Friday, July 07, 2006

Hemingway in Paris

Hemingway's passport photo

The Moveable Feast was written by Ernest Hemingway soon before he died in 1961 about his expatriate years in Paris in the 1920s.

Hemingway's apartment at 74 rue de cardinal Lemoine

It is an interesting account of life in Paris with wife Hadley and his relationships with other expatriates referred to as "The Lost Generation" by Gertrude Stein, including Ford Madox Ford, TS Eliot, Ezra Pound, F. Scott Fitzgerald and his wife Zelda.

I spent some time in May retracing Hemingway's steps between his apartment at rue de cardinal Lemoine and Gertrude Stein's apartment on the other side of the Luxembourg Gardens, 27 rue de Fleurus.

Gertrude Stein's apartment at 27 rue de Fleurus

Ernest and Hadley spent quite a bit of time with the daunting Stein in her apartment filled with original artwork by their contemporary Picasso and others. Stein told Hemingway to invest in art, though he had barely enough money to keep his wife and himself fed.

Here is an excerpt from A Moveable Feast:

"Then there was the bad weather. It would come in one day when the fall was over. We would have to shut the windows in the night against the rain and the cold wind would strip the leaves from the trees in the Place Contrescarpe. The leaves lay sodden in the rain and the wind drove the rain against the big green autobus at the terminal and the Café des Amateurs was crowded and the windows misted over from the heat and the smoke inside. It was a sad, evilly run café where the drunkards of the quarter crowded together and I kept away from it because of the smell of dirty bodies and the sour smell of drunkenness."

Place Contrescarpe in May

Posted by Picasa Players of a game similar to bocci ball called petanque in the Luxembourg Gardens, which lay between Stein's and Hemingway's apartments


Ginnie said...

I so love how you make these connections, Ruth, not only between people but between streets and buildings in Paris. It sure makes getting to know/love that city much easier!

Mei Shile said...

I don't know very much about Hemingway and didn't know he lived for some times in Paris. What I knew mostly about him was in his older life: Cuba, the Carribeans, macho sports, etc. His period corresponding to the The Old Man and the Sea which is his only work from him I knew

Ruth said...

Thank you, Ginnie. Deconstructing, yes?

Mei Shile, I think you would find Hemingway's reminiscences interesting from such a vulnerable time in his life.

Rauf said...

They all love to be in Paris don't they ? Perhaps for more inspiration. There is love, there is pain, they find every nook and corner romantic. They push the level of expectations so high that nothing comes up to their satisfaction and end their own lives.

Ruth said...

Rauf, it's fascinating to imagine life through someone else's experience. And how can we even begin to do it!? I can barely understand my own self.

rachel said...

I just found out that a friend of mine, Lynn, lived in Paris for three years when her, now 22years old, son was only 3. She is an artist, and just yesterday invited me to become a member of her artists club! I don't know if it has a name yet, but I am so excited! Next month we are going to a bead show together and then later to a fabrics show. Each art session, one of the artists teaches a class to the others on a specific modality.

Ruth said...

Rachel, I love this idea of an artist cooperative. I've encouraged Lesley to find something like that in NYC.

Mrs. M. said...

Today is his birthday. Are you going to celebrate?!

Ruth said...

Mrs. M., thanks for the heads up! I hadn't noted that at all! We'll drink to him at dinner.

Imemine said...

You just reminded me to read Hemmingway. I have a copy of "The Old Man and the Sea" in my computer and a book whose title I forgot.
Thank you for sharing this.

Ruth said...

Imemine, welcome! I know what you mean, we read Hemingway, and then forget about him. Then pull him out again.