Hemingway and his Era Come Alive in Paris

As I continue my travels here in Europe, I have yet to encounter a city as extensive as Paris; it truly is huge. That being said, I experienced a serendipitous moment that suddenly made the city feel smaller. I was finishing up my weekly reading of A Moveable Feast—our only reading in English this semester, though even in this exceptional case, we compared a few passages with those from a French translation—at a cafe nestled outside of the Luxembourg Gardens, when I glanced out the window to take in my surroundings and daydream. My eyes fell on the advertisement for the cafe across the street, La Closerie des Lilas.

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La Closerie des Lilas

The name seemed oddly familiar, and after flipping back a few pages I saw that La Closerie des Lilas was a cafe that Hemingway not only frequented during his stay in Paris, but included in the very book I held. Of all places to be in Paris to be reading A Moveable Feast, I happened to be across the street from that cafe. It was an interesting coincidence that helped make the book feel as if it was partly my story too.

To read A Moveable Feast in Paris legitimizes the novel through the experience of place. To stand on the very street that Hemingway describes while gazing upon the very statute that he makes reference to makes one feel so much more a part of the book.

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le Maréchal Ney devant la Closerie des Lilas

One can connect to his words not merely through Hemingway’s lense, but also through an intimacy that the reader develops through this interaction with the “Lost Generation’s” space.

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dans la cour du 27, rue de Fleurus, devant l’ancien salon/atelier de Gertrude Stein

The story develops a layer through this, enhancing the literary experience by making it one’s own.

To celebrate homecoming weekend at quite a distance from Sewanee, Professor Poe orchestrated a Friday night dinner that brought together our current abroad cohort with Sewanee alumni living in Paris for a dinner at a Latin Quarter restaurant across the street from the first residence of Hemingway and his wife Hadley.

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74, rue du Cardinal Lemoine, première adresse des Hemingway

Stories of Sewanee, living abroad, life after graduation, and a few bread baskets circulated among us, serving up a bit of a taste of Sewanee here in France. The night ended on a high note, leaving both alumni and students with a feeling of warm familiarity in this grand City of Light.

-Tess Steele

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Prof. Poe, Ron Oman (C’98), Audrey Loirat (French assistant, 2001-02), Sylviane Poe (behind poster), Jacques et Carol Bossonney (C’82), Charlotte Puckette (C’82), notre ami belge Tanguy

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Margaret Blackerby, Caroline Kerr, Katie Keith (C’15), Chris Cooper, Alex Cooper (C’15), Crystal Caviness (Kelly’s mother visiting), Kelly Caviness, Grace Dossett (C’16), Sophie Bore (en visite de Dublin), Sydney Peterson, Tess Steele (en tête)

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Chris, Caroline et Breaux devant le château de Fontainebleau, dans des costumes du 18e siècle

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