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French Connections
Discovering the story behind the story

Writer Brian Simpson, A&S '97 (MA), had read Madame Bovary. But it wasn't until he began reporting on "Team Flaubert" for this month's "The Birth of a Classic" that he became fascinated by the story behind the novel's creation. "The book you see on the bookstore shelf isn't the be-all, end-all," says Simpson, who interviewed Hopkins literary scholar Jacques Neefs while in Paris last spring. "There's a whole story behind it about how it came to be. Talking to Neefs brought that to life for me." Simpson, a frequent contributor to Johns Hopkins Magazine, is the editor of Johns Hopkins Public Health.

Making "modest art" for all to enjoy

In Serge Bloch's illustrations, glazed doughnuts double as car wheels, spiders serve as moustaches, and televisions make lovely eyeglasses. The Paris-based artist — who illustrated this month's "Changing Their Tune," about Peabody's new entrepreneurs — combines photographs of everyday objects with whimsical line drawings to create images that are both witty and accessible. Bloch, who studied at the School of Decorative Arts in Strasbourg, enjoys making readers smile. "I try to do humorous work," he says. "It's a work of modest art." His work has been published in The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The Washington Post, and The Chicago Tribune. — Maria Blackburn

Illustrator Stephanie Dalton Cowan ( "The Birth of a Classic") is based in Atlanta, Georgia. Reach her at 770-509-1099 or through her Web site at
Photographer John Davis ("The Big Question") is based in Baltimore. Contact him by calling 410-241-2767.
Photographer John Dean (Wholly Hopkins: "Arts and Science dean leaving for Lafayette presidency") is based in Baltimore. You can reach him through his Web site,, or at 410-243-8357.
Will Kirk '99 (Wholly Hopkins: "Sweet relief for the stressed-out student?" and "Lampreys offer clues") is a photographer for Homewood Photographic Services. E-mail him at
Gary Logan ("Separate Fates") is associate director of communications and public affairs at Johns Hopkins Children's Center. He can be reached at 410-516-4647 or
Illustrator Wally Neibart ("Essay") is a cartoonist based in Elkins Park, Pennsylvania. He can be reached at 215-635-0487.
Greg Rienzi ("Your Other Life") is a freelance writer and staff member of the Johns Hopkins Gazette. E-mail him at
Photographer Herb Swanson ("The Power of the Pennington") lives in Portland, Maine. He can be reached at 207-761-9404 or
Photographer Jefferson Steele ("Your Other Life") lives and works in Baltimore. Contact him by calling 410-664-8137.
Photographer Jay VanRensselaer (Wholly Hopkins: "Hopkins teams show their stuff") directs the Homewood Photos Labs. Call him at 410-516-5332.
Photographer Keith Weller ("Separate Fates") is based in Columbia, Maryland. He can be reached via e-mail at:

Return to February 2005 Table of Contents

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