It is currently Sun Nov 23, 2014 3:12 am

All times are UTC - 5 hours [ DST ]




 Page 1 of 1 [ 14 posts ] 
Author Message
 Post subject: ATLA Question #9 - Most Entertaining Vignette
PostPosted: Tue Oct 19, 2010 10:55 am 
JDZ Moderator
User avatar

Joined: Thu Jun 24, 2004 2:13 pm
Posts: 12513
Location: The Left Coast
I enjoyed some of the stories that Simone would share with Algren. Some were pretty outrageous. Which did you find to be the most entertaining vignette?



_________________________________________________________
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.
Offline
 Profile  
 
 
 Post subject: Re: ATLA Question #9 - Most Entertaining Vignette
PostPosted: Tue Oct 19, 2010 5:13 pm 
JDZ Moderator
User avatar

Joined: Thu Jun 24, 2004 2:13 pm
Posts: 12513
Location: The Left Coast
I guess I will share first.

I think the funniest was the story about Dylan Thomas on pg. 382 (letter of Thursday, October 26, 1950). I was absolutely shocked. I will quote a portion of the passage. I cannot quote it all because it would look like this:
:censored: :censored: :censored: :censored: :censored:

Now, at last, I have time to tell you the story about Dylan Thomas which Wolfe (Bernie Wolfe, a writer and jazz musician) told me in New York and which I enjoyed so much. Thomas, who is very well-known in New York among teachers, scholars, and all kind of university people (who writes books about him and try hard to understand his poems), he was invited by Columbia University to come and give lectures around New York and the States. He was said from pictures of his youth to be handsome, in a Byronic way: long blonde hair, thin sensitive face, and so on. Wolfe happened to be invited to the party they gave for him in New York. First, they went to take him at the airport, and instead of a Byronic young poet, they saw a small fat stout man, red and coarse faced, middle-aged, running away madly from the plane, saying: “You have got to arrest all of them! Showing his fellow-passengers. They follow me since I left London, they are Guepeou agents (Soviet security police)! He looked really scared. The fact is since fifteen years he never stops drinking, and he drank all the journey long in the airplane. They tried to sober him, and brought him to some elegant room where teachers and wives in elegant dresses were gathered. Dylan Thomas was not sober at all. He just began to jump around, chiefly jumping on the lap of the elderly women and hugging them. (It gets worse and worse as she tells it, detailing his actions on said laps & his lewd suggestions. When he was asked for a dedication, he proceeded to draw a lewd picture and write a lewd poem.) Everybody was so disgusted they really threw him away. Then, Thomas (I think she means Wolfe here) told me, it was very interesting: the teachers began by saying by he was disgusting, they did not want any longer to write books and thesis about him, they even said: “After all, he is not such a good poet.” But the obscenity, the boldness of Thomas had moved them. One of them suggested he would play some records he had hidden (in some record library of the university) and which were intensely obscene; he played them, and said Wolfe, it was as coarse and disgusting as can be….It was amazing to see teachers and wives, so much scandalized by Thomas’s funny and witty obscenity, accepting the most dirty things in a kind of a challenge. The end of the story is that Thomas was quite sober when he had to give his lectures, and was a great success. I like the thing because I often dreamt about what would have happened if Joyce or other ones had discovered their real self in front of people pretending to admire them—they never did, in fact. And I am glad for once these “poetry teachers” saw what a real poet sometimes can be.



_________________________________________________________
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.
Offline
 Profile  
 
 
 Post subject: Re: ATLA Question #9 - Most Entertaining Vignette
PostPosted: Tue Oct 19, 2010 5:50 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Tue Jul 06, 2004 8:15 pm
Posts: 20799
Location: near Omaha
This is really a hard question because there were dozens of little stories sprinkled through the book, mostly about people I couldn't keep straight, but that were quite amusing at the time. I particularly liked the passages about the old lady that had the mansion in the country and some of the passages about the theater owner's widow who drank too much. In her own way, Simone could paint an interesting picture of the characters and scenery. The descriptions of her sister's art shows were also amusing because Simone painted the scenes with her own bitter emotions.

Sorry to be vague.


Offline
 Profile  
 
 
 Post subject: Re: ATLA Question #9 - Most Entertaining Vignette
PostPosted: Tue Oct 19, 2010 5:56 pm 
JDZ Moderator
User avatar

Joined: Thu Jun 24, 2004 2:13 pm
Posts: 12513
Location: The Left Coast
You aren't too vague, nebraska. You said enough that I remember what you are talking about. Yes, Simone could tell some interesting stories--a little like a gossip columnist--many of them not exactly complimentary to her subjects, but entertaining, nonetheless.



