Hemingway's Paris: A Writer's City in Words and Images

Hemingway's Paris: A Writer's City in Words and Images

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Overview

“Read this book and savor Hemingway’s city.” —James Meredith, president, Ernest Hemingway Foundation and Society

For the first time in trade paperback, experience Hemingway’s Paris in all its beauty and grandeur. In gorgeous black-and-white images, Hemingway’s Paris depicts a story of remarkable passion—for a city, a woman, and a time. No other city in any of his travels was as significant, professionally or emotionally, as Paris. And it remains there, all of the complexity, beauty, and intrigue that Hemingway describes in the pages of so much of his work.

It is all still there for the reader and traveler to experience—the history, the streets, and the city. Restaurants, hotels, homes, sites, and favorite bars are all detailed here. The ninety-five black-and-white photographs in Hemingway’s Paris are of the highest caliber. The accompanying text reveals Wheeler’s deep understanding of Hemingway: his torment, his talent, the obstacles he faced, and the places of refuge needed to nurture one of the preeminent writers of the twentieth century.

Moved by the humanistic writing of Hemingway, Wheeler was inspired to travel throughout France, Italy, Spain, Africa, and Cuba, where he has sought to gain insight into the motivation behind Hemingway’s books and short stories. As a teacher, lecturer, and photojournalist, he set out to capture and interpret the Paris that Ernest Hemingway experienced in the first part of the twentieth century. Through his journal and photographs, Wheeler portrays the intimate connection Hemingway had with the woman he never stopped loving, Hadley, and with the city he loved most, Paris.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781631581137
Publisher: Yucca
Publication date: 11/15/2016
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 208
Sales rank: 161,620
Product dimensions: 7.50(w) x 9.20(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Robert Wheeler has been a Hemingway enthusiast since reading his first Hemingway novel in 1986. For the past ten years, he has been a professor at Southern New Hampshire University where he teaches courses in writing and on Hemingway. He was the recipient of the coveted Excellence in Teaching Award for 2006. He lives in New Castle, New Hampshire, with his wife, Meme, and daughters, Emma and Helen.

Jenny Phillips has a doctorate in cultural anthropology and is an author, filmmaker, and practicing psychotherapist. Her articles have appeared in the Boston Globe, academic journals, and national magazines. Jenny’s grandfather, Maxwell Perkins, was Hemingway’s long-time editor and close friend. In 2002, she founded The Finca Vigia Foundation to support the work of the Cuban government in preserving the Cuban home, library, and documents of Ernest Hemingway. She resides in Concord, Massachusetts.

Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

Inspiration

Paris, La Ville-Lumière, or The City of Light, has for centuries been a beacon for the world's most visionary. Some of the greatest artists ever known have lived and worked within the twenty arrondissements that spiral outward from the Louvre Museum to the Ménilmontant. American expatriate writers F. Scott Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein, and of course Ernest Hemingway, along with French masters such as Émile Zola and Marcel Proust have sought inspiration here. There is a rich and profound feel to this city. From its history, through its architecture, to its culture, Paris has become the backdrop in which creative and artistic people seek, and more often than not, are able to find, endless inspiration. Ernest and Hadley Hemingway, a young married American couple, arrived in Paris in December of 1921 aboard the Léopoldina. With his determination to become a great writer and her small trust fund to live upon, they began their journey together ... a journey filled with love and loss.

Early in the morning, on cold, grey days in the 1920s, a young Ernest Hemingway would walk along the Quai St. Michel and quietly observe the booksellers setting up for the day. With the Notre Dame standing watch over their stalls upon the Île St. Louis, these sellers came to know Hemingway and, being a regular customer, he came to know them. From Left Bank hotels and from the ships that came into the city, they would find and hold properly bound books for Hemingway that were written in English, as he had not yet learned French.

Along the avenues and back streets, and throughout the city, the small market owners would carefully present their lovely sustenance and freshest wares in a living still life. Walking along these streets toward his apartment on the Left Bank, Hemingway would often avoid these épiceries, noting that hunger was good discipline that would serve only to sharpen his senses. He believed that everything — every painting, every sculpture, every piece of architecture — was more beautiful and more clear if he were belly-empty and hollow-hungry.

