Search Site
This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.


Paris Was Our Mistress

by Samuel Putnam

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
402632,503 (3.67)8
“A very distinguished sidelight on the passing literary scene, perceptive, humorous, entertaining, written by a critic and editor who was one of the group of which he writes.” —Kirkus.    

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 8 mentions

Showing 2 of 2
Literary and artistic Paris in the 1920s and 30s has developed into an interest for me. It's interesting to see how the same basic cast of characters changes with each telling of the same, but also not quite the same story. For the most part, the story was told by those (mostly American, with the exception of Jimmy the Barman who was a Brit) who made up the expat society -- those of the Dome and the other terraces in Montparnasse. A few, such as Sylvia Beach and Gertrude Stein, who did not frequent the bars also have told important stories. But there are only a few expats who actually spoke French and mixed with the French writers and artists. Sylvia Beach was one, and I have yet to read her memoir. Elliot Paul was another and his book, The Last Time I Saw Paris is probably the most charming of all the books I've read so far in that he doesn't talk at all about the other writers and expats, but just about the people who inhabited the small neighborhood where he lived. Kay Boyle, who, together with Robert McAlmon, describe their experience in the Paris of those years, spoke French, was married to a Frenchman, and had a very different experience of Paris than the rest of the expats who she eventually joined. Her account is also more interesting (and more personal) than most.

Here we have Samuel Putnam, who also spoke French (among several other languages), mixed with the French, and once again had a different take on that era. He was a literary critic, a journalist, a writer, an editor, and a translator. His friendships were broader than most of the other expats and thus his stories have more variety. In addition to the usual cast of characters such as Ford Madox Ford, Ernest Hemingway, Gertrud Stein, Ezra Pound and Harry Crosby, he knew and tells us about Jean Cocteau, Louis Aragon, Pablo Picasso, and Marc Chagall. But his best story of all is about Luigi Pirandello, an Italian writer I never heard of but whose story I found very moving.

Putnam was a literary critic and a fair amount of what he writes about has to do with literary criticism. Those parts didn't interest me, mainly because I didn't really understand what he was saying. But for me, the rest -- the stories and anecdotes -- more than made up for that. ( )
  dvoratreis | May 22, 2024 |
3396 Paris Was Our Mistress: Memoirs of A Lost & Found Generation, by Samuel Putnam (read 27 Jan 2001) The author was part of the expatriate scene in Paris and Europe from about 1927 to 1934, and much of what he discusses in this book, insofar as it dealt with art, was of little interest to me. His account of writers--Hemingway, Pound, Henry Miller, Joyce, Pirandello, etc.--was of more interest, and his conclusion--kind of an appreciation of U.S. when he came back--was good to read. ( )
  Schmerguls | Nov 25, 2007 |
Showing 2 of 2
no reviews | add a review
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
First words
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS
Canonical LCC

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English


“A very distinguished sidelight on the passing literary scene, perceptive, humorous, entertaining, written by a critic and editor who was one of the group of which he writes.” —Kirkus.    

No library descriptions found.

Book description
Haiku summary

Current Discussions


Popular covers

Quick Links


Average: (3.67)
3 1
4 2

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 208,414,347 books! | Top bar: Always visible