We All Went to Paris: Americans in the City of Light (Barnes & Noble Rediscovers Series)

We All Went to Paris: Americans in the City of Light (Barnes & Noble Rediscovers Series)

by Stephen Longstreet
     
 

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America’s fascination with Paris began even before we became a nation. Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson spent agreeable afternoons in its salons and shops—as well as long hours attending to their diplomatic missions. For them, whether to stay in Paris or return home was not an easy choice. Ever since, thousands of extraordinary Americans have faced

Overview

America’s fascination with Paris began even before we became a nation. Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson spent agreeable afternoons in its salons and shops—as well as long hours attending to their diplomatic missions. For them, whether to stay in Paris or return home was not an easy choice. Ever since, thousands of extraordinary Americans have faced a similar dilemma.

Stephen Longstreet, himself once a habitué of the boulevards, boites, and cafés of Paris, draws on letters, newspapers, journals, and unpublished material to depict the unique charms that have led Americans to work there, play there, and in many cases, stay there. We All Went to Paris is a boisterous chronicle of dozens of famous and infamous Americans—geniuses and poseurs, society women and swindlers—who flocked to Paris and added their own special glow to the City of Light.

Here is the dashing inventor Robert Fulton, running his first successful steamboat on the Seine; James McNeill Whistler, who first came to Paris as an art student and later refused to have his masterpiece hang in any other city; F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway, who became the very models of the modern expatriate writer; Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas, who discovered a home together in Paris that they could not discover anywhere else; Henry Miller and Richard Wright, who found among its streets freedom of expression and escape from prejudice. Henry James, Edith Wharton, Louis Comfort Tiffany, Jack Johnson, Isadora Duncan, Josephine Baker, Cole Porter, and William Faulkner—an A-list of talented Americans made their way there and into this book.

Accompanied by his own striking drawings, Longstreet’s narrative also captures the color, glamour, and jittery excitement of Parisian streetlife and nightlife, taking readers to places such as Maxim’s, Bricktop’s, the markets of Les Halles, Shakespeare and Company, and Harry’s New York Bar—all prime stops on the whirlwind tour.

And we still go to Paris, looking for the same riches, the same joie de vivre as well be found in this delightful book.
 

From We All Went to Paris:
 

I still have the notes I made in a journal of our conversation that afternoon. William Faulkner, glass in hand, eyes half-hooded, hawk-nosed, said, "Maybe, Steve, Paris is a grab bag for us….In the end you may get a belly-full of it, Paris…but you always want to go back. It leaves you spooked with a world of invisible presences. We go there hunting some damned evocative quality, maybe we come back and feel that only the unrealized parts of our lives seem perfect…That’s what keeps Paris green for us. It’s something we are sure is there only we ourselves never fully realized it.’

     I said we could drink to that."

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781435108882
Publisher:
Barnes & Noble
Publication date:
06/25/2009
Series:
Barnes & Noble Rediscovers Series
Pages:
512
Product dimensions:
6.30(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.80(d)

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Meet the Author

Stephen Longstreet (1907–2002) was born Chauncey Weiner. He first went to Paris at the age of five and returned many times to live and work there, becoming friends with Pablo Picasso and Gertrude Stein, among others. Author of more than one hundred books, both fiction and nonfiction (his
novel The Sisters Liked Them Handsome was the basis for the hit Broadway musical High Button Shoes), Longstreet also wrote the screenplays for The Jolson Story and Stallion Road, among others.
 

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