Cover image for A Paris year : Dorothy and James T. Farrell, 1931-1932
A Paris year : Dorothy and James T. Farrell, 1931-1932
Branch, Edgar Marquess, 1913-2006.
Publication Information:
Athens : Ohio University Press, [1998]

Physical Description:
xviii, 219 pages : illustrations ; 21 cm
Format :


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PS3511.A738 Z635 1998 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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The Depression that follows the 1929 stock market crash is emptying Paris of many American expatriates. Two exceptions are Dorothy and James T. Farrell, the naïve young couple who have fled their home in Chicago for the fabled liberation that Paris seems to offer.

In this telling account drawn from interviews, diaries, and letters home, Edgar Marquess Branch presents a composite view of the life of a young author yet to complete his masterpiece, Studs Lonigan. Set among the expatriate artists who defined their time, this human drama plays itself out in one short year in which the foreign and familiar are entwined.

Featuring such characters as Ezra Pound and Kay Boyle, A Paris Year traces the heartbreak and triumphs that the newlyweds experience as the young Farrell seeks his fame and fortune. Their Paris sojourn influenced the rest of their lives and left an imprint on American literature.

Author Notes

James T. Farrell was born Chicago, Illinois on February 27, 1904. He attended the University of Chicago, but left before graduating. During his lifetime, he publish more than 50 books, including 28 novels and 16 collections of short stories. He is the author of the Studs Lonigan Trilogy, the Danny O'Neill Pentalogy, The Bernard Carr Trilogy, and The Universe of Time series featuring Eddie Ryan. He died on August 22, 1979.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

By the time James T. Farrell set sail for Paris in 1931, Hemingway, Fitzgerald and all the other famous American expatriate writers had left. Sick of the Depression and of his hometown, Chicago, he and his pregnant wife of four days, Dorothy, arrived in Paris on the sly, trying to hide their secret marriage from Dorothy's mother. Farrell's mission was simple: to get published. And after many disappointments (mostly due to censorship concerns because of his explicit prose) the Vanguard Press accepted the first of the Studs Lonigan trilogy, Young Lonigan, on the recommendation of poet Ezra Pound. Branch, a research professor emeritus at Miami University in Ohio, portrays Farrell as a literary outsider trying to make his way in a strange city. There are meetings with Kay Boyle and Padraic Colum, but Farrell is more worried about the rent and food money than about meeting James Joyce and Samuel Beckett, who were also living in Paris at the time. This year also saw the prolific Farrell at work on a proletarian novel called The Madhouse, in which he wrote a first draft of 329 pages in an amazing month and a half (it would later be published under the title Gas-House McGinty). In December 1931 a son was born, but died three days later. Discouraged and worn out by financial worries, Farrell borrowed money to return to America. A friend of both Farrells, Branch had access to Farrell's papers. The result is an in-depth study that brings the artist-in-the-garret clich‚ to life and shows the tenacity and talent that would help make Farrell an important American writer. Photos. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Choice Review

Chicagoans James and Dorothy Farrell went to Paris for a year after most US writers had returned home. "Paris set him moving as a writer," claims Branch, Farrell scholar and author of James T. Farrell (1971) and A Bibliography of James T. Farrell's Writings, 1921-1957 (1959). Indeed, while in France Farrell four times rewrote or revised Young Lonigan (1932, the first of his Studs Lonigan trilogy), began two other novels (including Gas-House McGinty, 1933), and wrote many stories, letters, and reviews. He also kept an extensive (unpublished) journal, which Branch has mined for this detailed story of the novelist's 12 months in France (seven of those months actually spent in Sceaux, south of Paris). Along with photographs and bibliography, Branch provides a catalog of the unpublished manuscripts and letters and of his own conversations with Farrell and his friends. A book for Farrell fans and students of expatriate Paris, this detailed volume fills in a small gap in the larger Americans-in-Paris saga. N. R. Fitch University of Southern California