A Moveable Feast

by Ernest Hemingway

Paperback, 1996

Call number

FIC HEM

Collection

Publication

Scribner (1996), Edition: Reprint, 211 pages

Description

Published posthumously in 1964, A Moveable Feast remains one of Ernest Hemingway's most beloved works. It is his classic memoir of Paris in the 1920s, filled with irreverent portraits of other expatriate luminaries such as F. Scott Fitzgerald and Gertrude Stein; tender memories of his first wife, Hadley; and insightful recollections of his own early experiments with his craft. It is a literary feast, brilliantly evoking the exuberant mood of Paris after World War I and the youthful spirit, unbridled creativity, and unquenchable enthusiasm that Hemingway himself epitomized.

Media reviews

Important note!: this review is of the edition that Hemingway's grandson revised because he didn't like the original's contents. Hotchner argues for ignoring this edition in favor of the original. "The grandson has removed several sections of the book’s final chapter and replaced them with
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other writing of Hemingway’s that the grandson feels paints his grandma in a more sympathetic light. Ten other chapters that roused the grandson’s displeasure have been relegated to an appendix." "All publishers, Scribner included, are guardians of the books that authors entrust to them. Someone who inherits an author’s copyright is not entitled to amend his work. There is always the possibility that the inheritor could write his own book offering his own corrections. Ernest was very protective of the words he wrote, words that gave the literary world a new style of writing. Surely he has the right to have these words protected against frivolous incursion, like this reworked volume that should be called “A Moveable Book.” I hope the Authors Guild is paying attention."
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5 more
He is gentle, wistful, and almost nostalgic. One writer friend once described Hemingway to me as "that bully" and in many ways my friend was right. Hemingway had created his own public personae that included a brusque way of conducting himself; of a kind of machismo that would be called out for
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what it was these days; and an insensitivity to other people that bordered on the cruel. A lot of that 'Grace under pressure" is crap, and in his better moments, Heminway probably knew that. But the stories in A Moveable Feast belie all that. He remembers those days in Paris with a fondness and kindness that is remarkable, considering his usual public displays.
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Ernest was very protective of the words he wrote, words that gave the literary world a new style of writing. Surely he has the right to have these words protected against frivolous incursion, like this reworked volume that should be called “A Moveable Book.”
For that voice of a shattered Hemingway alone, the new edition of A Moveable Feast is worth taking note of. Otherwise, what I'm calling the "classic" edition is the more coherent narrative.
"Though this may seem at first blush a fragmentary book, it is not so. It should be read as a novel, belongs among the author's better works and is, as 'mere writing,' vintage Hemingway."
"Here is Hemingway at his best. No one has ever written about Paris in the nineteen twenties as well as Hemingway."

User reviews

LibraryThing member phebj
A Moveable Feast is Hemingway’s bittersweet memoir of the years (1921-1926) he spent in Paris married to his first wife, Hadley Richardson. These were the years before his big success as a writer (“when we were very poor and very happy”) and a beautiful rich young woman, named Pauline
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Pfeiffer, ruined it all.

Paris is where Hemingway met writers such as Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound (“the man who . . . taught me to distrust adjectives as I would later learn to distrust certain people”) and F. Scott Fitzgerald, and developed his understated writing style. One of the things I loved about this book was Hemingway’s obvious passion for the craft of writing. These are some of the comments I flagged about his writing:

"After writing a story I was always empty and both sad and happy, as though I had made love."

"All you have to do is write one true sentence."

". . . my new theory that you could omit anything if you knew that you omitted and the omitted part would strengthen the story and make people feel something more than they understood."

"Since I had started to break down all my writing and get rid of all facility and try to make instead of describe, writing had been wonderful to do. But it was very difficult, and I did not know how I would ever write anything as long as a novel. It often took me a full morning of work to write a paragraph."

Besides his writing, it is also clear that he loved Hadley but that didn’t preclude him from falling in love with Pauline Pfeiffer, a wealthy American who arrived in Paris to work for Vogue. After a rendezvous with Pauline, Hemingway writes wistfully about returning to Hadley: “When I saw my wife again standing by the tracks as the train came in . . . at the station, I wished I had died before I ever loved anyone but her.”

