The feeling was surreal when I got hold of books inspired by Paris and I was in the very same city that motivated the authors to write them. On February 2014, in the dead of winter, I entered Shakespeare and Company (named such to honor a woman named Sylvia Beach who had operated a bookshop of the same name which closed in late 1941 because of the German occupation of France) and I just felt happy to be in a city that inspired the writing of great literary pieces. Here are writers who wrote books inspired by Paris - its people, its cafes, its elegance:
In the 1920s, American journalist Ernest Hemingway moved to Paris to work as a foreign correspondent for Toronto Star Weekly. In the City of Light, he wrote several books inspired by Paris including "A Moveable Feast", which was published posthumously. Being in Paris allowed him to travel and do research in other cities which are also found in his other works such as The Sun Also Rises, The Old Man and the Sea, and A Farewell to Arms.
Here is another American writer who left the United States and made Paris her home. The reason for leaving was not actually for writing but Gertrude Stein's move later proved to be a blessing to many literary expatriates in Paris. Stein held regular gatherings in her home, making her abode a refuge of writers and artists such as Ernest Hemingway and Pablo Picasso. "The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas" was a book she wrote using the voice of her eponymous lover.
This is the author of numerous works including two (a novel and a short story) that were adapted into movies: The Great Gatsby (starring Leonardo DiCaprio as millionaire Jay Gatsby) and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (with Brad Pitt as Benjamin Button). Fitzgerald and wife, Zelda, traveled back and forth between USA and Europe between 1920 and 1930. The couple were young socialites, criticized by Hemingway for their extravagant lifestyle. Read more about him and you'll understand why The Great Gatsby has turned out into a masterpiece.
An Irish poet and novelist, James Joyce spent 20 years in Paris, where his novel "Ulysses" was published under the imprint of Shakespeare and Company. That was in 1922. Joyce had already been writing for years prior to Ulysses, but I believe he came to Paris to give himself and his writing the privacy that it need to further develop and later, complete itself.
This Irish writer wrote in both English and French and worked with fellow Irishman James Joyce, when the latter was working on "Finnegan's Wake". He made Paris his permanent home from 1937 and even joined an underground movement to resist the Germans during World War II. From this experience, a whole lot of traveling and encounters with different people, he wrote novels, short stories, plays, and even broadcasted on television and radio. No wonder this man was awarded the 1969 Nobel Prize in Literature!
Meet an American writer whose works were banned in his very own country because they were considered to be "sexually immoral". Published in 1934, "Tropic of Cancer" is written in the first person and talked about a nomadic life in Paris and well...detailed accounts of his sexual experiences. Now...anyone interested to read this book?
Her French was fluent and so it might be correct to say that she was the most French among all American writers who found peace in the mystery and romance provided by Paris. Her novel, The Age of Innocence, won a Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1921.
So many novels and short stories from these authors, and we're not even halfway through the list of writers who went to Paris for self-imposed literary exile. Have you read any of the works of these authors?
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