Tag Archives: Ernest Hemingway

Ernest Hemingway in Cuba

From Life, with 12 rare photos—the introduction:

That Ernest Hemingway was, for years, the most celebrated writer in America is hardly surprising. After all, if he had written nothing besides, say, The Sun Also Rises, the early collection, In Our Time, and the magisterial “Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber,” he would still be an utterly indispensable American writer. The preposterous and romantic literary myth that Hemingway himself created and nurtured, meanwhile — that of the brawling, hard-drinking, thrill-seeking sportsman who is also an uncompromising, soulful artist — ensured that generations of writers would not merely revere him, but (often to their own abiding detriment) would also try to emulate him.

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Hemingway’s Bulls

From Today in Literature, the introduction:

On this day the running of the bulls begins in Pamplona, on the first morning of the nine-day Feast of San Fermin. Hemingway first went as a twenty-three-year-old writer still a month away from his first, small book (Three Stories and Ten Poems), and so still filing stories for the Toronto Star: “Then they came in sight. Eight bulls galloping along, full tilt, heavy set, black, glistening, sinister, their horns bare, tossing their heads….” His first wife, Hadley was with him; they had semi-joked that the bullfights would be a “stalwart” influence on the baby she was carrying….

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15 Famous Authors on Why They Write

From Flavorwire. the introduction to the list:

Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty-Four author George Orwell’s 109th birthday just passed, andThe Atlantic led us to an excerpt from the writer’s 1946 essay, Why I Write. The candid work reveals what Orwell believes are four explicit motives for writing. “They exist in different degrees in every writer, and in any one writer the proportions will vary from time to time, according to the atmosphere in which he is living,” he mused. For Orwell, writers put pen to paper — or these days, fingers to keyboard — out of “sheer egoism, aesthetic enthusiasm, historical impulse, and political purpose.” The essay examines how these motives influenced his own work, then boldly concludes the following: “I have made it appear as though my motives in writing were wholly public-spirited. I don’t want to leave that as the final impression. All writers are vain, selfish, and lazy, and at the very bottom of their motives there lies a mystery.”

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’10 Famous Authors’ Fascinating Alter Egos’

From Flavorwire:

“Write what you know.” This piece of clichéd, but sage, advice is the basis for some of the most acclaimed novels in history. Some simply explore their native milieu and insert a fictional plot, while others write a roman à clef, skirting the border of fiction and reality. Roman à clef—French for novel with a key—is a fancy term for a fictional story based on real life. It’s a pervasive form, and secrets itself among our beach books (The Devil Wears Prada) and heavy literature (The Bell Jar) alike. It’s not surprising that most writers explore their own lives, often with the aid of a parallel self (much like the famous artists who also employ alter egos). Authors may choose to veil their alter egos with differing qualities, or let their true selves shine through. Which of your favorite characters is secretly the author?

Check out the ten at the Flavorwire link.

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Book Titles in Famous Authors’ Libraries

From Flavorwire (Hat tip: Frank Wilson) Flavorwire’s opening comments:

Since we discovered an ongoing crowdsource project called Legacy Libraries, we haven’t been able to tear our eyes away from it. The organization gathers information about the libraries of historical people — authors, artists, scientists, and more. By compiling data from bibliographies, auction catalogs, library holdings, manuscript lists, wills and probate inventories, and from the personal verification of extant copies, Legacy Libraries is able to conjure a snapshot of the titles resting on famous bookshelves.

An interesting list…

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‘Forget Your Personal Tragedy’

From Letters of Note,

On May 10th of 1934, a month after the publication of his new novel, Tender Is the NightF. Scott Fitzgerald wrote to his friend, Ernest Hemingway, and asked for his honest opinion on the book — a tale about Dick and Nicole Diver, a couple based largely on mutual acquaintances of both Fitzgerald and Hemingway: Gerald and Sara Murphy.

Hemingway certainly responded with honesty…

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Ernest Hemingway letters reveal upset over cat

From BBC News:

Newly released letters by writer Ernest Hemingway have shed light on his distress over the death of his cat…

“Have had to shoot people but never anyone I knew and loved for eleven years,” Hemingway wrote to a friend in the 1950s.

Read the whole thing; it’s short.

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Hemingway—How the great American novelist became the literary equivalent of the Nike swoosh.

From Slate, an excerpt from an article with the above title:

A mistake that people tend to make in reading, praising, teaching Hemingway is to assume that he was foremost a stylist. Although he was intensely concerned with his voice on the page—and although that voice became more distinctive as he aged—the Hemingway of the incantatory paragraphs and deadpan understatements (“The town was very nice and our house was very fine”) is Hemingway at his weakest. It is because we’ve come to fetishize this voice that we accept and even admire gnomic truisms like “a writer should write what he has to say”—an observation from Hemingway’s Nobel banquet speech and one of his most quoted lines—as if such raw-nut declarations came with tender insights curled inside. Most don’t. Nor was Papa, as some people (chiefly Papa) have liked to suggest, a pioneer in the craft of elision, of leaving crucial things unsaid: That tradition runs clear back at least to Henry James, a writer of a very different ilk. Instead, Hemingway’s genius rests in what he did say, in the way he used language to capture and contain a thread of experience as it wavered through time. His writing, at its best, was a way of coming to terms with disorder, with a narrative line that refused to hold.

Hemingway is due for reappraisal partly because his gamey, war-seeking, booze-quaffing corpus seems today quixotically out of sync with our twee and environmentally aware era; the Hemingway we think we know is a Zeus-hued action figurine from another time and place. Actually, though, this cultural moment is entirely resonant with Hemingway’s genius, which rose not from his bravura but from his most fragile, uncomfortable strains.

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‘The Finest Life You Ever Saw’

From The New York Review of Books, a James Salter review of Hemingway’s Boat: Everything He Loved in Life, and Lost, 1934–1961 by Paul Hendrickson. A brief excerpt:

Paul Hendrickson’s rich and enthralling Hemingway’s Boat, which covers the last twenty-seven years of Hemingway’s life, from 1934 to 1961, is not, as is made clear at the beginning, a conventional biography. It is factual but at the same time intensely personal, driven by great admiration but also filled with sentiment, speculation, and what might be called human interest. Hendrickson can write an appreciation of a photograph of Hemingway, his wife Pauline, and a boat hand named Samuelson sitting at a café table in Havana as if it were an altarpiece, and can give Havana itself—its bars, cafés, the Ambos Mundos Hotel, the ease of its life and dedication to its vices—a bygone radiance, a vanished city before its puritan cleansing by Castro.


On returning to America from his African safari in 1934, Hemingway fulfilled a long-held desire to buy a sea-going

fishing boat, and at a boatyard in Brooklyn he ordered the thirty-eight-foot cabin cruiser that he christened Pilar, his favorite Spanish name and also the secret name for his second wife, Pauline Pfeiffer, from early in their romance. In May 1934 his boat was delivered.

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