The Nightinghouls of Paris

Author: Robert McAlmon
Edited and with an Introduction by Sanford J. Smoller
A wild, firsthand account of expatriate life in France during the close of the twenties.
Cloth – $44
eBook – $19.95
Publication Date
Cloth: 03/12/2007
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About the Book

The Nightinghouls of Paris is a thinly fictionalized memoir of the darker side of expatriate life in Paris. Beginning in 1928, the story follows the changes undergone by Canadian youths John Glassco and his friend Graeme Taylor during their (mis)adventures in Paris while trying to become writers. There they meet Robert McAlmon, who guides them through the city’s cafes, bistros, and nightclubs, where they find writers and artists including Kay Boyle (with whom Glassco has a fling), Bill Bird, Djuna Barnes, Claude McKay, Hilaire Hiler, Peggy Guggenheim, and Ernest Hemingway.

Fleeing France in late 1940, Robert McAlmon lost his notebook manuscripts and drafted The Nightinghouls of Paris from memory. Until now, it has existed solely as a typescript held by Yale University. Unlike most memoirs of American expatriates in the 1920s, The Nightinghouls of Paris centers not only on writers, but also encompasses the racial, national, and social mélange they encountered in everyday life.

About the Author

Part of a group of talented expatriates based in Paris, Robert McAlmon (1895-1956) founded and ran Contact Editions, a leading publisher of avant-garde writers. He is the author of Being Geniuses Together (1938), which Kay Boyle later revised and supplemented. Until leaving teaching in 2002, Sanford J. Smoller taught at Florida International University. He is the author of Adrift among Geniuses: Robert McAlmon, Writer and Publisher of the Twenties.


"[McAlmon] has a gift for concise verbal portraits, summing up a character in a couple of (frequently devastating) sentences. He is aware of human frailty but unforgiving of self-inflicted wounds, non-moralistic in his personal judgments but severe in his literary ones."--Gay and Lesbian Review

"The book will be valuable for the rich introduction, which brings one up to date on writers' squabbles, their conflicting memoirs, and recent biographies and scholarship. . . . Recommended."--Choice

"The Nightghouls of Paris, his (very) thinly veiled memoir of the Lost Generation. . . . reveals [McAlmon's] literary forte to be the catty pen portrait."--TLS