Paris: a Poem

…behind the ramparts of the Louvre
Freud has dredged the river and, grinning horribly,
waves his garbage in a glare of electricity,
They moan and yell and squeak
Like a thousand tom-cats in rut.
The whores like lions are seeking their meat from God :
An English padre tilts with the Moulin Rouge…

That’s from Paris: a Poem, the work for which Hope Mirrlees is best known in academic circles. Paris is a very visual poem, and it’s best experienced via the original 1920 edition, which you can buy if you have oodles of money, or in fascimile, which you can view now, if you don’t mind a slightly dodgy scan. (PDF download, 900KB)

I have this copy because the interlibrary loan librarians at Portland State University in 2005 were both kind and persuasive, and I am very grateful for their assistance.

3 Responses to “Paris: a Poem

  1. Stephen Frug says:

    I’m leaving this comment on this post since the comments are closed on the “Hope Mirrlees resources page”, but my question is about that.

    First, let me say: fantastic site! I just finished reading Lud-in-the-Mist, and am a few pages into Swanwick’s recent biography. (I was at Readercon last month, where Mirrlees was the “memorial guest of honor”, which sparked my interest.) I went around looking for Mirrlees information, and found this wonderful page. It’s a really terrific resource — thank you for putting it together!

    You say of Lud-in-the-Mist that it is “in print in a lovely edition from Gollancz in the UK (get this one) and in a few terrible small-press editions in the US (avoid these)”. As the owner of one of the small press editions (the 2005 Cold Spring Press one, bought for a buck at a book sale), I’m curious about the details. Is it simply that you don’t like the aesthetics of the book (cover art, typesetting, whatever), or is it that the actual text is somehow changed/corrupted? I ask because, if it’s the latter, I may need to track down another copy, but if it’s the former I’ll just live with it.

    Thanks again for the site! I look forward to your review of Swanwick’s book.

  2. Juliet says:

    Hi Erin– I’m happy to link you to my paper on Paris, which I presented in 2003: http://www3.telus.net/sargassosea/wim.html

  3. Mike Tortorello says:

    Dear Erin,

    Quite some time ago I began letterpress printing Paris with the assistance of your scan and have finished. May I send you a free presentation copy of it for your enjoyment ? It is my hope that you might post it on the website and let fans know it’s available. The edition is limited to fifty numbered copies and is printed on french paper and hand bound. It includes a new gallery of hand inked images and an afterword. I’ve listed the edition on abebooks. Many thanks for your time.


    Mike Tortorello
    Pegana Press

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