When I returned home, I found in New York a small group of Czech intellectuals who had fled Prague when the Russian tanks rolled in to put down the Prague Spring. By the time I returned to Russian-occupied Prague the following spring, I wasn’t vacationing. I was carrying with me a long list of people to see, the most endangered members of an enslaved nation, the proscribed writers for whom sadism, not socialism, was the state religion. The rest developed from that.
Yes, character is destiny, and yet everything is chance.

If you were to interview yourself at this point in your life — there must be a question that you haven’t been asked, that would be obvious and important, but has been ignored by the journalists? What would that be?
Perversely enough, when you ask about a question that has been ignored by journalists, I think immediately of the question that any number of them cannot seem to ignore. The question goes something like this: “Do you still think such-and-such? Do you still believe so-and-so?” and then they quote something spoken not by me but by a character in a book of mine. If you won’t mind, may I use the occasion of your final question to say what is probably already clear to the readers of your pages, if not to the ghosts of the journalists I am summoning up?
Whoever looks for the writer’s thinking in the words and thoughts of his characters is looking in the wrong direction. Seeking out a writer’s “thoughts” violates the richness of the mixture that is the very hallmark of the novel. The thought of the novelist that matters most is the thought that makes him a novelist.
The thought of the novelist lies not in the remarks of his characters or even in their introspection but in the plight he has invented for his characters, in the juxtaposition of those characters and in the lifelike ramifications of the ensemble they make — their density, their substantiality, their lived existence actualized in all its nuanced particulars, is in fact his thought metabolized.
The thought of the writer lies in his choice of an aspect of reality previously unexamined in the way that he conducts an examination. The thought of the writer is embedded everywhere in the course of the novel’s action. The thought of the writer is figured invisibly in the elaborate pattern — in the newly emerging constellation of imagined things — that is the architecture of the book: what Aristotle called simply “the arrangement of the parts,” the “matter of size and order.” The thought of the novel is embodied in the moral focus of the novel. The tool with which the novelist thinks is the scrupulosity of his style. Here, in all this, lies whatever magnitude his thought may have.
The novel, then, is in itself his mental world. A novelist is not a tiny cog in the great wheel of human thought. He is a tiny cog in the great wheel of imaginative literature.

This is an interview Philip Roth gave to Daniel Sandstrom, the cultural editor at Svenska Dagbladet, for publication in Swedish translation in that newspaper. The occasion was the publication, for the first time in Swedish, of Roth’s novel Sabbath’s Theater. The interview was first published in its original English in the New York Times Book Review

Rolling Stones Paris concert sells 75,000 tickets in under an hour

Rolling Stones Paris concert sells 75,000 tickets in under an hour

The Rolling Stones' extra tour date in Paris sells out in 51 minutes

The Rolling Stones perform the final show of their 50th anniversary tour at Hyde Park

Rolling Stones fans today snapped up 75,000 tickets for a Paris concert in June in less than an hour.
The tickets for the Paris leg of the "14 on Fire" tour on June 13 were put on sale at 10:00am and sold out in 51 minutes, said Pascal Bernandin of Encore productions.
The tour began in Abu Dhabi on February 21 but was suspended after the March 17 suicide of Stones' frontman Mick Jagger's girlfriend, US fashion designer L'Wren Scott.
The Paris gig, due to take place at the iconic Stade de France, was an extra date that was announced last Sunday after the the band postponed a tour visit to Australia following Scott's death. The band say they will reschedule their Australia appearance.
They are also scheduled to play two gigs in Germany and one each in Belgium and Italy, where they have promised to treat their audiences to hits such as "Gimme Shelter", "Paint It Black", "Jumping Jack Flash" and "It's Only Rock 'N' Roll".

OS LUSÍADAS, i, 15-20


Os Lusíadas - Canto I, 15-20

E, enquanto eu estes canto – e a vós não posso,
Sublime Rei, que não me atrevo a tanto –,
Tomai as rédeas vós do Reino vosso:
Dareis matéria a nunca ouvido canto.
Comecem a sentir o peso grosso
(Que polo mundo todo faça espanto)
De exércitos e feitos singulares,
De África as terras e do Oriente os mares.

Em vós os olhos tem o Mouro frio,
Em quem vê seu exício afigurado;
Só com vos ver, o bárbaro Gentio
Mostra o pescoço ao jugo já inclinado;
Tétis todo o cerúleo senhorio
Tem pera vós por dote aparelhado,
Que, afeiçoada ao gesto belo e tenro,
Deseja de comprar-vos pera genro.

Em vós se vêm, da Olímpica morada,
Dos dous avós as almas cá famosas;
Ua, na paz angélica dourada,
Outra, pelas batalhas sanguinosas.
Em vós esperam ver-se renovada
Sua memória e obras valerosas;
E lá vos têm lugar, no fim da idade,
No templo da suprema Eternidade.

Mas, enquanto este tempo passa lento
De regerdes os povos, que o desejam,
Dai vós favor ao novo atrevimento,
Pera que estes meus versos vossos sejam,
E vereis ir cortando o salso argento
Os vossos Argonautas, por que vejam
Que são vistos de vós no mar irado,
E costumai-vos já a ser invocado.

Já no largo Oceano navegavam,
As inquietas ondas apartando;
Os ventos brandamente respiravam,
Das naus as velas côncavas inchando;
Da branca escuma os mares se mostravam
Cobertos, onde as proas vão cortando
As marítimas águas consagradas,
Que do gado de Próteu são cortadas,

Quando os Deuses no Olimpo luminoso,
Onde o governo está da humana gente,
Se ajuntam em consílio glorioso,
Sobre as cousas futuras do Oriente.
Pisando o cristalino Céu fermoso,
Vêm pela Via Láctea juntamente,
Convocados, da parte de Tonante,
Pelo neto gentil do velho Atlante.

“O golpe de 64 destruiu a minha família”