I had trouble enjoying Hemingway’s writing in For Whom the Bell Tolls but for the most part I loved it in this book. The “for the most part” is why I didn’t give it 5 stars. Occasionally, I think he omitted too much and I couldn’t follow what he was trying to convey. Overall, I would highly recommend this book and I plan on re-reading it.
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LibraryThing member gbill
“A Moveable Feast” is not Hemingway’s best work: it was published posthumously which is never a good thing, and was written over 1957-1960, long after his experiences in 1921-1926 France. As he himself said, “write when there is something that you know; and not before; and not too damned
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much after.” For the first half of the book or so, I was thinking my rating would be below average. It grew on me though.

Hemingway’s description of a road trip he took with F. Scott Fitzgerald, as well as Fitzgerald’s unhealthy relationship with his wife Zelda, is in particular memorable. Along the way he also describes visiting Gertrude Stein and overhearing an emotional scene with her lesbian lover, the generosity of Ezra Pound in forming the Bel Esprit, and bringing opium to Ralph Cheever Dunning only to have Dunning pelt him with milk bottles, among other things. There are some nine photos included as well which is a nice touch, it adds to the feeling that you are sitting around the elderly Hemingway as he tells the stories of his youth. He would commit suicide a year later.

Quotes:
On Paris, and what prompts the title:
“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.”

On adultery:
“First it is stimulating and fun and it goes on that way for a while. All things truly wicked start from an innocence. So you live day by day and enjoy what you have and do not worry. You lie and hate it and it destroys you and every day is more dangerous, but you live day to day as in war.”

On the Russians:
“In Dostoyevsky there were things believable and not to be believed, but some so true that they changed you as you read them; frailty and madness, wickedness and saintliness, and the insanity of gambling were there to know as you knew the landscape and the roads in Turgenev, and the movement of troops, the terrain and the officers and the men and the fighting in Tolstoi.”

On skiing:
“Skiing was not the way it is now, the spinal fracture had not become common then, and no one could afford a broken leg. There were no ski patrols. Anything you ran down from, you had to climb up. That gave you legs that were fit to run down with.”

On spotting a beautiful girl in a café:
“…I watched the girl whenever I looked up, or when I sharpened the pencil with a pencil sharpener with the shavings curling into the saucer under my drink.
I’ve seen you, beauty, and you belong to me now, whoever you are waiting for and if I never see you again, I thought. You belong to me and all Paris belongs to me and I belong to this notebook and this pencil.”

On talent (Fitzgerald’s):
“His talent was as natural as the pattern that was made by the dust on a butterfly’s wings. At one time he understood it no more than the butterfly did and he did not know when it was brushed or marred. Later he became conscious of his damaged wings and of their construction and he learned to think and could not fly any more because the love of flight was gone and he could only remember when it had been effortless.”

On writing:
“Do not worry. You have always written before and you will write now. All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.”

On youth:
“I had to try to think it out and I was too stupid. Life had seemed so simple that morning when I had wakened and found the false spring and heard the pipes of the man with his herd of goats and gone out and bought the racing paper.
But Paris was a very old city and we were young and nothing was simple there, not even poverty, nor sudden money, nor the moonlight, nor right and wrong nor the breathing of someone who lay beside you in the moonlight.”
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LibraryThing member Poquette
I loved this book!

This is a memoir of Hemingway's early years in Paris of the 1920s. In many ways it seems like a collection of short stories. Each chapter has the unity and feel of an intimate first person narrative, yet in this case the characters and events are real. Even though it was
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published posthumously, Hemingway had edited and reedited the chapters so that they were fairly well finished and almost suitable for publication.

Between his encounters with Gertrude Stein, Silvia Beach, Ezra Pound and F. Scott Fitzgerald, and others, we get a feel for his life as a writer, where he worked and why, his discipline, the way he honed his style. Sometimes he wrote in cafés, especially in winter where it was warm, but otherwise he rented a room at the top of a cheap hotel where he could work undisturbed. Hemingway admits that he had a short temper as a young man, and it angered him when someone came into "his" café where he had staked out his writing territory and insisted on prattling on and on when it was clear he was working and wanted the interloper to clear off.

He first met Gertrude Stein while strolling in the Luxembourg Gardens. They became friendly and she let him know she was at home every day after five in winter. She was a great talker and had many prejudices about other writers, depending on whether they spoke favorably about her work or not. Hemingway credits her with coining the term "lost generation."

