In April of 1931 many American expatriates were leaving Paris because of the Depression that followed the stock market crash of 1929. A gifted but naive young couple, James and Dorothy Farrell, moved against the current. The young writer, who had not yet established himself, and his eager wife, who had some modest support from her family, bought train tickets out of Chicago and steamboat tickets out of New York to follow a dream of personal and artistic freedom. Edgar Marquess Branch, who grew up near Studs Lonigan's Chicago neighborhood, has used interviews, diaries, and letters from Farrell and others to bring to life this formative year of the young author and his wife. Their Paris story is embedded in the lives of other expatriates like Ezra Pound and Kay Boyle, who also were defining their times. Branch's narrative is complemented by photos of persons and places interwoven with the personal and artistic growth for the young Farrells. The Paris sojourn influenced the rest of their lives and the writing of Young Lonigan and Gas-House McGinty, and it altered the face of American literature.
Edgar Marquess Branch is Research Professor Emeritus and Associate in American Literature at Miami University, Oxford, Ohio. He has written extensively on Mark Twain and James T. Farrell.
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