Page 1. " (Preface vii): For reasons sufficient to the writer, many places, people, observations and impressions have been left out of this book. "
Ernest and Mary Hemingway In Kenya
Public DomainErnest and Mary Hemingway In Kenya - Credit: Earl Theisen, Library of Congress, LOOK Magazine Collection

As Christopher Hitchens points out in his article ‘Hemingway’s Libidinous Feast’, listing things that are not included in the book draws the reader’s interest to the tasty morsels that may have been favoured instead. Hitchens also highlights that the preface is engineered to appear as if it were written as a singular piece by Ernest, when in fact it was cobbled together at a later date by his fourth and final wife, Mary Welsh Monks.

There was much debate surrounding the release of Scribner's 'restored edition' (2009) of A Moveable Feast, the result of some reworking by Sean Hemingway, grandson from the author's second marriage to Pauline Pfeiffer.

A.E. Hotchner's article in The New York Times, 'Don't Touch "A Moveable Feast"', provides further insight into the debate on the restored edition, and is interesting in its own right for Hotchner's working relationship with Hemingway. It was Hotchner who was responsible for the renaming of the book when it was initially published (1964) after Hemingway's death in 1961. Hotchner's book Papa Hemingway: A Personal Memoir details many of their shared experiences.

         The restored edition:

Page 1. " (Preface vii): There is no mention of the Stade Anastasie where the boxers served as waiters "

Hemingway loved to box and to spectate: 'Battles, boxing, bull fights: Ernest Hemingway was there, at ringside, celebrating the cult of manhood and danger.' Another website states: 'Hemingway [...] had an aptitude for physical challenge that engaged him through school, where he both played football and boxed. Because of permanent eye damage contracted through numerous boxing matches, Hemingway was repeatedly rejected from service in World War I. Boxing provided more material for Hemingway's stories, as well as a habit of likening his literary feats to boxing victories.'

Michael Reynolds also picks up on this ability to channel his passion and perception into convincing writing, whether he was actually party to the experience or not. Citing one of Hemingway's news pieces on trout fishing, Reynolds comments: 'Their correspondent was not a mere tourist watching professional fisherman; he was a brother to them, his back aching with theirs at their heavy trade. Hemingway became so proficient in creating this kind of illusion that later readers and critics were certain he lived the experiences described in his fiction.' (Michael Reynolds, Hemingway the Paris Years, New York and London: W. W. Norton and Company, 1999, p.10) 


Boxing, as with many other competitive sports in the 1920s, was enjoying a rise in popularity in both Europe and the US.

Jack Dempsey was one of the most celebrated boxers of the time, however, Stephen J. Gertz points out that 'there was one person in Paris that year whose desire to get in the ring with Dempsey would not be indulged. Ernest Hemingway was a threat. Not to Dempsey but to himself.' 

Page 1. " (Preface vii): Nor of training with Larry Gains "

Lawrence Samuel Gains was 'a very good heavyweight' boxer who 'never received a shot at the World Heavyweight title.'

Page 1. " (Preface vii): the great twenty-round fights at the Cirque d'Hiver. "

Cirque d'Hiver Poster
Public DomainCirque d'Hiver Poster - Credit: Morris père et fils, Paris
Cirque d'Hiver literally translates as 'Winter Circus', and was originally constructed in just eight months to house circus events. A number of famed French artists reportedly found inspiration at the venue, which subsequently played host to fashion shows, music concerts and even wrestling matches.

Cirque d'Hiver Paris
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeCirque d'Hiver Paris - Credit: LPLT

Page 1. " (Preface vii): Nor of such good friends as Charlie Sweeny, Bill Bird and Mike Strater, nor of André Masson and Miro. "

In an excerpt from Valerie Hemingway's Running With Bulls, Charlie Sweeny is amongst the attendees listed at Hemingway's funeral: 'There was the octogenarian, Charlie Sweeny, a retired Colonel, whose association with Hemingway had spanned two wars and many decades'. Sweeny is described by journalist Nick Ryan as 'one of the most colourful mercenaries of the age'. Sweeny/Sweeney was 'friend to Ernest Hemingway and several Latin American revolutionaries. It was Sweeney who had placed notices for "opportunities" with European airforces at airfields and newspapers across the USA. For his efforts, Sweeney was chased by the FBI and Nazi spies, and hounded out of the country by an American press eager to stay out of the war.' According to, Colonel Sweeny, 'who had fought in practically every war of the last four decades, though he sometimes could not remember on which side', became honorary commander of the British Airforce's Squadron 71.

Ezra Pound
Public DomainEzra Pound - Credit: Alvin Langdon Coburn (1882–1966)

 William Augustus Bird was an American journalist who ran a small press in Paris in the 1920s. Known as the Three Mountains Press, it published many

well-known works, including Hemingway's Three Stories and Ten Poems and a limited run of In Our Time (170 copies of this edition were produced). The press also published Ezra Pound's A Draft of XVI Cantos, after Hemingway put Bird in touch with the author. Pound then took a position as editor for the press.

In The Hemingway Society's 'The Hemingway Newsletter', William Gallagher of New York notes that Henry "Mike" Strater was founder of the Ogunquit [Maine] Art Museum and 'a member of "the Mob" who traveled to Key West and had known Hemingway since his days in Paris.'

Andre Masson (1896-1987) was a French painter who produced a number of works highly influential to the Surrealist movement.


Joan Miró i Ferrà (1893-1983) was a Spanish Catalan painter and sculptor often associated with Surrealism. However, he did not subscribe to one particular movement, rather developing his own style.


Hemingway purchased one of Miro's works entitled The Farm in 1923. He described it as having 'in it all that you feel about Spain when you are there and all that you feel when you are away and cannot go there.'

Page 1. " The men and women who frequented the Amateurs stayed drunk all the time, or all of the time they could afford it, mostly on wine which they bought by the half-liter or liter. "

Following the war years, many of the countries involved experienced rapid transformation on a variety of levels: 'War and major disasters have always speeded up change dramatically and created acceptance of cultural changes once unthinkable. During the Great War of 1914-18, fashion came to a standstill. It was a time of uniforms and drab functional clothes even though Paris fashion continued.' Its fashion may well have continued, but even Paris was not to escape the effects of a country at war. In an excerpt from Phillip Gibbs' The Soul of the War he tells us: 'Then suddenly the thunderbolt fell with its signal of war, and in a few days Paris was changed as though by some wizard's spell... A hush fell upon Montmartre, and the musicians in its orchestras packed up their instruments and scurried with scared faces – to Berlin, Vienna, and Budapest. No more boats went up to Sevres and St. Cloud with crowds of pleasure-seekers.'

Perhaps it should be of little surprise, then, that Paris became one of the focal points for such great social and cultural change: 'As a beacon of personal and artistic freedom, Paris, the "City of Light," lured thousands of American musicians, artists, and writers in the 1920s and 1930s. They crossed the Atlantic, bringing with them a unique facet of the modern age – jazz.' 'A conjunction of literary influences', writes Michael Reynolds, 'was about to take place which would forever change the topography of American literature.' (Michael Reynolds, Hemingway the Paris Years, New York and London: W. W. Norton and Company, 1999, p. 11)

It was in this environment that men and, shockingly, women too, began enjoying dramatic changes in fashion, thinking, style, and music – and, of course, there was it was accompanied by an abundance of excessive drinking. 'For women, hair was cut shorter (sometimes the Eton crop) and clothing changed drastically, becoming shorter and less "covering." So revolutionary were these changes that in 1925, the Archbishop of Naples pointed a castigatory finger at short skirts. He believed that they were the cause for an Italian earthquake.' The age would become synonymous with the Flapper.

Page 1. " The squat toilets of the old apartment houses, one by the side of the stairs on each floor with two cleated cement shoe-shaped elevations on each side of the aperture "

By 1853 it was clear that Paris was in desperate need of remodelling: 'the city’s population had skyrocketed to over 1 million. Only one house in five had any running water; of these, most only had plumbing on the ground floor.' 1850 had seen the commissioning of engineer Eugène Belgrand to develop an effective system for the supply of clean water and the removal of waste, and under Baron Georges Eugène Haussmann's redesign of the city, a solution was devised that endures today.