The first time he went to Shakespeare and Company, Sylvia Beach's bookshop — which also had a large lending library, Hemingway had no money with him, and she very kindly registered him, sent him away with an armload of books and trusted him to pay the rental fee later. This was before he had written anything but the journalistic pieces for foreign newspapers that paid his bills, so he was like any stranger coming in off the street.

Ezra Pound was a saint in Hemingway's eyes. He was ". . . the man I liked and trusted the most as a critic then, the man who believed in the mot juste — the one and only correct word to use — the man who had taught me to distrust adjectives . . ."

F. Scott Fitzgerald, who is the subject of the longest piece in the book, was one of Hemingway's closest friends, although I cannot think why based on Hemingway's own characterization. Fitzgerald actually made him quite angry the time they went down to Lyon by train to pick up Scott's car, which had been left there because of bad weather on account of its not having a top. Things got off to a rocky start when Fitzgerald missed the train. A flurry of wires back and forth got them together in Lyon where Fitzgerald immediately showed his hypochondria, going straight to bed and demanding that Hemingway go out and get him a thermometer — never mind that the pharmacy was closed. He insisted he was dying of pneumonia even though his forehead was cool to the touch and he showed no signs of distress other than having had too much to drink.

So Ezra Pound was a saint, but Wyndham Lewis had the appearance of the devil. Ford Madox Ford behaved like a stuffed shirt (my words) and Ernest Walsh, a poet, was a bit of a con man, promising a thousand-dollar literary award to both Pound and Hemingway, and possibly also to James Joyce. Hemingway doesn't say whether anyone ever got the money!

Hemingway prematurely gave up his journalistic income to devote full time to writing, and this meant that he and his wife Hadley went through some lean and hungry times. They both loved the horse races, and in those days a lot of doping was going on, and the savvy horse player could do well. Hemingway eventually gave up the gambling for several reasons, but the most important was that it ate into his writing time too much.

On one occasion Hemingway had been staying and working down in Lausanne where Hadley was to join him later for a holiday. As a surprise, she had packed up all his yet to be published manuscripts so he could work on them. Her bag was stolen at the Gare de Lyon. When Hemingway later realized that "typescripts and carbons" were in that suitcase, the loss was devastating. It took him a while before he could pick up a pen to write again.

Hemingway's "stories" about his life in and sometimes out of Paris in the early twenties are just wonderful. He puts the reader right there in the milieu of the Left Bank. If one knows Paris at all and is interested in the time of the lost generation, A Moveable Feast should be a very satisfying read.
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LibraryThing member kambrogi
This brief memoir was assembled from Hemingway’s notes and first draft by his fourth wife after his death. It was absolutely perfect for me after a run of long, complex, wordy and dramatically intense novels. I especially enjoyed Hemingway’s characteristically clean, crisp style, the work of a
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man who set out each day to write “one true sentence.” There is no clutter here, either in subject matter or in language.

Hemingway evokes his time as a young man in Europe, especially in Paris, in a way that is tender and moving, and I felt that I'd been there, too. He also paints portraits of others who passed through at the same time – F Scott Fitzgerald and his wife Zelda, Gertrude Stein and her partner Alice B. Toklas, Ezra Pound and James Joyce, as well as Hemingway’s first wife Hadley, and many others.

I liked the first part of the book best, when his memories are in softer focus, less laden with bitterness or judgment. That comes out later, yet there is still a marvelous evocation of a time and place in marvelous detail. We are privileged to see people we’ve only seen in archival photos, perhaps famous and successful but long since dead. Here, they were still young, struggling to make their way and assert their opinions, yet fearful of failure. It is touching and beautiful, even when it is sad in a way that only regret can be. A truly fine reading experience.
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LibraryThing member nigeyb
Published posthumously in 1964, and edited from his manuscripts and notes by his widow and fourth wife, Mary Hemingway, and then revised by his grandson Seán Hemingway, "A Moveable Feast" is a memoir by Ernest Hemingway about his years in Paris as part of a group of expatriate writers in the
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1920s. The book includes references to, or meetings with, Gertrude Stein, Ford Madox Ford, Aleister Crowley, Ezra Pound, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Sylvia Beach, James Joyce amongst others, and details of how his first marriage deteriorated.

