Saturday, June 4, 2011

Scott in Paris

The new Woody Allen movie, "Midnight in Paris," is creating tremendous buzz, particularly for its characterizations of Gertrude Stein, Ernest Hemingway, and Scott Fitzgerald. Has anyone seen it?

The film is an example of how Fitzgerald and Hemingway have become mythic figures in American culture. In their day, they were akin to rock stars. They're remembered for their striking depictions of their time, but also for having lived in their time. They moved through history and created history.

The irony is that they weren't the most interesting figures during that time in Paris. (The 1920's.) Even if we set aside other literary giants like James Joyce and Ezra Pound. The distinction instead best belongs to Kay Boyle and Robert McAlmon, the main characters in John Glassco's immortal recollection of the period, Memoirs of Montparnasse. Glassco depicts Boyle with a pseudonym. She stands out nevertheless.

Kay Boyle wrote her own memories into her compilation of McAlmon's Being Geniuses Together. She was also strikingly portrayed in a Humphrey Carpenter history of the period.

One may also wish to rent a Keith Carradine movie from the 1980's, "The Moderns."

I don't know how good the Woody Allen film is. The ultimate movie of the period has yet to be made.

Would that writers were as interesting and glamorous now!

1 comment:

  1. I haven't seen the movie, but I'm fascinated by accounts of the writing community in 1920's Paris. Thanks for mentioning these memoirs. I'll definitely check them out.