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One of the lucky ones
le 7 décembre 2005
By the end of his life, Hemingway and his narratives had become so intertwined in so many ways that it was often impossible to know where the fiction ended and the real life began. Hemingway was a master at incorporating elements of his own life and experience into his fiction, and acting out elements of his stories in his own life, that by the time of this text, 'A Moveable Feast', written near the end of his life (and published posthumously) the boundary between fact and fiction was a very permeable boundary.
Of course, for Hemingway, truth was about as fascinating as fiction could ever be. With this particular text, the reader learns much about Hemingway and the particular time of the artists and post-World War I community in Paris. The inscription shows the influence that this time and experience had on Hemingway:
'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.'
Hemingway wrote this to a friend in 1950, several years before working on this text. Of course, the Moveable Feast that was Paris for Hemingway was not simply Paris, but a particular Paris - the Paris of Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas, of Ford Madox Ford and Ezra Pound, of F. Scott Fitzgerald and Zelda. Hemingway has a no-holds-barred sense of writing, both for those he liked and those he didn't. His description of Zelda, for example, in both physical and personality aspects, is a rather scathing critique - F. Scott Fitzgerald and Hemingway were competitive friends, but Zelda Fitzgerald and Hemingway were rivals in many more ways. Hemingway's recollections of his wife, Hadley, are equally intimate, often romantic while remaining realistic.
The Paris that was the post-war-to-end-all-wars bastion of moderns and artistry is no longer present, yet still remains an iconic paradise of sorts given the work that was produced from this hot-house of talent, reaching half a century later into the work of Hemingway for one last, grand proclamation.
This is an important book, to be read by those who appreciate Hemingway, American authors, international influences in literature, and culture. Published after his death, this was perhaps Hemingway's way of having the final word in many then-unfinished conversations.