'In 1894, a law was enacted that required all waste to be sent to the sewers; the local saying at the time was that the city was completing its long transition from “tout à la rue” (all in the street) to “tout à l’égout” (all in the sewer). The sewer system was hailed as a technological marvel, a brilliant achievement that helped to usher Paris into the modern age.' A resurgence of cholera in 1892 had served to popularise both the acceptance and implementation of the system, and an ordinance was passed in 1892 stating 'that landlords must provide sewers to dispose of excrements and must pay for the service.'

Hemingway's sporadic use of French words and phrases, such as 'locataire', not only reflects his experience of living in Paris – in all their time in the city, it was Hadley who would compose the letters to their landlord – but also his desire to appear as one of the locals: 'Ernest Hemingway, who despised amateurs no matter what the situation, quickly created in his correspondence and journalism the persona of an experienced American in Paris, street wise and supremely confident. Whatever the game, Ernest wanted an edge on it, inside knowledge. When around truly experienced Americans in Paris, like Lewis Galantière, Hemingway would listen with an intensity that flattered the speaker. Absorbing all for his own, Ernest would use it as first-hand knowledge in his writing or in the presence of less experienced tourists. He himself could not bear to be taken for a tourist, a person who learned French, as his wife had, by studying it in a book.' (Michael Reynolds, Hemingway the Paris Years, New York and London: W. W. Norton and Company, 1999, p. 9) 

Page 2. " their wheeled, horse-drawn cylinders looked like braque paintings. "

 Georges Braque (1882-1963) was a French painter and sculptor who moved to Paris to study art in 1900. Eight years later, Braque began a working relationship with Pablo Picasso, and the pair developed the art movement known as 'Cubism'.

Hemingway was clearly one of Braque's admirers, buying one of his still-life works during his time in Paris: 'In her memoirs, Mary Welsh Hemingway, writing of her trip to Cuba to collect Hemingway's manuscripts, relates her dismay at discovering the theft of one of their favorite paintings, Georges Braque's Still Life with Wine Jug. Upon entering the Finca Vigia, she realized that "One of our treasures was missing. In his early days in Paris Ernest had bought a Braque still-life, one of a series of mostly tan, brown and black paintings, showing a covered table, a scrap of newspaper, some dice and a wine jug. Sorting papers in Ernest's study adjoining the bedroom, I suddenly noticed the vacancy on the wall. it had always stood, unframed, on top of the bookcases behind his desk" (505)'. 

Page 2. " the midwife – second class "

With great developments in medicine and obstetrics – none of which was being integrated into the practice of midwifery – the upper classes began to gravitate towards more physician-assisted births, while the lower classes had little option but to rely on the more traditional (and far cheaper) the midwife. 

[In America] 'In state after state, new, tough licensing laws sealed the doctor's monopoly on medical practice. All that was left was to drive out the last holdouts of the old people's medicine—the midwives. In 1910, about 50 percent of all babies were delivered by midwives—most were blacks or working class immigrants. It was an intolerable situation to the newly emerging obstetrical specialty: For one thing, every poor woman who went to a midwife was one more case lost to academic teaching and research. America's vast lower class resources of obstetrical "teaching material" were being wasted on ignorant midwives. Besides which, poor women were spending an estimated $5 million a year on midwives—$5 million which could have been going to "professionals."'

Although what became known as the 'midwifery problem' seems to have been at its worst in the United States, it stands to reason that it would have had echoes throughout the rest of Europe.

'The homeopathic remedies and traditions practiced by generations of midwives began to appear in stark contrast to more "modern" remedies suggested by physicians. Obstetricians began to identify a difference not only in the practices of the two professionals, but also in the neonatal/maternal outcomes between births attended by physicians and those by midwives. Statistics regarding maternal deaths and neonatal deaths which were available, demonstrated that midwifery attended births often (although not in all studies) had poorer statistical outcomes than physician attended deliveries. It must be noted that this discrepancy may have been influenced by other factors. For example, as physicians became the provider of choice for the affluent woman, midwives cared for an increasing number of poor women. These midwifery clients usually lived either in rural areas of the country, or in immigrant areas of large urban cities where poor nutrition and poor sanitation were the norm.'

Page 2. " the hotel where Verlain had died where I had a room on the top floor where I worked "

Paul Verlaine (1844-1896) was a French poet.  He was born in Metz and moved to Paris in 1851. Highly influential to the Symbolist movement, Verlaine was elected France's 'Prince of Poets' in 1894. However, he is perhaps equally well-remembered for his later-life addictions to drugs and alcohol, his homosexuality (despite being married with a son), and the frequency with which he drank absinthe at the city's cafes.

Today, a Number 39 rue Descartes is marked as the building in which Hemingway took a garret room to develop his craft as a writer. In an excerpt from the Time Out Book of Paris Walks, Michael Palin notes: 'He climbed to the top floor, taking with him twigs and bundles of wood to start a fire on cold winter days, and wrote about North Michigan. He has been upstaged by Paul Verlaine, whose death in this same building in 1896 is commemorated by a large wall plaque, while Hemingway is inaccurately described on a sign squeezed in by the door as having lived here between 1921 and 1925.'

Rue Descartes
Creative Commons AttributionRue Descartes - Credit: Carles Tomás Martí


Page 2. " I hung my old waterproof on the coat rack to dry and put my worn and weathered felt hat on the rack "

Just as women's style was being revolutionised post World War I, so too men's fashion was undergoing changes. Hats were particularly indicative of social class: 'upper class citizens usually wore top hats or a homburg hat. Middle class wore either a fedora or a trilby hat. Lower class wore a standard flat cap or no hat at all.'

Hemingway preferred to appear more impoverished than he was. The upper middle-class Chicago suburb of his upbringing, and where he continued to write home to his parents, did not exactly fit his working-class persona, and neither did Hadley's annual income from her trust funds. Yet Hemingway would continue to shun the affordable and offer little acknowledgement to his first wife's assets, which were paid into an account only he had access to.

Michael Reynolds writes: 'They did not need Hemingway's income from Star feature stories, for Hadley's several trust funds provided them with almost $3000 a year, more than enough money to live well in Paris. Their first apartment came furnished for only 250 francs a month, or less than $20. If he wished, Hemingway could have spent the entire year working on his fiction without selling a single line to the Star. Partly out of male pride, partly from lack of confidence, he could not take the step beyond the edge of middle-class life.' Moreover, 'his mother's inherited money built their North Kenilworth house and later her private cottage at Walloon Lake. Her money paid for her separate vacations taken each year to California or Nantucket. Ernest Hemingway saw exactly what his mother's money did to her marriage.' (Michael Reynolds, Hemingway the Paris Years, New York and London: W. W. Norton and Company, 1999, p.5-7) 

Page 3. " This was called transplanting yourself "

This method was also being employed by a number of Hemingway's contemporaries in Paris, not least James Joyce, T.S. Eliot and Gertrude Stein. Michael Reynolds illustrates this beautifully by highlighting: 'Less than two blocks from Hemingway's table, what was left of Charles Baudelaire and Guy de Maupassant lay beneath stone memorials in the Montparnasse cemetery. A five minute walk down Boulevard Raspail, Gertrude Stein and Alice Toklas were planning their Christmas meal. Close by Ezra Pound was reading through a bit of manuscript left him by his young friend with exhausted nerves, Tom Eliot, on his way to a rest cure in Lausanne. Eventually Eliot would call it The Waste Land. Less than two blocks from the Hemingways' hotel, James Joyce was dressing to attend a party at Sylvia Beach's bookstore, Shakespeare and Company, where he would celebrate the final revisions to his manuscript Ulysses.' (Michael Reynolds, Hemingway the Paris Years, New York and London: W. W. Norton and Company, 1999, p. 11) 

Page 3. " feeling the good Martinique rum warm me "

There are a number of rum distilleries on the island of Martinique. The Caribbean island is officially part of France.