There are a surprisingly high number of very positive reviews and ratings for this book. I say surprisingly because, if you are interested in the names and locations of bars, cafés and hotels in Paris, and the locations where Ernest Hemingway's friends and acquaintances lived, along with plenty of inconsequential dialogue and tedious detail then you're in luck. You will probably find much to love in this book - and, as I state, plenty of readers appear to find this content very agreeable. To me, it read like a rather boring diary of someone who got progressively more tedious and objectionable the more I read. Was Ernest Hemingway really a crashing bore? Was he generally mean spirited about people who seem to regard him as a friend? I don't really care, however this is the strong impression I came away with having read this memoir.

I have only read one other book by Ernest Hemingway - "For Whom the Bell Tolls". It was much better that this. Much better. That's not to say it was wonderful but it was interesting and compelling and well worth reading if you are interested in The Spanish Civil War. "A Moveable Feast", however, is really just very dull, unless you happen to be interested in the minutiae of Ernest Hemingway's day-to-day life in Paris in the 1920s.

There's a fascinating book to be written about this era in Paris - this is not it. For hardcore fans only.
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LibraryThing member MrsLee
Is this fiction, or isn't it? Are not all memoirs fiction to some degree, based on fallible individual memory? Hemmingway said this is a work of fiction. Meant to evoke the time, the place and the people of that time. Was this a kindness on his part, to soften some of the stark words within?
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Perhaps. Whatever it is, he does a masterful job of taking the reader to the Paris of the 1920s. He gives insight into how and why he wrote the way he did. All very interesting and a book to keep on the shelf.
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LibraryThing member Eyejaybee
I have to confess that I have never understood the acclaim afforded to Ernest Hemigway, and this book has done nothing to assuage my doubts. I know that he is revered as one of the great writers of the twentieth century, and seen as some sort of embodiment of the writer as a man of action, but his
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works simply leave me cold.

I was looking forward to this account of his life in Paris between the World Wars. After all, with such a setting, and the added frisson afforded by accounts of F. Scott Fitzgerald (one of my all-time literary heroes), how could the book fail to enthral? Well, somehow, it managed to overcome the integral advantages, and somehow claw back defeat from the jaws of victory.

The foreword and preface to this edition, written by one of Hemingway’s sons, and one of his grandsons, made much play of the considerable efforts to edit the manuscript undertaken by Mary, Hemingway’s final wife, and the rest of the family. I must say that if this manuscript was the consequence of intense and dedicated editing, I dread to think how dreadful the original must have been.

