The Age of the Grand Hotel

In History and Culture

by Sam Bluefarb
(March 2012)


Many years ago, on our way home from Israel, my wife and I decided to return to California by way of a week’s stopover in Spain. After a few days in Madrid, we flew north to San Sebastian, Basque country, not far from the Pamplona of Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises (1926) and Death in the Afternoon (1932).

The plane was a small commuter that held some twenty or so passengers. But after a few minutes aloft, it began to pitch and sway, climb and dive, while stomachs churned and trepidation was intensified by the dark cloud we flew into, which turned out to be a full-fledged squall. By the time we landed in San Sebastian, the rain had let up, and the skies cleared, and there was a freshness in the air that was as invigorating as our sharpened appetites—to be sated later in the lavish dining room of the Hotel Maria Cristina.

The Maria Cristina opened its doors to the public in 1912, scarcely two years before the outbreak of the First World War (1914-1918). When we walked into the dining room, we found ourselves spirited back to that more optimistic time when pomp and ceremony pervaded the collective psyche, and waiters in white jackets hurried to tables to take orders and rush off to deliver them.

Before 1914, only the very wealthy could afford such elegance and service; but decades later, my wife and I, on modest salaries, could afford such luxury. That was not destined to last long: Some years later, when San Sebastian was rediscovered as a tourist mecca, the rate had soared to a level more commensurate—and realistic--with incomes quite a bit higher than ours. So perhaps, in that respect, the wheel had turned full circle.

The great age of Grand Hotels was coeval with the Belle Époque (or Beautiful Era), an age that enjoyed a halcyon peace and a spirit of optimism that lasted from the end of the Franco-Prussian War (1870-1871) until the outbreak of the First World War. But in the war’s aftermath, the Russian, the German, the Austro-Hungarian, and the Ottoman Empires crashed in ruins and irrevocably changed the face of European civilization, if not civilization itself. Echoes of that storied past, however, still haunt the physical structures that continue to insinuate themselves on down to the present. Besides the Maria Cristina, two other hotels come to mind—the Grand Hotel des Bains in Venice and the Grand Hotel in “Balbec,” or Cabourg, on the coast of Normandy. These two truly “grand” hotels are (or were in the case of the des Bains) famous for being the settings of two novels: Thomas Mann’s short novel, Death in Venice (1912) and  Marcel Proust’s great and massive seven-volume In Search of Lost Time (1922).

In its heyday--before the des Bains was converted into luxury apartments--it was popular with members of the film community who made it their base of operations during the annual Venice Film Festival. But the conversion brought anger, disappointment, and sadness to many Hollywood personalities who stayed there. Among its more famous were Clark Gable, Gregory Peck, Kirk Douglas, Elizabeth Taylor, Woody Allen, and Lauren Bacall.

Beyond the generic “Grand,” many of these hotels have their own unique names associated with their history and geography—the Hotel Maria Cristina, which bears the name of the Queen Consort (1858-1929) to Alfonso XII, and who was its first guest when it opened its doors in 1912; the Grand Hotel Europe-St. Petersburg; the Splendid-Madrid; the Crillon-Paris; and the Hotel Imperial, Vienna. etc. In spite of superficial differences, each of these hotels is an autonomous, self-contained, self-sufficient unit of a larger constellation of similar hotels. But what made them similar was their clientele, luxury, optimum service, and snob appeal—which Marcel Proust (1871-1922) scathingly describes in his In Search of Lost Time (1922), as we shall see.

While most hotels don’t have the word “Grand” attached to their names, that superlative is inferred from the elegance, luxury, history, and the many distinguished guests--statesmen, politicians, figures in the arts and sciences--who stayed at them. They are also “grand,” of course, in physical size, lavish architecture, inviting dining rooms, and the numbers of rooms and suites.

0bviously a sanatorium is not a hotel, and certainly not a “Grand Hotel,” but the Waldsanatorium in the Swiss Alps above Davos, was closer in style, though obviously not in purpose, to most top-of-the-line hotels. It was primarily a center for the treatment and cure of tuberculosis. However, its clinical aspect was largely muted, even if its function was no secret. Ever since its opening in 1911, the sanatorium not only had a matchless reputation as a medical center, but its services--cuisine, comfort, and amenities--compared  quite favorably with the best spas—and as expensive! But money was no object for most of the patients who were treated there and whose financial situation would permit stays of many years—as long as seven years for Hans Castorp, the central character in Thomas Mann’s The Magic Mountain (1924). As with Death in Venice (1912), Mann (1875-1955) chose the Waldsanatorium as the setting for his much greater work, The Magic Mountain.

