In the black-and-white illustration on the first page — a reproduction of a painting (credited to the mysterious “École Française”) André resembles a slightly pudgy Beethoven. Read aloud, in my doublewide trailer in Phoenicia, Chénier’s bubbly lyrics sing like casual birds:
O son of Mincius, I honor you, O you
through whom the God of Arts was lord of a kingly land!
And you, to whom in ancient days, to forge harmony,
Attica, and the Aegean wave, and bright Ionia,
gave perfect sky, joy, beauty…
[My translation of the opening of “L’Invention.”]