In November 1956, the management of the Ritz Hotel in Paris convinced Ernest Hemingway to repossess two small steamer trunks that he had stored there in March 1928. The trunks contained forgotten remnants from his first years in Paris: pages of typed fiction, notebooks of material relating to The Sun Also Rises, books, newspaper clippings, and old clothes. To bring this precious cargo home to the Finca in Cuba on their transatlantic voyage aboard the Ile de France, Ernest and his wife Mary purchased a large Louis Vuitton steamer trunk. I recall as a child seeing that trunk in my godmother Mary's apartment in New York, and I can still remember its smart leather trim with brass fittings, pervasive Louis Vuitton logo, and the gold embossed initials, "EH." The trunk itself was easily big enough for me to fit into, and it filled me with wonder at the grand, adventurous life my grandfather led.
Hemingway may well have had earlier inklings of writing a memoir about his early years in Paris, such as during the long recuperation after his near-death plane crashes in Africa in 1954, but his reacquaintance with this material — a time capsule from that seminal period in his life — stirred him to action. In the summer of 1957, he began work on "The Paris Sketches," as he called the book. He worked on it in Cuba, and in Ketchum, and even brought it with him to Spain in the summer of 1959, and to Paris in the fall that same year. By November 1959, Hemingway had completed and delivered to Scribner's a draft of a manuscript that lacked only an introduction and the final chapter. A Moveable Feast, published posthumously in 1964, concerns the author's time in Paris from 1921 to 1926. Careful study of the manuscripts for A Moveable Feast reveals that relatively little material was reused from Hemingway's early papers and manuscripts. Of particular note is the chapter on the poet Cheever Dunning, which can be directly linked to a very early draft of the story that Hemingway describes in a letter to Ezra Pound, dated October 15, 1924. Additionally, parts of the chapter "Ford Madox Ford and the Devil's Disciple" were culled from material that Hemingway excised from The Sun Also Rises and had rediscovered in the notebooks he found in the trunks at the Ritz. While A Moveable Feast is the first and most complete posthumously published book by Ernest Hemingway, Mary Hemingway states, in her editor's note, that the book was finished in the spring of 1960, when he had completed another round of edits to the manuscript at the Finca. In actuality, the book was never finished in Hemingway's eyes.
This new special edition of A Moveable Feast celebrates my grandfather's classic memoir of his early days in Paris fifty years after he completed the first draft of the book. Presented here for the first time is Ernest Hemingway's original manuscript text as he had it at the time of his death in 1961. Although Hemingway had completed several drafts of the main text in prior years, he had not written an introduction or final chapter to his satisfaction, nor had he decided on a title. In fact, Hemingway continued to work on the book at least into April of 1961.
During the nearly three years between the author's death and the first publication of A Moveable Feast in the spring of 1964, significant changes were made to the manuscript by the editors, Mary Hemingway and Harry Brague of Scribner's. A small amount of material that Hemingway had intended to include was deleted, and other material that he had written for the book but had decided not to include, notably the chapter entitled "Birth of A New School," a large section of the chapter on Ezra Pound, now entitled "Ezra Pound and the Measuring Worm," and a large section of the final chapter, previously entitled "There is Never Any End to Paris" and now renamed "Winters in Schruns," was added. The introductory letter by Ernest Hemingway in A Moveable Feast was actually fabricated by Mary Hemingway from manuscript fragments and, thus, has been left out of this edition. Likewise, the editors changed the order of some of the chapters. Chapter 7 became chapter 3, and chapter 16 on Schruns was made into the last chapter with additional material added from a chapter in which Hemingway wrote about his break up with Hadley and new marriage to Pauline Pfeiffer, a text published in its entirety here for the first time as "The Pilot Fish and the Rich." Hemingway had decided against including this material in the book because he thought of his relationship with Pauline as a beginning, not an ending.
The nineteen chapters of A Moveable Feast published here are based on a typed manuscript with original notations in Hemingway's hand — the last draft of the last book that he ever worked on. The actual manuscript is in the Ernest Hemingway Collection at the John F. Kennedy library in Boston, Massachusetts, the primary repository for all of Hemingway's manuscripts. Although this manuscript lacks a final chapter, I believe that it provides a truer representation of the book my grandfather intended to publish.