_________________________________________________________
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.
Offline
 Profile  
 
 
 Post subject: Re: ATLA Question #9 - Most Entertaining Vignette
PostPosted: Tue Oct 19, 2010 9:18 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Mon Jun 21, 2004 10:43 pm
Posts: 10377
Location: Austin
I had marked the Dylan Thomas passage as well. Like nebraska, I remember bits here and there that made me laugh. Some of her reports almost read like a soap opera which surprised me for some reason. I do remember two passages that struck me because her description of the two women were enough to make me add them to a tidbit. :lol: Those passages were her encounters with Collette and Victoria Ocampo.



_________________________________________________________
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -
Wow! What a ride!
Offline
 Profile  
 
 
 Post subject: Re: ATLA Question #9 - Most Entertaining Vignette
PostPosted: Tue Oct 19, 2010 9:36 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Thu Jun 26, 2008 11:07 am
Posts: 793
What stuck in my mind was not her anecdotes about people, but her almost childlike description of the house she and Algren shared. Naif, et douce.


Offline
 Profile  
 
 
 Post subject: Re: ATLA Question #9 - Most Entertaining Vignette
PostPosted: Tue Oct 19, 2010 9:43 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Sat Jul 10, 2004 4:50 pm
Posts: 2059
Location: Olney, Maryland
I think those vignettes were the only thing that kept me going through the book!

In addition to the little stories, I liked the insights into life in France: her description of how simple the driver's license exam was (which explains a lot about driving in Paris :fear: :freaked: :yikes: :-O ) and her complete and utter boredom with Paris. Bored, in Paris, surrounded by great thinkers and writers. Oh, ok. :perplexed:
Buster wrote:
Naif, et douce.
True, but I know how I sound in French: like a two-year-old. (Shades of David Sedaris in "Me Talk Pretty One Day.") It can be difficult to get complex thoughts across in another language.


Last edited by fansmom on Tue Oct 19, 2010 10:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Offline
 Profile  
 
 
 Post subject: Re: ATLA Question #9 - Most Entertaining Vignette
PostPosted: Tue Oct 19, 2010 10:06 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Thu Jun 26, 2008 11:07 am
Posts: 793
Thanks for your understanding of my poor French. My children say I speak English as a second language, mime and music being the first two.


Offline
 Profile  
 
 
 Post subject: Re: ATLA Question #9 - Most Entertaining Vignette
PostPosted: Tue Oct 19, 2010 10:23 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Tue Apr 28, 2009 9:15 pm
Posts: 2494
Location: under a pile of books
Ok. One semi silly one. 14 Juin 1950 "The secretary had a terrific experience: he was invited by little red-headed Cassoulet for a trip in Spain. He went there once and wrote harsh things about Franco, and he would not have been accepted easily but he managed to get false papers and went. Cassoulet travelled with a wealthy woman, friend of her, wife of the man who builds all French airplanes. They ride ten days from Burgos to Sevilla to Barcelona. But the point was the rich woman, young and pretty, is unhappy with her old rich husband, and Cassoulet is always uphappy, so they were hysteric the whole trip long. Chiefly at night, both wanted a man and the only one was Cau. He likes Cassoulet, but should not think of sleeping with her; when she proposed him, he said "no let us be nice friends," and so on. He was not tempted by the other woman neither, but she drove the car, and she got so nervous she began to crash the car against trees and so on, so he thought she would kill all of them if he did not consent a small sacrifice, and he slept with her. Cassoulet got mad and said: "I'll spoil the trip for both of you!" And so she did, crying for the singer, threatening to denouce her friend to the old husband, insulting the secretary. He came back yesterday very pleased with himself and with Spain, but with wide eyes full of awe when he thought of the women. He told the whole story to Satre, who now waits for Cassoulet's story."

Several reasons. First it is so visual. Seeing them riding along in the car, the car careening ridiculously and and repeatedly off the trees, the secretary with his wide, wide eyes, the expressions he makes with his face when the backs of both women are to him, his gestures upon agreeing to sleep with the rich lady (so no crash -- a small sacrifice!) -- It would make a little jewel of a story or a movie. I can also hear the two women and him, mild mannered weak protestations to their operatic frustrations. Second, Simone's English here is sweet, innocent as someone else said, but carries a lot considered how few the words. Third and most randomly, my mother's family is from Spain and my grandparents were virulently anti-Franco. I have never been to Cataluyna where they were from, that's where Barcelona is -- and then I remember seeing Woody Allen's Vicky Barcelona and the two women in that wonderful story. So the whole passage became an exercise in sentimentality.



