For 25 years in Geneva, Le Parnasse bookstore has been paying a tribute to literature. The name is obviously not a coincidence as it refers to the Greek Mount Parnassus that was the home of the muses of Greek mythology and a true inspiration for poets. In the nineteenth century, the Parnassians – Baudelaire, Gautier, Musset, Mallarmé or Verlaine to name only a few – were a group of militant poets influenced by the doctrine “art for art’s sake”.
Today, I met with Marco Dogliatti. He spoke about the past but also mentioned how difficult it has become to survive. At the end of 1982, Marco took over the Le Parnasse bookstore located at the rue des Eaux-Vives with a friend. Later on, his girlfriend – Carine Fluckiger – joined them and they both became the sole captains of this ship that has served the purpose of spreading literature.
10 years ago, the bookstore moved to Terrassière in a Bigger premise. However these last years were also difficult. The internet is obviously no stranger to this business and that gives me the opportunity to have a rant: do I have to repeat myself once again by saying how important human relationships are, how important it is to share ideas or references and that the finesse of a bookseller cannot compete with a computer. The end.
In order to provide concrete support for the bookstore, an association of friends of Le Parnasse was formed. In 2016 a crowdfunding allowed a few funds to come in but the battles still remain.
Moreover, Le Parnasse bookstore is much more than a bookstore; the owners organise more than forty cultural events every year: readings in collaboration with the Théâtre du Sentier, meetings with authors, many journeys in literature and contemporary events, among Swiss works of art and translations; poetic readings on Wednesday evenings, sometimes in Italian too…
The next event will take place on Wednesday, December 13 at 7pm with Jerome Richer, author and director. He will read an original text – Blackcore – with the actor Claude Thébert.
Here, you will not only find poetry, but also theatre pieces, works of psychoanalysis, philosophy or other human sciences and especially the possibility of buying Italian literature in Switzerland, except of course in Ticino. Personally, Le Parnasse bookstore sounds more like Emilie Dickinson, Pasolini, Michaux or Virginia Wolfe, Jane Austen or Michel Onfray. Occasionally I also see a few Japanese authors, haikus of course! The book of the historian Pierre-François Souyri is currently displayed in the front-window however you can also buy the book “Desproges by Desproges” or have a look at Patti Smith’s book “Just Kids” in an illustrated version.
Looking for a Christmas gift that makes sense? You have found the perfect place!
Photography © Nathalie Mastail-Hirosawa
Rue de la Terrassière 6, 1207 Geneva
Tue to Fri 10am-7pm; Sat 10am-6pm