A number of relatively minor editorial changes were also made to the published edition of A Moveable Feast, changes that I strongly doubt would have been attempted by the editor had she required the author's approval. These changes have been reinstated. The most significant of them, I think, is the changing in many places of Hemingway's use of the second person in the narrative, evident from the very first paragraph of chapter one and then throughout the book (see, e.g., Fig. 1). This intentional and carefully conceived narrative device gives the effect of the author speaking to himself and, subconsciously, through the repetition of the word "you," brings the reader into the story.
A particularly egregious edit was made to the foreword to chapter 17 on F. Scott Fitzgerald. Hemingway's final text (see Fig. 7) reads:
His talent was as natural as the pattern that was made by the dust on a butterfly's wings. At one time he understood it no more than the butterfly did and he did not know when it was brushed or marred. Later he became conscious of his damaged wings and of their construction and he learned to think. He was flying again and I was lucky to meet him just after a good time in his writing if not a good one in his life.
But in the posthumous edition, it reads:
His talent was as natural as the pattern that was made by the dust on a butterfly's wings. At one time he understood it no more than the butterfly did and he did not know when it was brushed or marred. Later he became conscious of his damaged wings and of their construction and he learned to think and could not fly any more because the love of flight was gone and he could only remember when it had been effortless.
It is clear that the editors culled this text from an earlier draft (see Fig. 6) discarded by Hemingway, but this kind of editorial decision, which casts Fitzgerald in a less sympathetic light than Hemingway's final version, seems completely unwarranted.
Hemingway had only provided titles for three chapters of his original manuscript: "Ford Madox Ford and the Devil's Disciple," "Birth of a New School," and "The Man Who Was Marked for Death" (see Fig. 4). The titles from the first publication have been retained, except as noted above, for the clarity of the reader familiar with the book. Likewise, I have provided titles for the additional, previously unpublished sketches.
There was a great deal of material that Hemingway wrote for A Moveable Feast that he decided to leave out, acting "by the old rule that how good a book is should be judged by the man who writes it by the excellence of the material that he eliminates." At least ten additional chapters were composed for the book, each in varying stages of completion, and these have been included in this special edition as a separate section after the main text. None of these chapters were finished to the author's satisfaction and must be regarded as incomplete. Some of the chapters were written and rewritten in two drafts, and others are preserved in only a single handwritten first draft. As a corpus, I think that most readers will agree they provide a most interesting supplement to the book.
The chapters of A Moveable Feast do not follow a strict chronological order. Similarly, I have organized the additional chapters with a slightly idiosyncratic logic. "Birth of A New School" comes first because this chapter was already included in the first publication of the book, where the editors had placed it between "Ford Madox Ford and the Devil's Disciple" and "With Pascin at the Dôme." Hemingway wrote two different possible endings for this chapter, which were edited and partially conflated by the editors of A Moveable Feast. Both endings are provided here as Hemingway wrote them. Likewise, "Ezra Pound and His Bel Esprit" is material that was published in A Moveable Feast but had been written as a separate chapter, and, in fact, was cut by Hemingway.
"On Writing in the First Person" is next because it is quite different from all of the other pieces. It focuses on writing rather than a particular remembrance, and, as a piece about process, seems more appropriate at the beginning than at the end. While incomplete, it offers insight into the process of writing and pokes fun at the so-called "detective school" of literary criticism. Most young writers write fiction from their own experience but Hemingway, as he intimates in this brief sketch, culled a great deal of material from other firsthand and secondhand sources. For example, he writes about interviewing soldiers from World War I, and his mastery of historical fiction is never more evident than in his novel A Farewell to Arms, where he has recreated the retreat of Caporetto so accurately that one would not believe he had not been at the battle.