_________________________________________________________
"Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed and some few to be chewed and digested." Sir Francis Bacon, Of Studies
Offline
 Profile WWW  
 
 
 Post subject: Re: ATLA Question #9 - Most Entertaining Vignette
PostPosted: Tue Oct 19, 2010 10:49 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Sat Jul 15, 2006 9:28 pm
Posts: 3907
Location: Florida
Why doesn’t this book have an index? I remember rolling my eyes at her remark about Rita Hayworth but would have to reread the whole book to find it. Here it is from a mention on the Internet. It is amusing only if you know how Simone felt about women and how different she relates the story to Algren.

"Sartre was alone in a corner, eating sadly some corned-beef, and I sat in front of Rita Hayworth, trying to speak to her, and looking at her beautiful shoulders and breasts which could have made so many men crazy but which were so useless for me."

I also like the story about Charlie Chaplin and Picasso. I found this one.

A big thing happened, though I had no part in it: The secretary played a funny little trick to Sartre, pretending Charlie Chaplin had invited him, and saying to Chaplin that Sartre invited him, and in the end they had dinner with the secretary, Guyonnet, Bost, Olga and Picasso. Everybody was delighted with Chaplin. He explained he would not come back to the States, since Eisenhower had been elected; He told a lot of stories, was so good natured and friendly and pleasant that even Sartre, who is hard to make was fond of him. Picasso was angry the whole time, because he is used to be the first one everywhere he goes, and he was nothing at all this time, everybody interested only in Chaplin.



_________________________________________________________
"If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went." Will Rogers

Growing old is mandatory, growing up is optional.
Offline
 Profile WWW  
 
 
 Post subject: Re: ATLA Question #9 - Most Entertaining Vignette
PostPosted: Wed Oct 20, 2010 12:50 am 

Joined: Thu Apr 03, 2008 8:24 pm
Posts: 580
Location: Chicago or thereabouts
Liz and gemini, you hit two of my favorites. The one Liz mentioned - especially the parts that were edited out - had me laughing out loud. And gemini, I got a real kick at the thought of Picasso being flustered because he wasn't the most important one in the room. :lol:

There were many more – but I sure can’t seem to find them now!


Offline
 Profile  
 
 
 Post subject: Re: ATLA Question #9 - Most Entertaining Vignette
PostPosted: Wed Oct 20, 2010 11:25 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Mon Jun 21, 2004 10:43 pm
Posts: 10377
Location: Austin
gemini wrote:

Quote:
Why doesn’t this book have an index?


If I had a nickel for every time I've said that...and no Amazon search feature. :bawl:

Some of the car passages were great. I had forgotten about those!



_________________________________________________________
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -
Wow! What a ride!
Offline
 Profile  
 
 
 Post subject: Re: ATLA Question #9 - Most Entertaining Vignette
PostPosted: Wed Oct 20, 2010 11:59 pm 
JDZ Moderator
User avatar

Joined: Thu Jun 24, 2004 2:13 pm
Posts: 12513
Location: The Left Coast
I've said to myself so many times, "why no index?" And of course, there is no website that allows us to search inside the pages of the book. On the other hand, Letters to Sartre has an index. Don't know why. It was published 7 years prior. I would think it would be the other way around.

The Picasso/Chaplin story was one of my favorites too.

The Cassoulet story was good too. I had forgotten about that one and the one about Rita Hayworth. Seems there were a couple more, but I can't remember what they are right now.

DITHOT, I just finally finished reading your authors' tidbits last night, and I got a kick out of Collette.



_________________________________________________________
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.
Offline
 Profile  
 
 
 Post subject: Re: ATLA Question #9 - Most Entertaining Vignette
PostPosted: Thu Oct 21, 2010 2:45 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Mon Jun 21, 2004 10:43 pm
Posts: 10377
Location: Austin
Me too. She is somone I would liked to have met!



_________________________________________________________
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -
Wow! What a ride!
Offline
 Profile  
 
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
 Page 1 of 1 [ 14 posts ] 

All times are UTC - 5 hours [ DST ]


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  


phpBB skin developed by: John Olson
Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group