“The more I make love, the more I want revolution; the more I make revolution, the more I want to make love.†? In Paris, in May of 1968, revolution, and love are very much in the air. The barricades are going up, the students of the Sorbonne are taking to streets alive with the graffiti of revolt, and the Odeon is ablaze with speechmaking. For Annie, a young American painter, and Julian, her Portuguese lover, a banker and anarchist, the events of that Paris spring form the backdrop against which their love affair is played. Annie sees the world through an artist's eyes; she is reckless in her passions, wanting and needing love with other people. There is none of this fanciful nonsense for Julian, an anarchist disdainful of the entire human race, who thinks even the enraged students storming the streets of Paris with their posters proclaiming “open the windows of your heart†? and “revolution is the ecstasy of history†? to be hopelessly naïve and sheeplike. Ferlinghetti charts the progress of love unfolding against those heady and momentous days when the pampered children of the bourgeoisie tried to find common cause with workers who despised them, “when Julian and Annie were in the heat of their love and reason.†?
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