Paris on the Brink: The 1930s Paris of Jean Renoir, Salvador Dali, Simone De Beauvoir, André Gide, Sylvia Beach, Léon Blum, and Their Friends
The author’s fourth slice of Paris history focuses on economic and cultural turbulence in the years before the German occupation. Hemingway is one of many familiar players and some lesser-known figures who emerge in parallel and intertwining threads. Chapters proceed chronologically through the decade, from the arrival of A Farwell to Arms in Sylvia Beach’s bookshop (October 1929) to France’s humiliating surrender to Hitler in 1940, and an ending, skeptical nod to Hemingway’s “liberation” of Paris four years later. Hemingway’s brawls (figurative and literal) with Max Eastman, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Gertrude Stein appear, though much more attention is given to the divisiveness in French politics and its creative quarters that accompanied the rise of fascism, Nazism and the repercussions of the Spanish Civil War.