On reading: 4

Browsers at The Glass Key bookshop in the Cité de l’Ecrit in Montmorillon, France often make a special effort to look at their best before spending time looking over the stock. This lady was captured browsing in 1912 by Félix Vallotton and the painting (now in private hands) is captioned Reader with a yellow necklace. I think the book she is reading remains in my stock.

Vallotton

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Deviation

Deviants choose your path?

Deviants

On reading: 3

The Glass Key in the Cité de l’Ecrit in Montmorillon imposes no strict dress code on those who wish to come in and browse the wide selection of books available. Here a book-browser was immortalised quietly and unselfconsciously reading in The Glass Key by Albert Marquet who passed through Montmorillon in 1910. The original painting, Nu féminin debout lisant,  remains in a private collection.  I regret that all the pictures depicted in the background have been sold.

Marquet

On reading: 2

On his journey to Arles Vincent van Gogh stopped in Montmorillon and painted this picture of a book browser in The Glass Key bookshop in the Cité de l’Ecrit in Montmorillon. The painting titled L’Arlésienne (Madame Ginoux) and painted in 1888 can be seen the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

VanG

On reading: 1

Here is Eleanor of Aquitaine’s effigy at Fontevraud Abbey, where she is entombed, lying in her favourite perusing position. On her visits to The Glass Key bookshop in the Cité de l’Ecrit in Montmorillon Eleanor would have the owner provide a meridienne for her to use whilst browsing the stock. The shop continues to try and make its customers comfortable.

Eleanor

Died on this day – 29 June 1315

Llull

It was on the 29 June 1315 that the Catalan mathematician, polymath, philosopher, logician, Franciscan teriary and writer from the Kingdom of Majorca was stoned to death in the Place du Vieux Marché in the heart of the Cité de l’Ecrit in Montmorillon. The reasons for the stoning remain a mystery.  Dan Brown has some interesting theories about this, and the Rosicrucian origins of The Glass Key (home of good books) seem to have been involved also.

Llull was a prolific writer with a total of more than 250 works to his name written in Catalan, Latin and Arabic. Ars Magnais his most profound and celebrated work, but he is also known as the author of the romantic novel Blanquerna (1283) which is widely considered the first major work of literature written in Catalan, and possibly the first European novel.

Some computer scientists have adopted Llull as a sort of founding father, claiming that his system of logic was the beginning of information science.

Died on this day – 17 June 1947

Perkins

The legendary book editor Maxwell Perkins died in Montmorillon on 17 June 1947. Perkins was responsible for launching the writing careers of F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway and Thomas Wolfe. Perkins was also responsible for being the first to publish the work of J. P. Marquand, Erskine Childers, Alan Paton and James Jones. Through his connection with The Glass Key bookshop in the Cité de l’Ecrit Perkins had come to Montmorillon to try and add the crime writer Keith Dixon to his list. Dixon had a growing reputation with a number of self-published crime novels to his name and Perkins was hoping add him to his stable of published successes. Unfortunately his pneumonia caught up with him and he died before completing any deal.