mercoledì, gennaio 02, 2019

Walks in Hemingway's Paris A Guide to Paris for the Literary Traveler by Noel Riley Fitch

If you search for a literary guide there is nothing better than this book published (it's out-of-print, but you will find with simplicity used copies) by St.Martin's Press Walks in Hemingway's Paris A Guide to Paris for the Literary Traveler by Noel Riley Fitch. 


"There is a magic in the name of France. It is the magic like the smell of the sea or the sight of blue hills. It is a very old magic" wrote once Hemingway.

Paris: a city for every person; every generation tells its story, different and similar at the past one but unique and with other problems.


Paris is modern, old, she searches for the new but remains enchantingly unique and also if time passes by the city never changes completely. As Hemingway wrote: "There is never any ending to Paris and the memory of each person who has lived in it differs from that of any other."

Later, more famous, he would have said of Paris: "She is like a mistress who does not grow old and she has other lovers now."

Ernest Hemingway spent a lot of years to Paris, and so Noel Riley Fitch, also author of Sylvia Beach and the Lost Generation decided to follow his steps for discovering his city, his Paris, his favorite places. It's  a Paris this one populated by writers, good food, beautiful scenarios, creativity.

This city more than other ones, marked the best part of Hemingway's existence, where excesses, good wine, were also part of his life as a journalist and writer. He arrived to Paris as a correspondent for the Toronto Star in 1921.
Paris started to be a magnet for all that Americans tired of the prohibitionism and ready to embrace a new culture, more relaxed and opened.
In this sense, Paris was the American cultural center of Europe where most of the new prominent authors and painters decided to buying a house or spend a long time in. 

Gertrude Stein, Francis Scott Fitzgerald (more devoted to the Riviera), James Joyce, Ezra Pound, Sylvia Beach, Robert MacAlmon, William Bird, Pablo Picasso, and many others were in the french capital. Not only: they helped each others, they bettered their existences thanks to mutual help, strong connections.

Ernest Hemingway was a social man and he made good friendship immediately with everyone with great simplicity. He became good friend with Gertrude Stein and her companion. Gertrude Stein read what he wrote, suggesting him where to better his writings; they experienced big discussions when Hemingway described a scene he lived at the house of these two lesbian friends in one of his books. Stein was furios.
In another episode Gertrude and Ernest discussed about sex and when Hemingway left told that she was an "old bitch."

One of Hemingway's best friends in Paris was Francis Scott Fitzgerald. The wife of Fitzgerald suspected a sexual intercourse between her husband and Ernest Hemingway because of their great friendship. The two shared experiences, a lot of wine and excesses because of it and company. The intellectual honesty of Ernest Hemingway was cause of problems with the Fitzgeralds as well.
Hemingway started pretty early to develop a series of injuries that would have characterized all his life.

Sylvia Beach and Shakespeare and Company open on 1919 (this year the store will celebrate 100 years spent promoting culture, reading, books, culture, good books. hospitality) were crucials for Hemingway.





 Beach was a great friend to him, lending him wagons of books of the most diversified authors, and helping him in different ways. Not only: Hemingway would have become crucial once published the Ulysses by Joyce for the American distribution of the copies. This book was banned iI the USA. 
Ernest signed also a petition for helping Sylvia Beach when pirated copies of Ulysses appeared to the horizon. Hemingway won't forget also the new Shakespeare and Company. Once, close to it Gabriel Garcia Marquez at that time a 29 years old reporter dreaming to become a writer seeing Hemingway cried: Maestro!!!  without receiving any attention from him. 



Being a social man you will find in this book a lot of restaurants, cafès, where he loved to writing down his thoughts, bookshops visited by the writer, including his various houses and the one of his friends; Francis Scott Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound, Beach-Monnier, Pablo Picasso, and many others.

Hemingway's connections about journalism.
You will find the history of some newsmagazines, popular in the past, let's mention the International Herald Tribune and the places where they were located in.


If you plan a trip to Paris, and if you love literature, and a romantic, bohemienne atmosphere this one is an indispensible tool for discovering places forgotten by the common tourism.

Truly enchanting, I hope that St.Martin's Press will print this book again.


Anna Maria Polidori 

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