The idea for a novel set in a tuberculosis sanatorium came to him when he visited his wife Katia while she was a patient at the Waldsanatorium undergoing treatment for a “pulmonary catarrh condition”--perhaps a nice rationalization for a leisurely six months’ holiday, which it turned out to be. But with the advent of antibiotics, many of the early therapies--pneumothorax, surgery, long “rest-cures” extending into years--became a thing of the past. In 1957, the Waldsanatorium, like the des Bains a century later, was converted into a hotel. That conversion, unlike that of the des Bains, had a happier outcome: The old sanatorium—which became the “Berghof” in the novel--became, in effect, a “Grand Hotel,” with all of the amenities offered by the Grands. The 21st Century has brought the more up-to-date technology of free wireless internet connections to every room! How Hans Castorp would have loved such a convenience, given his profession as a ship-building engineer! O tempora! O mores!

Although the Waldsanatorium was not a Grand Hotel, or even an ordinary hotel in the strict sense, its patients—or “guests”--represented a wide variety of upper class European society. Along with a sense of endless time, its insular setting, its isolation from the world down in the “flatlands,” the Waldsanatorium and the “Berghof,”  its fictional counterpart, possessed a hermetic quality that gave the mountain on which it perched its magical charm. Further, lengthy stays and boredom were prone to encourage intrigues and casual affairs. Hans Castorp’s ambiguous affair with the exotic Clavdia Chauchat—if a long conversation in French may be called an “affair!”--is one of the more intriguing of the novel, not so much by what is said, but by what is implied.

The rise of the generic Grand Hotel was coeval with the heyday of the North Atlantic steamship trade, when giant passenger liners—e.g., the ill-fated Titanic--sailed from Bremerhaven, Cherbourg, and Southampton to America. Here, too, passengers, traveling First Class were like the patrons of Grand Hotels, a cross-section of upper-class European society. In the parlance of the day, the ship itself was a “floating hotel,” and possessed all of the services comparable to those ashore. Yet, except for the Waldsanatorium, whose primary purpose was medical, what distinguished passengers from each other, and they from the crew, was class—the wealthy in First Class; the middle class—of small businessmen and professionals--in Second; the Third, a step above the poor immigrants in steerage. But the line between Third Class passengers and the immigrants in steerage was not so sharply drawn; rather, it was a matter of affordability. Third Class passengers occupied matchbox cabins that might accommodate from two to four occupants; but immigrants bound for America were assigned to quarters with little privacy, far down on the lower decks, usually at the stern-end of the ship where the rudder was located. Hence, perhaps, “steerage.” So, analogously, First Class might be seen as a “Grand Hotel” in its attributes and luxury. The classes below First Class might, again, be seen as comparable in price and quality to hotels ashore, ranging from moderately priced “budget” hotels, on down to cheap lodgings, and flea boxes not much above the level of a flop-house.

The greatest gap in a ship’s manifest might be seen in the distinctions between affluent (First Class) passengers and the crew--the “black gang” in the coal bunkers (Coal-driven engines were a feature of the age.), deck-hands, stewards. waiters, stewardesses, pursers. etc. The captain, of course, with his retinue of second-level ship’s officers might be seen as analogous to members of a hotel’s management and staff.

Not so coincidentally, the “Beautiful Era” was a time when the Strauss waltz held sway and where the ballrooms of Grand Hotels and great estates of the wealthy were spacious enough to facilitate such dances. Most familiar and much loved were the ethereal waltzes of Johann Strauss II, the “Waltz King” (1825-1899). By the outbreak of the First World War, the waltz had reached the height of its popularity with the aristocracy, where large numbers of ladies in ravishingly beautiful dresses and gentlemen in formal attire—tails and ties--danced to the strains of the waltz. Eventually, it became popular across class lines. But working people had their own “special” favorite--the Can-Can—a rapid-time, energetic contrast to the more stately waltz. That volatile form came into vogue just a few years ahead of the waltz, but both came of age during the Belle Époque. In its early days, the Can-Can, rather than a performance to be watched, was danced to by couples in cheap dance-halls,. Eventually it evolved into a spectacle of titillating, leg-thrusting girls, who exhibited their voluptuous anatomical charms for the delectation of a cheering crowd, made up mostly of males, irrespective of marital—or single--status. Lower-class cabarets, like the early Moulin Rouge, were largely hangouts of workers, impecunious artists, and Bohemians of the Montmartre quarter (La Boheme, comes to mind, that melodramatic opera, with tubercular Mimi singing her lungs out—when she wasn’t coughing! ). Today, the Mouline Rouge attracts mostly tourists searching for the ghost of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864-1901). Others search for more lubricious fare in the nearby Place Pigalle.