Hemingway's walks from the Musée Rodin toward the Jardin du Luxembourg along rue de Varenne were filled with layers of inspiration. Simple archways became frames from which to view the magnificence of the city. Solitary walks down streets with little activity are small gifts that present themselves to an artistic spirit. Hemingway would enter these poetic images into his memory and experiences, which would then become part of his life and future stories.

The invitation would always be there, a cozy neighborhood café that would await Hemingway's presence. Warmly lit exteriors with their small tables spilling out onto the walkways would inspire him to stay and write for hours. As night fell upon this city, Hemingway would sit and reflect on his observations of and participation in this new place — this city where the light of Modernism shone brightly, beckoning artists from around the world to make Paris their own, and to make all things new.

There is no looking down in Paris with the soft beige of the famous architect Baron Haussmann's façades. Hemingway's own work, the characters in ink upon his pages, in some way, must have been inspired by this architecture. The smooth, clean look of stone with black iron rails. The way the sun rises and sets upon them — turning them a pearl white in the morning light, while early evening and sunset welcome a blanket of pink. Simple and emotional, not unlike Hemingway's own prose.

The Jardin du Luxembourg is at its most extraordinary in winter. Hemingway believed the Jardin was more significant set against the heaviness of cold. Once stripped of its bloom, it became easier to focus on the beauty of the park itself. Hemingway wrote that a piece of him died each year when the leaves in Paris fell from the trees and the branches were barren. Like this photograph of the sculpture of The Actor, Hemingway himself evolved into one — a man with a public persona that differed somewhat from his true nature. Hemingway's romantic and sensitive side has always played a lesser role to the critics who never experienced the man and writer who lived, loved, learned and worked in Paris.

So much happens and many, including Hemingway, would agree that much of life is experienced outdoors in Paris. In his eyes, the concrete and cobblestone pathways that cascade down to the river were filled with as much richness and imagery as were the great museums. Hemingway found it was easier to think through the complexity of his work while he walked along the historic and inspiring passageways that line the banks of the reflective Seine.

Walking up his apartment stairwell at 74 rue Cardinal Lemoine, it was understandable for Hemingway to feel lonely after spending time alone with his work and its required intensity. Living in Paris, a city full of life and noise and happenings, one can still, at times, feel lost in anonymity. The city, powerfully alive on the streets, can appear empty when looking out over the rooftops. Hemingway used this vantage point from which to examine, gather, and express his thoughts. Writing is, after all, a lonely pursuit.

In the confines of the Panthéon reside the spirits of those French writers who reached the pinnacle of their artistic endeavors. A twenty-two year old Ernest Hemingway, living on the Left Bank, would walk by this monument and be awed and enlivened by the knowledge of the legacy of its occupants. Émile Zola, Victor Hugo, Voltaire — these were, in his mind, competitors. Hemingway, in the early years in Paris, having not yet produced a novel, was still working tirelessly on getting true, impressionistic paragraphs right. Each sentence mattered deeply to Hemingway and to sustain such acrid prose consumed him. Yet he was hopeful, if not confident, that he would one day live up to the significance and legacy of those who rest within the Panthéon.

One of the many secrets revealed at night is that the Cathédrale Notre Dame, the center of all the city, has a succinctly different look and feel. It has a spiritual power that shadows the city and turns a landmark during the day, into a luminary vision at night. Hemingway would walk in the late evenings from his Right Bank encounters to his Left Bank apartment, returning home to his adoring, waiting, and faithful wife, Hadley. Together, they would talk of his work, listen to her play the piano, and read in bed at night ... she being as much the center of his existence at that time as the Notre-Dame is to Paris.

In his novel, A Moveable Feast, Hemingway mentions Les Deux Magots on Boulevard Saint-Germain. Throughout his time in Paris, Hemingway used different cafés for different reasons. Some were used for romance, some for working, and some for business or commerce. When he stopped to work at Deux Magots, he would look across the Rue Bonaparte and see the historic Abby of Saint-Germain-des-Prés, the oldest church in the city. He would order an apérritif, open his journal, and begin to write. Hemingway believed that Paris was a city tempted by greatness.

