Saturday, 27 February 2016

France: a country without literature

Madame de Pompadour as patron of arts and letters

"She" (that's your servant) "comes from a country" (France) "which has produced VERY little of what I consider literature compared to teeny British Isles!"

A short story and a big laugh about what happened to me this week.

I belong to a rather large number of reading groups or lists online. People read and discuss books and authors or books from one author. The groups and lists have various intellectual levels. I have been participating in one of these groups for more than year and became increasingly restless and angry because this was not a reading group but a super fan group worshipping an obscure British authoress who wrote some good light romantic novels, and more that are less good until, down the scale, very bad fiction that would have been better left in obscurity.
Some of her publishers agree as they let her resurrected titles slowly die again until what they hope will be extinction of the stock.
I said so.
And, tired of eternal vacillations and speculations that were coming back again and again after I had given the solution to sort out the issue last year (why and when the authoress' husband had moved from one regiment to another: the MOD has all elements and treats these questions every day) - but obviously without result -, I added some sentences about the lack of seriousness of the reading and researching - if research was really made, which I doubted - by some members of the group who made themselves leaders, while others were meekly following, a fact called the "herd phenomenon".
This started a great hulla-balloo, and, of course, I was expelled from the group, with collateral damages.
The good ladies started being - let's say - slightly paranoid, and saw me everywhere: they banned innocent people from their facebook writer fan page, thinking I was masquerading behind new aliases, all the time discussing among themselves openly - which was sad for the banned persons but awfully funny for me. I only stayed and kept quiet and read everything. Had they forgotten my real name?
They even told another group, also on facebook - group that is usually mild and very nice - whose administrators banned an impecunious Croatian lady to whom I had been talking in order to send her spare copies of books she had no money to buy. But the good American, Canadian and British ladies thought that I was talking to myself, pretending I was both an alias and the Croatian lady. They were crediting me with an agility to manoeuvre facebook, from which I would have had to log in and log out at the rhythm of a conversation! At the same time, they declared that the Croatian lady was "fishy", therefore she and I were the same and that no book should be given. "Off with our heads" - would have said the Red Queen!
I discovered I was clever, indeed. 
But the funniest thing was the note sent by one member, British and proud of it, who wrote it very seriously, to the administrators of the reading group online (not facebook), copied and pasted it and sent it again as an e-mail to one of her buddies on the list - forgetting that she was making it open to all eyes. The note included the sentence I posted at the beginning of this blog entry:
"She" (your servant) "comes from a country" (France) "which has produced VERY little of what I consider literature compared to teeny British Isles!"
Therefore, dear friends and readers, do remember: France has produced VERY little literature... Push it a little further and you may consider that this country has neither culture nor civilisation...

renoir - la liseuse verte
La Liseuse Verte (Renoir)

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