50 Years Ago

Historian S. L. A. Marshall Tells How He and “Papa” Hemingway Liberated Paris

Ernest Hemingway told a wonderful story about his liberation of Paris. He claimed he was one of the first to enter the city, taking over the bars at the Crillon and Ritz hotels. Famed World War II historian S.L.A. Marshall corroborated Hemingway’s account in American  Heritage. —The Editors

From the war there is one story dear to my heart of which I have never written a line. There are reasons for this restraint: a promise once made; the unimportance of trying to be earnest about that which is ludicrous; and the blight of the passing years on faded notes. Read more »

America’s Venice

RALPH WALDO EMERSON SEEMS TO BE THE ONLY U.S. CITIZEN WHO HASN’T FALLEN UNDER THE CITY’S SPELL.

 

What could be more different than Venice and an American city? One pretends to represent the continued existence of the past. The other pretends to represent the ideal of progress, of the future. In their separate ways both are illusions, but no matter. The relationship of the Old and the New Worlds is not simple. It is like that of the sexes: Opposites may repel, but often they attract. Thus there are towns named and emulating Venice across America.

 
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The Omni-american

ALBERT MURRAY SEES AMERICAN CULTURE AS AN incandescent fusion of European, Yankee, frontier, and black. And he sees what he calls the “blues idiom” as the highest expression of that culture.

 

WHEN HE WAS SEVENTY, ALBERT MURRAY SCUTTLED AROUND MANHATTAN with the energy of a far younger man. A decade later, two spinal operations having cruelly diminished his orbit, Murray needs one of those four-pronged aluminum canes to inch down a sidewalk, bitter punishment for a naturally impatient man. Albert Murray’s big, handsome grin, which turns a listener into a coconspirator in whatever iconoclasm he is hatching at the moment, gets flashed less often now. Read more »

Plain Talk From Ralph Waldo Emerson

Many Americans, Hemingway among them, thought him a solemn prig. But Emerson’s biographer discovers a man who found strength and music in the language of the streets.

In the wake of the centennial year of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s death in 1882, scholars, critics, and journalists in various parts of the country started to take a fresh look at the man and his works. They have found that the prejudices against Emerson expressed by H. L. Mencken and Ernest Hemingway persist to the present day. Mencken said in The American Mercury (October 1930) that “Emerson was always very careful to keep idealism within the bounds of American respectability.Read more »

Ten Books That Shaped The American Character

Walden is here, of course; but so too is Fanny Farmer’s first cookbook

America is not a nation of readers, yet books have had a deep and lasting effect on its national life. By comparison with the Russians, whose thirst for books—especially contraband books—is legendary, we pay them scant attention; Walker Percy once dolefully estimated that the hard-core audience for serious literature in this country of two hundred and thirty million is perhaps one or two million, and he probably was not far off.Read more »

HEMINGWAY & FITZGERALD: THE COST OF BEING AMERICAN

The work of Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald virtually defined what it meant to be American in the first half of this century

One of the last photographs of Hemingway shows him wandering a road in Idaho and kicking a can. It is an overcast day, and he is surrounded by snow-swept mountains. He looks morose, is evidently in his now usual state of exasperation, and he is all alone. The emptiness of Idaho is the only other presence in the picture. Read more »

An Interview With John Huston

The Dean of American Movie Men at Seventy-Five

John Huston was born on August 5, 1906, in Nevada, Missouri, a town that his grandfather won in a poker game, according to family legend. He was the son of Walter Huston, who, after fifteen years as a vaudeville headliner, became one of America’s finest dramatic actors, best known for playing the old farmer in Eugene O’Neill’s Desire Under the Elms and for the title role in Dodsworth .Read more »

From Camelot To Abilene

To Owen Wister, the unlikely inventor of the cowboy myth, the trail rider was “the last cavalier,” the savior of the Anglo-Saxon race

We think of the cowboy and of the open range as part and parcel of the American legend that spread eastward from the West during the nineteenth century. Yet the legend had not become national until the early twentieth century, and its principal literary architect was an Easterner to the core. The crucial event in its popular dissemination was The Virginian , a novel written by Owen Wister and published in 1902. Its success was instantaneous, large-scale, and enduring.Read more »

Books We Think You’ll Like

Ernest Hemingway and His World

by Anthony Burgess Charles Scribner’s Sons, 144 pages, photographs, $10.95 Read more »

How Papa Liberated Paris

An eyewitness re-creates the wonderful, wacky day in August, 1944, when Hemingway, a handful of Americans, and a senorita named Elena helped rekindle the City of Light. Champagne ran in rivers, and the squeals inside the tanks were not from grit in the bogie wheels

From the war there is one story above others dear to my heart of which I have never written a line—the loony liberation of Paris.

There are reasons for this restraint: a promise once made; the unimportance of trying to be earnest about that which is ludicrous; the vanity of the hope that fact may ever overtake fiction; and the blight of the passing years on faded notes.

Read more »