A Moveable Feast
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"A Moveable Feast" Summary

By Ernest Hemingway

classics | 192 pages | Published in NaN

Hemingway's memories of his life as an unknown writer living in Paris in the twenties are deeply personal, warmly affectionate, and full of wit. Looking back not only at his own much younger self, but also at the other writers who shared Paris with him - James Joyce, Wyndham Lewis, Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald - he recalls the time when, poor, happy, and writing in cafes, he discovered his vocation. Written during the last years of Hemingway's life, his memoir is a lively and powerful reflection of his genius that scintillates with the romance of the city.


Estimated read time: 5 min read

One Sentence Summary

"A Moveable Feast" is a memoir by Ernest Hemingway that captures his experiences as a struggling writer in 1920s Paris.


Ernest Hemingway's "A Moveable Feast" is a memoir that provides a compelling glimpse into the author's life in Paris during the 1920s. With its vivid descriptions and intimate reflections, the book offers readers a front-row seat to the bohemian lifestyle and literary scene of that era. As Hemingway recounts his experiences and encounters with other notable figures, the reader gains a deep understanding of the author's writing process and the cultural milieu of post-World War I Paris.

Brief Synopsis

In "A Moveable Feast," Hemingway paints a vibrant picture of Paris in the 1920s, a city teeming with artistic and intellectual fervor. The memoir is structured as a series of sketches, each capturing a specific moment or period in the author's life. Hemingway's narrative unfolds against the backdrop of iconic Parisian neighborhoods, cafes, and streets, providing a rich tapestry of the city's ambiance.

Main Characters

Ernest HemingwayThe author and narrator of the memoir, a young writer striving for success and recognition in Paris.
Hadley RichardsonHemingway's first wife, depicted as a supportive and understanding partner.
F. Scott FitzgeraldA renowned American author and a close friend of Hemingway. Known for his tumultuous relationship with his wife, Zelda.
Gertrude SteinAn influential literary figure and a mentor to Hemingway, known for her avant-garde salon.

Summary of Each Different Story Points Over Chapters

Chapter 1: "A Good Cafe on the Place St-Michel"

Hemingway sets the stage for his Parisian experience, describing the atmosphere of the city and his modest living conditions.

Chapter 2: "Miss Stein Instructs"

The author introduces Gertrude Stein, who becomes a significant influence on his writing and offers him valuable literary guidance.

Chapter 3: "Une Generation Perdue"

Hemingway reflects on the impact of World War I on his generation and the disillusionment that permeated post-war society.

Chapter 4: "Shakespeare and Company"

The author recounts his encounters with Sylvia Beach, the owner of the Shakespeare and Company bookstore, and the establishment's role as a gathering place for expatriate writers.

Chapter 5: "People of the Seine"

Hemingway provides vivid portraits of the colorful characters he encounters in Paris, from artists to fellow writers.

Chapter 6: "A False Spring"

The author describes his struggle with poverty and his dedication to his craft, despite the harsh living conditions.

Chapter 7: "The End of an Avocation"

Hemingway reminisces about his decision to leave journalism behind and focus solely on his career as a fiction writer.

Chapter 8: "Hunger Was Good Discipline"

The author reflects on the creative benefits of living frugally and the impact of hunger on his writing process.

Chapter 9: "Ford Madox Ford and the Devil's Disciple"

Hemingway details his interactions with Ford Madox Ford, a notable literary figure, and the complexities of their relationship.

Chapter 10: "Birth of a New School"

The author shares his perspective on the emergence of a new literary movement and his role within it.

Chapter 11: "With Pascin at the Dome"

Hemingway recounts his experiences at the Dome cafe and his interactions with the artist Jules Pascin.

Chapter 12: "Ezra Pound and His Bel Esprit"

The author explores his admiration for Ezra Pound and the impact of Pound's mentorship on his writing style.

Chapter 13: "A Strange Enough Ending"

Hemingway reflects on the conclusion of his time in Paris and the bittersweet nature of farewells.

Main Events

  • Hemingway's encounters with influential figures such as Gertrude Stein and Ezra Pound.
  • His struggle with poverty and dedication to his writing despite financial hardships.
  • Reflections on the impact of World War I on the "lost generation" and the disillusionment of post-war society.
  • The vibrant literary and artistic scene of Paris in the 1920s, as experienced through the author's eyes.

Themes and Insights


  1. The Writing Process: Hemingway provides insights into his creative process and the challenges and triumphs of a struggling writer.
  2. Artistic Community: The memoir captures the vibrant and interconnected community of expatriate writers and artists in Paris, offering a glimpse into their personal and professional relationships.
  3. Post-War Disillusionment: Hemingway explores the lingering effects of World War I on the collective psyche, portraying a generation grappling with disillusionment and loss.


  • The significance of mentorship and guidance in the development of a writer's craft.
  • The intersection of art, poverty, and creativity in the bohemian lifestyle of 1920s Paris.
  • The lasting impact of war on individuals and society, particularly in the context of artistic expression and cultural movements.

Reader's Takeaway

Readers of "A Moveable Feast" are treated to a captivating journey through the streets of Paris and the intimate thoughts of a burgeoning literary icon. The memoir offers a profound exploration of the creative process, the dynamics of artistic communities, and the enduring impact of historical events on individual lives. Hemingway's evocative prose invites readers to contemplate the complexities of human experience and the transformative power of art.


In "A Moveable Feast," Hemingway masterfully captures the essence of a bygone era and illuminates the formative experiences that shaped his literary career. Through rich anecdotes and poignant reflections, the memoir provides a poignant and intimate portrait of the author's life in Paris, offering readers a treasure trove of insights into the creative process, the artistic milieu of the 1920s, and the enduring resonance of personal and historical legacies.

A Moveable Feast FAQ

  1. What is 'A Moveable Feast' about?

    A Moveable Feast is a memoir by Ernest Hemingway, depicting his time as a young expatriate writer in Paris during the 1920s. It provides insights into the literary and artistic community of Paris at the time, as well as Hemingway's own personal experiences and reflections.

  2. Is 'A Moveable Feast' a novel or a memoir?

    A Moveable Feast is a memoir, not a novel. It is based on Hemingway's personal experiences and observations during his time in Paris, and it offers a glimpse into the lives of notable figures such as F. Scott Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein, and Ezra Pound.

  3. What themes are explored in 'A Moveable Feast'?

    The memoir delves into themes such as creativity, friendship, love, loss, and the pursuit of artistic fulfillment. It also reflects on the challenges and joys of being an aspiring writer in a vibrant city like Paris.

  4. Is 'A Moveable Feast' suitable for all readers?

    While 'A Moveable Feast' is generally well-regarded, it contains mature themes and language that may not be suitable for all readers. Additionally, its introspective nature may appeal more to those interested in literary history and the life of Ernest Hemingway.

  5. What is the writing style of 'A Moveable Feast'?

    Hemingway's writing style in 'A Moveable Feast' is characterized by its simplicity, clarity, and vivid imagery. The memoir is known for its concise yet evocative prose, which captures the essence of Paris and the people who inhabited it during that era.