Page 3. " and her hair was black as a crow's wing and cut sharply and diagonally across her cheek. "

Mirroring the dramatic changes in fashion, the 1920s saw women's hair moving away from its traditional longer length to radical cropped styles. 



Page 4. " As I ate the oysters with their strong taste of the sea and their faint metallic taste "

A Moveable Feast is perhaps more quoted for its beautiful sensory descriptions than anything else, particularly those relating to food. This passage about oysters -- potentially the most recognised of all -- was even used in the 1998 film, City of Angels, where Hemingway's descriptions allow an angel to remotely experience the human senses.


Page 4. " Now that the bad weather had come, we could leave Paris for a while for a place where this rain would be snow coming down through the pines... "

  It was not just the rain giving the Hemingways good reason to leave Paris. The winter of 1921-22 brought with it another outbreak of grippe (flu), and the fear that surrounded the disease was well founded: the pandemic that followed World War I in 1918 -- affecting nearly the entire world -- is thought to have claimed more lives than the Black Death.


Page 4. " Traveling third class on the train was not expensive. "
Paris GareDeLyon FacadeEtTourDeLHorloge
GNU Free Documentation LicenseParis GareDeLyon FacadeEtTourDeLHorloge - Credit: AlNo (discuter/talk/hablar/falar)

Still largely under private ownership, the French rail system only became nationalised under the socialist government of the 1930s. However, the 1920s and 1930s saw a vast network of interconnecting lines in operation, with the Orient Express and the Simplon Orient Express running from Paris to Munich; Vienna; Budapest, and to Milan; Venice; Trieste; Zagreb; Belgrade; Sofia; Istanbul; and Athens, respectively.

Michael Reynolds tells us that 'the snows of Switzerland were only twelve hours from Paris by train. First there was the supper at the upstairs restaurant of Gare de Lyon and then a seven dollar ticket, second-class, on the night train to Montreux.' (Michael Reynolds, Hemingway the Paris Years, New York and London: W. W. Norton and Company, 1999, p.19) 

Page 4. " I had written journalism for Toronto and the checks for that were due. "

Following his involvement in World War I -- not on the frontline, owing to poor eyesight, but as an ambulance driver -- and a short stint as a cub reporter with the Kansas City Star (1917-1918), Hemingway moved to Toronto and began freelancing for the Toronto Star. Having started out at a rate of $5 per article, he received his first by-line on 6th March 1920. He continued to write prolifically as a foreign correspondent whilst in Paris, 'where a handful of professional newsmen accepted him as Hemingway of the Star.'

'John Bone, his editor at the Toronto Star, bought anything Ernest sent, even the less than well-written pieces, paying at space rates. Hemingway could not turn down the easy money, for part of him worried about money the way his father did in Oak Park.' (Michael Reynolds, Hemingway the Paris Years, New York and London: W. W. Norton and Company, 1999, p. 6) 


Page 4. " Anyway we would go if my wife wanted to "
Ernest, Hadley, and Bumby Hemingway, 1926.
Public DomainErnest, Hadley, and Bumby Hemingway, 1926.

Born on 9 November 1891 and raised in St Louis, Missouri, Elizabeth Hadley Richardson was seven years Hemingway's senior. The pair were married in Chicago on 3 September 1921, and on the recommendation of wedding guest Sherwood Anderson, they moved to Paris little more than three months later. Their son, John Hadley Nicanor Hemingway (nicknamed 'Bumby') was born on 10 October 1923 in Toronto. Hadley famously lost a trunk packed full of Hemingway's unpublished manuscripts on her way to join him in Switzerland in December 1922.

The Murphys, Pauline Pfeiffer, and the Hemingways, 1926
Public DomainThe Murphys, Pauline Pfeiffer, and the Hemingways, 1926

The couple were divorced in 1927, following Hemingway's affair with Vogue fashion reporter and soon-to-be second wife Pauline Pfeiffer. Hemingway, however, demonstrated great regret at leaving Hadley, who had insisted on one hundred days of separation in order to establish that the new relationship was an enduring one. In her review of the newer text, Chloë Schama highlights the passage that was missing from Hemingway's final edit of the original (it was re-inserted at the end of the book by Mary Hemingway):

When I saw my wife again standing by the tracks as the train came in by the piled logs at the station, I wished I had died before I ever loved anyone but her. She was smiling, the sun on her lovely face tanned by the snow and sun, beautifully built, her hair red gold in the sun, grown out all winter awkwardly and beautifully, and Mr. Bumby standing with her, blond and chunky and with winter cheeks looking like a good Vorarlberg boy.

One of the charges against Patrick and Sean Hemingway's re-edited edition concerns the revision to this chapter, perhaps portraying their mother/grandmother, the 'wicked' other woman, in a more positive light.

Page 4. " I think it would be wonderful, Tatie "


The Hemingway Family, 1906. L-R: Marcelline, Madelaine (
Public DomainThe Hemingway Family, 1906. L-R: Marcelline, Madelaine ("Sunny"), Dr. C. E Hemingway, Grace Hall Hemingway, Ursula, and Ernest. EH 10060P - Credit: Photograph in the Ernest Hemingway Photograph Collection in the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston

'Tatie' was one of the many nicknames Hemingway acquired during his lifetime, with perhaps the most famous of all being 'Papa'. His sister Sunny affectionately called him 'Oinbones', whilst Hemingway branded himself 'Hemingstein' at high school. His enduring admiration of boxing earned him the title of 'Champ'; less obvious in its origin is the name 'Wemedge'. Hadley and their son 'Bumby' also referred to Ernest as 'Ernestoic', 'Tiny' and 'Wax Puppy'.

Page 6. " Miss Stein Instructs "
Picasso Gertrude Stein (detail)
Creative Commons AttributionPicasso Gertrude Stein (detail) - Credit: *clairity*

Gertrude Stein was one of the Americans living in Paris to whom Sherwood Anderson addressed a letter of introduction for Hemingway. Born in 1874 in Pennsylvania, Stein moved to Paris in 1903 and soon discovered the desire to become a writer. Taking up residence at 27 Rue de Fleurus with her brother Leo Stein, Gertrude would continue to entertain the literary and artistic with invitations to '27' long after her brother moved out in 1913.

It was in that well-visited property, not 5 minutes walk from Hemingway's 74 rue Cardinal Lemoine, that Ernest and Hadley first sat on 8 March 1922. Present were both Gertrude and her long-time lesbian partner, Alice B. Toklas.  The visit was the first of many.

It has been conjectured that Hemingway viewed Stein as a type of replacement mother figure. Indeed, Gertrude was similar to Grace Hemingway (whom Ernest never forgave for consistently dressing him as a girl in his youth) in physical appearance, artistic nature and ballsy temperament. 'Hemingway biographer Jeffery Meyers makes the point...  "Most significantly, Hemingway tried to work out with Gertrude some of the strong Oedipal feelings he had for Grace. 'I always wanted to sleep with her and she knew it and it was a healthy feeling and made more sense than some of the talk.' Such forbidden desires could be safely expressed because he knew he could not actually sleep with a lesbian any more than he could sleep with his mother."'

Certainly, Stein had a great influence on Hemingway: she aided the development of his critical awareness, both regarding his own work and that of others, and he even made her godmother to his first son, Bumby. However, the pair fell out in 1926, and Hemingway would later write, "She lost all sense of taste when she had the menopause. Was really an extraordinary business. Suddenly she couldn't tell a good picture from a bad one, a good writer from a bad one, it all went phtt." 

Stein -- a pioneer of postmodernism as well as a central figure of modernism -- is perhaps best recognised for literary works including The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas and Three Lives, as well as her abstract and cubist experiments with writing. She also accumulated an extensive personal collection of modernist paintings by artists such as Matisse, Braque, Gris, and Picasso. She died of stomach cancer on 27 July 1946. 


Page 6. " I took a drink of kirsch when I would get toward the end of a story "

Alcohol was consumed in abundance by many of 'the brightest minds of the Lost Generation: F. Scott Fitzgerald insanely drunk on champagne, Ezra Pound sipping absinthe, Gertrude Stein enjoying a fine red, James Joyce savoring Scotch and Ford Maddox Ford sending back a brandy for the fourth time'.

