Film star Charlie Chaplin spent February 1931 through June 1932 touring Europe, during which time he wrote a travel memoir entitled “A Comedian Sees the World.” This memoir was published as a set of five articles in Women’s Home Companion from September 1933 to January 1934 but until now had never been published as a book in the U.S. In presenting the first edition of Chaplin’s full memoir, Lisa Stein Haven provides her own introduction and notes to supplement Chaplin’s writing and enhance the narrative.
Haven’s research revealed that “A Comedian Sees the World” may very well have been Chaplin’s first published composition, and that it was definitely the beginning of his writing career. It also marked a transition into becoming more vocally political for Chaplin, as his subsequent writings and films started to take on more noticeably political stances following his European tour.
During his tour, Chaplin spent time with numerous politicians, celebrities, and world leaders, ranging from Winston Churchill and Mahatma Gandhi to Albert Einstein and many others, all of whom inspired his next feature films, Modern Times (1936), The Great Dictator (1940), Monsieur Verdoux (1947), and A King in New York (1957). His excellent depiction of his experiences, coupled with Haven’s added insights, makes for a brilliant account of Chaplin’s travels and shows another side to the man whom most know only from his roles on the silver screen. Historians, travelers, and those with any bit of curiosity about one of America’s most beloved celebrities will all want to have A Comedian Sees the World in their collections.