Form and Content (Masterplots II: Juvenile & Young Adult Biography Series)
Ernest Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast: Sketches of the Author’s Life in Paris in the Twenties is not a chronological account of Hemingway’s years in Paris. Rather, it is a series of sketches in which he discusses his work, depicts scenes from his travels, portrays his contemporaries, and describes Paris and the way of life that defined a generation of writers and artists. Each of the twenty chapters concerns a particular person, place, or incident that stood out in Hemingway’s mind from the perspective of an intervening thirty years. The work contains photographs of the author, his wife, Hadley, and several of the writers described in the work. Hemingway began A Moveable Feast in Cuba in 1957, and in his preface, he states that the work is not intended to be absolutely factual.
In many respects, A Moveable Feast resembles a guidebook for Paris. Hemingway depicts famous cafés such as the Select, which remains a Parisian landmark. He provides scenes from Parisian life, such as strolling in the Luxembourg Gardens and placing wagers at the race track, that capture the places and the era like photographs. Hemingway manages to give an overview of the city and the times and still include such minute details as specific smells and tastes. The work is also a travel documentary. Hemingway recounts his trips in France and the curiosities that he encountered. He also tells of his travels throughout Europe with Hadley. The chapters in...
(The entire section is 496 words.)
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Bibliography (Identities & Issues in Literature)
Kert, Bernice. The Hemingway Women. New York: W. W. Norton, 1983. Biographical details, including for the years 1920-1926, which focus on Hadley Richardson Hemingway and Pauline Pfeiffer.
Lynn, Kenneth S. Hemingway. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1987. A standard biography of Hemingway, which places the writing of A Moveable Feast in the context of the author’s approaching suicide.
Messent, Peter. “Coda: A Moveable Feast.” In Ernest Hemingway. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1992. Places the work in the context of Hemingway’s larger, utopian project of a pure art that would re-create out of the historical world a linguistic one entered at will, that is equally valid and eternally valuable. Shows how, by merging his voice at the end of his career with his voice as a young writer and the voice of his fictional young writer, Nick Adams, Hemingway achieved some of his best literary effects.
Renza, Louis A. “The Importance of Being Ernest.” South Atlantic Quarterly 88, no. 3 (Summer, 1989): 661-689. Argues that Hemingway felt such a hunger to write true sentences that the very act of writing them created a world as real as the one to which they referred. At the same time, his need to make money threatened his dedication to high artistic standards.
Tavernier-Courbin, Jacqueline. Ernest Hemingway’s “A Moveable Feast”: The Making of Myth. Boston: Northeastern University Press, 1991. Gathering and carefully weighing extensive evidence about the play of imagination and memory in Hemingway’s conceptualization and composition, Tavernier-Courbin provides an objective examination of fact and fiction in this work and a balanced analysis of what the book reveals about its author. Includes chronologies, maps, and manuscript revisions.