Year of Hemingway: A Moveable Feast


I'm reading (well, listening really) Hemingway this year. Mostly because it seems like the right thing to do  and also because my Woody Allen's brilliant 'Midnight in Paris' really inspired me to go back to explore the literary period between the wars.

Anyway, here is the first in a series of comments (not reviews, that's really not needed) that came to me while and after finishing many of Hemingway's works.


A moveable feast. That's what Hemingway calls Paris. A feast, only one of its kind, at least at the time, that you take with you wherever you go, or rather, it comes with you. You can't help it.  

A place so beautiful, so meaningful, so artistic, offering such an intellectual splendor that your relation with it, specially if you are the artistic type, is, simply said, forever.

Hemingway's brilliantly, autobiographical novel published posthumously but perhaps written much much earlier right around the end of the war is an ode to cultural possibility. It is the acknowledgement and acceptance of art as an aspect of everyday life and not as an inanimate embellishment but as a living thing that is reason d'être of a generation of people, the lost generation, as Gertrude Stein, famously said as a patron of the famous.

 Not to say this is utopia. Far from it. It is a nasty place socially but still very rich intellectually. The famous (but not rich) are famously hating and infamously wasting but creating art that is lasting, sustaining and immortal.

It is not even autobiographical really. Hemingway, it is believed, rigged his old diaries to build false romanticism (is there any other kind?) and a flawed, fantastical portrait.   

But that is beside the point. Hemingway is a novelist and not a historian. We read him because he makes compelling tales.

Anyway, A Moveable Feast is the type of book that makes you long for a different life. The one that you've always wanted but never really had the courage or the talent to lead. It is not a great life. It is a different life. A life of idea collection as against that of toy collection.