He had been away nearer a year than six months; he returned to his little court improved by his travels, his dignity softened by the air of a man who knows the world, his hair dressed after the fashion of Paris, his speech adorned with delicate allusions to kings and queens; he brought with him an English valet, a set of diamonds presented to him by the Doge of Venice (these the most notable among other gifts), and the affectation of French. Hesse-Homburg approved. A principality as small as this that his Serene Highness ruled over is apt to be unduly proud; the castle of Hesse-Homburg was built after the plan of Marli or Meudon, the gardens laid out in the manner of Versailles; etiquette was supreme, the court complete from the Lord Chancellor to the black pages; Mr. Denton, the English valet, was reminded, on his arrival, of a performance of opera-bouffe where all the comedians appear as nobles and there is no one left to represent the citizens, so that the King and his train constitute the kingdom. Indeed, Mr. Denton had seen estates in England that would have divided between them two countries the size of Hesse-Homburg, but his admirable discretion allowed no hint of his discernment to appear. There was a ball given in honour of his Serene Highness's return; the fountains played and coloured lights swung in the trees; ladies and gentlemen were painted, perfumed, pomaded, and laced into brocaded clothes; there was an orchestra of French fiddles on one of the castle terraces, and dancing in the long hall hung with portraits of the Prince-Electors of Hesse-Homburg.
Patrick Suskind's Perfume is a classic novel of death and sensuality in Paris 'In eighteenth-century France there lived a man who was one of the most gifted and abominable personages in an era that knew no lack of gifted and abominable personages. His name was Jean-Baptiste Grenouille, and if his name has been forgotten today, it is certainly not because Grenouille fell short of those more famous blackguards when it came to arrogance, misanthropy, immorality, or, more succinctly, wickedness, but because his gifts and his sole ambition were restricted to a domain that leaves no traces in history: to the fleeting realm of scent ...' 'An astonishing tour de force both in concept and execution' Guardian 'A fantastic tale of murder and twisted eroticism controlled by a disgusted loathing of humanity ...Clever, stylish, absorbing and well worth reading' Literary Review 'A meditation on the nature of death, desire and decay ...a remarkable debut' Peter Ackroyd, The New York Times Book Review 'Unlike anything else one has read. A phenomenon ...Everyone seems to want to get a whiff of this strange perfume, which will remain unique in contemporary literature' Figaro 'An ingenious and totally absorbing fantasy' Daily Telegraph 'Witty, stylish and ferociously absorbing' Observer Patrick Suskind was born near Munich, in 1949. He studied medieval and modern history at the University of Munich. His first play, The Double Bass, was written in 1980 and became an international success. His first novel, Perfume, became an internationally acclaimed bestseller. He is also the author of The Pigeon and Mr. Summer's Story, and a coauthor of the enormously successful German television series Kir Royal. Patrick Suskind lives and writes in Munich.
Long out of print, I. A. Richards's extraordinary 1932 foray into Chinese philosophy is worth reviving for its detached interpretation of the Chinese classics.
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