Paris: Epicenter for Expats


            For my research paper, I also plan to use Sylvia Beach’s bookshop Shakespeare & Co., and her memoir by the same title as central figures in the formation of “Modernism” as we know it today. As both the publisher of the James Joyce’s Ulysses, regarded by most scholars as the quintessential Modernist text, and the owner of the her English bookshop in Paris, Ms. Beach stood at the epicenter of the Modernist movement in post-war Europe, bridging the gap between the hitherto separated Modernist circles in Britain and France.
            To execute this exploration I plan to first illustrate the separate camps in both Britain and France based on a number of key figures: from the British, this will include Ezra Pound (of course) as the central connecting figure between both American and British writers. Though I did not plan to include American writers in this analysis, I found that I could not fully explore the topic without mentioning Gertrude Stein, T.S. Eliot, and (later) Ernest Hemingway. For an analysis of these literary circles I had hoped to employ Gephi network analysis graph between these leading figures and the magazines to which they contributed, but I encountered difficulties with the randomness of timeline entries, which will not be able to account for the wide scope of works from these prolific authors of the period. I will, however, (hopefully) tease out certain connections with the software to at least point out correlations between certain authors.
            On the French side there are even less of these items on the timeline and I will therefore rely more heavily on Beach’s memoir, as well as issues of the NRF and Mercure de France to find connections between contributors as discussed in Beach’s memoir. These figures will center around Valery Larbaud, André Gide, Paul Valéry, and Jean Schlumberger.
            One of the paper’s overarching questions that I hope to address: “Why this move to Paris?” Since other Modernist authors chose to write elsewhere (T.S. Eliot in Britain, W.C.W in the U.S.), I want to address potential reasons for the expatriate community that formed in the 1920’s. I will approach this question from a pre-war perspective, discussing the tendency for Anglophones regard Francophone works as somewhat superior, then from a post-war perspective as a push toward internationalism. The broadness of this topic will require the discussion to remain secondary to the central figures, but will be addressed throughout. Finally, I will discuss potential reasons for the disintegration of the expatriate community, whether ideological, artistic, or simply a change physical proximity.