sontag diaries


19 February

Yesterday (late afternoon) I went to my first Paris cocktail party, at Jean Wahl’s — in the disgusting company of Allan Bloom. Wahl [a philosopher] very much lived up to my expectations — a tiny slim birdlike old man with lank white hair and wide thin mouth, rather beautiful, like Jean-Louis Barrault [actor] will be at 65, but terribly distrait and unkempt. Baggy black suit with three large holes in the rear end through which you could see his (white) underwear, + he’d just come from a late afternoon lecture — on Claudel — at the Sorbonne. Has a tall handsome Tunisian wife (with a round face and tightly-drawn-back black hair) half his age, about 35-40 I’d guess, + three or four quite young children. Also there were Giorgio de Santillana [historian of science]; two Japanese artists; lean old ladies in fur hats; a man from Preuves; middle-sized children straight out of Balthus, in Mardi Gras costumes; a man who looked like Jean-Paul Sartre, only uglier, with a limp, and was Jean-Paul Sartre; and lots of other people whose names meant nothing to me. I talked to Wahl + de Santillana + (unavoidably) to Bloom. The apartment, it’s in the rue Peletier, is fantastic — all the walls are drawn + sketched + painted on by the children and by artist friends — there is dark carved North African furniture, ten thousand books, heavy tablecloths, flowers, paintings, toys, fruit — a rather beautiful disorder, I thought.

more from the NY Times Magazine here.