*          *          *

The clash of class and “life-styles” was encapsulated in possibly two of the greatest anti-war films of the 20th Century—Grand Illusion (1937) and Paths of Glory (1957). As disparate as are the settings between certain scenes in the films—battlefields and barracks--and those of Grand Hotels—dining rooms and ballrooms--there are certain common elements in both. Just as Strauss waltzes are associated with the ballrooms of Grand Hotels and great estates, so directors Jean Renoir and Stanley Kubrick introduced the waltz at key points in their films. And for more than esthetic effect!

An early scene in Grand Illusion highlights the contrast between a ballroom setting and a war-time officers mess. Captain von Rauffenenstein (Eric von Stroheim) has just come in from an aerial dogfight, and boasts that this is the second plane he’s shot down—his second “kill,” as he puts it. To celebrate the occasion, he calls for his fellow officers to share a toast with him. They raise glasses; Rauffenstein bends backward, stiffly—apparently the result of an injury that requires a neck and spinal brace—and, in a single gulp, downs the shot as he calls for “Musik!” At the instant, the chords of a Strauss waltz (Vienna Blood) come from a scratchy gramophone record. In that act, von Rauffenstein, conjures up every bit the image of a Prussian officer in demeanor, dress, and body language--replete with monocle. It also evokes visions of ballrooms in pre-war Vienna (von Stroheim was born in Vienna), and we are transported, in imagination, to a tableau of ladies in colorful dresses and gentlemen officers in uniforms bearing their regimental colors. In turn, that will elicit an earlier era of ballroom romance and battlefield gallantry reminiscent of the scene in the 1935 film Becky Sharp, based on William Makepeace Thackeray’s Vanity Fair (1847-1848)-—that of the Duchess of Richmond’s ball on the eve of the Battle of Waterloo.[1]

Caste and class in Grand Illusion are represented by the gulf between Lieutenant Marechal (Jean Gabin), a French air force pilot, but an automobile mechanic in civilian life, and Captain de Boldieu, (Pierre Fresnay), his squadron leader. Although both are officers, and, like pilots in the U. S. Air Force, have automatic officer rank, de Boldieu is not only Marechal’s superior in rank, but because of his aristocrat roots and unspecified wealth in civilian life, he is above him socially as well as militarily. Marechal, by contrast, finds his social equal in a German pilot of comparable rank. Like Marechal, he too, was a mechanic in civilian life, and they also learn they each worked for the same company near Lyon! (There are several such coincidences in the scene.) The German, of course, has acquired enough proficiency in French to converse with Marechal. On the other hand, Captain de Boldieu, the French squadron leader, finds his counterpart in Captain von Rauffenstein, the German squadron leader. Although all are officers, there is a not-so-subtle distinction between those officers who were ordinary working men in civilian life and their superior officers in military life. Each has more in common with his class peer than they have with the lower classes of their own country. Von Rauffenstein the German squadron commander and de Boldieu, the French, are both on the same social footing with each other—note the German particle, “von,” in von Rauffenstein, and “de” in de Boldieu, signifying, again, the aristocratic class they share.

Interestingly, von Rauffenstein and de Boldieu have something else in common, something more personal. It appears that Rauffenstein has known a certain Count de Boldieu in Berlin before the war, and mentions it to de Boldieu. “Oh, yes,” says de Boldieu, “he was my cousin Raymond. He was the military attaché in Berlin.” Whereupon Rauffensteun tells him—in English--that Edmond de Boldieu was a “marvelous rider.” Boldieu’s response:. “Yes, in the good old days.”[2]

Another coincidence, but this time a nice little bit of naughty trivia: At one point in their conversation, they learn that each knew a “Sissie,” a girl they met at Maxim’s, the upscale restaurant in Paris, which Marcel Proust visited on occasion!

