At the age of eighteen, during the autumn of 1951, I spent three months in Paris. I well remember sharing in the excitement which surrounded the literary prizes throughout that season. The Prix Goncourt above all, but also the smaller ones. Virtually every evening the subject would come up. Before the prizes were announced, the merits or demerits of the winner were analysed. Within a brief period of the announcement, half the people I met seemed to have read the Goncourt winner. Such intellectual fervour left a lasting impression on me.
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