24112015 paris est une fete hemingway_0

(P1) IN THE WAKE OF the November 13 Paris attacks, Ernest Hemingway’s classic book “A Moveable Feast” has become a SYMBOL of life in the French capital, climbing to the top of BESTSELLER LISTS as it FLIES OFF THE SHELVES of bookstores across France.

(P2) Published POSTHUMOUSLY in 1964, “A Moveable Feast” is a MEMOIR of Hemingway’s experiences living in Paris during the 1920s.

(P3) In the AFTERMATH of the November 13 attacks, which killed 130 people, copies of the book have been placed among the flowers and candles at MAKESHIFT MEMORIALS across the city.

(P4) The book’s sudden revival has been partly ATTRIBUTED to a woman known as “Grandma” Danielle, who mentioned it during an interview at a memorial outside of the Bataclan concert hall days after the attacks.

(P5) “It’s very important to bring flowers to our dead, it’s very important to read Hemingway’s book ‘A Moveable Feast’ over and over again,” said the woman who was only identified by her first name. “We are an ancient civilisation and we will UPHOLD our values. We will FRATERNIZE with the 5 million Muslims who practise their religion freely and peacefully, and we will fight against the 10,000 BARBARIANS who kill in the SO-CALLED name of Allah.”

(P6) Since then, “A Moveable Feast” (translated to “Paris est une fête”) has SURGED to the top of France’s bestseller lists.

(P7) “The title [in French] is very symbolic because it’s an act of RESISTANCE in that it is saying, ‘Paris is alive,’” said David Ducreux of the publisher Editions Gallimard. “It describes Hemingway’s Paris during the 1920s, when people were out on TERRACES, drinking glasses of wine and talking. It’s very close to how the youth of Paris live today.”

(P8) Orders of “A Moveable Feast” rose from 10 to 500 per day following the attacks, before jumping to 2,100 last Friday. The sudden SPIKE in demand has forced Editions Gallimard to print 30,000 new copies of the book.

(P9) For Boris Vejdovsky, a professor of American literature at the University of Lausanne and co-author of a book on Hemingway, part of the appeal of “A Moveable Feast” is that it DEPICTS a Paris that no longer exists.

(P10) “It’s a book that’s PREDICATED ON NOSTALGIA, that’s predicated on a world that’s already gone… It presents us with an ideal vision of Paris. I think this is exactly what people are looking for.”

WORDS: 400



If you found the passage difficult to read or had problems understanding specific words or idiomatic expressions, please discuss them with your tutor. The following discussion questions should be answered in your own words and with your own arguments.

  1. Briefly summarize the content of the article in your own words.
  2. Another book, the “TREATISE on TOLERANCE” by the 18th Century French philosopher Voltaire, has also seen an increase in sales since terrorist attacks on Paris began. Why do you think that there is such a strong positive relationship between literature and society in France?
  3. What books have a special meaning in the history of your country and city?
  4. Do you feel nostalgia for any earlier period in your country’s history?
  5. The French clearly feel pride in their national values following this tragedy. How would you describe your country’s national values?


What do the following expressions mean? Practice using each expression in a sentence; extra points if you can use it in conversation.

  • In the wake of
  • Bestseller list
  • Fly off the shelves
  • So-called
  • Predicate

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