'They drank up liquor, they drank up life, they drank up each other', observes Frank Kelly Rich. None more so than Ernest Hemingway. To such an extent, in fact, that in 1939 he was warned to cut back: 'He tried to hold himself to three Scotches before dinner but he couldn't do it and, in 1940, he began breakfasting on tea and gin and swigging absinthe, whiskey, vodka and wine at various times during the day. He even let his boys drink hard liquor when one of them was only 10.' His rapid decline in health, however, though undoubtedly exacerbated by his dependence on alcohol, was not the ultimate author of his demise. Hemingway, like his father before him, had reserved that right for himself. Deeply depressed and no longer able to write, he shot himself in the head at the age of 61.

Kirsch, from kirsch wasser (meaning cherry water), appears to have found particular favour with the writer. Later in the text, while reminiscing further about his kirsch-drinking exploits (this time in Austria), Hemingway reveals how the brandy became affiliated with his name:

In the winter in Schruns I wore a beard against the sun that burned my face so badly on the high snow, and did not bother having a haircut. Late one evening running on skis down the logging trails Herr Lent told me that peasants I passed on those roads above Schruns called me “the Black Christ.” He said some, when they came to the Weinstube, called me “The Black Kirsch drinking Christ” (A Moveable Feast, page 122). 

Page 7. " I would sit in front of the fire and squeeze the peel of the little oranges into the edge of the flame and watch the sputter of blue that they made. "

When orange peel comes into contact with a flame, small flashes of light are given off by the oil that the peel contains. The process is similar to the chemical reaction produced by a firework

Page 7. " All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know. "

Although Hemingway may have been referring to a simplification of writing style more than anything else, the statement also reveals something of the man behind the work. Despite being an avid note-taker -- 'He was a man who kept everything -- to-do lists, tickets to boxing matches, notes made on the backs of old letters' (Reynolds p. 4) -- the degree to which details and events were subject to fabrication within Ernest's works continues to be debated. Michael Reynolds goes on to observe, for instance, that 'Hemingway put his meeting with Sylvia two months after it actually occurred.' (p. 12). In addition to his grand ability to make fiction seem real, however, Hemingway captures the feeling of the event well enough, 'remembering it right in spirit', and rendering the small matter of historical accuracy almost inconsequential.

Following his work on A Moveable Feast -- the majority of which was written between 1957 and 1960 -- Hemingway's memory would decline at an alarming rate, a sure side-effect of the electroconvulsive shock therapy that he first received at Minnesota's Mayo Clinic towards the end of 1960. Whether the ECT was more help or harm remains debatable; unfortunately, though, in the short time that remained before his second, successful suicide attempt (on 2 July 1961), the author would suffer severely from paranoia (he was soundly convinced he was wanted by the FBI), spiralling depression and a range of physical complaints that made the task of writing ever less achievable.


Page 7. " That way my subconscious would be working on it "

This was the era of Sigmund Freud (1856–1939) and his highly influential concepts of psychoanalysis. His theories, though notably focussed on the conscious and unconscious mind were unquestionably studied and put to use by many contemporary authors and artists, and Hemingway proved no exception.

If someone talks of subconsciousness, I cannot tell whether he means the term topographically -- to indicate something lying in the mind beneath consciousness -- or qualitatively -- to indicate another consciousness, a subterranean one, as it were. He is probably not clear about any of it. The only trustworthy antithesis is between conscious and unconscious.  -- Freud

However, in his review of Hemingway's posthumously published novelIslands in the StreamMalcolm Cowley questions the degree to which Hemingway was latterly able to rely upon subconscious thought (as was the case in so many other areas of the author's life) : 'The weakness of the book might be that here, as in other works of his later period, Hemingway was unable to make effective use of his subconscious mind. He had always depended on it and often said that a good half of his work was done in the subconscious: "Things have to happen there before they happen on paper."'

Page 7. " the Musée du Luxembourg where the great paintings were "
Paris Musee Luxembourg facade
Public DomainParis Musee Luxembourg facade - Credit: Hadrianus92

A rise in nationalism amongst European countries in the latter half of the nineteenth century spelled interesting repercussions for the concept of the museum. Previously a place to view only works of the past, demand now surged for displays and exhibitions that featured contemporary and local artists. Thus in 1918 the Palais du Luxembourg was transformed into the Musée des Artistes Vivants (Museum of Living Artists), while the Louvre, which had been opened to the public in 1793, remained a museum dedicated to the past.

Paintings considered significant enough were to be moved to the Louvre before ten years had elapsed from the death of the artist. Meanwhile, more space was created in the Musée du Luxembourg in 1922 with the removal of all works from foreign schools to the Musée du Jeu de Paume. Those Impressionist works that were so admired by Hemingway (the Cézannes, the Manets and the Monets) were moved to a separate display in the Jeu de Paume in 1947. They would find another home in the Musée d'Orsay in 1986. 

Hemingway's exposure to, and appreciation of, art in 1920s Paris owed a lot to his friendship with Gertrude Stein, although she was not the only influence. His earlier visits to Chicago's Art Institute gave him a basic familiarity with the Impressionists before he was ever brought into their inner circles -- or, in the case of Miró and Masson, into their studios -- by Stein. Michael Reynolds writes that despite being merely a minor collector, Hemingway chose well, 'finally owning five Massons, an enormous Miró, a stunning Paul Klee, some Fernand Léger sketches and two oils by Juan Gris -- paintings now worth at least two million dollars.'

Paul Cezanne: Madame Cezanne
Creative Commons AttributionPaul Cezanne: Madame Cezanne - Credit: freeparking

However, it was Cézanne who appeared to provide the most inspiration for the author, and it is consequently this artistic connection that has been the most widely documented. Hemingway was particularly impressed with two of Cézanne's pieces: 'House of the Hanged Man' and the portrait of Madame Cézanne.

Paul Cezanne, The Hanged Man's House
Public DomainPaul Cezanne, The Hanged Man's House - Credit: Luestling
Page 8. " a strong German-Jewish face that also could have been Friulano "

Although aggressive antisemitism was on the rise following World War I -- mainly as a direct result of political scapegoating and finger-pointing -- the physical appearance of the Jewish racial type is noted for its endurance through the ages. As Karl Kautsky notes in Are the Jews a Race?: 'This view is widely accepted to this day as an irrefutable and unquestionable fact, a fact which is so irrefutable and unquestionable that its advocate forgets to state what are the appallingly constant and immutable traits of the Jewish race. The race theorists usually hand over this scientific task to the cartoonists of the comic papers. These most dependable scholars have found the principal trait of Judaism in its nose.'

To qualify as 'Friulano', Stein would have had to hail from Friuli, an area in the north-easternmost region of Italy with a unique history and sense of identity. In actual fact -- as is the case in much of Hemingway's writing -- the truth is merged with the imagined: Stein was of German-Jewish descent, born to wealthy immigrants in Allegheny, Pennsylvania.

Page 8. " small, very dark, with her hair cut like Joan of Arc in the Boutet de Monvel illustrations "
Alice B. Toklas, by Carl Van Vechten - 1949

Similar to lover Gertrude Stein, Alice Babette Toklas was born to a Jewish family in the United States. Moving to Paris in September 1907, she met Stein -- 'a golden brown presence, burned by the Tuscan sun and with a golden glint in her warm brown hair' -- on her first day in the city. Toklas began co-habiting with Stein in 1910, and the pair would host the famed dinner parties of 27 Rue de Fleurus.

Although Toklas -- 'a chain smoker with a slight moustache, Gypsy earrings, and manicured nails' -- became widely recognised through the publication of The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas (actually penned by Stein) in 1933, she remained very much the 'wife' in the relationship, supporting Stein's endeavours and running the household. Her own memoirs were published after Gertrude's death in the form of The Alice B. Toklas Cookbook (1954), which notoriously contains a recipe for hashish fudge.


