The Virgin with cherries
Memories from another Life
Novel• 1998 • 457 pages • Price : 38 €

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The Virgin with cherries is initially the title of a picture by Quentin Metsys at Antwerp in 1510 and reproduced on the front cover of the book. It is also the title of this novel which narrates a passionate love story between a 20 year girl and an older man. But as the child on the picture is in fact a diminutive adult, the lover often considers himself as a child in his young mistress' arms. That is the reason why both seem to recapture lost time and reenact a former life. The girl is many-faceted and elusive like Manureva, the ship lost at sea, and she looms out of the distant past. Yet the lovers have a very carnal relationship and they commune in their love to nature and art, especially to J.S.Bach and the Flemish Primitive. They also enjoy gastronomy and visit beauty spots as well as banal places which are lightened and as if enchanted by love. The glittering bubble that isolates them from the world breaks and the Virgin with cherries is caught again in the flow of life and her lover can only rendezvous her on another continent in another life.
"There are people on whom beauty -that of the landscapes, of the faces, of the works of arts- acts as true revelation on the frequently trodden path to Damascus. Such people are reduced to anonymous numbers by the radical intellectualists who prevail in the most mediatized circles of current artists. But their anonymity preserves them from the stains of the show bizz. In that respect it is salutary." Bernard d'Espagnat, Treatise of physics and philosophy, 2002, p.493.

Excerpts / Classified by theme


The myth of Aphrodite and Athena
A pond seen through the binoculars
A rose seen through the magnifying glass
A poetic version of non-separability
Mother and kind
A young girl, followed by a quotation from B. d'Espagnat
The cherry tree
Condominium "Marine"
Father's garden
A philosophical insect
The Puy de Dôme and the garden of Hesperides
Plotinian ecstasy
Barbara's summertime
Gergovia Plateau
By the waters of the clear fountain
Gérard de Nerval : woman and child
The cloister at Le Puy
The gorges of the river Tarn
Barbara's breast and Lynceus' eye
Gastronomy: crab with saffron and the Colchide's country
Gastronomy: dinner at Van Eyck's
Millevache Plateau
Gérard de Nerval, Bach and memories from another life
A dream
Rendez-vous Manureva on other continent!


Science: the second principle of thermodynamic, 19th century version (Jacques Monod) and the 20th century version (Prigogine)
Socrates and Menon's slave
Death and euthanasia


Scatology or eschatology?
A woman
A contented man
A rape
Portraits of some venal women
Carnal harmony
Child's delivery
The snare
Eroticism and poetry: Solomon's Song
The abyss of Bramabiau
The abyss of Veronica
Marilyn Monroe
Modern sirens

Art criticism

A study of The Virgin with cherries by Quentin Metsys, Antwerp, 1510
The work of J.S. Bach (includes Angels' concert in Issenheim altarpiece, painted by Grünewald, 1511)
Georges Brassens
The Virgin in the triptych of the Moulins master
A masterpiece overlooked by modern art
Cambyses' Torture by Gérard David, Brugge, 1498

Humour, contestation, provocation…

Julien Benda's misogyny
Two ragamuffins
Repentance and provocation
Two misanthropists: Nietzsche and Paul Léautaud
Monster Automobile
Against Maigret and Simenon
Ivry Gitlis and the Holy Spirit
Philosophers and scientists
Spasmophilia vanquished by science
A revolution in a Holy Water stoup
Psychoanalyst psychoanalized! Followed by the double anagram of René Garrigues with acrostic
The beaver, doctor Moreau
"Teaching abuse", "training to project procedure"
Inspector Moron
The life and soul of the party
Gastronomy: eating at Troiscols'
A modern art exhibition
Description of Novembre de musique (Bazaine, 1977)
Park regulations at Versailles

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