Far from an enlightening selection of memoirs recounting scintillating encounters between prominent figures of the world of the arts, it is a series of inconsequential and rambling recollections of tedious meetings, recounted in appalling, inchoate prose. I think we would all have been better served if this book had been edited through the medium of a shredding machine.
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LibraryThing member laytonwoman3rd
Hemingway's memoir of living in Paris among the ex-pats in the 1920's, written much later and published posthumously. It's a lovely read, presenting us with a gentle romantic picture of what life was like when you were young, in love and could live on next-to-nothing. Even though this is clearly
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based on his life with his first wife, and the people are all real and the names have not been changed (Fitzgerald, Joyce, Gertrude Stein, Sylvia Beach) the Scribner Classics edition contains this amazing disclaimer: "This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents either are products of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental." Hemingway himself, in the preface (written in 1960), puts it a bit differently: "If the reader prefers, this book may be regarded as fiction." Hemingway was a great one for the "truth" of things. So, did it all really happen the way he tells it, or didn't it? The principals are all dead now, so we'll never really know for sure. But isn't it pretty to think so?
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LibraryThing member rlbenavides
It is a very intriguing prospect, to dive inside the mind of an author I admire, if only for the span of a novel, and therefore I thoroughly enjoyed Ernest Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast. Hemingway’s style was revolutionary in its time—straightforward, precise, and virtually without unique
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diction or extra description. And yet, for a man who wrote seemingly so little, he conveyed more ideas and established more themes in A Farewell to Arms than I expected when I read it last year, and this memoir that I read this summer was a deeper look at how he accomplished this.
The fact that the setting of most of the memoir is Paris, in which he inhabited in the 1920’s with so many other American authors of his time (the “Lost Generation”, as they were called because they had become disenchanted by American society and therefore had chosen to move), gives the work so much charm just in the first few chapters. It is also interesting to see, through Hemingway’s eyes, some of his peers, especially F. Scott Fitzgerald, as I also enjoyed The Great Gatsby in American Literature last year. Interestingly enough, Hemingway is not impressed with Fitzgerald, and his reason for that gained him some more respect from me. While he saw Fitzgerald writing solely for money, he prided himself on how much he enjoyed the process of writing. He made rules for himself of when he could write, he devised ways of saving his mind between writing sessions so no ideas would be lost, and quite frankly, though he was very poor during this time period, this memoir is written with contentment.
Hemingway is the epitome of never letting success get in the way of passion, and because of that, I have added more of his novels to my reading list. I believe that when an author truly loves to write, it shows in his or her work. My favorite part of this novel, however, was when, rather bluntly (as is his way), Hemingway admits why he uses such straightforward diction. He writes what he knows to be a correct statement, and then expands from there. How simple a layout, but I guess this is why his words hit home with me so often. Yes, he creates plotlines that are open to interpretation based on the reader but underneath all of that, there is a foundation of truth.
So, in this memoir that I picked up at my local used bookstore and only read out of slight curiosity, I found the inner thoughts of an author so original and revolutionary, and yet so content with himself and the way that he wrote, that it inspires me to further devise my own writing style. It won’t be like Hemingway’s, but I hope that when I have a clear idea of it, I will be just as happy picking up a pen as he was.
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LibraryThing member msf59
Hemingway in Paris. How irresistible. This beautifully rendered memoir, looks back to the early 20s, as the young writer, married with a small child, struggles to pay the rent in the City of Light. He also drinks and socializes with the most renowned talent of the day, including, Gertrude Stein,
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Ezra Pound, Ford Maddox Ford and most memorably F. Scott Fitzgerald.
I’ve seen some reviews, where it’s mentioned that this slim book does not compare to his acclaimed fiction. Well, so what! This is a rare glimpse at a writer’s life, told by the aging author himself, in simple but exquisite detail. My only issue, is that it’s such a short work.
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LibraryThing member nittnut
This is the absolutely most charming thing I have ever read by Ernest Hemingway. We visit Paris in the early 1920's, where he is living and attempting to make a living as a writer. He is married to his first wife and their first child has been born. He is young, happy, productive (most of the time)
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charming and witty. He lunches, dines and has drinks with Gertrude Stein, Ford Maddox Ford and James Joyce and takes a road trip with F. Scott Fitzgerald. The collection of anecdotes about these well known authors and his experiences with them add so much to the book.
We are getting to know Hemingway, but through him, a different side of other well known authors of the time. I wished it were longer, but I think the stories become sad and for that, we have The Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway, do we not?

Quotes:

It was a very Corsican wine and you could dilute it by half with water and still receive its message.

If a man liked his friends' painting or writing, I thought it was probably like those people who like their families, and it was not polite to criticize them.

In Dostoyevsky there were things believable and not to be believed, but some so true they changed you as you read them; frailty and madness, wickedness and saintliness, and the insanity of gambling were there to know as you knew the landscape and the roads in Turgenev, and the movement of troops, the terrain and the officers and the men and the fighting in Tolstoi.
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LibraryThing member Carmenere
I’ve just spent a lovely sojourn with Ernest Hemingway. Oh, I know he has been deceased for fifty years, but that is of no consequence. You see, he spoke to me. He returned to life once again in his memoir A Moveable Feast. As I read this enjoyable memoir I felt as if he wanted to share stories
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of a particularly happy time in his life and as we dined at Michaud’s in Paris or downed cocktails at The Closerie des Lilas, the nearest good café when he lived at 113 rue Notre-Dame-des-Champs, Hem shared with me his writing techniques. Especially important was to “Write the truest sentence that you know.” He talked of his friendships with Gertrude Stein and Ezra Pound. His recollections of Ford Madox Ford were particularly amusing as was his road trip with Scott Fitzgerald. Tatie, as his wife called him, displays a delightfully mischievous sense of humor and I could almost detect a sparkle in his eye as he recalled the good times they shared. I got the impression that he regretted that their life together, that the luck which kept the good times coming, came to a conclusion. As Hemingway wrote this, I can’t help but wonder if the underlying sadness I perceived contributed to his death.
Would I recommend it…………………Absolutely! I’m willing to bet that when you lift the cover off of this book, Hem will talk to you too. This one will hold a permanent place on my bookshelf.
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LibraryThing member Clara53
In the Preface, Hemingway writes: "If the readers prefer, this book may be regarded as fiction. But there is always the chance that such a book of fiction may throw light on what has been written as fact".... One feels intrigued and disappointed at the same time about such a statement. But one
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reads eagerly nonetheless. Because right from the start, Hemingway's way of narration flows so easily, not overrun by flowery metaphors and yet so compelling. A certain unavoidable feeling of rhythm to his writing. Yes, probably romanticized a bit - or even more than a bit! - it having been written so much later in life, but I couldn't let that bother me: the writing was just too good.

