The Paris revue
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NO FULL TEXT AVAILABLE. Access is restricted indefinitely. ----- Contemporary travel-memoirs describing the expatriate experience of living in Paris remain consistently popular and commercially successful. However, just as consistent in contemporary travel-memoir is the predictability of content. Narratives tend toward the trivial, sanitised and heavily anecdotal, with the expatriate narrator often charting an easy journey moving from the position of Outsider to accepted Insider. Contemporary travel-memoirs centred on personal experiences of expatriatism typically focus on positive events at the expense of emotional impact. This poses a question: how best to depict a true story of expatriatism centred upon negative events, conveying its intensity and emotional essence - through narrative non-fiction or fiction? Wrestling with this question, I analysed the expatriate fiction of a past era, focusing on George Orwell’s Down and Out in Paris and London (1933), Henry Miller’s Tropic of Cancer (1934) and Ernest Hemingway’s Fiesta: The Sun Also Rises (1927). I investigated the ideal form for creating emotional intensity in fiction, and found the novella to be an effective vehicle for its structural compression, as well as for its intense and singular narrative focus. The emotional and intense narratives of Orwell, Miller and Hemingway encouraged me to abandon the predictable formula of travel-memoir and instead embark on the deconstruction and fabrication of my personal experience through fiction. The fictional form allowed me the freedom to develop a forward-moving narrative, focusing on the sensibility of contemporary expatriate life in Paris rather than a simple retelling of events. The novella form, with its structural tendency toward compression and its intense singular focus, contributed to educing the emotional essence of the story.
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