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Chapter 7 - A Long Way from Home: Baldwin in Provence

from Part 1 - Life and Afterlife

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  12 July 2019

D. Quentin Miller
Affiliation:
Suffolk University, Massachusetts
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Summary

Situated at the hilltop terminus of the winding and narrow Route des Serres, around twelve miles west from Nice, the village of St.-Paul-de-Vence appears unexpectedly among terraced vineyards, terracotta-tiled farmhouses, and contemporary luxury villas of southeastern Provence. Looking south from the medieval ramparts that encircle the preserved walled village, one sees the verdant hills and sandstone towns that meander down to the azure blue of the Mediterranean; looking north, the Alpes-Maritimes gently crest on the horizon. In the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, St.-Paul-de-Vence was a frontier battlement, fortified as a strategic military stronghold to defend against Spanish and Italian invasion. Since its founding, it has thus served as an enchanted, yet embattled, refuge for a changing community of inhabitants, and this tradition of refuge was still present for James Baldwin when he arrived there in late 1970 seeking creative, emotional, and physical sanctuary.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2019

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