During these years in Paris (1920s), still as a young writer, Hemingway encounters interesting personalities and describes them to the fullest: Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound and Scott Fitzgerald are in particular given colorful portraits. Also, I couldn't help being impressed at his fascination with the Russian writers - Turgenev, Tolstoi, Dostoyevsky:

"From the day I had found Sylvia Beach's library, I had read all of Turgenev, what had been published in English by Gogol,... translations of Tolstoi and Chekhov.... In Dostoyevsky there were things believable and not to be believed, but some so true they changed you as you read them; frailty and madness, wickedness and saintliness, and the sanity of gambling were there to know as you knew the landscape and the roads in Turgenev, and the movement of troops , the terrain and the officers and the men and the fighting in Tolstoi.... To have come on all this new world of writing, with time to read in a city like Paris where there was a way of living well and working, no matter how poor you were, was like having a great treasure given to you."

Strangely enough, there is only faint mention of Hemingway's wife Hadley and their child in the whole of the narration. She comes through as a pale background to all his wanderings on Paris streets and meetings at cafes. Her portrayal (or what there is of it) is very sweet and genuine in the few words that the writer allots her, but not sufficiently "real" for a constant companion. He gives much more colorful description to the character of Zelda Fitzgerald (who, as he witnessed, turned out to be a bad influence on her husband) than to his own wife.

As for Scott Fitzgerald, his portrait is probably the most revealing. At first we see certain contradiction of attitude during their first meeting, during their unusual and troublesome car trip, but little by little (and especially after reading "The Great Gatsby") Hemingway puts aside the weird idiosyncrasies of the man, his hypochondriac character, his problems with his wife Zelda - to give him full credit as a great writer - and gives himself a promise to always be there for him.

Among the good times, there were bitter disappointments - like when all his manuscripts were lost in a robbery, and he had to start writing all anew. Or hardships - when he had to go hungry and "invent" meal invitations (while simply going on long walks and later retelling his wife at home the menus and what he ate at such "invitations") to save money on food. But the general feel to this time in Paris (as well as short trips and stays outside the city during the winter) is a good and treasured one, one that probably stayed with the author throughout his life.
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LibraryThing member GlennBell
Boring dribble about Hemingway and people he interacted with. Though the people were famous I really do not care what they had to eat and drink. A total piece of useless information. Sorry I wasted my time with this.
LibraryThing member laytonwoman3rd
Hemingway's memoir of living in Paris among the ex-pats in the 1920's, written much later and published posthumously. It's a lovely read, presenting us with a gentle romantic picture of what life was like when you were young, in love and could live on next-to-nothing. Even though this is clearly
Show More
based on his life with his first wife, and the people are all real and the names have not been changed (Fitzgerald, Joyce, Gertrude Stein, Sylvia Beach) the Scribner Classics edition contains this amazing disclaimer: "This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents either are products of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental." Hemingway himself, in the preface (written in 1960), puts it a bit differently: "If the reader prefers, this book may be regarded as fiction." Hemingway was a great one for the "truth" of things. So, did it all really happen the way he tells it, or didn't it? The principals are all dead now, so we'll never really know for sure. But isn't it pretty to think so?
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LibraryThing member lisapeet
My god, they were so young. I mean, I know this intellectually, but to read this is to really get the full sense of literary boyishness. Your 20s are your 20s no matter what era, no matter which arondissement, and there is something very sweet about this book for just that reason. Boys bragging,
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boys fronting, boys writing. The whiff of youthful exuberance here is a little intoxicating, feels good; this is well worth reading, or rereading. I'm glad I didn't even think about the updated version.