Louis-Maurice Boutet de Monvel (1851–1913) was a French painter and illustrator highly regarded for his artistic contributions to children's literature. His seminal work is widely held to be La Vie de Jeanne d’Arc (Paris, 1896), for which he provided both artwork and writing. Boutet de Monvel's depiction of Joan of Arc was described by critic Selma G. Lanes as having 'a nobility and grandeur akin to the great church frescoes of the Renaissance. Their pleasingly flat rendering combined with a sophisticated use of design elements… owe a debt to the Japanese prints so popular in the artist's day.' (Selma G. Lanes (2006). Through the Looking Glass: Further Adventures and Misadventures in the Realm of Children's Literature. David R. Godine Publisher. p. 223–224. Retrieved 2008-10-25)

Jeanne D Arc Boutet de Monvel 25
Public DomainJeanne D Arc Boutet de Monvel 25 - Credit: Louis-Maurice Boutet de Monvel (1851-1913)

Page 9. " it is inaccrochable "

Gertrude Stein may well have been accurate in her assessment that the story would not lend itself to publication. Certainly Boni and Liveright, the New York publisher of Hemingway's In Our Time, agreed with the sentiment, refusing to incorporate it into the collection of short stories. In fact, owing to its daring themes and explicit content, aside from an appearance in the 1923 limited edition of Three Stories and Ten Poems (of which only three hundred copies were produced), 'Up in Michigan' would not be found in print again until its inclusion in Scribner's The Fifth Column and the First Forty-Nine Stories (1938).

Page 9. " She told me that I was not a good enough writer to be published there or in The Saturday Evening Post "

Although a number of Stein's works had been published previously, her major literary breakthrough came with the serialisation of The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas in The Atlantic Monthly in 1933. It is little wonder that Stein aspired to appear in the magazine: first printed Boston in 1857, it soon gained a widespread reputation for the speedy recognition of emerging literary trends, and its support of promising new writers.

Stein's prediction that Hemingway's work would not find sympathy with The Saturday Evening Post remained strangely accurate, despite Ernest's subsequent success as an author. While Stein herself would be published by the US magazine, the closest Hemingway would get was his face on the cover in 1966.

Page 10. " I cannot remember whether she was walking her dog "
Creative Commons Attributionconcentration - Credit: greg westfall

Stein was particularly fond of her canine companions. In A Geographical History of America or the Relation of Human Nature to the Human Mind (Random House, 1936), she would pen the well-known line: 'I am I because my little dog knows me'. American author Paul Bowles, who became close to Stein during his time in Paris, is quoted as saying 'She lived like anyone, more or less. She went out to market, bought food. She had that awful dog. She had to take it out for a walk all the time.' (Excerpt from Florian Vetsch's Desultory Correspondence: An Interview with Paul Bowles on Gertrude Stein).

Stein's French poodle, 'Basket', was replaced by 'Basket II', following his passing in 1937.

Page 11. " One of these stories, 'Melanctha', was very good and good samples of her experimental writing had been published in book form and had been well praised by critics who had met her or known her. "

'Melanctha' was the longest of three novellas that were printed together under the title of Three Lives in 1909. Stein's first publication, each tale is set in the same imaginary town but shifts in focus to portray a different female protagonist. 'Melanctha' found praise for its experimental modernist style -- mapping the progress of emotional development rather than the conventional action-led plot -- whilst also addressing complex issues such as race and gender.

Literary critic Werner Sollors is quoted as commenting that 'Stein's merging of modernist style and ethnic subject matter was what made her writing particularly relevant to American ethnic authors who had specific reasons to go beyond realism and who felt that Stein's dismantling of the "old" was a freeing experience… Strangely enough then, "Melanctha" - which was, as we have seen, the partial result of a transracial projection - came to be perceived as a white American author's particularly humane representation of a black character.'

Page 11. " the unbelievably long book called The Making of Americans "

Ford Madox Ford, as Hemingway goes on to point out, first brought The Making of Americans into print as a serial in the Transatlantic Review in 1924. Hemingway, who had by then occupied the position of sub-editor at the journal for a short time, would certainly have had the means to positively influence Ford regarding the publication. However Bernard Poli argues in his book Ford Madox Ford and the Transatlantic Review that Hemingway's version of events is not entirely accurate: 'She [Stein] also felt that there must be "some other story behind it all." Hemingway, indeed, was not playing a very clean game and did everything he could to pit Gertrude Stein against Ford, though with little success, as we shall see.' (Bernard Poli, Ford Madox Ford and the Transatlantic Review, New York: Syracuse University Press, 1967, p.71). (For more on Ford and the Transatlantic Review see bookmark for page 41).

The novel itself is chiefly concerned with the development -- both historical and psychological -- of two families over the course of three generations. Although the story was one of Stein's favourites it received mixed reviews, with many echoing Hemingway's sentiments regarding length and repetition. Some might even have gone so far as to label it with the same 'inaccrochable' tag that Stein had applied to Hemingway's 'Up In Michigan'. 

Page 12. " from Kansas City days and the mores of different parts of that city, Chicago and the lake boats. "
Ernest Hemingway, circa 1917 Oak Park, Illinois
Public DomainErnest Hemingway, circa 1917 

Being all of twenty-three when he first met Stein, Hemingway would have spent the majority of the preceding years in the Chicago suburb where he was born and raised. Upon graduating from Oak Park and River Forest High School in 1917, Hemingway would be given three choices: either he could continue his education at college, he could join the war, or he could begin a career.

Dr. Hemingway, keen to keep his son away from the fighting, made arrangements for Ernest to start work at The Kansas City Star in October. Although his father's efforts were short-lived -- Hemingway would remain cub reporter for a period of just six months before going to the Italian front as an ambulance driver -- his experiences in Kansas City clearly left an impression, reappearing in various formats throughout his subsequent stories. 'Kansas City', he would comment, 'was a strange and wonderful place'. 

Between 1920 and 1921 -- just before the move to Paris -- Hemingway gained more of an understanding of Chicago. He worked as a reporter for the Toronto Star, and met and fell in love with Hadley.

Wedding of Hadley Richardson and Ernest Hemingway Horton's Bay, Michigan
Public DomainWedding of Hadley Richardson and Ernest Hemingway Horton's Bay, Michigan - Credit: Ernest Hemingway Photograph Collection, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston.
Page 12. " the hospital in Italy "

Hemingway was admitted to the Red Cross hospital in Milan after sustaining injuries from an exploding mortar shell on the Italian front in 1918. Amongst the first of the wounded to return from the area, his bravery earned him the Italian Silver Medal of Military Valor, as well as a good deal of media attention.

The first wounded American from the Italian front arrived yesterday by the steamship Giuseppe Verdi of the Transatlantica Line with probably more scars than any other man in or out of uniform,' reported the New York Sun. His wounds might have been much less if he had not been constructed by nature on generous proportions, being more than six feet tall and of ample beam. He is Ernest M. Hemingway, before the war a reporter for the Kansas City Star, and hailing from Oak Park, Ill. The surgical chart of his battered person shows 227 marks indicating where bits of a peculiar kind of Austrian shrapnel, about as thick as a .22 caliber bullet and an inch long, like small cuts from a length of wire, smote him. Some of these bits have been extracted after a dozen or more operations and young Hemingway hopes finally to get them all out, but he still retains a hundred or more.

Agnes von Kurowsky and Ernest Hemingway, 1918 Milan, Italy, American Red Cross Hospital
Public DomainAgnes von Kurowsky and Ernest Hemingway, 1918 Milan, Italy, American Red Cross Hospital - Credit: Photograph in the Ernest Hemingway Photograph Collection, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston.

It was during his subsequent six month convalescence at the hospital that Ernest met and reportedly fell in love with a nurse called Agnes von Kurowsky. Although details of the romance remain rather obscure -- Agnes would later claim it was nothing more than a flirtation, whilst Ernest insisted it had been a fully physical relationship -- it has, nevertheless, been highly publicised.

