What I’m Reading.

A Moveable Feast, by Ernest Hemingway, about art and the writing life in Paris in the 1920s. Especially worth it for his reminisces of Gertrude Stein (“she does talk a lot of rot sometimes”) and the hot mess of a couple that was Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald.

P. 69 (Bantam Edition, 1965, found in an untidy little bookstore in Salta, Argentina):

You got very hungry when you did not get enough to eat in Paris because all the bakery shops had such good things in the windows and people ate outside at tables on the sidewalk so that you saw and smelled the food. When you had given up journalism and were writing nothing that anyone in America would buy, explaining at home that you were lunching out with someone, the best place to go was the Luxembourg gardens where you saw and smelled nothing to eat all the way from the Place de l’Observatoire to the rue de Vaugirard. There you could always go into the Luxembourg museum and all the paintings were sharpened and clearer and more beautiful if you were belly-empty, hollow-hungry. I learned to understand Cézanne much better and to see truly how he made landscapes when I was hungry. I used to wonder if he were hungry too when he painted; but I thought possibly 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. Later I thought Cézanne was probably hungry in a different way.

 

3 comments

  1. Peter Honeyman

    John Glassco’s Memoirs of Montparnasse is another, a wild romp through late twenties Paris.