"Secret Pleasures" is a story about Ernest wearing his hair long and deciding with Hadley to grow their hair to the same length. Most likely it is based primarily on the winter of 1922-23, when they were at Chamby sur Montreux, Switzerland, not Schruns, Austria, and is a case where Hemingway has altered the facts to improve the story. The sketch, only preserved in a single handwritten draft, is audacious for its intimate portrayal of the author and his wife and recalls certain passages in Hemingway's posthumous novel, The Garden of Eden. It gives a particularly vivid impression of Ernest Hemingway as a young professional with one good suit and one pair of dress shoes who needed to observe the social conventions and dress code of his job as a journalist. The length that one cuts one's hair remains a theme that resonates with young people today as they get their start in life. Hemingway conveys the complexity of motivations and assumptions in the simple act of growing his hair out: transitioning to his new bohemian lifestyle as a full-time writer of fiction, saving money both by not cutting his hair and not going out to the fashionable quarter because of his bohemian appearance, how this allowed him to focus on his writing, his journalist colleagues' disdainful impressions contrasted with the completely different cultural associations of long hair for Japanese men, whom Hemingway met at Ezra Pound's studio and whose long, straight black hair Hemingway admired. From this practical and anti-establishment act grows the idea that he and Hadley wear their hair at the same length as a kind of secret pleasure shared between them. Hemingway comically contrasts the scene in Paris with that in Schruns, where the local barber assumes that Hemingway is following the new Paris fashion and, consequently, encourages other customers to take up the style.
"A Strange Fight Club" is a story about a little-known Canadian boxer named Larry Gains and his irregular training at the Stade Anastasie, a dance hall restaurant in a tough part of Paris where fights were held as dinnertime entertainment and the fighters acted as waiters. It is an unusual portrait of Paris life in the 1920s and reveals the pugilistic side of Ernest Hemingway, who enjoyed boxing himself and often covered important fights as a journalist. Hemingway, as when he spars with Ezra Pound in his studio, casts himself as the authority, which he displays to the reader through his careful assessment of Larry Gains's inexperienced moves.
"The Acrid Smell of Lies" is an unflattering portrait of Ford Madox Ford, whose breath was "fouler than the spout of any whale." Hemingway's intense dislike of Ford has long puzzled biographers, especially given Ford's often glowing praise in print of Hemingway's writing and the opportunities that Ford gave Hemingway as an assistant editor of The Transatlantic Review. According to one theory, their falling out was the result of a dispute over money. In this sketch, Hemingway ascribes his "unreasonable antipathy" toward Ford as his own inability to listen to Ford's constant lying.
"The Education of Mr. Bumby" is a sketch preserved in just one handwritten draft, in which Ernest and his son Jack, whose nickname was Bumby, join F. Scott Fitzgerald for a drink at a "neutral" cafe in Paris. The piece adds another example to Hemingway's portrayal of Fitzgerald's problems with drinking and his wife Zelda's jealousy over his writing. After telling Fitzgerald stories about World War I, Hemingway mentions to Bumby that their friend André Masson was damaged by the war but went on to lead a productive life as a painter. Masson served in the Great War for two and a half years until 1917, when he was wounded in the chest and suffered depression afterward. Masson shared with Joan Miró a Paris studio, which Hemingway visited on a number of occasions. Hemingway acquired three forest landscape paintings by Masson, all of which now hang in the Hemingway room at the John F. Kennedy library, and knowing that Masson was deeply affected by the war may explain something of their haunting effect.
"Scott and His Parisian Chauffeur" is more a story about F. Scott Fitzgerald than about Paris — it takes place in America after a Princeton football game that the Fitzgeralds and Hemingways attended together in the fall of 1928. One can see why Hemingway decided to leave it out as it falls outside the general chronological parameters of the book. However, the black humor and automotive heme make the sketch a fine sequel to Ernest's earlier chapter on the drive with Fitzgerald from Lyon to Paris in his hoodless Renault, amplifying Hemingway's portrayal of "Scott's complicated tragedies, generosities and devotions."
To judge from the manuscripts (see, e.g., Fig. 5), the most difficult part of writing A Moveable Feast for Ernest Hemingway was coming to terms with his betrayal of Hadley with Pauline and the end of that first marriage. In a way this would have been a logical ending to the book, and one can see why Mary Hemingway decided on it for the ending. However, Hemingway, after writing a chapter about it, included in this edition as "The Pilot Fish and the Rich," decided that it was not the ending he wanted since he considered his marriage to Pauline a beginning, and this ending clearly left the heroine of the book, Hadley, abandoned and alone. What is worse is that only a part of "The Pilot Fish and the Rich" was incorporated into the last chapter of A Moveable Feast in the 1964 edition. The remorse that Hemingway expresses and the responsibility that he accepts for the breakup, as well as "the unbelievable happiness" that he had with Pauline, was cut out by the editors. For the first time, readers of this edition have the full text to consider as Hemingway wrote it. The extensive edits Mary Hemingway made to this text seem to have served her own personal relationship with the writer as his fourth and final wife, rather than the interests of the book or of the author, who comes across in the posthumous first edition as something of an unknowing victim, which he clearly was not (see also Fig. 5).
