Poirier, Agnes Catherine 1975(?)-
Poirier, Agnes Catherine 1975(?)-
Born c. 1975, in France; immigrated to England, 1995.
Home—London, England. E-mail—[email protected]
England-based journalist for French publications, including Le Monde, 1996, Le Figaro, arts correspondent, 1997-2001, and Libération, political correspondent and film critic, 2001-06; UK editor for French and Italian weeklies Télérama, La Vie, and L'Espresso.
Les nouveaux Anglais: clichés revisités, preface by Jean Tulard, Alvik (Paris, France), 2005.
Le modèle Anglais, une illusion Française (essay), Alvik (Paris, France), 2006.
Touché: A French Woman's Take on the English, Weidenfeld & Nicolson (London, England), 2006.
Contributor to Al Jazeera, the Guardian, Independent on Sunday, New Statesman, and Observer.
Agnes Catherine Poirier was born in France and immigrated to England as a young woman, beginning a career in journalism by writing for Le Monde. She was an arts correspondent for Le Figaro and a political correspondent and film critic for Libération before becoming an editor for the French and Italian weeklies Télérama, La Vie, and L'Espresso. She contributes articles on French politics and films to the Al Jazeera news organization and to productions of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC).
Poirier's first book, Les nouveaux Anglais: clichés revisités, is a French-language guide to the British written for the French. It caused a stir due to some of its content, including comments about the queen, and it led Poirier to understand how sensitive the English are to commentary about them intended for a French audience.
With Touché: A French Woman's Take on the English, Poirier provides an English-language text in which the English can read about themselves. Here again, she applies her decade of exposure to the English to a study of the differences between the people of the two countries, which in some cases, she writes, are significant. Her areas of focus include food, culture, art, sex, love, politics, and British actor Hugh Grant. New Statesman reviewer Daniel Trilling noted that all are "discussed with a cheerful wit, backed up by some more serious historical and philosophical observations."
Poirier calls the English and the French "two jealous lovers" because of their love/hate relationship, in which they are either condemning or praising each other. Will Hurrell reviewed the book for the Helium Web site, concluding: "All this only helps to solidify the case that we should all vive la difference."
"If Agnes Poirier is bemused by (and, let it be said, sometimes admiring of) the English, even their food, she has nothing but contempt for Bush's America," noted Susan Kennedy in the Contemporary Review. "She is very angry indeed with Gordon Brown for quoting a remark of the American neoconservative writer, Gertrude Himmelfarb, to the effect that it was Britain (and by implication America), not France, that led the way into the modern world." Kennedy pointed out that France strongly resists the impact of globalism on its culture and its language.
Teresa Waugh reviewed Touché in the Spectator, concluding that Poirier's observations, for example, on "Britain's relationship to the EU, or how the British cinema sold out to anodyne American taste, make interesting reading. But perhaps the most fascinating thing about this book is not what it tells us about ourselves but what it tells us about France. Or about one French woman and her take on France."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Contemporary Review, summer, 2007, Susan Kennedy, review of Touché: A French Woman's Take on the English, p. 242.
New Statesman, August 21, 2006, Daniel Trilling, review of Touché, p. 51.
Spectator, October 28, 2006, Teresa Waugh, review of Touché.
Agnes Catherine Poirier Home Page,http://www.agnespoirier.com (December 29, 2007).
Helium,http://www.helium.com/ (December 29, 2007), Will Hurrell, review of Touché.