Friday, June 10, 2011

Hemingway's A Moveable Feast & The Sun Also Rises

Dree Hemingway, Ernest's Great-granddaughter, modeling for Vogue Nippon
No contest, A Moveable Feast is one of the best titles in the history of literature. There's something so perfect about it. And the market agrees. A quick google search yields a healthfood store in Houston Texas, a meals on wheels for AIDS patients, a catering company in Portland Oregon, and a defunct food blog with a thing for Anthony Bourdin, among others

Here's what Wikipedia has to say on MF's title "The title was suggested by Hemingway's friend A.E. Hotchner, author of the biography, Papa Hemingway. He remembered they had a conversation about the city during Hotchner's first visits there: "If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast"

Hemingway describes this early writing period as a halycon decade, punctuated by parties, aperatifs, and the occasional summer vacation. His tone is wistful. His marriage to first wife Hadley was still intact and he remained unencumbered by the shackles of success (stress is always relative). Reading A Moveable Feast is a little like listening to a fashion publicist reminiscing about the time her JV fieldhockey team won the New England Regionals albeit more eloquently. At it's heart, MF is a misty-eyed account of what Hemingway obviously considers to be his rosy youth. Made relevant by what this literary great accomplished in said rosy youth.
 It was this time in Paris in the early 20's which inspired The Sun Also Rises. And in the end of Moveable Feast, Hemingway talks about the germination of hist first book. Mostly about his gut feeling that he was working on something truly great. Until the day he died (suicide 1961-the same year, incidentally, that Henry Miller had Tropic of Cancer published in the USA by Grove), Hemingway considered SARs to be his finest achievement. The period of his life in which Moveable Feast is about and in which the Sun Also Rises was written, really did, as Hotcher predicted, stay with him.

PS: Hemingway actually first came to Paris in part because America had just entered its prohibition era. I.e we have the renowned debauchery of Paris and the potent lure of whiskey to thank for both A Moveable Feast and The Sun Also Rises. I'll drink to that. And you best make it a Mojito, one of Hemingway's fave drinks.

Mojito Recipe from Hemingway & Bailey's Bartending Guide

6 fresh mint sprigs
1 oz. lime juice
3/4 oz. simple syrup
2 oz. light rum
Lime wedge

Crush 5 mint sprigs into the bottom of a chilled highball glass. Pour in lime juice, simple syrup, and rum. Fill glass with crushed ice. Garnish with lime wedge and remaining mint sprig. Sometimes a splash of club soda is added.