The art of Kevin Blythe Sampson

THE ART OF
KEVIN BLYTHE SAMPSON

3/25/12

"Dreaming in French": Three remarkable women in Paris - What to Read - Salon.com

What to Read

Sunday, Mar 25, 2012 8:00 PM Eastern Daylight Time

“Dreaming in French”: Three remarkable women in Paris

What the young Jackie Kennedy, Susan Sontag and Angela Davis discovered in the city of lights

Susan Sontag, Angela Davis and Jackie Kennedy
Susan Sontag, Angela Davis and Jackie Kennedy
Jacqueline Kennedy, Susan Sontag and Angela Davis are three very different American women who shared one similar rite of passage: a year spent in France during their early adulthood. Alice Kaplan’s superbly perceptive “Dreaming in French: The Paris Years of Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy, Susan Sontag and Angela Davis” makes a prism out of those visits; the white light of expectation goes in, and a myriad of astonishing colors comes out.
A year abroad is far from a rare experience for American college students these days, but it’s a surprisingly undercontemplated custom; Kaplan — a professor of French at Yale and the author of a memoir and several prize-winning books on French history — singles out a recently-published academic study by Whitney Walton. However, most attempts to understand the transformative visits of young Americans to other countries have come in the form of coming-of-age memoirs and autobiographical first novels. About Paris, above all, American youth has spun extravagantly romantic fantasies of self-discovery, blossoming cosmopolitanism and creative ferment.
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"Dreaming in French": Three remarkable women in Paris - What to Read - Salon.com