A more powerful scene that illustrates the gulf between caste and class and the ordinary soldier, will be repeated in the later Paths of Glory. Like Renoir in Grand Illusion, director Stanley Kubrick also employed a waltz as a powerful symbol of the chasm that separates two men of high rank--a general and a colonel. But the colonel identifies far more with his men than with the officer class to which he belongs. (He has been a criminal defense lawyer in civilian life.) It is in the confrontation between the two in the lobby of a chateau behind the lines that the social and military gulf between Colonel Dax (Kirk Douglas) and General George Broulard (Adolphe Menjou) is so wide; it is as though they lived on different moral planets. Dax is a battle-hardened soldier of the mud and shell-fire of the Western Front; Broulard, on the other hand, hosts a great ball for members of his General Staff and their ladies. The lobby where they meet adjoins the ballroom. In this sequence, the camera cuts to the ballroom where gentlemen officers and their ladies are waltzing to the strains of—Vienna Blood, again!--that same waltz that was struck up in von Rauffenstein’s hangar! The contrast between the trenches of the Western Front, from which Colonel Dax has just come, and the paradise of “wine, women, and song” from which Broulard has emerged, demonstrates the great gulf of class and rank that separates them, not merely by class and rank, but by centuries and worlds.

Dax has come to meet with Broulard on an urgent mission of mercy. Three soldiers have been court marshaled and found guilty of cowardice in the face of the enemy. The trial turns out to be a flagrant mockery of justice. The men already found guilty ahead of the court martial, are scapegoated for the regiment’s failure to take—and hold--the “Ant Hill,” a well defended and fortified German position. Due to overwhelming enemy fire, it is a hill virtually impossible to take, much less to hold. When Colonel Dax orders his men to advance, they are met with such heavy machine gun and artillery fire that hundreds of dead and wounded pile up in the shell holes and barbed wire of No-Man’s-Land. And the mission fails.

The three soldiers are to face a firing squad within hours. Dax will plead with Broulard to spare their lives. Not so coincidentally, General Paul Mireau (George McReady) has been promised a promotion in rank if Dax’s regiment--a unit of Mireau’s division--succeeds in taking the “Ant Hill.” But the difference between previous wars and the First World War was that by 1914, the machine gun had been introduced. Thus, when Dax’s unit goes on the attack, they are mowed down by the hundreds, and the men—those who survive or are not seriously wounded--pull back. The regiment is thus sullied by the failure of a mission that was already a suicidal mission from the start. As an example for the regiment and in defense of the “honor” of France, three men are to pay with their lives. Ironically, these three have been among the bravest in the regiment. (The film was banned in France for twenty years!)

When General Broulard leaves his guests to meet with Dax, on the moment he steps from the ballroom into the lobby, the strains of the waltz grow louder, but subside in volume as Broulard closes the door behind him. The message is not so subtle that it can be mistaken for anything other than what it says about the scene--the vast gulf that separates the high romance of the ballroom and the brutal reality of the guardhouse holding the condemned men. There is no need for a Greek chorus to comment on the scene. And balls are not always held in the ballrooms of large estates of the wealthy, or in Grand Hotels; A chateau behind the lines will do equally as well!

*          *          *

The Grand Hotel at Cabourg on the Normandy coast, the Grand Hotel des Bains on the Venice Lido, and the Hotel Maria Cristina in San Sebastian--all have the distinction of sharing a common era. The Grand Hotel at Cabourg was built in 1855 and reconstructed in 1907, the year Marcel Proust spent his first summer there as a young man, and every summer thereafter until 1914. The Hotel Maria Cristina was built in 1912; the des Bains on the Venetian Lido, in 1900. Proust made the Grand Hotel, Cabourg (“Balbec”) the setting for much of volume II of the seven-volume, D. J. Enright edition of In Search of Lost Time. Its massive pile of brick, mortar and glass was already a well-known and elegant watering place, long before it made its way into Proust’s vast tapestry of late 19th century Paris life. But it is more than just a hotel or the setting of a great novel; it is a physical reminder of a past that still manages to cling to a present. And it is very much a going concern, not just for its up-scale tourist trade, but for lovers of literature who want to rub shoulders with Proust’s ghost. They can even check into a “Marcel Proust bedroom” [on the top floor] a reconstruction of a room 100 years ago: brass bed and plum-coloured furnishings, and the waves reflected in a glass-fronted bookcase.” [3]

Long before Proust the young man and bon vivant, spent his summers at the Grand Hotel, Cabourg, Proust the boy spent his summers there under the watchful eye of his grandmother. But his memories of his childhood at the hotel, as he rendered them in Lost Time, were ambiguous at best. For the hotel was both an object of attraction and horror, with the latter much the stronger. We can then assume that Marcel, the character, spoke for Proust, his creator, even as Flaubert spoke for Emma Bovery when he proclaimed, “Je suis Bovary!”—I am Bovary!