Not only did the encounter provide Ernest with inspiration for a number of works, including A Farewell to Arms (1929), but it also gained attention through the later offerings of Henry S. Villard, a Harvard graduate who would go on to become an ambassador for the US. A fellow ambulance volunteer at the time, Villard was hospitalised two weeks after Hemingway for the treatment of malaria and jaundice. What he observed there would pave the way for the 1989 publication of Hemingway in Love and War. This in turn, would lead to the 1996 release of 'In Love and War', starring Chris O'Donnell as Hemingway and Sandra Bullock as Agnes.



Page 13. " Picasso's nude of the girl with the basket of flowers. "

At a price of $29 or 150 francsPicasso's 1905 painting of the Young Girl with Basket of Flowers marked one of Gertrude and Leo Stein's first major art investments, as well as the beginning of a substantial friendship. Upon first sight, Picasso was clearly impressed with Gertrude, immediately requesting permission to paint her. Gertrude's reaction to the painting, however, was a little less enthusiastic, with Stein proclaiming that the girl had feet like a monkey's:

Picasso met the Steins at the establishment of Clovis Sagot, a former clown who had turned a pharmacy into an informal art gallery. "Who is the lady?" Picasso asked Sagot. "Ask her if she will pose for me." Leo Stein recalled later that "at the very moment when Picasso was demurely awaiting her word of acceptance, Gertrude was vocally expressing total dislike of the painting they had come to see." (Arianna Huffington, 'Picasso: Creator and Destroyer' in The Atlantic, June 1988).

Page 13. " In women it is the opposite "

Despite Stein's blatant double-standards and staggering political incorrectness, her candid discussion regarding homosexuality reflects the general feeling of freedom and liberation in the 1920s. It was a time when people in the media and public eye started to maintain openly gay relationships, while 'pansy clubs' emerged as popular entertainment establishments. Such liberalism was short-lived, however, and would not be experienced again until the revolutionary 1960s. Never one to conform, it is argued that Stein's use of the word 'gay' in her 1922 work 'Miss Furr & Miss Skeene' (from Geography and Plays) may have been the first published example of the term in a sexually-related context. 

Page 15. " Une Generation Perdue "

As we find out later in the chapter, Stein originally heard the term 'une génération perdue' when her car mechanic was complaining about his young workers. Liking the phrase -- which translates, and has been subsequently popularised, as the 'Lost Generation' -- Gertrude adopted it, using it to define that group of American artists, writers and intellectuals who had become disillusioned with the materialistic values of their home country. Many moved to the cultural sanctuary of Paris, Stein and Hemingway among them. It is widely held that the idealistic members of the Lost Generation produced some of the finest American literature to date.

Page 16. " books published that I could get from Sylvia Beach's library "

Sylvia Beach, a fellow expatriate from America, opened the doors of Shakespeare and Company at 8 rue Dupuytren in 1919. By May 1921, however, the English language bookshop and lending library moved to the larger site of 12 rue de l'Odéon. It was here on 28th December 1921, with an introductory letter from Sherwood Anderson, that Hemingway would first enter the store. As Michael Reynolds points out, however, 'the letter was unnecessary, for he had only to say that he was in Paris to write fiction to gain Sylvia's sympathy.' (Hemingway the Paris Years, p. 12).

Beach and her store came to play a pivotal role for that often struggling 'Lost Generation' of writers in Paris during the 1920s and 1930s. As well as making a wide variety of books available for small fees -- Hemingway first subscribed to the library for a single month at 12 francs -- and maintaining a constant supply of literary magazines, Sylvia seemed to act in various capacities as go-between, money-lender, property-finder, and problem-solver to all those fortunate enough to make her acquaintance. Undaunted by authority and explicit material -- despite a relatively unassuming appearance, Sylvia herself was hardly a conformist -- in March 1921 she even conceded to undertake the publishing of James Joyce's Ulysses: 'A banned periodical and a banned novel: daring action for a single, American woman trying to make her Paris living selling English books.' (Michael Reynolds, p. 13). Certainly, that particular tome made it onto Ernest's reading list, as did the remainder of Joyce's works, which Shakespeare and Co. kept in great supply. Beach wrote her memoir, Shakespeare and Company, in 1956. Hemingway and Gertrude Stein were among its many contributors. 


Quai des Grands-Augustins Oil on Canvas
Public DomainQuai des Grands-Augustins Oil on Canvas - Credit: James Wilson Morrice

Another promising source of English books for Hemingway was the quai des Grands Augustins. Here, art and novels in various guises -- Aldous Huxley and D.H. Lawrence undoubtedly among them -- were made available by the second-hand booksellers who lined the embankment with their green boxes.

Google Map
Page 16. " He wrote some very good short stories, one called The Prussian Officer. "

While some of English-born David Herbert Lawrence's poetry found sympathy with Ford Madox Ford and The English Review in 1909, his first novel, The White Peacock, was published in 1911 when the author was 25. Rewritten three times and often compared to works by Thomas Hardy and George Eliot, the book was chiefly concerned with the consequences of ill-formed marriages and the effects of industrialisation on rural England -- perhaps not so surprising given the author's working class background.

Lawrence's next offering, Sons and Lovers, had more of the sexually graphic content with which Lawrence subsequently became associated, and was rejected by UK publisher William Heinemann on the first reading. Clearly enraged by Heinemann's decision, Lawrence wrote to a friend: "Curse the blasted, jelly-boned swines, the slimy, the belly-wriggling invertebrates, the miserable sodding rutters, the flaming sods, the sniveling, dribbling, dithering, palsied, pulse-less lot that make up England today." He did not have to wait long for a more positive result, however, as Edward Garnett soon produced the first edition (1913) -- albeit heavily edited and minus a total of 80 passages! 

Following the lives and relationships of two sisters, Women In Love -- a sequel to Lawrence's 1915 novel The Rainbow -- was published in 1920. Due to its controversial content and consequent 11-year ban, Women In Love was initially only available on subscription in the US. Doubtless Hemingway would have borrowed the novel from Sylvia Beach, who certainly stocked D.H. Lawrence's later publication of Lady Chatterley's Lover (1928, Italy), which was banned in most countries for its obscene content and would not be printed in the UK until 1960. 'The Prussian Officer', a story of suppressed passion and subconscious homoeroticism, was published as The Prussian Officer and Other Stories in 1916.

Page 16. " you should read Marie Belloc Lowndes "

The daughter of a French barrister, English novelist Marie Adelaide Belloc Lowndes (1868-1947) had her first book, The Heart of Penelope, published in 1904. She penned an assortment of works thereafter, the most famous being The Lodger (1913). The tale, which was itself inspired by the sinister figure of Jack the Ripper, has been the basis of no less than five films, including Alfred Hitchcock's 1927 movie, 'The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog'. 


The spa town of Enghien les Bains -- a wealthy area in the northern suburbs of Paris -- was developed as a tourist attraction during the nineteenth century. 


Page 16. " the first fine Simenon books "

French novelist Georges Joseph Christian Simenon was born in Belgium in 1903 and had his first book, Au Pont des Arches, published at the age of seventeen. A year earlier he had taken a job at the Gazette de Liège newspaper, a post that afforded him considerable insight into the world of crime his novels would portray so well. Moving to Paris in 1922, he used his spare time to write prolifically, producing at least 200 books under a variety of pen names over the next eleven years. However, it would be Simenon's creation of Paris detective Inspector Maigret -- with Pietr-le-Letton (The Strange Case of Peter the Lett) in 1930 -- for which he would gain the most recognition and begin publishing under his own name. L'ecluse Numero 1 (a Maigret episode) and La Maison du Canal (The House by the Canal: a non-Maigret) were both printed in 1933. Many of Simenon's detective works have subsequently been adapted for film and television. 


Page 17. " Janet Flanner gave me the first two Simenons I ever read "

Well acquainted with both Gertrude Stein and Hemingway, Janet Flanner was one of the American expatriate circle living in Paris during the 1920s and 1930s. As foreign correspondent for The New Yorker in 1925, her bi-monthly column 'Letter From Paris' appeared in the magazine for the next fifty years.

