Showing posts from March 29, 2020

Chopin in the Time of Cholera - the Paris pandemics of 1832 and 1849

Honoré Daumier (1808-1879) 'Cholera' Upon his arrival in Paris on 5 October 1831, Chopin had no set plans to stay in the city. However after six weeks residence at an inn near the diligence terminus in the Rue de la Cité Bergère, he took an apartment with a balcony and panoramic views across Paris at 27 Boulevard Poissonnière.  In November 1831 he wrote of his initial impressions in an extraordinarily frank and one might venture 'manly' letter to one of his travelling companions, Alfons Kumelski. He describes the immense contrasts within the city :  ' You find here the greatest splendour, the greatest squalor, the greatest virtue, and the greatest vice; at every step you see posters advertising cures for venereal disease - nothing but cries, noise, din, and mud, past anything you can imagine.'  Later in the missive he speaks of the large numbers of prostitutes (' sisters of mercy') and confesses to a ' souvenir of Teresa (despite the min