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A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway

A Moveable Feast (edition 2008)

by Ernest Hemingway (Author)

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7,339152812 (3.98)1 / 444
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.… (more)
Title:A Moveable Feast
Authors:Ernest Hemingway (Author)
Info:Vintage/Ebury (a Division of Random (2008), Edition: 12000th, 181 pages
Collections:Your library

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A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway


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English (141)  Spanish (4)  Swedish (2)  Danish (2)  French (1)  Dutch (1)  Hebrew (1)  Portuguese (Brazil) (1)  All languages (153)
Showing 1-5 of 141 (next | show all)
The passages about Gertrude Stein and Fitzgerald and writing and Paris are fantastic. The stuff about horse racing and skiing vacations, much less so. But then, maybe that says more about my interests than anything else. ( )
  amydross | Feb 2, 2020 |
This memoir, published posthumously, covers Hemingway's early days in Paris, right after he decided to leave journalism to become a writer of fiction. He was married, a father, constantly writing, friends with some very intelligent and very successful writers (Gertrude Stein and Scott Fitzgerald), and - to use his words - "very poor and very happy." In this series of short essays, he sheds his skin to expose his heart.

I was struck with the sense that Hemingway found every day an adventure. He is constantly stringing together sentences as run-ons with the connectors of "but" and "and." It's like he is spinning some yarn and can't wait to get to the end. So he rushes and avoids the periods and the commas. He is ready to tell his tale no matter what comes. Such was his sense of determination to become a writer while in Paris.

It is good for this aspiring writer to read of his struggles. He knew not how to make money. He just worked on his craft. This is good advice for anyone starting off in any profession or station in life. Work on the craft; be dedicated to the work; hone your skills; don't be discouraged by rejection. Such was Hemingway's time in Paris, whose lesson of being "very poor and very happy" is the path to success. ( )
  scottjpearson | Jan 25, 2020 |
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 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. ( )
2 vote Eyejaybee | Sep 23, 2019 |
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 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. There is 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. ( )
1 vote Clara53 | Jun 10, 2019 |
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 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." ( )
1 vote VicCavalli | Dec 8, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 141 (next | show all)
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 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."
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 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.
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."
added by GYKM | editNew York Times, Lewis Galantiere (May 10, 1964)

» Add other authors (16 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Ernest Hemingwayprimary authorall editionscalculated
Fritz-Crone, PelleTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hemingway, MaryIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hemingway, PatrickForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hemingway, SeánEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schuck, MaryCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vandenbergh, JohnTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wildschut, MarjolijnAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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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. --Ernest Hemingway to a friend, 1950
First words
Then there was the bad weather.
When I saw my wife again standing by the tracks...I wished I had died before I ever loved anyone but her.
But this is how Paris was in the early days when we were very poor and very happy.
Work could cure almost anything, I believed then, and I believe now. Then all I had to be cured of, I decided Miss Stein felt, was youth and loving my wife.
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