This is a hardcover I bought for $2 or $3 on the street in 2009 or so, but I'd never looked inside until I opened it to read. I noticed that it had the original Book-of-the-Month Club insert inside, so I checked the front matter and hey! -- looks like I've got myself a first American BOMC edition (it came out in London a bit earlier in 1964). Not worth much, and it's in pretty lowly shape, but that still made me happy, and gave it a little extra gravitas.
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LibraryThing member rmckeown
Part One: The Original

I love Paris in the summer, in the spring, and in the winter. Before each and every trip there, I re-read Hemingway’s great work on his years in Paris between the wars. When I heard about the restored edition, I could not wait to compare it to the version I know and love.
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First, I re-read the original.

This memoir never grows old. Someday I want to spend a long period of time in Paris, and wander through the streets and visit the cafes Hemingway mentions. Some of them I have sat in and watched the boulevardiers pass along with strolling musicians, magicians, and mimes. I always made time to have a drink at Aux du Magots – a favorite hangout of writers, artists, and philosophers. Montmartre, the artist’s quarter, also played a role in his story. I still love this book.

Part Two: The Restored

Two chapters have been moved another two deleted and replaced with another two. Other than that not many changes to the book. A casual reader might barely notice the differences. The additional chapter on F. Scott Fitzgerald added another incident to that tragic life. The chapter entitled “The Education of Mr. Brumby,” Hemingway and Hadley’s son, was interesting, because it revealed something of Hemingway as the doting father.

The best part of the revisions, however, came in a collection of fragments not included in the earlier version. One involved Hemingway’s assignment to follow a young Canadian boxer fighting for the first time in France. Another involved numerous fragments of a preface, which he never finished. The stops and starts and restarts of these show an interesting insight into the process of writing. The introduction provides a history of the manuscript. Apparently, Hemingway worked on this while he was in Paris between the wars, then lost track of it until the late 50s. He was still revising the manuscript when he died in 1961.

As I said, one of my all-time favorites, and the new material hasn’t changed my mind about that. If you plan on visiting Paris, read it on the plane to France. Make some notes and visit some of the places which are still there, visit some new spots, and you can create your own “Moveable Feast.” 5 stars

--Jim, 11/29/09
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LibraryThing member bookworm12
"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 general I'm not a huge fan of Hemingway. I've read For Whom the Bell Tolls, Farewell to Arms, The Old Man and the Sea, The Sun Also
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Rises and True at First Light, so I have a decent view of his breadth of work. It always seems stilted to me. I feel distant from whatever is happening. The plot is too simple or I don't feel connected to the characters, especially the women, who are apparently only there to serve the men. I've enjoyed some of his books, but wouldn't say I love them.

The exception to that is A Moveable Feast, which is interesting because it's the only nonfiction book of his I've read. Hemingway wrote this about his early days as a writer when he was living in Paris with his wife Hadley in the 1920s. He was a struggling artist, spending his days writing in cafes and hanging out with his friends, Joyce, Pound and Fitzgerald to name a few.

I read this book shortly after moving back to the states from London. I had visited Paris multiple times while in Europe and the beauty of the city was still fresh in my mind. I'm sure that had a huge impact on my appreciation for the book, just as your personal experiences always have an effect on how you interpret what you're reading.

I don't think this is a perfect book. Many critique it for the rosy view of Hemingway and negative view of many others. But to me that's expected... Hemingway wrote it, take his words with a big grain of salt. Of course he's going to make himself look good and idealize that time period. The thing that hooked me is his description of the places and the people. It made me want to be there on the Left Bank perusing books in the Shakespeare and Co. or taking a road trip with Fitzgerald. Everything felt so real to me. It was the first time I felt completely drawn in to one of his books and I think it's because he was actually connected to that life, so he couldn't help pouring those feelings into the book.
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LibraryThing member jeniwren
Hemmingway wrote to 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.'