Hemingway felt he was part of something greater than his own endeavors in Paris. Other artists were collaborating and learning from one another. They grounded and supported the Modernist movement and provided Hemingway with the affirmation and inspiration he needed in order to concentrate. Hemingway, still untainted by fame and fortune, may have subconsciously used these exquisitely sculpted angels found throughout the city. A city that, in the 1920s, was known for being hospitable to strangers, lest they be angels in disguise. These angels serve as muses for the creative, a function that far exceeds their aesthetic purpose.

Here in the morning, at the Saint Sulpice, Hemingway would find himself and be surrounded by its magnificence. In this sacred and quiet space, his thoughts would be heard aloud — all the way up high to the buttresses. Thoughts about his place within his literary circle, whether he was growing as a writer or providing as a good husband ... these are the private confessions that would echo throughout the church. What Hemingway did know, was that work could cure almost anything. His religion was his art. With that in mind, he would head out of this handsome and holy place to begin his day's writing.

Along the Seine, Hemingway would find solace in the iron moorings anchored to the oldest of walls — the walls in a city that serve any boat or any body in all inclement weather. While in Paris as a budding Modernist, some of Hemingway's personal moorings were Sylvia Beach, Ezra Pound, and Gertrude Stein — all close friends, advisors, and inspirational fellow writers. Hemingway surrounded himself with those he trusted and admired. Those that comprised and anchored the creative storm of a lost generation.

As Hemingway walked from one Bank to another over the many bridges that span the river Seine, their significance in his life began to translate into his work. Observing the flow of life from any one of these bridges, he could clearly see and feel the beauty and stability of these structures. Hemingway used bridges throughout his writing, both literally and figuratively. They signified events and transformed characters in his work, and stood for transitions and loss as metaphors in his personal life. He would cross and eventually burn many bridges in his lifetime. One, in particular, he would come to regret most of all.

The swiftly moving Seine centers Paris, and helped center a young Hemingway while in Paris. The water flows and changes with the seasons, filling the creative soul with calm and inspiration. Boats travel it during the day, lovers sit by it at night, and no one leaves the city not being touched by it. Hemingway loved the life that existed along the river. The fishermen, the booksellers, and the boatsmen were all part of his life there. He admired the people along the Seine who did what they did well, and did so without reservation.

Late at night, with the streets emptied and calmed, the glow from the cafÃ(c)s fill the city. Though most were in for the evening, the hope remained that someone would wander in for a nightcap or espresso in such a clean and well-lighted place. In the early years, Hemingway, after a long day's work, would take his Hadley to hidden places such as this to discuss ideas he had for weekend excursions outside of Paris. She was a supportive wife, excited to be in this new city, and far away from her predictable St. Louis life, with a man whom she loved and admired. A man she believed would one day rise above all other writers of the Twentieth Century.

Inspiration. Hemingway believed that it could be found everywhere in the city of Paris. From the powerful river, up to the graceful bridges, past the stunning architecture, and to the divine sky, there is a serenity here. Paris holds intrigue, and a powerful draw that invites people to return over and over again. Hemingway, with his wife Hadley alongside, embraced this city and all that it afforded him in the early half of the 1920s. He instinctively knew that all people, no matter how little they had, if in Paris, they possessed great treasure ... Paris itself.

CHAPTER 2

Craft

A young Ernest Hemingway, in the early 1920s, honed his skill as a master of prose through his intention to create suggestive, highly personal, and intensely emotional writing through his disciplined work ethic. He found inspiration in cafés, along the banks of the Seine, on long walks, and living among the greatest modernists of the Twentieth Century. Hemingway filled his creative spirit by being a part of a city that afforded him a life and a community in which he was able to begin to perfect his craft and wrote what most scholars believe to be his finest and most considered work. There is no disputing the fact that Ernest Hemingway was an innovator of Twentieth Century prose, and that it all began to take shape in the early years of his Parisian experience.

The steep eight-spiraled flights of stairs leading up to the rented room where Hemingway wrote, in the tired Hotel Midi, were worn and rich with age. In the morning, he would make this climb while contemplating the story he was about to create — one that would express a deeper truth. It is clear from the unbalanced nature of the stairs and the height to which they reached that only a youthful man, without much money, would make this kind of climb to work each day. Hemingway once reported that during this time in his life, when he returned to this room from climbing in the Austrian Alps, Paris seemed small and distances shorter. When his work was done, that time when the writing was going along well and he had a deep understanding of what he would write the following day, Hemingway would walk down this long flight of stairs into a city he loved, a city that would refill his well.

