We’re very excited to be able to offer this book as a PDF download on our website. This might be the only full-length book written about the history of Vence, in English, that exists. It’s certainly the only one that I have come across. Immortal Village, written by Donald Culross Peattie, was first published in 1926 as Vence in a privately printed edition of just five hundred copies. Printed in France it was not circulated outside of the country. A few years later portions of the book were used in another book called Happy Kingdom by Donald and his wife Louise Redfield Peattie, published by Blackie & Son, Ltd., in Glasgow, Scotland. The complete book was finally published officially in 1945 by the University of Chicago Press, in Chicago, as Immortal Village. It was completely revised and Peattie wrote a new biographical preface speaking about how the book came to be written. Wonderful new woodblock illustrations by Paul Landacre grace each chapter of this version.
Immortal Village has been out of print for many, many years. There are currently several copies of the book available on Amazon with prices for “New” copies set at over $800.00. Used copies are much more reasonable ranging anywhere from $5.00 to $125.00, depending upon the condition. So, if you want an actual physical copy it doesn’t seem to be that hard to find. I bought my copy just after we moved to Vence in 2019 and I think I paid around 15€ for it. However, it certainly isn’t available anywhere digitally and I really like to be able to carry books with me on my iPhone and iPad. So, I decided to scan the entire book and convert it to a PDF.
IMPORTANT: It is NOT my intention to infringe on anyone’s copyright in any way. I simply want to make this wonderful book available to people who otherwise might not be able to read it. My research shows that this book, published in 1945, passed into the public domain after 75 years, which is 2020. If anyone has any information to the contrary, meaning it is NOT in the public domain, let me know and I will remove the downloads immediately.
Download a high quality PDF of this book (332mb)
Download a very good quality PDF of this book (125mb)
Download a good quality PDF of this book (24mb)
[click on any image to see sample pages – more info after the samples]
In the mid 1920s Donald and Louise Peattie traveled to Europe with their two small children, a baby boy and a four year old daughter. As writers they were looking for the adventure, passion and inspiration that drew so many American artists and writers to the old country during the “Roaring Twenties.” They landed in Paris full of excitement at the prospects of a new life only to see their young daughter die two days later from an unsuspected disease. Shattered and broken hearted they fled from the dark, dreary autumn of northern France and set out for the south, looking for, as he writes, “sunlight, for the hills where Royal Provence is ripened in the grape and aged in the vat, for the fields whence came those flowers flown by plane to Paris…”
They found refuge in Vence, setting up house in a small villa just outside of town. For several years they grieved and healed and became a part of the community around them. Writing short stories for American magazines during the day to support his family Peattie took on the task of writing a history of the village he had grown to love. From the Stone Ages through to the 19th century, Immortal Village recounts the legends and tales of Vence.
This is an historical account of the history of Vence. It is not a novel. It is not a historical novel. It is very detailed. Some people find it a bit “dry,” but I’m fascinated with it. In around 200 pages Peattie delivers an amazing amount of information about this town that I too have grown to love so dearly.
If you’ve never heard of this book, if you have and just haven’t gotten around to finding a copy, if you have a copy but haven’t read it yet, or if you’ve already read it and just want a digital copy, I hope you will enjoy this download.
The book is in PDF format so it should be accessible to everyone. If you find any problems or issues with it please let me know. I spent quite a bit of time scanning each and every page, cleaning up the scans in Photoshop and assembling everything as a PDF. There are three versions. The “high quality” version is a large file, but everything is big and crystal clear. The “good quality” version is much smaller and the quality suffers a bit, though it is still quite readable. The “very good quality” version falls somewhere between.
Anyway, I hope you will enjoy reading this as much as I do.