Read this book: The Untidy Pilgrim by Eugene Walter

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Eugene Walter

During World War II, Walter spent three years in the Aleutian Islands as an Army cryptographer. He relocated to New York City afterward and became a resident of Greenwich Village during the post-WWII years. During this time he pioneered an early form of happening by staging a spontaneous and unannounced group performance with his friends in the sculpture garden of the Museum of Modern Art.

Walter then gained transatlantic passage of a freighter carrying ice cream to Europe during the late 1940s. He lived in Paris during much of the 1950s, where he helped launch the Paris Review, living across the street from the publication’s office and contributing to the earliest issues with text, art and interviews. His short story “Troubador” appeared in the first issue. His Paris Review interviews included Isak Dinesen and Robert Penn Warren. In 1960, for Transatlantic Review, he interviewed Gore Vidal. Eventually, Walter moved from Paris to Rome at the request of Marguerite Caetani, Princess di Bassiano, to edit her literary journal Botteghe Oscure.

After a falling out with the princess, he acted in the films of Federico Fellini and translated Italian films into English. His dinner parties in Rome became much talked about, those that attended included T. S. Eliot, William Faulkner, Judy Garland, Anaïs Nin, Leontyne Price, Gore Vidal and Richard Wright. Walter returned to Mobile in 1979.

via Eugene Walter – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

And, he wrote and wrote and wrote: articles, cookbooks, novels. Here’s an excerpt from “The Untidy Pilgrim”:

Down in Mobile they’re all crazy, because the Gulf Coast is the kingdom of monkeys, the land of clowns, ghosts and musicians, and Mobile is sweet lunacy’s country seat. I can tell you that’s the truth. I know…

Untidy Pilgrim – University of Alabama Press.

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  1. March 16, 2014

    Thats a great quote from Eugene Walter.I like him already.

    • March 17, 2014

      Brilliantly funny writer!

  2. March 16, 2014

    So Eugene Walter served in The Aleutians.Until very recently I knew nothing about this part of The Second World War.I think that we tended to be more focused on Europe rather what for us would have been an obscure group of islands.I recently acquired a DVD copy of the 1943 propaganda film- Report from the Aleutians- by none other than John Huston who both directed it and narrated as well and it was only from this that I learnt of this aspect of the war.The film is also available on YouTube and is 47 minutes long if anyone has any interest in seeing this bit of Hustons work.

    • March 17, 2014

      Fascinating documentary! Thanks for the link.

      • March 17, 2014

        Gallivanta,glad you liked it.Further internet search has shown that much of the remnants of war are still up there in the cold clime.Hulks of ships,tunnels and if memory serves me right even a Japanes minature submarine now on land.War is awful but its are often evocative in a sad kind of way I find.

      • March 17, 2014

        And somewhere up that way there was nuclear testing. 🙁 But what an interesting place it would be to visit.

    • March 17, 2014

      Thank you! I will definitely watch.

  3. March 16, 2014

    Dearest V
    Enough already… this is a MUST!
    How did The Dandy not know of him already?
    A serious omission soon to be corrected.
    Yours ever
    The Perfumed Dandy

    • March 17, 2014

      He was a raconteur in print, and I suspect in life. LOVE his books, and am looking for a copy of his cookbook.

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