Friday, November 25, 2011

A moveable feast

From 1957 and 1960 the American author, Ernest Hemingway, recorded his memories of living in Paris between 1921 and 1925 published as A moveable feast. In one of the later chapters of the book  Hemingway describes a conversion with the bar chef at the Ritz bar where he is asked to describe the writer Scott Fitzgerald. He answers, " I am going to write something about him in a book that I will write about the early days in Paris. ... I will put him in exactly as I remember him the first time that I met him." Scot Fitgerald had recently completed The Great Gatsby when Hemingway met him. He also writes about other authors  that he met in Paris during this time including Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound, James Joyce and Wyndham Lewis and also mentions artists such as Pablo Picasso.

The book in part describes the life of a young writer with a wife and child living in and enjoying life in Paris with little money as Hemingway works at the craft of writing, initially as a journalist but then as a writer of short stories and eventually a novel. The book is also about Paris and its cafe culture and other cultural pursuits in the 1920s.

The title of the book comes from a conversation that Hemingway had with a friend in 1950 - "If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast".

In 2011 the film, Midnight in Paris, captures much of the lifestyle and atmosphere of Paris in this period as writer, Gil Pender, explores the streets of Paris at night and at midnight is transported back to the Paris of the 1920s where he meets the writers, artists and musicians enjoying the many bars, cafes and salons around Montmatre. The film was reviewed in At the Movies

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