Book Description

The Diverse and Sophisticated Landscape of France
Viewed in All Shades of Social Meaning

A Portrait of Paris
by James Jarves

A Portrait of Paris is an exceptional book where an American businessman and art collector living in Paris in the 19th century presents his thoughtful views on French society, temperament, habits and culture, government, military, and education. Thus, James Jarves' book lacks the extreme emotions that sometimes characterizes other works about the French, and deals with the facts without distortion resulting from personal feelings or prejudices. The book is not a superficial appraisal meant to show the inferiority of France versus America, but rather an intriguing contemporary sociological examination of a complex European society. Jarves delves into a variety of topics, including occupations, living expenses, restaurants and leisure activities. The book reviews the various forms of revolutionism and Socialism present at the time, and shows the dark side of politics by revealing the inner workings of government incompetence and spying. Perhaps most interestingly, Jarves deals with the psychology of a city, including its gaudier side, such as poverty and prostitution in Paris, citing the actual numbers of women in the underground trade, and the reasons for their being involved. He even goes so far as to describe the development of pornography in France, and its peculiar effects on the populace. Jarves writes with great spirit and vivacity, and his sketches of the French capital are both colorful and insightful, providing rich impressions of all areas and strata of French society. Throughout, A Portrait of Paris is an entertaining, highly readable, balanced and objective evaluation of life and culture within the unique confines of urban north-central France.

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Other related titles: Views of Old Europe, Bayard Taylor; An Incident of Travel, by Arthur Jerome Eddy; The French at Home, by Albert Rhodes; Trails of a Paintbrush, by Nicholas Brewer

             Book Specifics

    • Full title: A Portrait of Paris, An American Art Collector Assesses French Life in the 19th Century by James Jarves, edited by Paul Dennis Sporer
    • Revised and Enhanced Edition, with new index and preface
    • Imprint: Rollright Books; 240 pages
    • Format: Softcover; 6" x 9"; ISBN: 978-1-932490-61-9
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