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Galantière, The Lost Generation’s Forgotten Man
Mark Lurie, author
Lewis Galantière guided Hemingway through his first years in Paris, helped James Joyce and Sylvia Beach launch Ulysses, started John Houseman in his theatrical career and collaborated with Antoine de Saint-Exupéry in the writing of Wind, Sand and Stars and Flight to Arras. He was a Federal Reserve Board Banker, Office of War Information Chief, Counselor to Radio Free Europe and President of PEN America. Yet this son of Latvian Jewish immigrants accomplished all this with little formal education. Lewis Galantière comes to life in this biography and historical chronicle drawn from original source documents, including newly-discovered personal letters from Hadley Hemingway and Alfred Knopf.
Lurie’s dutiful biography of Lewis Galantière (1895–1977), his first cousin once removed, tells a clear-cut tale of a man who crossed paths with Sherwood Anderson, Ernest Hemingway, and James Joyce, among many other literary notables, helping them in significant ways. Galantière grew up in a tenement in Chicago and was educated at a settlement house, a reformist educational institution of the era; by the time he was a teenage he was fluent in French and deeply conversant in European literature. He worked as a clerk at a prominent Chicago bookstore and met many authors there, including Anderson, whom he befriended. After Galantière’s French skills gained him a position with the U.S. legation to the International Chamber of Commerce in Paris, Anderson asked him to find a French translator for Winesburg, Ohio. Anderson introduced Galantière to Hemingway, and Galantière wrote a rave review of Hemingway’s first short story collection. Galantière also wrote plays with John Houseman, translated novels by Antoine de Saint-Exupèry, and served variously as president of PEN America, a Federal Reserve Bank economist, and an ACLU director. Lurie’s straightforward biography may not fully restore Galantière’s name to literary history, but it draws an appealing portrait of a man who made his own way among the literati of his day. (BookLife)