This is the view Ernest Hemingway would see as he spent his days working in his eighth floor room at 39 rue Descartes. It was the Panthéon that Ernest had omitted when, in A Moveable Feast, he told the story of standing in his rented room and looking out over the rooftops of Paris. It was the view of the Panthéon — the very place where the souls of French literature rest — that consequently inspired Hemingway to dismiss all ornament from his writing and to write the truest sentence he knew. In this cramped space high above the Left Bank, Hemingway learned to focus and describe the telling details of the scenes he would compose through his prose, those details which conveyed the purest emotion. This took an intense concentration, and this was the view that helped drive him to create and express a deeper truth.

Omission. This is considered one of Hemingway's greatest gifts to literature. While in Paris in those early years, he wrote many short stories as well as his book, The Sun Also Rises, a novel that stirred the literary community and became his first major success. His unique prose developed and matured, becoming more suggestive, and he theorized that one can omit anything one knows and the story will be strengthened and felt, profoundly, by the reader. Not unlike Hemingway's writing, these moorings found along the Seine are surprisingly strong yet simple, and one can feel the depth of the stories they quietly suggest.

Hemingway felt at times he needed to be around other people in order to be alone. In his rented workspace on the rue Descartes, he learned how to concentrate fully and this allowed him to work anywhere. The lively cafés of Paris afforded him a less expensive place to work, and when he was in one, he could write, drink café crèmes and, being somewhat superstitious, hope for luck. Even today, one can easily spot a writer hunched over paper or laptop in one of the many cafés throughout this city. This unspoken invitation comes from Hemingway himself.

Three years before Ernest Hemingway arrived in Paris, the French sculptor Auguste Rodin died. It seems that there are always new and inspired artists to fill the shoes of those that walked the city of Paris before them ... one great artist passes and another is there to discover what has yet to be shown. While walking through the grand museums or wandering the city, Hemingway would find that his search for new and meaningful experiences far outweighed his quest for knowledge. Many people merely touched the glass over the picture of Paris, while Hemingway lived deeply within it.

Discipline and observation are the hallmarks of genuine artists — any who practice their craft with deep intention. Art, in and of itself, is the state of constant decision making. Hemingway admired people that took their profession seriously, those that approached their craft through interested eyes. Hemingway never compromised his work ethic, and through his writing, he kept his focus on the human spirit and not simply on appearances, trying always to reach the essence of his subject. He was a man that lived hard and worked hard, and surrounded himself with those that did the same.

What was Hemingway connected to in Paris? To learning? To language? To simplicity and clarity? To living life? To simple food and fine wine? To the art and to the events, and to his acquaintances and colleagues that filled the streets and cafés and his time there? Hemingway knew well that writing requires a full soul, an abundance of experiences, and those periods of quiet and solitary reflection in which to recreate them on paper.

(Continues…)


Excerpted from "Hemingway's Paris"
by .
Copyright © 2015 Robert Wheeler.
Excerpted by permission of Skyhorse Publishing.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

FOREWORD by Jenny Phillips,
INTRODUCTION,
I. INSPIRATION,
II. CRAFT,
III. INFLUENCE,
IV. LOVE,
V. INVITATION,

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Hemingway's Paris: A Writer's City in Words and Images 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Flipping through the pages of this book immediately transports you to the windswept streets of Paris during wintertime, and I feel as though I am emanating the cold winter air with Hemingway himself. Not only do these enthralling photographs make you want to pack your bags  and set our to Paris without any disinclination, but they also act as a lens in which you're seeing Paris through Hemingway's eyes during the 1920's. This book will act as my companion, or my Hadley, if you will, for whenever I'll visit Paris with the hopes of getting everything out of the city that Hemingway  and Robert Wheeler did.
SallyHW More than 1 year ago
This book is stunning! What a masterpiece by Robert Wheeler!
BookLike More than 1 year ago
This book is breathtaking! I find the prose and photographs mesmerizing and haunting. I am looking forward to a trip to Paris and plan to have this book in hand! Wonderul work by Robert Wheeler!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I just received this new book and I couldn't put it down! It is filled with great content and photographs of Paris and the time that Ernest Hemingway spent there. Kudos to the author for writing such an amazing book. Will purchase additional copies as gifts to friends and family members.