In 1964, Ernest Hemingway published a collection of his writings about his life in Paris during the 1920s. At that time, the future famous author worked as a newspaper correspondent in the City of Light in order to make a living and develop his writing talent at the same time. His situation in life, along with his wife and newborn son, is described by himself as poor, but in reality, it simply reflects the humble beginnings of some of the famous American writers who entered the pantheon of literature in the past century.
Hemingway was fortunate enough to live in a golden age of the French capital, which, unlike previous eras, had plenty of intellectual protagonists who had arrived from abroad without having any particular contact with French culture and without ever becoming part of it in a meaningful way. This change, which occurred at the beginning of the 20th century, perhaps made Paris a “double” city, which develops economically and intellectually as two distinct, parallel worlds that almost never meet. One is the world of natives, or French people, or those who have deeply assimilated French culture and become carriers of it, while the other is that of “foreign” residents, who, by maintaining their own culture, are inspired by the life of the city itself in order to create.
This atmosphere, of the American-centric society of the artists of 1920s Paris, is conveyed with Hemingway’s captivating pen, who has a special ability to become particularly descriptive in his speech through the presentation of a series of details that compose each image and scene. Main characters, aside from the author himself and his family, are F. Scott Fitzgerald and Zelda Fitzgerald, a couple with whom they maintained very close relationships, as well as Gertrude Stein. Other famous English-speaking writers who lived in Paris at that time are also mentioned, such as James Joyce and Ezra Pound.
That golden age, which gathered not only American writers but also a series of other artists in Paris, was also the inspiration for Woody Allen’s famous film, “Midnight in Paris,” which is essentially inspired by Hemingway’s book, following his descriptions in terms of direction and narration, placing the character of the author in a central role, so that he can convey his thoughts in a way that corresponds, perhaps even in a caricatured way, to his characteristic prose.
The book was published three years after Hemingway’s death, by his widow Mary Hemingway, and in 2010, after a review of the author’s original manuscripts, a revised, re-examined edition was released. The latest edition is published in the original English language by Scribner, under the original title “A Moveable Feast”.