On Paris

Much has been written about “the other Paris” (or, to be realistic, “the other Parises”), but Julian Green (sometimes written as Julien Green) sums it up nicely:

Paris is a city that might well be spoken of in the plural, as the Greeks used to speak of Athens, for there are many Parises, and the tourists’ Paris is only superficially related to the Paris of the Parisians. The foreigner driving through Paris from one museum to another is quite oblivious to the presence of a world he brushes past without seeing. Until you have wasted time in a city, you cannot pretend to know it well. The soul of a big city is not to be grasped so easily; in order to make contact with it, you have to have been bored, you have to have suffered a bit in those places that contain it. Anyone can get hold of a guide and tick off all the monuments, but within the very confines of of Paris there is another city as difficult to access as Timbuktu once was.

From Paris, by Julian Green (published 1991).

Published in: on October 7, 2010 at 10:09 am  Comments (2)  
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Callaghan on Gertrude Stein

Morley Callaghan, on Gertrude Stein:

I no longer had any curiosity about the grand lady. If Scott (Fitzgerald) was interested in Miss Stein, he could have her. For my part, she had written one good book, Three Lives. Having waded through The Making of Americans, and those stories of hers like “As a Wife as a Cow: A Love Story,” I had done a little brooding over her. Abstract prose was nonsense. The shrewd lady had found a trick, just as the naughty Dadaists had once found a trick. The plain truth was, as I saw it, Gertrude Stein had nothing whatever to say.

From That Summer in Paris, by Morley Callaghan, published 1963.

Published in: on June 5, 2010 at 3:51 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Lady Duff

Jimmy, the bartender at the Falstaff in Paris, describing what Lady Duff, the inspiration for Lady Brett in Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises, was really like:

You won’t tell Hemingway, will you? No? Well, she was one of those horsey English girls with her hair cut short and the English manner. Hemingway thought she had class. He used to go dancing with her over on the Right Bank. I could never see what he saw in her.

From That Summer in Paris, by Morely Callaghan (published 1963).

Published in: on June 5, 2010 at 3:46 pm  Leave a Comment  
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