In the 21 September, 1890, entry of his diary, novelist and gossip Edmond de Goncourt
, himself evidently a closeted gay man, wrote: "Is it true?
Thus, William Bouguereau's sumptuous oil Petite Fille Assis au Bord de l'Eau (1886) mixes casually with arctic exploration photographs; Nadar's portrait of Edmond de Goncourt
looks away from Jennifer and Kevin McCoy's mixed-media sculpture Soft Rains # 4 (The Loft), in which Grandmaster Flash's flank classic 'White Rain' plays in endless loop.
Still, time reduces the cost of complete candor, and one hopes that another Sandler memoir will eventually surface that will to some degree be for his generation what the journals of Jules and Edmond de Goncourt
were for theirs.
To the contrary, his respectably achieved purpose in Le Japon depuis la France is to set the record straight on French writing about Japan, and he performs a genuine service for us all in his chronological compendium of snippets from writers as diverse as Montesquieu, Voltaire, Diderot and the "Encyclopedistes," Pierre Loti, Jules Verne, Zola, Edmond de Goncourt
, Vincent van Gogh (well, he's as French as Pablo Picasso, isn't he?
My object here will be to read tenets of the picturesque and poetics of ruins that are traceable in Commune accounts by Edmond de Goncourt
and Theophile Gautier, against Baudelaire's reconfiguration of landscape in his verse poem "Paysage.