"Nada y Pues Nada" was written by Ernest Hemingway over three days, from April 1-3, 1961, as a possible final chapter for the book. It is the last demonstrable sustained piece of writing that Hemingway did for the book and is only preserved in a single handwritten manuscript (see Fig. 8). It is as much a reflection of the author's state of mind at that time, only three weeks before he attempted suicide, as it is a contribution to the book. His commitment to his work despite his failing health is remarkable, especially amid the paranoia and severe state of depression that he was facing. Writing, as he had done before in better times, that he was born to write "and had done and would do again" must have been difficult knowing that his writing was not going well and had not been for some time. In the final sentence, he writes that his memory has been tampered with, likely a reference to his recent visit to the Mayo clinic for shock therapy treatment, and that his heart no longer exists. As Hemingway's Spanish Civil War-time friend Antoine de Saint Exupery observed in his book, Le Petit Prince, it is only with the heart that we can see rightly, as the essence of things is not visible to the eye. Hemingway's expression of despair is a sad portent of the end for him, which came by his own hand less than three months later.
In a letter written to Charles Scribner, Jr., on April 18, 1961, but never mailed, Hemingway writes that he is unable to finish the book as he had hoped and suggests publishing it without a final chapter. He mentions that he has been trying to write an ending for over a month. The false starts and endings included in the Fragments section of this volume probably belong to this time. He also provides a long list of tentative titles for A Moveable Feast. Hemingway had a habit of writing out lists of possible titles for his books from as early as his 1920s collection, in our time. Some names were frivolous and some were serious, and he often liked to say that the Bible was the best source for finding titles. At first glance, the list of titles Hemingway drew up at this time seems awful and may be an indication of how much his mind was deteriorating. They include: The Part Nobody Knows, To Hope and Write Well (The Paris Stories), To Write It True, Good Nails Are Made of Iron, To Bite On the Nail, Some Things As They Were, Some People and The Places, How It Began, To Love and Write Well, It Is Different In The Ring, and, my personal favorite, How Different It Was When You Were There.
The title that he tentatively settled on was The Early Eye and The Ear (How Paris was in the early days). This last title sounds a bit like a medical textbook that could have belonged to his father. In seriousness, though, I think that Hemingway was trying to get at what he believed were key facets of his writing technique with this title. The eye, a term usually used in the connoisseurship of fine art, draws an interesting comparison between writing and painting, a subject that Hemingway discusses in A Moveable Feast, especially his learning from the paintings of Cézanne. Hemingway first developed his eye, his ability to discern the gold from the dross and turn his observations into prose, in Paris in the twenties. The ear, which we think of as more pertinent to musical composition, is clearly important to creative writing. Hemingway's writing typically reads well when spoken aloud. When complete, his writing is so tight that every word is integral, like notes in a musical composition. In his early years in Paris, he learned about the value of rhythm and repetition in writing from Gertrude Stein and, especially, James Joyce, whose masterpiece, Ulysses, published by Sylvia Beach at Shakespeare and Company, is an extraordinary virtuoso display of English prose that comes alive when read aloud. The Early Eye and The Ear gets at the need to hone your craft, something Hemingway truly believed in and worked at all his life. It implies talent, for you must have a good eye and a good ear to begin with if you are to be successful, but it also suggests that you need experience to develop your abilities as a writer, and Paris at that time was for Ernest Hemingway the perfect place to do this. Indeed, many of the handwritten first-draft manuscripts of A Moveable Feast are extremely clean and serve as remarkable and poignant testimonies to Hemingway's talent (see Figs. 2-3), even in his final years. The deathless prose appears on the page fully formed like the goddess Athena born from the head of Zeus.
The final title of the book, A Moveable Feast, was chosen by Mary Hemingway after the author's death. It does not appear anywhere in the manuscript but was suggested to her by A.E. Hotchner, who recalls Ernest mentioning the phrase to him at the Ritz Bar in Paris in 1950. The choice of spelling follows Hemingway's idiosyncratic preference to retain the "e" in words ending in "ing" and formed from verbs that ended in "e." It adds the imprint of the author, and the "ea" in Moveable also makes a pleasant visual repetition with the "ea" in Feast. In his foreword, Patrick Hemingway sheds light on the historical use of the term by my grandfather in his writing and at home.