Young Marcel saw the hotel as “ . . .that Pandora’s box. . .and, like everything that is realised [sic], jejune.”[4] But as we move further along into the novel we will become aware of a congeries of attractive and repulsive associations, which don’t stop at the wealthy Faubourg Saint-Germain district in Paris, but finds its way creeping into the dingy rooms, the hallways, the dining rooms and smoking rooms of the hotel. Proust prefers the rapier to the double-edged sword to skewer the upper class snobs who come to the hotel for “the season.”

The little group in the Balbec hotel looked at each new arrival with suspicion, and, while affecting to take not the least interest in [Marcel], hastened, all of them, to interrogate their friend the headwaiter about him. For it was the same headwaiter—Aimé—who returned every year for the season, and kept their tables for them and their lady wives, having heard that his wife was expecting a baby, would sit after meals, each working on a part of the layette, while weighing up through their lorgnettes my grandmother and myself because we were eating hard-boiled eggs in salad, which was considered common and was not done in the best society in Alençon. (347)

The hotel is not only a hermetic “Pandora‘s Box;” it is a “temple of mammon.” (331) that might draw tourists for the “exquisite fare” and the “magical view across the Casino Gardens,” but also the ordinances of “Her Majesty Queen Fashion, which no one may violate with impunity, without being taken for a philistine. . . .”(330)

Proust’s description of the hotel’s interior and personnel is etched in acids of gloom that bring to light the nightmarish memories of his childhood. . .the maid who approaches and crosses his path in the dim-lit hallway, a vision of his “most impassioned dreams.” But as she comes closer, he reads in her eyes, “the horror of [his] own nonentity.” (331).

All of which expresses Proust’s dim view of such hotels. Ironically he was drawn to them in his adult life, no longer intimidated by the snooty maids and snobbish guests; and because he was now able to view them on an “equal”—perhaps even superior--footing, he was able to depict them more dispassionately in his work. He is also able to note that whatever praises might be lavished by management on the décor, he juxtaposes that with the "monumental staircase of imitation marble, while my grandmother, regardless of the growing hostility and contempt of the strangers among whom we were about to live, discussed 'terms' with the manager, a pot-bellied figure with a face and a voice alike covered with scars (left by the excisions of countless pustules from the one, and from the other of the divers accents acquired from an alien ancestry and a cosmopolitan upbringing), a smart dinner jacket, and the air of a psychologist who, whenever the 'omnibus' discharged a fresh load, invariably took the grandees for haggling skinflints and the flashy crooks for grandees! . . . Social position was one thing by which the manager was impressed—"(327-328)

And so as a recipe from the crepuscular hotel, its hermetic hallways. its claustrophobic bedrooms, and the supercilious comments of its haughty guests Marcel turns to gaze out at the strand, and the sea beyond.

What does this say about the grandeur of the Grand Hotels today?  In spite of Proust’s nightmarish childhood memories of them, whatever fate awaits those monuments, they still retain a certain regal dignity. And they are also a barometer of the European psyche, which he will transform into magnificent literature.

*          *          *

Proust’s Marcel has his counterpart in Gustave von Aschenbach, celebrated middle-aged writer of Thomas Mann’s Death in Venice (1912). And while Proust, homosexual and novelist, makes his protagonist a heterosexual in love with a young woman, Aschenbach is drawn to a young boy. Ordinarily, he does not make a practice of regular summer visits to a resort as does Marcel; his reason for booking a room at the Grand Hotel des Bains in Venice, is a need to get away from a routine of deadly writing schedules that have led to a writer’s block. Further he suffers from a sense of malaise provoked by various bizarre, red-headed characters he encounters on the streets and other public places. All of which both palls on him “and [stirs] his imagination. . .a real seizure, intensified to the point of passionateness.”[5]

