Paper Gardens

Friday, August 31 from 6:30pm to 8:00pm

Join us for a celebration of Paper Gardens: A Stroll through French Literature.

Join us for a celebration of Paper Gardens: A Stroll through French Literature. There will be readings in French and English as well as a visual presentation of paintings and photographs of famous French gardens. This event is co-sponsored by The University of Virginia Press and Alliance Française Charlottesville. Refreshments will be provided. This event will be free and open to the public, but please RSVP to

From Jean-Jacques Rousseau to Marcel Proust, from Marguerite Duras to George Sand, from Colette to Patrick Modiano, gardens appear in novels as representations of the real world, but also as reflections of the imagination. In Paper Gardens: A Stroll through French Literature, acclaimed author Évelyne Bloch-Dano contemplates the role of the garden in the work of great prose writers, ruminating on how the garden can variously symbolize a reflection of the soul, a well-earned rest, an improving form of work, a nostalgia for childhood, and the dream of an ideal world.

The charming and erudite first section focuses on history and is devoted to types of gardens ranging from the biblical Garden of Eden to English parklands; the second perceptively considers their role in literary works. Concealed within these cultivated wanderings is also an element of autobiography. Lovers of literature and gardening alike will fall in love with this beautifully written meditation.

"A charming book that’s erudite, bucolic, and delightful at once."

Version Femina

Évelyne Bloch-Dano is a prizewinning and widely translated author whose most notable works include the biographies Madame Zola (Elle magazine’s Grand prix des lectrices, 1997), Flora Tristan: La femme-messie (Prix François Billetdoux, 2001), Madame Proust (2004, Prix Renaudot de l’essai), and Le Dernier amour de George Sand (2010), as well as many other titles. Teresa Lavender Fagan is a freelance translator living in Chicago. Alice Kaplan is the John M. Musser Professor of French at Yale University and the author of Dreaming in French.


Cover Image: Claude Monet, Bridge over a Pond of Water Lilies, 1899, Oil on canvas, 36 1/2 x 29 in. (Public Domain)