Whether you are reading it for the first time or coming back to it like visiting with an old friend, A Moveable Feast retains a freshness that is remarkable. Recently, I was in Paris to bring a marble portrait bust of the Greek historian Herodotus from the Metropolitan Museum of Art to the Louvre for an exhibition on Babylon from the third millennium B.C. to the time of Alexander the Great and on into myth, when that great city became a place of legend and a biblical symbol of decadence. I was reminded of F. Scott Fitzgerald's fine short story, "Babylon Revisited," where he describes Paris as a place of excess, endless parties, and lurid decadence at the time that Hemingway first knew him in the mid-1920s, and how different Paris was for Fitzgerald at the end of the decade, during the Great Depression, when his own career was on a downward turn. There were not many Americans in Paris during my recent visit, with the weak dollar and current economic difficulties at home. While for Hemingway in the 1920s "exchange was a beautiful thing," the pendulum has swung and American expatriate life in Paris is no longer cheap. Paris was for me (and my grandfather rightly states each person's experience is different) an inspiring and vital place of beauty and light, and history and art.
For my grandfather, who was just starting out in those early years, Paris was simply the best place to work in the world, and it remained for him the city that he loved most. While you will not find goatherds piping their flocks through the streets of Paris anymore, if you visit the places on the Left Bank that Ernest Hemingway wrote about, or the Ritz Bar or Luxembourg Gardens, as I did with my wife recently, you can get a sense of how it must have been. You do not have to go to Paris to do this, though; simply read A Moveable Feast, and it will take you there.
Seán Hemingway Introduction copyright © 2009 by Seán Hemingway
A Good Café on the Place St.-Michel
Then there was the bad weather. It would come in one day when the fall was over. You would have to shut the windows in the night against the rain and the cold wind would strip the leaves from the trees in the Place Contrescarpe. The leaves lay sodden in the rain and the wind drove the rain against the big green autobus at the terminal and the Café des Amateurs was crowded and the windows misted over from the heat and the smoke inside. It was a sad, evilly run café where the drunkards of the quarter crowded together and I kept away from it because of the smell of dirty bodies and the sour smell of drunkenness. The men and women who frequented the Amateurs stayed drunk all of the time or all of the time they could afford it; mostly on wine which they bought by the half-liter or liter. Many strangely named apéritifs were advertised, but few people could afford them except as a foundation to build their wine drunks on. The women drunkards were called poivrottes which meant female rummies.
The Café des Amateurs was the cesspool of the rue Mouffetard, that wonderful narrow crowded market street which led into the Place Contrescarpe. The squat toilets of the old apartment houses, one by the side of the stairs on each floor with two cleated cement shoe-shaped elevations on each side of the aperture so a locataire would not slip, emptied into cesspools which were emptied by pumping into horsedrawn tank wagons at night. In the summer time, with all windows open, you would hear the pumping and the odor was very strong. The tank wagons were painted brown and saffron color and in the moonlight when they worked the rue Cardinal Lemoine their wheeled, horse-drawn cylinders looked like Braque paintings. No one emptied the Café des Amateurs though, and its yellowed poster stating the terms and penalties of the law against public drunkenness was as flyblown and disregarded as its clients were constant and ill-smelling.
All of the sadness of the city came suddenly with the first cold rains of winter, and there were no more tops to the high white houses as you walked but only the wet blackness of the street and the closed doors of the small shops, the herb sellers, the stationery and the newspaper shops, the midwife — second class — and the hotel where Verlaine had died where you had a room on the top floor where you worked.
It was either six or eight flights up to the top floor and it was very cold and I knew how much it would cost for a bundle of small twigs, three wire-wrapped packets of short, half-pencil length pieces of split pine to catch fire from the twigs, and then the bundle of half-lengths of hard wood that I must buy to make a fire that would warm the room. So I went to the far side of the street to look up at the roof in the rain and see if any chimneys were going, and how the smoke blew. There was no smoke and I thought about how the chimney would be cold and might not draw and of the room possibly filling with smoke, and the fuel wasted, and the money gone with it, and I walked on in the rain. I walked down past the Lycée Henri Quatre and the ancient church of St.-Étienne-du-Mont and the windswept Place du Panthéon and cut in for shelter to the right and finally came out on the lee side of the Boulevard St.-Michel and worked on down it past the Cluny and the Boulevard St.-Germain until I came to a good café that I knew on the Place St.-Michel.
