Americans in Paris: A Literary Anthology share button
Adam Gopnik
Format Hardcover
Dimensions 6.36 (w) x 9.32 (h) x 1.37 (d)
Pages 650
Publisher Library of America
Publication Date March 2004
ISBN 9781931082563
Book ISBN 10 1931082561
About Book
From the earliest years of the American republic, Paris has provoked an extraordinary American literary response. An almost inevitable destination for writers and thinkers, Paris has been many things to many Americans: a tradition-bound bastion of the old world of Europe; a hotbed of revolutionary ideologies in politics and art; and a space in which to cultivate an openness to life and love thought impossible at home. Including stories, letters, memoirs, and journalism, Americans in Paris distills three centuries of vigorous, glittering, and powerfully emotional writing about the place that Henry James called “the most brilliant city in the world.”

American writers came to Paris as statesmen, soldiers, students, tourists, and sometimes they stayed as expatriates. This anthology ranges from the crucial early impressions of Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin to the latter-day reflections of writers as varied as James Baldwin, Isadora Duncan, and Jack Kerouac. Along the way we encounter the energetic travelers of the nineteenth century—Emerson, Mark Twain, Henry James—and the pilgrims of the twentieth: Gertrude Stein, F. Scott Fitzgerald, E. E. Cummings, Cole Porter, Henry Miller. Come along as Thomas Paine takes a direct and dangerous part in the French Revolution; Harriet Beecher Stowe tours the Louvre; Theodore Dreiser samples the sensual enticements of Parisian night life; Edith Wharton movingly describes Paris in the early days of World War I; John Dos Passos charts the gathering political storms of the 1930s; Paul Zweig recalls the intertwined pleasures of language and sex; and A. J. Liebling savors the memory of his culinary education in delicious detail.

Americans in Paris is a diverse and constantly engaging mosaic, full of revealing cultural gulfs and misunderstandings, personal and literary experimentation, and profound moments of self-discovery.


The New York Times

Although Americans in Paris has a chronological structure, Mr. Gopnik still gives it a soupçon of suspense: the reader moves from section to section wondering whether the book can top what it has just delivered. So ignore the table of contents and allow yourself to be caught off guard. — Janet Maslin

Library Journal

Covering over three centuries of the American experience in Paris, this engaging and powerful anthology of letters, stories, and essays collects emotions of the heart and personal insights experienced by travelers trying to find happiness in the City of Light. Each selection engages the reader in a historical journey to a city that over the centuries has lured Americans, whether statesmen, soldiers, or tourists. The diverse pieces range from Benjamin Franklin's letter to Mary Stevenson in 1767, describing his first observations of the city, to fashion editor Diana Vreeland's memorable journeys to Paris as a representative of Harper's Bazaar after her reopening of the French collections following World War II. Other pieces are by such renowned travelers as Mark Twain, Henry James, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein, and many others. Edited by New Yorker staff writer Gopnik (Paris to the Moon), winner of the National Magazine Award for Essay and Criticism and the George Polk Award for Magazine Reporting, this delightful literary anthology will compel readers to keep coming back to experience Paris. Recommended for public and academic libraries.-Susan McClellan, Avalon P.L., Pittsburgh Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.