On Thursday, 1 August, the small but well-stocked Parisian bookstore, La Nouvelle Librairie, celebrated its one-year anniversary. With friends, supporters, and clients stopping by for the celebration, the decidedly right-wing bookstore demonstrated that there is indeed a growing demand for the books, periodicals, and other materials that it makes available for purchase.
There is, it seems, an alternative to the cultural dominance of the French left — even in the Latin Quarter.
One might have thought that Paris already had enough bookstores to satisfy the interests and tastes of any reader. But with the possible exception of ‘Duquesne Diffusion’, a short walk from the Eiffel Tower, conservatives, nationalists, traditionalists, and other right-wing readers had very few places to go.
All that changed a year ago when enterprising François Bousquet — editor of the right-wing magazine, Éléments — opened ‘La Nouvelle Librairie’ in the heart of the Latin Quarter.
Since then, his modest but important contribution to the ‘political literacy’ of Parisian readers has been well-received — but not by everyone.
La Nouvelle Librairie was profiled in both the French weekly magazine, L’Express, and The Washington Post (WaPo). But in neither did it receive praise for contributing to the diversity of political thought. (The Washington-based news daily, in fact, once again demonstrated its penchant for alarmist reporting — backed up by typically sloppy research — by referring to Joseph de Maistre as a “proto-fascist thinker”.)
Never mind what the “nattering nabobs of negativism” have to say. The bookstore is a fine thing, making available a wide variety of books, new and old, as well as monographs, periodicals, and CDs from across the right. Upstairs, it shelves, tables, and bins are full of historic materials. One can spend hours perusing the materials here. It is, as Bousquet told WaPo, very much “a space of liberty and resistance”.
In addition to the dizzying variety of publications that are for sale, also contributing to the bookstore’s success during its first year have been regular events — book signings, book talks, and other evening gatherings — all held at the store.
Bousquet, however, sees this only as the start. He is planning a series of new activities. According to a short news item yesterday at Paris Vox, among other initiatives, he is planning a return “to a tradition dear to the book trade” — that of bookstores also publishing books. To this end, La Nouvelle Librairie has already “acquired an editorial structure”.
More information about the new ‘Éditions de la Nouvelle Librairie’ shall be available after September.
In the meantime, we congratulate M. Bousquet for his entrepreneurship, foresight, and daring. And we extend to La Nouvelle Librairie a well-deserved bon anniversaire!