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My generation doesn’t eat supper

The young North American men who flocked to Montparnasse in the 1920s came to drink not to eat. The women were another matter. The men of the “Lost Generation,” as they were famously dubbed by Gertrude Stein, scorned the previous generations of wealthy tourists, like Henry James’s Christopher Newman, who came to improve their “taste” and […]

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There is no Ibérico or serrano, only Jamón

The novel most responsible for the everlasting romanticization of Jazz Age expat culture in Paris, Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises, takes place half in Spain. When the pressures of drinking wine and eating oysters in the cafés of Montparnasse became too much to take, Hemingway, his friends, and the characters he modelled after them, escaped to San […]

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The Dud Avocado

It’s easy to get lost in Paris, despite Baron Haussmann’s best efforts to impose order on the city’s street plan. Sometimes I get turned around by one too many adventurous forays from a main avenue, and wind up pointed in the wrong direction. I have google maps to sort me out of course, but is […]

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Hitting the Hemingway Trail: Part I, Montparnasse

As I mentioned in my post on Hemingway’s hunger, many of the cafés and restaurants that the great man habituated remain open today. But with Hemingway being a man of such large appetites, and thus a habitué of so many venues, how can the nostalgic tourist decide which Hemingway haunt to drink at first? As […]

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Hemingway’s Hunger

“I’m very hungry,” I said. – Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast (1964) Published posthumously, Hemingway’s brief memoir of expat life in 1920s Paris is so popular that in “Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay,” the stoner duo meet a prostitute named “Tits Hemingway” who explains that she got her name because “I have huge […]

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The Auto-biography of Alice B. Toklas

The charm of The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas (1933), Gertrude Stein’s tongue-in-cheek “memoir” of her partner, lies for most readers in its intimate portrayal of Parisian artistic life during the first decades of the twentieth century. The informality of the narrative, a conversational slew of anecdotes featuring the most famous names of twentieth-century arts and letters […]

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