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Comment: This item is in good condition. All pages and covers are readable. There are no stains or tears. Dust jacket is present if applicable. May contain small amounts of writing and/or highlighting. Spine and cover may show signs of wear. May not contain supplementary items. We ship within 1 business day. Big Hearted Books shares its profits with schools, churches and non-profit groups throughout New England. Thank you for your support!
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Paris Was Yesterday, 1925-1939 Paperback – April 18, 1988

4.7 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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The bestselling author of "Encyclopedia an Ordinary Life" returns with a literary experience that is unprecedented, unforgettable, and explosively human. Hardcover | Kindle book
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Janet Flanner is at present residing in New York.


Janet Flanner is at present residing in New York.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 264 pages
  • Publisher: Harvest Books; 1 edition (April 18, 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0156709902
  • ISBN-13: 978-0156709903
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #74,161 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Loren D. Morrison on May 28, 2000
Format: Paperback
Like many other American tourists, when I visit Paris I am searching for the Paris of Hemmingway and Fitzgerald. Amazingly enough, even though over 50 years have passed, a lot of that Paris has survived and is just waiting to be rediscovered. A lot of what I can't find on my own I find in those columns that Janet Flanner wrote from 1925 to 1939 for the NEW YORKER and which have been collected for PARIS WAS YESTERDAY.
Janet Flanner (pen name "Genet") was the resident Paris Correspondent for THE NEW YORKER. Her assignment was to write columns about "what the French thought was going on in France," Flanner became much more than a mere observer of the Parisian scene. she was an active participant. Be it a death, an opera premiere, a swindle, a political disaster, a bit of gossip about a celebrity, or nostalgia for an even earlier era, Flanner wrote about them, and wrote with wit and an occasional tongue-in-her-cheek.
The following example of her tongue-in-cheek approach, one among many, comes from a 1928 column entitled "The Italian Straw Hat." It seems that the French wanted parity with Hollywood when it came to Motion Pictures and wanted to pass a law requiring the acceptance in the U. S. of a French Film for every Hollywood made film shown in France. The first picture they wanted to export to the U. S. was a film entitled, in translation, THE ITALIAN STRAW HAT.
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Format: Paperback
There are rare pleasures in reading, one of which is stumbling onto a 'new' author. Ms Flanner could craft a detailed word picture almost with a single stroke of her pen. She wrote what she saw, actors, authors, lives and deaths of Knowns and Unknowns. She was there at the events, both great and small in a Paris she knew well and obviously loved. She is able to give the period between the wars a flavor and texture that makes it live and breathe. In some ways it is a gossipy diary, in others a police blotter, a literal whos-who of the literary scene of the time. Entries vary from a few pithy lines to several pages, ranging from light and humorous to somber and serious. And all extremely well written.
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Format: Paperback
The Paris, France of Janet Flanner's time was quite different then. In between World Wars, Paris probably thought it was on the rise of maintaining the role in attracting the finest artists, writers, and cultural elite. The American expatriate artists flocked to Europe because of the dismal great depression. Janet left before the great depression with another divorcee, Solita Solano. Janet and Solita lived modestly in Paris. Janet would eat at Cafe Deux Magots with the likes of Ernest Hemingway. Janet foresaw Hitler's evil long before anyone else. Janet loved Paris unlike every other city. Paris is quite a feminine city by design. It's pretty and it attracted the likes of lesbian expatriates Natalie Clifford Barney, Romaine Brooks, Rene Vivian, Gertrude Stein, Alice B. Toklas, Sylvia Beach, Adrienne Monnier, Djuna Barnes, Nancy Clare Cunard who were all friends with Janet during this time. In Europe, people like Janet were accepted and tolerated especially in Paris where it was fashionable. Women like Janet and others got to be in control of their destinies. Although the 1920s were simply a time of sexual revolution, the great depression probably was the main reason for many Americans to go abroad. Anyway, Janet was a remarkable writer who worked out every word and sentence before sending it to be published. I would love to have lived in Paris between the wars where being a woman wasn't crime if you weren't married.
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Format: Paperback
Flanner (nom de plume: Genêt), a former New Yorker essayist and who lived in Paris for many years, describes the cultural and social life of Paris in the 20s and 30s. She pens wonderful glimpses into what Parisians were thinking, feeling, and doing -Parisian ways of living, wine, and art. C'est magnifique.
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"Paris Was Yesterday: 1925-1939" is a deceptively simple book that begins in joyful silliness with an essay about Josephine Baker and ends on a frightened note as the Nazis slowly begin to dominate Europe.

Janet Flanner (1892-1978) was a lifelong columnist for The New Yorker, specializing in commentary on European politics and culture. She began writing her fortnightly "Letters from Paris" in October 1925 when she was in her twenties. Flanner's obituaries and acerbic eye-witness accounts of artists, writers, espionage agents, and criminals are often hilarious and bring to life the magnificent " annees folles" that followed World War One.

Her vignettes sparkle with mischief and sheer exuberance. Flanner's eyes were constantly focused on the world around her. For today's readers, it as though a flashlight is shining on forgotten attic treasures, illuminating the thoughts and ideas of both the Parisians and expats of the jazz age.

Serious articles about the death of scientist Marie Curie, a well-attended Paris concert by Marian Anderson, and the life of Edith Wharton, are included along with with whimsical book reviews, notes on art exhibitions, gossip about dashing local folks, American expats, Russian emigres, and other timely topics of that she thought would interest the readers of The New Yorker.

As early as 1933, Flanner notes: "War Talk. Among the upper-class Parisians, there is constant talk of fear of war. Daily, the journals print warnings," but largely dismisses it as interesting chatter. Her chirpy anecdotes of swindlers, dancers, and artists continue for another five years.

In 1938 she delights in the festive mood in Paris, celebrating the visit of England's King George VI and Queen Elizabeth.
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