Friday 19 February 2021

Incidents in the Rue Laugier reread: Musée des Beaux Arts

Maud, we learn in chapter 2, grows up in a flat in Dijon, in the rue des Dames Blanches, a 'short quiet grey street'. In the distance we're aware of the 'imposing bulk of the Musée des Beaux Arts'.

The 'indolent afternoon in the provincial museum': I quote from Brookner's 1981 essay on Rosa Bonheur in her Soundings collection. I do not know whether Brookner had Dijon in mind. I don't know whether there are any Bonheurs there. There probably are. Brookner almost certainly knew the city - the chapter is replete with touristic detail - though the rue des Dames Blanches (we discover later) is an invention.

Brookner doffs her disguises briefly but unforgettably, and no doubt with full intent. These are the pleasures of fandom: a line or two here chimes with a line or two there. Hers was a legendary life.

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