The first collection of these letters, Paris Was Yesterday, which covers the years 1925-1935, makes an interesting comparison to Hemingway's A Moveable Feast. Although her novel, The Cubical City, was published in 1926, it is for her journalism that she is best remembered.


Page 17. " except for Ronald Firbank and, later, Scott Fitzgerald. When I first met her she did not speak of Sherwood Anderson as a writer "

Hailing from a wealthy English background, Ronald Firbank's works addressed male and female homosexuality with an innovative style of writing that many critics would label as 'frivolity'. However, his supporters could count amongst them such weighty names as E. M. Forster, W. H. Auden and, of course, Gertrude Stein. The first of Firbank's novels, Odette d'Antrevernes, was published in 1905.

A study of F. Scott Fitzgerald by Gordon Bryant. Published in Shadowland magazine in 1921
Public Domain F. Scott Fitzgerald  - Credit: Gordon Bryant

Stein was obviously impressed by promising young writer Scott Fitzgerald upon reading his first novel, This Side of Paradise (1920). His later works, most notably The Great Gatsby (1925), did not fail to meet Stein's expectations. Gertrude's lover, Alice B. Toklas, wrote in an article 'Between Classics' in The New York Times in 1951:

He was my favorite among the young American writers whom we knew. His intelligence, sensibility, distinction, wit and charm made his contemporaries appear commonplace and lifeless. He sat with his medallic head in profile talking quietly. Suddenly he said with passionate energy, "Today is my birthday, I am 30 years old today. Thirty years old. Youth is over. What am I to do? What can I do? What does one do when one is 30 years old and when one's youth is over?" he asked Gertrude Stein. "One goes on working," she said. "Go home and write a novel, the novel that is in you to write. That is what you will do now that you are 30 years old." Later when "Tender Is the night" was written and published and Fitzgerald sent her a copy she was touched to find that he had written on the flyleaf "Is this the novel you asked for?" And she said it was abundantly.

Cover of a 1922 edition of F. Scott Fitzgerald's book Tales of the Jazz Age
Public DomainCover of a 1922 edition of F. Scott Fitzgerald's book Tales of the Jazz Age - Credit: John Held, Jr.

Fitzgerald was one of the leading figures of the 'Lost Generation' living in Paris during the era that he would first label as the 'Jazz Age'. 

The Great Gatsby on Book Drum

Unlike Fitzgerald and Hemingway, Sherwood Anderson did not come to writing early in life, or at least not with any singular dedication. It wouldn't be until 1916 -- at the age of forty -- that Anderson's first novel, Windy McPherson's Son, found its way into print. Although there were more to follow, it would be his short stories that really gained him popularity, particularly his collection of interlinking small-town stories entitled Winesburg, Ohio (1919). Again unlike the majority of American expatriates comprising the 'Lost Generation' -- Sherwood certainly did not consider himself amongst them -- his stay in the French capital would be limited to two short visits, each only a few months in duration. The first, in 1921 (the same year he was given The Dial award for his contribution to American literature), would be the most significant, and would bring him into contact with Stein, whose writing he openly admired. Gertrude's affection was reciprocal, and she continued to correspond with Anderson from afar, encouraging his literary endeavours, and his short stories in particular. Stein would even pen 'A Valentine to Sherwood Anderson' in the later months of 1922, though not recorded in New York until the winter of 1934/35 and not as a Valentine, but as a thanks for Sherwood's foreword in her 1922 publication, Geography and Plays.

Sherwood Anderson (1933)
Public DomainSherwood Anderson (1933) - Credit: Carl Van Vechten 

It was Anderson who sent Hemingway to Paris with a letter of introduction for Stein. Hemingway also expressed his appreciation to Anderson, but in a different way: '"My Old Man" was as good as anything of Sherwood's. Later, when it was published, critics would say that here was another of Anderson's boys, just another imitator. They missed the point. "My Old Man" was a form of thank-you, a sort of homage, but also a challenge match to Anderson that was at least a draw. Ernest knew that Sherwood would understand it when he read it.' (Michael Reynolds, p. 4).

Page 17. " If you brought up James Joyce twice "

In the humorous piece 'When Titans Clash: The James Joyce/Gertrude Stein Feud', Eric Metaxas elaborates on a few incidents that certainly would have contributed to the decline of any friendship between Gertrude Stein and James Joyce, if such a friendship had indeed existed in the first place:

Stein confided in Joyce that she had composed most of the poems in her book Tenderbuttons while “on a sugar high you would not believe.” On hearing this, Joyce immediately pinched Stein’s abdomen, saying that from the general look of things she had been eating lots of sugar lately, hadn’t she?

Undoubtedly, such a feud would not have been aided by either Stein's dislike of father figures -- especially the type that might pull her up on an overindulgent sweet tooth -- or her inclination to favourably compare her work to Joyce's Ulysses -- a sentiment that the majority of critics did not seem to share. In an offering entitled 'Simpering at the Interstices of Envy', Edmond Caldwell concludes that feelings of jealousy were at play in the ill-feeling between Stein and Joyce, but that such sentiments were expressed by Stein only: '“But who came first,” she wrote, “Gertrude Stein or James Joyce?  Do not forget that my first great book, Three Lives, was published in 1908.  That was long before Ulysses” (qtd in Ellmann, James Joyce).' Joyce, on the other hand, merely stooped to the more general admission: “I hate intellectual women.”

Page 17. " I could not help from criticizing it in parody "

Though Sherwood Anderson's short stories were highly popular and won much critical acclaim, his novels were rather less enthusiastically received (for more information on Anderson see previous note for the same page). His 1925 book, Dark Laughter, is largely considered a failure, however, it was the only novel penned by Anderson that achieved bestseller status. Clearly influenced by Anderson's reading of Ulysses, it concerns a journey down the Mississippi, addressing what are now considered to be racist themes.

According to Michael Reynolds, Hemingway's intention with The Torrents of Spring was twofold: he wanted to publicly signal the end of Anderson's status as his literary mentor, whilst at the same time ensuring a break in publishing contract with Liveright (who also represented Sherwood). Encouraged in his endeavours by both F. Scott Fitzgerald and notably Pauline Pfeiffer, who would become Ernest's second wife, he reasoned that 'no one "with any stuff" could be hurt by satire' (Michael Reynolds, Hemingway the Paris Years, New York and London: W. W. Norton and Company, 1999, p. 338). He was wrong. Not only would the move anger Stein, it would also mark the end of his friendship with Sherwood.

Page 18. " after he had cracked up as a writer "

Anderson's 1923 novel, Many Marriages, is considered by many to signal the downturn in his writing career. Although this conclusion is by no means unanimous -- F. Scott Fitzgerald listed it amongst his favourites by the author -- the book certainly served to introduce themes that would be repeated in his later works.

Page 18. " the old Model T Ford she then drove "
Science Museum, London - Model T Ford
Creative Commons AttributionScience Museum, London - Model T Ford - Credit: DanieVDM

The Model T Ford, or 'Tin Lizzie' as it affectionately became known, was launched in Detroit by Henry Ford's Motor Company in 1908. The innovative methods behind its production -- it was the first motor vehicle to undergo mass production on a factory line -- meant that owning a car was suddenly an affordable option for many people (it initially sold for $850). The first models had to be crank started and, as Sean O'Grady points out in The Independent, 'the T creeps forward as soon as you start, so you have to scuttle round quickly to get in.' Broken fingers, thumbs and arms were another downside. Gertrude Stein evidently had much affection for her Model T, which she called 'Lady Godiva' and highlighted as a symbol of Modernism.


Page 19. " going down the mountain roads with a full load of wounded "
Ford Model T Field Ambulance 1916
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeFord Model T Field Ambulance 1916 - Credit: WyrdLight-McCallum

The Italian army started using the Fiat 15ter as an ambulance in May 1915, and the larger Fiat 18 BLR would follow shortly after. Without any structured driver training -- there was no Highway Code in the UK until 1931, let alone any driver proficiency tests -- the handling of ambulances was, at best, a learn-on-the-job skill, especially in a warzone. Although it had its advantages, the Ford definitely kept drivers on their toes: 'Mountain driving was further complicated by brakes that could not handle the steep grades. Drivers kept an eye peeled for strategically placed trees that could stop them if necessary. Sometimes patients had unforgettable rides.'

