DAVIS WAS THE ONLY ONE TO AP­PROACH PARIS CLEAR-EYED

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Books -

ma­jor. Son­tag, by con­trast, who ar­rived in 1957 on an un­af­fil­i­ated schol­ar­ship and had to find her own way around town, took sanc­tu­ary in the com­pany of Amer­i­can ex­pa­tri­ates, even while she lux­u­ri­ated in the city’s em­brace of the in­tel­lec­tual life. With the self-dis­ci­pline that marked her, she taught her­self French, hung out at cine­mas and cafes, and came into her own, in­tel­lec­tu­ally and sex­u­ally.

Each, it seems, came in search of a fan­tasy of Paris. Bou­vier and Son­tag man­aged to keep the dream in­tact; Davis was the only one to ap­proach the city clear-eyed, saw through her own fan­tasy and would later reap her re­ward in the homage of the en­tire coun­try.

Bou­vier had grown up with a fam­ily fan­tasy about aris­to­cratic French an­ces­try re­in­forced by a fake his­tory com­piled by her pa­ter­nal

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