Friday, September 21, 2012

A Moveable Feast

I just recently finished re-reading Ernest Hemingway's A Moveable Feast. I've always found it to be my favorite work by Hemingway. I think that is because the book is both historical and biographical and I tend to favor works on history and biographies in my reading habits.

The book's unsung hero is Ezra Pound. The book's villain is Zelda Fitzgerald and the book's fool is F. Scott Fitzgerald who Hemingway paints as an alcoholic buffoon with wasted talent. Hemingway's kind sentiments towards Pound are interesting given Pound's political leanings around WWII. I feel guilty that I've never even once felt the urge to pick up and read anything by Pound. I also feel guilty because each time I read A Moveable Feast and Hemingway sings the praises of the book Out of Africa I say to myself that I will read that book!  But I never have.

Hemingway wrote the book three decades removed from the Paris of the 1920's. In the book Hemingway makes clear that he disagreed with the idea of a "Lost Generation". I tend to agree with Hemingway. It would be one thing if the label of a "Lost Generation" was referring to a generation wiped out by war but the label was a slight originating from Gertrude Stein referring to a generation without direction. A generation adrift. I'm of a mind that generally every generation looks at the generation that comes after it as being adrift and without the same sense of purpose that they themselves possessed. The Great Depression generation probably thought the generation that followed them was a Lost Generation - even though that generation would later be given the moniker of the Greatest Generation.

Youth is wasted on the young. The saying has been true since the days of the Ancient Greeks and it is true today. I guess one of the reasons I keep coming back to A Moveable Feast is because the book allows you to get a feeling of what it was like to be young in the Paris of the 1920's. And that's a good thing.