Reflections by award-winning maritime historian Joan Druett, author of many books about the sea
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Saturday, May 7, 2011
Singer's love letters published
Edith Piaf's love letters in print
The great chanteuse's passionate billet doux to her cycling champion lover, Louis Gerardin, have been published in France, reports StuffNZ.
The late singer, nicknamed "La Mome Piaf," or the "little waif sparrow," after her charismatic presence propelled her from the streets of Paris to international stardom in the 1940s and 1950s, was as famous for her love affairs as for her heartrending ballads. However, this is the first time any of her love letters have been published.
Full of spelling mistakes, and blurred with many crossings-out, they reveal her desperate need to be loved, as much as her passion for the cyclist (who happened to be married). "You have taken me like no other man has ever done," she wrote to her blond, blue-eyed amour in 1952; "and I have given you what I have never before given, which is to say: myself!"
Gerardin, 39, was three years older than Piaf when their affair began in November 1951. Over the next eleven months she wrote over fifty letters to her darling "Toto," as she called him.
Reportedly, he confessed, "Forty-eight hours with Piaf are more tiring then a lap in the Tour de France." It could be worth locating the book, to find out how he extricated himself from this exhausting alliance.
The letters were auctioned by Christie's in 2009, and bought by an anonymous collector for 67,000 euros. They were launched as a book in March by French publisher Bernard Grasset under the title Blue Love.