These encounters will be repeated by a semi-toothless—red-headed!--clown, who harasses him as he is about to arrive in Venice; an old Gondola ferryman, a Charon-like figure, who will row him to the Lido and the Grand Hotel. Unlike Marcel, Aschenbach is a widower in his early fifties. At the hotel, he will notice an aristocratic Polish family who are staying there--a mother, her two young daughters in tunics of severe cut, and their brother, a young “beautiful boy” of thirteen or fourteen, dressed in a sailor suit. The boy, Tadzio, captures Aschenbach’s eye and febrile imagination, and he eventually becomes sexually obsessed with the boy. But other than an exchange of looks and the hint of a come-hither smile from the boy, there is never any true contact between them. What intensifies Ascherbach’s feelings is his anonymity in the anonymous environment of the hotel. And once his “Dyonesian” impulses can no longer be bound by his “Apollonian” restraints—pacé Nietzsche--nothing he can do will put them back in the bottle of his repression. And he explicitly accepts that truth. In a frenzy of fever and passion, Aschenbach ”[leaned] back. . . overcome and repeatedly shuddering, he whispered the standard formula of longing. . .”I love you!” (42)

Like the toadying manager of Lost Time, Aschenbach is led to his room by another of those types who seem to have been drawn to such servile positions in Grand Hotels at the turn of the century.

Since he was expected, he was received with attentive care. A manager, a short, quiet man of flattering courtesy with a black moustache and a French-style frock-coat, accompanied him in the elevator to the second floor and showed him his room. . . . (19)

Bowing and scraping, the manager leaves the room, and Aschenbach goes to the window to stare out at the sea. But he doesn’t stay long. Once settled in, his luggage unpacked, to escape the hotel’s hermetic stuffiness, he goes down to stroll along the promenade. But the stroll up to the neighboring Hotel Excelsior has neither tired nor refreshed him, and so arriving back at the des Bains, he prepares to change for dinner.

In spite of his moving among throngs of the hotel’s guests, Aschenbach’s sense of solitude and his obsession for the boy only seems to accentuate the impersonality of the hotel and his lonely—and by now, cholera-infected--condition. Both for Marcel and for Aschenbach, the two Grand Hotels, one on the Norman coast, the other, on the Venice Lido, seem to heighten the isolation and the solitude of the boy Marcel and the middle-aged Aschenbach; and this is made even more intense by both the anonymity and sense of freedom these hotels paradoxically seem to produce. (Anonymity tends to encourage freedom and libertinism. No friends, family, or colleagues will look askew at him, the anonymous Aschenbach.) For in spite of the formal hospitality of the Grands, there is an impersonality about them that only seems to intensify for an already isolated and lonely guest. In both cases, the hotel’s primary function is that of a lodging, but it is also a place of assignations and pick-ups. The furtive lobbies and hallways—as in Marcel’s Grand--only seem to compound their sinister nature.

The coming of fall and winter brings a close to the “season” at the Grand Hotel at Balbec. But on the Venice Lido, summer brings plague, and not even the luxury of a Grand Hotel can retain its guests under such a threat—except for Gustave von Aschenbach, whose love for the “beautiful boy” keeps him there, on the Lido.

Tadzio does not so much represent Eros as he does Thanatos, the triumph of the death instinct—which it fatefully turns out to be for Gustave von Aschenbach, who dies seated in a “reclining chair” on the beach, alone.

Interestingly, Thomas Mann made the settings of his two novels--Death in Venice and The Magic Mountaina Grand Hotel and a sanatorium, respectively. It is in those settings that the titanic struggle in nature between Eros and Thanatos (love and death), health and disease, take place. (Mann was always preoccupied by the role that disease played in literary creation.) And Proust’s Balbec exudes its own picture of life at war with decay--in its management, its staff, its  snobbish guests, who will pass into history, even as did the old order which propped them up.



[1]  "[The 19th Century poet Lord George Gordon] Byron emphasises [sic] the contrast between the glamour of the ball and the horror of battle, .. .” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duchess_of_Richmond's_ball#Ballroom

[2] Jean Renoir, Charles Spaak, Grand Illusion: A Film by Jean Renoir, Classic Film Scripts, trans., Marrianne Alexandre, AndrewSinclair ( New York: Simon and Schuster, 1968), 17.

[3] http://www.connexionfrance.com/expatriate-news-article.php?art=346

[4] Marcel Proust, In Search of Lost Time, Volume II, “Within a Budding Grove, D. J. Enright, Trans. (Random House, 1981), 332. Further references to this work cited within parenthses in text.

[5] Thomas Mann, Death in Venice, Stanley Applebaum, trans. (New York: Dover Publications, 1912, 1924, 1995), 3.


Sam Bluefarb is Prof. Emeritus, Los Angeles Harbor College.



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