Letters from the Lost Generation: Gerald and Sara Murphy and Friends

Gerald Murphy, Author, Linda P. Miller, Editor, Sara Murphy, With Rutgers University Press $27.95 (362p) ISBN 978-0-8135-1642-4
The letters collected here, written from 1920 to the mid-'60s, suggest that the Murphys were much more than rich Americans abroad who hosted famous fellow expatriates in France during the '20s and '30s. The couple and their three children, in fact, provided essential support for writer friends who left indelible marks on modern literature, F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, Archibald MacLeish, John Dos Passos, Ernest Hemingway and Dorothy Parker among them. The literati's letters reveal hitherto unknown sides--witty and sometimes acrimonious, they are always full of love and admiration when addressed to Gerald and Sara. Great depths of feeling are conveyed in messages about the deaths of the Murphys' two young sons, which foreshadowed other heartbreaks endured by the group: Zelda's psychosis, Scott's demise, Hemingway's suicide. A welcome reminder of those promising decades, the collection is an invaluable source of literary history. Miller teaches English at Pennsylvania State University. Photos not seen by PW. (May)
Reviewed on: 04/29/1991
Release date: 05/01/1991
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