Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Book: A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway

"If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as young man, then wherever you for for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast." - Ernest Hemingway to a Fried, 1950

Heyday of Paris literature, Hemingway, Stein, Fitzgerald, James Joyce, Lyndon Lewis.

Following Old Man and Sea, tried one of his larger novels - written by someone else.

Moveable feast back on top form - just read some of the quotes below, understand why he won Nobel Prize in literature.



I was always hungry with the walking and the cold and the working.

It was in that room that I learned not to think about anything I was writing from the time I stopped writing until I started again the next day. That way my subconscious would be working on it and at the same time ...

I was learning very much from him but I was not articulate enough to explain it to anyone. Besides it was a secret.

Work could cure almost anything, I believed the, and I believe now.

...it was necessary to read in order not to think or worry about your work until you could do it again. I had learned already never to empty the well of my writing, but always to stop when there was still something there in the deep part of the well, and let it refill at night from the springs that fed it.

If you brought up Joyce twice, you would not be invited back (to Gertrude Stein's flat). It was like mentioning one general favourably to another general. You learned not to do it the first time you made the mistake. You could always mention a general, though, that the general you were talking to had beaten.

'What do we have for lunch?'
'Little radishes, and good foie de veau with mashed potatoes and an endive salad. Apple tart.'
'And we're going to have all the books in the world to read and when we go on trips we can take them.'

..if the day was bright, I would buy a liter of wine and a piece of bread and some sausage and sit in the sun and read one of the books I had bought and watch the fishing.

With the fishermen and the life on the river, the beautiful barges with their own life on board, the tugs with their smoke-stacks that folded under the bridges, pulling a tow of barges, the great elms on the stone banks of the river, the plane trees and in some places the poplars, I could never be lonely along the river. With so many trees in the city, you could see the spring coming each day until a night of warm wind would bring it in suddenly in one morning. Sometimes the heavy cold rains would beat it back so that it would seem that it would never come and you were losing a season out of your life. This was the only true sad time in Paris because it was unnatural. You expected to be sad in fall. Part of you died each year when the leaves fell from the trees and their branches were bare against the wind and the cold, wintry light. But you knew there would always be the spring, as you knew the river would flow again after it was frozen. When the cold rains killed the spring, it was though a young person had died with no reason.

When spring came, even the false spring, there were no problems except where to be happiest. The only thing that could spoil a day was people and if you could keep from making engagements, each day had no limits. People were always the limiters of happiness except for the very few that were as good as spring itself.

The one who is doing his work and getting satisfaction from it is not the one poverty bother. I thought of bathtubs and showers and toilets as flushed as things that inferior people to us had or that you enjoyed when you made trips, which we often made.

But then we did not think of ourselves as poor. We did not accept it. We thought that we were superior people and other people that we looked down on and rightly mistrusted were rich. It never seemed strange to me to wear sweatshirts for underwear to keep warm. It only seemed odd to the rich. We are well and cheaply and drank well and cheaply and slept well and warm together and loved each other.

You did not get very hungry when you did not eat enough in Paris because all the bakery shops had such good things...

I learned to understand Cezanne much better and to see truly how he made landscapes when I was hungry.  I used to wonder if he were hungry to when he painted; but I though possible it was only that he had forgotten to eat. It was one of those unsound but illuminating thoughts you have when you have been sleepless or hungry.

In Dostoevsky there were things believable and not to be believed, but some so true they changed you as you read them; frailty and madness, wickedness and saintliness, and the insanity of gambling were there to know as you knew the landscape and the roads in Turgenev, and the movement of troops, the terrain and the officers and the men and the fighting in Tolstoi.

Later he (Scott Fitzgerald) would become conscious of his damaged wings and of their construction and he learned to think that he could not fly any more because the love of flight was gone and he could only remember when it had been effortless.

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