A delightful collection of memories from Hemmingway. This was one of his last books written about
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his time as a young man living in Paris with his first wife and young child. Life in Paris was cheap and it was here he found his vocation as a writer. He visits the same library as James Joyce, and meets fellow writers Scott Fitzgerald, Ezra Pound and Gertrude Stein.
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LibraryThing member VicCavalli
Hemingway's description of Scott Fitzgerald is my favorite paragraph in the book: "His talent was as natural as the pattern that was made by the dust on a butterfly's wings. At one time he understood it no more than the butterfly did and he did not know when it was brushed or marred. Later he
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became conscious of his damaged wings and of their construction and he learned to think and could not fly any more because the love of flight was gone and he could only remember when it had been effortless."
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LibraryThing member madepercy
I can't help thinking that "A Moveable Feast" is a kind of Facebook into Hemingway's Parisian past. Hemingway writes of himself and in particular, Scott Fitzgerald, as if he were posting on social media private details about a recent event. I don't mean to cheapen the work by comparing prosaic
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Facebook with Hemingway's genius but the raw public openness is analogous. I felt Hemingway's poor and happy nostalgia marks the end of his innocence and the very ending made me tingle all over - at once identifying with him while hoping it is all in the past. In short, a masterpiece.
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LibraryThing member queencersei
A Moveable Feast recounts Ernest Hemingway’s life in 1920’s Paris as a struggling young writer with his wife, Hadley and young son. Hemingway details meetings with such acquaintances as Ezra Pound, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Gertrude Stein. But what really makes A Moveable Feast shine is the
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minutiae of life that Hemingway is able to capture so well. His descriptions of food, drinks, random streets, shops and Parisian café’s are spot on and wonderful to read. A great novel doesn’t always have to center around a particular life changing event or a thick plot. A truly great writer can take the most mundane aspects of life and make it extraordinary. This intimate memoir serves to show why Hemingway is still regarded as a world renowned writer.
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LibraryThing member lycomayflower
Hemingway and I usually don't get along, mostly because his attitudes and writing style drive me up a tree. I mostly didn't have those problems with A Moveable Feast, which is a series of stories or vignettes in which Hemingway recalls his years in Paris in the twenties. Some passages here almost
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make me like the man, and some of the descriptions of how things were then and there, and how he felt, are lovely. Other passages hardly held my interest. One bit with Ford Madox Ford in a bar is hilarious. Another with F. Scott Fitzgerald is terribly sad. I almost feel I ought give Hemingway's fiction another go. Almost.
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LibraryThing member bonkers
My God, if you're a writer or hoping to be -- you will love this book! A short time ago I was rereading this, and I'm just struck by how enjoyable it is. Maybe it's even one of the reasons I set out to be a writer in the first place.

These are sketches of Hemingway's early days in Paris as he joined
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other expatriate writers and artists living there. Need I say more? How about that he recalls meeting the likes of Ezra Pound, Gertrude Stein, Scott Fitzgerald, and that the writing is quite beautifully understated and so easy to read.

What do I think of Hemingway, in general? In my opinion, he remains a model for that whole Raymond Chandler/James Cain school of noir writers.

Hemingway's short stories remain vital and are wonders of economy and understatement. If you pick up Hemingway's Collected Stories, here's a few I recommend:

"The Killers"

"A Clean, Well-lighted Place"

"Indian Camp"

"The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber"

Hemingway, more or less, invented "minimalism." Just remember that when you're reading Raymond Carver stories. Bukowski has said that Hemingway was his model, too (only that Buk's work is less crafted and more intentionally primitive -- and injected with more vulgarity and humor). That Hemingway-esque striped-down, simple use of language is something that we (as writers) should all try to go for. Simple is always better.

What's interesting about Hemingway is that his writing is minimal yet also concrete. He uses language to evoke the physical, tactile experience of his characters, which very unlike the work of most well-known minimalist writers like Chuck Palahniuk, whose work, in my opinion, is more sketchy, with characters who are less real and three-dimensional.

Hemingway's novels have aged less well, in my opinion. The descriptive parts in all his books remain beautiful, but the terse dialogue and macho posturing/simplicity has dated them. We hardly ever get inside the heads of the characters and are subjected to view them from the outside, understanding them only from their limited behavior and dialogue (like in a movie). Others might disagree with my assessment.

Getting back to Hemingway's A MOVEABLE FEAST, it's highly recommended for all the impractical dreamers out there, like myself, in love with the romance 1920s Paris and the "Writing Life."
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LibraryThing member marient
Published posthumously in 1964. The book is a memoir of his years in Paris in the 1920s and features glimpses of Scott Fitzgerals, Gertrude Stein and tender memories of his first wife, Hadley.

Pages

211

ISBN

068482499X / 9780684824994
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