Can Imagination be Privatized?

marchestpierremontmartreI was happy to learn on Friday that the crime author Lalie Walker was acquitted of all charges in the trial that pitted her against the owners of the Marché Saint Pierre. murderinmontmartrecarablackThe management at the fabric store had accused her of harming the image of the shop, simply because she had set one of her stories, “Au malheur de dames,” in the establishment and had not changed its name. Earlier this year, I had walked past the store with the author Cara Black (pictured in this photo by Laura Skayhan) and mentioned the case to her. She was intruigued because she too had set a scene here. In her story, “Murder in Montmartre,” the heroine Aimée Leduc manages to escape from her pursuers by diving into the delivery chute of the shop. cara black the paris blog dot comThe chute (visible in Cara Black’s picture here) was just an interesting feature that she had noticed when researching the story, and which she had been keen to incorporate into the novel. If the outcome of this trial had been different, would she have had to become more careful about using such features in the future? The President of the Communist group on the Paris city council had an interesting reaction after the announcement of the verdict, declaring that there had been a “risque d’une privatisation de l’imaginaire tout à fait inacceptable” (a completely unacceptable risk of privatising imagination). Is the subject so clear cut though?

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