Cafe Society: Paris in the 1920s (1S)


Paris enjoyed a thriving arts and literary scene in the interwar years (1920s and 1930s), attracting many American intellectuals to live and work in the famed City of Light. Writers such as Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein and Langston Hughes, as well as jazz musicians and stage performers converged in Parisian cafes, bookstores, and nightclubs. In this course, we’ll read a selection of American expatriate writers associated with the “Lost Generation.” We’ll explore the vibrant intellectual and cultural scene of Paris, including artists, musicians and performers. By the time we watch Woody Allen’s comedy, Midnight in Paris, you will know enough to understand all the film’s references to the writers, artists and thinkers who left their indelible mark on this beautiful city. Our class time will be spent in discussion, exploration, collaboration and active participation. The writing you’ll be asked to do will be personal narrative, memoir, creative expression and reflection inspired by and in dialogue with the texts you’ll encounter. We’ll end the semester by hosting a cultural salon, inviting the Menlo adults of your choice to engage in substantive and sparkling conversation with all of you.