Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof

Memories of Paris: Expatriate Writers and their Memoirs

In Books, France on September 15, 2009 at 2:31 am

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he following books are all memoirs, written by the people in them, set exclusively or overwhelmingly in Paris. These are not books about Paris but about a life in Paris. These are, by and large, not autobiographies covering an entire life. They are about a person’s life in Paris. Nor are they novels. Oh, and the list contains no “epicurean” memoirs, which are, without exception, execrable.

The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas by Gertrude Stein
The Awakening Twenties by Gorham Munson
Being Geniuses Together by Robert McAlmon
Confessions of Another Young Man by Bravig Imbs
Exile’s Return by Malcolm Cowley
The Flâneur by Edmund White
Henry Miller: The Paris Years by Brassai
I’ll Always Have Paris by Art Buchwald
Kiki’s Memoirs by Kiki (Alice Prin)
Life Among the Surrealists by Matthew Josephson
Man from Babel by Eugene Jolas
Memoirs of Montparnasse by John Glassco
Memoirs of a Booklegger by Jack Kahane
Memoirs Of The Court Of St. Cloud: Being Secret Letters From A Gentleman At Paris To A Nobleman In London by “Stewarton”
Memoirs of a Courtesan in Nineteenth-Century Paris by Celeste Mogador (Celeste Venard De Chabrillan)
A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway
My Friend Henry Miller by Alfred Perles
My Friend Lawrence Durrell by Alfred Perles
On the Left Bank by Wambly Bald
Out of This Century by Peggy Guggenheim
The Paris Edition by Waverley Root
Paris in the Fifties by Stanley Karnow
Paris Was Our Mistress by Samuel Putnam
Paris Was Yesterday by Janet Flanner
The Passionate Years by Caresse Crosby
Shadows of the Sun by Harry Crosby
Shakespeare and Company by Sylvia Beach
That Summer in Paris by Morely Callaghan
This Must Be the Place by Jimmy Charters
Time Was Soft There by Jeremy Mercer
Troubadour by Alfred Kreymborg
The Way It Was by Harold Loeb

Unfortunately, this is not a very long list and most are in English. If you have any to suggest, please do so in the comments. Naturally, a much longer list could be compiled of books written about expatriates in Paris. There would be some great books in such a list as well, some not very well known.

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Photo by Mbzt via Wikimedia Common (CC BY 3.0)

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  1. Do have a look at my new book on Paris during the time of Sarkozy — PARIS PASSIONS: Watching the French Being Brilliant and Bizarre (www.parispassions.com).
    I have lived in Paris for 15 years, and am still an active journalist.

  2. a great list, thanks! i’m tweetin’ it for my paris-loving bibliophile friends and followers…

  3. See my book of mini-essays on today’s Paris: http://www.parispassions.com
    – available on Amazon. I have been living in Paris since 1996, and am a member of the Paris Writers Group.
    Keith Spicer

  4. Keith, thanks. You and Janet aren’t too far from one another. Now that, after 14 months of unemployment, I have two jobs and both are remote, my wife & I have been thinking of possibly relocating. Paris is on the radar. We loved our time there. By the way, check out the website of my friend David Henry, a photographer who’s lived there about the same length of time as you, Keith. http://www.davidphenry.com/

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