It was a pleasant café, warm and clean and friendly, and I hung up my old waterproof on the coat rack to dry and put my worn and weathered felt hat on the rack above the bench and ordered a café au lait. The waiter brought it and I took out a notebook from the pocket of the coat and a pencil and started to write. I was writing about up in Michigan and since it was a wild, cold, blowing day it was that sort of day in the story. I had already seen the end of fall come through boyhood, youth and young manhood, and in one place you could write about it better than in another. That was called transplanting yourself, I thought, and it could be as necessary with people as with other sorts of growing things. But in the story the boys were drinking and this made me thirsty and I ordered a rum St. James. This tasted wonderful on the cold day and I kept on writing, feeling very well and feeling the good Martinique rum warm me all through my body and my spirit.
A girl came in the café and sat by herself at a table near the window. She was very pretty with a face fresh as a newly minted coin if they minted coins in smooth flesh with rainfreshened skin, and her hair black as a crow's wing and cut sharply and diagonally across her cheek.
I looked at her and she disturbed me and made me very excited. I wished I could put her in the story, or anywhere, but she had placed herself so she could watch the street and the entry and I knew she was waiting for someone. So I went on writing.
The story was writing itself and I was having a hard time keeping up with it. I ordered another rum St. James and I watched the girl whenever I looked up, or when I sharpened the pencil with a pencil sharpener with the shavings curling into the saucer under my drink.
I've seen you, beauty, and you belong to me now, whoever you are waiting for and if I never see you again, I thought. You belong to me and all Paris belongs to me and I belong to this notebook and this pencil.
Then I went back to writing and I entered far into the story and was lost in it. I was writing it now and it was not writing itself and I did not look up nor know anything about the time nor think where I was nor order any more rum St. James. I was tired of rum St. James without thinking about it. Then the story was finished and I was very tired. I read the last paragraph and then I looked up and looked for the girl and she had gone. I hope she's gone with a good man, I thought. But I felt sad.
I closed up the story in the notebook and put it in my inside pocket and I asked the waiter for a dozen portugaises and a half-carafe of the dry white wine they had there. After writing a story I was always empty and both sad and happy, as though I had made love, and I was sure this was a very good story although I would not know truly how good until I read it over the next day.
As I ate the oysters with their strong taste of the sea and their faint metallic taste that the cold white wine washed away, leaving only the sea taste and the succulent texture, and as I drank their cold liquid from each shell and washed it down with the crisp taste of wine, I lost the empty feeling and began to be happy and to make plans.
Now that the bad weather had come, we could leave Paris for a while for a place where this rain would be snow coming down through the pines and covering the road and the high hillsides and at an altitude where we would hear it creak as we walked home at night. Below Les Avants there was a chalet where the pension was wonderful and where we would be together and have our books and at night be warm in bed together with the windows open and the stars bright. That was where we could go.
I would give up the room in the hotel where I wrote and there was only the rent of 74 rue Cardinal Lemoine which was nominal. I had written journalism for Toronto and the checks for that were due. I could write that anywhere under any circumstances and we had money to make the trip.
Maybe away from Paris I could write about Paris as in Paris I could write about Michigan. I did not know it was too early for that because I did not know Paris well enough. But that was how it worked out eventually. Anyway we would go if my wife wanted to, and I finished the oysters and the wine and paid my score in the café and made it the shortest way back up the Montagne Ste. Geneviève through the rain, that was now only local weather and not something that changed your life, to the flat at the top of the hill.
"I think it would be wonderful, Tatie," my wife said. She had a lovely modeled face and her eyes and her smile lighted up at decisions as though they were rich presents. "When should we leave?"
"Whenever you want."
"Oh, I want to right away. Didn't you know?"
"Maybe it will be fine and clear when we come back. It can be very fine when it is clear and cold."
"I'm sure it will be," she said. "Weren't you good to think of going, too." Restored edition copyright © 2009 by the Hemingway Copyright Owners