Page 19. " remembering how many days Ney had fought "
Marshal Michel Ney
Public DomainMarshal Michel Ney - Credit: COOK, Charles

The statue of Marshal Ney -- who had once been one of Napoleon Bonaparte's most favoured generals -- marks the spot on which he was executed on charges of treason. Ney had sworn allegiance to the new king after helping to persuade Bonaparte to abdicate and flee in April 1814. However, he rejoined Bonaparte in his revolutionary march on Paris just over a year later. What ensued was the famous assault to which Hemingway refers -- The Battle of Waterloo.

It's argued that the role Ney played in the battle was key to Bonaparte's downfall, although the bravery and commitment that Ney demonstrated during Napoleon's earlier retreat from Russia (1812) could hardly be faulted. Thought to be the last of his countrymen to leave enemy soil, Ney would have continued fighting long after Napoleon left the battlefield.

Battle of Waterloo
Public DomainBattle of Waterloo - Credit: William Sadler

'Mike' (Michel) Ney's courageous command of the rearguard in 1812 won him Bonaparte's accolade of 'the bravest of the brave'. It would seem that Napoleon was right in his judgement -- when facing the firing squad Ney refused the blindfold and demanded to deliver the final order himself, stating: 'Soldiers, when I give the command to fire, fire straight at my heart. Wait for the order. It will be my last to you. I protest against my condemnation. I have fought a hundred battles for France, and not one against her ... Soldiers, Fire!'


French poet Guillaume Apollinaire (1880–1918) is thought to have been the first to coin 'the adjective "surrealist"'. An art critic and author of erotic novels, he was also a leading figure amongst the literary crowd of Montparnasse and a regular attendee of Gertrude Stein's Saturday night dinner parties. Apollinaire died on 11 November 1918 (Armistice Day), on the eve of which crowds marched through the streets shouting 'à bas Guillaume' (down with Wilhelm), following the abrupt abdication of Kaiser Wilhelm II on November 9th.

In her book The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas, Gertrude Stein would describe Apollinaire as 'heroic':

As a foreigner, his mother a pole, his father possibly an Italian, it was not necessary that he should volunteer to fight. He was a man full of habit, accustomed to a literary life and the delights of the table, and in spite of everything he volunteered.

The death of Guillaume Apollinaire at this time, she went on to say, made a very serious difference to all his friends apart from their sorrow at his death. It was the moment just after the war when many things had changed and people naturally fell apart. Guillaume would have been a bond of union, he always had a quality of keeping people together, and now that he was gone everybody ceased to be friends.


Page 19. " my son and his cat, F. Puss "

Hemingway was well known for his love of cats, and indeed of nature in general. In fact, the polydactyl (six-toed) cat is often referred to as the 'Hemingway cat' due to the large numbers he kept at both his Key West home and the Finca Vigia (Lookout Farm) in Cuba.

F. Puss was a fluffy Persian bestowed on Bumby by Hadley's friend, Kitty Carnnell. According to Carlene Fredericka Brennen and Hilary Hemingway in Hemingway's Cats: An Illustrated Biography (p. 159) -- and as Hemingway goes on to corroborate later in A Moveable Feast -- 'F. Puss would babysit Bumby in Paris when the femme de ménage [charwoman/cleaning lady] was away and would not allow anyone to come near the boy.'

In the book's foreword, Hilary Hemingway quotes a song that Hemingway composed for the same feline: '"A feather kitty’s talent lies In scratching out the other’s eyes. A feather kitty never dies Oh immortality."' 

Page 20. " when I first went into the bookshop "
The Shakespeare & Company Bookshop
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeThe Shakespeare & Company Bookshop - Credit: gadl

As Hemingway points out, Sylvia Beach was always most accommodating towards the majority (if not all) of her American expatriate customers (for more information see bookmark for page 16). Michael Reynolds tells us that Hemingway's 'one month, twelve franc subscription to Sylvia's lending library allowed him only two volumes at a time. The following Monday, the first working day of the new year, Hadley came in to subscribe at thirty francs for three months and two volumes. The pair of them could then keep out four volumes at once, although Sylvia gave the Hemingways large leeway.' (Hemingway the Paris Years, p. 12).

Page 21. " I started with Turgenev "

A Sportsman's Sketches, also known as The Hunting Sketches or Sketches from a Hunter's Album, was the first major work by Russian writer Ivan Turgenev (1818-1883). The collection of short stories -- published in 1852 -- did much to further the abolition of serfdom, which finally occurred in Russia in 1861.

(See bookmark for page 16 for note on D. H. Lawrence and Sons and Lovers)

Dostoevsky 1872
Public DomainDostoevsky 1872 - Credit: Vasilije Perova
Brighton-born Constance Garnett (1861-1946) was one of the premier English translators of the major Russian writers, making much of their work accessible to many for the first time.

 War And Peace by Russian author and philosopher, Count Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy (Leo Tolstoy), is widely considered to be one of the greatest literary masterpieces of all time. Written between 1865 and 1869, the text, which was originally published in six volumes, tackles life in 19th century Russia at the time of the Napoleonic Wars

Famed for their deeply analytical approach to the human psyche, the literary endeavours of Fyodor Mikhaylovich Dostoyevsky (1821-1881) were hugely influential to the evolution of 20th century existentialismThe Gambler mirrors the author's own addiction to roulette. The novella has been the basis for both film and opera, while Dostoyevsky's writing of the story (mainly to pay off gambling debts) was also the inspiration for the 1997 film of the same name.


Page 21. " We have a good cook. "

In a letter to a friend in Chicago, Hemingway enthused:

We have a Femme du Menage... who comes in and gets breakfast and cleans and empties in the morning and then goes away and comes back and cooks and serves dinner at night. She can cook the best meal you ever put in your mouth and I make out the menus, me and Bones [Hadley], for all the things we've heard of or eaten and she does them all wonderfully.  

Page 21. " 'Larbaud lived there, she said. He liked it very much except for that.' "

French novelist Valery Larbaud (1881-1957) was fluent in six languages and, amongst other works, is well known for his involvement in the translation of Joyce's Ulysses. He developed aphasia after suffering a stroke in 1935. (For more on Larbaud see 'Bookmark' for page 40).

Page 22. " 'Does she have Henry James too?' "
Portrait of Henry James
Public DomainPortrait of Henry James - Credit: John Singer Sargent

American writer and critic Henry James (1843-1916) was one of the leading figures in 19th century realism. Washington Square (1880) and The Portrait of a Lady (1881) are amongst his many famous novels.


Page 24. " All books in English are bound, but bound badly "
GNU Free Documentation LicenseBookbinding - Credit: Simon Eugster

Whereas France was enjoying a revolutionary approach to bookbinding, headed by the likes of Pierre Legrain -- whose innovative designs steered away from traditional methods -- England was in a creative slump. Partly due to the British collector's desire to acquire editions in their original condition, this trend -- which persists today -- afforded binders little opportunity to experiment with modern concepts.

Page 24. " excellent places to fish. "

Ever since his childhood days at the summer house at Walloon Lake, Michigan, Hemingway had nurtured a life-long passion for fishing. From a favourite spot he shared with Hadley on the Irati river in Spain, to the deep-sea fishing he would later enjoy aboard his 38-foot boat, the Pilar, his great love of the sport was clearly reflected in numerous stories and articles. Indeed, so numerous are they that many have subsequently been brought together under the title, Hemingway on Fishing.

Page 25. " would become worthless with inflation "

Although France had enjoyed relative prosperity throughout the 1920s, 1931 marked the start of the country's Great Depression. Sparked by the Wall Street Crash (1929), the depression would endure for the remainder of the decade and had major repercussions for the economy. The unemployment and inflation that followed would drastically reduce the value, or purchasing power, of fixed incomes and pensions.