(Society and Self, Critical Representations in Literature)

That Summer in Paris: Memories of Tangled Friendships with Hemingway, Fitzgerald, and Some Others, by Canadian writer Morley Callaghan, recounts his friendships with F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway in Paris in 1929. Callaghan attempts to define his cultural and religious identity and to demonstrate how all writers influence one another.

As a young college student and newspaper reporter in Toronto, Callaghan recognizes that his native city is fundamentally British. He is “intensely North American” because of his love for baseball, women, and family. Intellectually and spiritually, Callaghan feels like an alien in Toronto. While working for the Toronto Star, Callaghan meets Ernest Hemingway, who has served as the newspaper’s European correspondent. Hemingway encourages Callaghan to write fiction, and the two men soon meet in Paris, where they become literary associates and boxing partners.

In Paris, Callaghan observes the contradictory behavior of other North American expatriates like Hemingway and Fitzgerald, who never assimilate completely into French society but who do not return to America to write about their own country. Callaghan concludes that North American writers were attracted to Paris because “French writers stayed at home and exiled themselves in their own dreams.” Callaghan resolves “to forge my own vision in secret spiritual isolation in my native city,” Toronto. He compares his...

(The entire section is 429 words.)


(Masterpieces of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Callaghan began That Summer in Paris: Memories of Tangled Friendships with Hemingway, Fitzgerald, and Some Others to correct the many stories generated by his outboxing Hemingway in Paris. The book, however, grew into a charming compilation of memories of Paris boulevards, commentary, and conversations with American writers, editors, and publishers. The book falls into thirds, followed by a coda. In the first third, Callaghan details his newspaper work in Toronto, meeting Hemingway there, and conferring with members of the literati in New York. Callaghan presents himself as an eager young author, ready for advice but also rather cocksure.

The Callaghans arrive in Paris in April. Callaghan, recalling numerous experiences with remarkable objectivity, offers vignettes of Parisian life before the economic collapse and war that were to come. He reveres Paris as “a lighted place where the imagination was free,” that people “have to make room for . . . in their thoughts even if they never visit them.” Distancing himself from the French writers he observes, he calls one trio “French cutups” and André Gide “a second-rate novelist.” Some Americans fare no better. Gertrude Stein’s abstract prose is “nonsense.” A host spoils his generous treatment of Americans with gossip and cruel behavior. Through this host, however, Callaghan meets James Joyce, whom he esteems above all other living writers, whose wife he meets and likes, and in...

(The entire section is 484 words.)


(Society and Self, Critical Representations in Literature)

Suggested Readings

Conron, Brandon. Morley Callaghan. New York: Twayne, 1966.

Hoar, Victor. Morley Callaghan. Toronto: Copp Clark, 1969.

Morley, Patricia. Morley Callaghan. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1978.

Staines, David, ed. The Callaghan Symposium. Ottawa: University of Ottawa Press, 1981.

Wilson, Edmund. “Morley Callaghan of Toronto.” The New Yorker 26 (November, 1960): 224-237.