Tag Archives: Hemingway

Hemingway’s Iceberg Theory

From Richard Nordquist, “When it comes to revising your work, consider applying Ernest Hemingway‘s famous iceberg theory of prose:”

If a writer of prose knows enough about what he is writing about he may omit things that he knows and the reader, if the writer is writing truly enough, will have a feeling of those things as strongly as though the writer had stated them. The dignity of movement of an iceberg is due to only one-eighth of it being above water. A writer who omits things because he does not know them only makes hollow places in his writing. A writer who appreciates the seriousness of writing so little that he is anxious to make people see he is formally educated, cultured, or well-bred, is merely a popinjay.
(Death in the Afternoon. Scribner, 1932)

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Hemingway, Hounded by the Feds

From The New York Times (Hat tip: Books Inq.), an article by A. E. Hotchner, an old friend of Hemingway, in which new insights to his suicide are revealed.  An excerpt:

This man, who had stood his ground against charging water buffaloes, who had flown missions over Germany, who had refused to accept the prevailing style of writing but, enduring rejection and poverty, had insisted on writing in his own unique way, this man, my deepest friend, was afraid — afraid that the F.B.I. was after him, that his body was disintegrating, that his friends had turned on him, that living was no longer an option.

Decades later, in response to a Freedom of Information petition, the F.B.I. released its Hemingway file. It revealed that beginning in the 1940s J. Edgar Hoover had placed Ernest under surveillance because he was suspicious of Ernest’s activities in Cuba. Over the following years, agents filed reports on him and tapped his phones. The surveillance continued all through his confinement at St. Mary’s Hospital. It is likely that the phone outside his room was tapped after all.

In the years since, I have tried to reconcile Ernest’s fear of the F.B.I., which I regretfully misjudged, with the reality of the F.B.I. file. I now believe he truly sensed the surveillance, and that it substantially contributed to his anguish and his suicide.



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“Ernest Hemingway has been called many things. Dull isn’t one of them.”

An article from USA Today called, ‘Papa’ Hemingway still casts a long shadow, reminds us of the man’s continuing influence:

The Nobel- and Pulitzer Prize-winning author died 50 years ago this weekend, killing himself at 61 (on July 2, 1961) with a gunshot, a violent end to what can only be described as a turbulent, hard-driving and over-the-top life. Four wives, seven novels, six short-story collections and enough booze to float his beloved boat, Pilar. Throw in a few bullfights for good measure.

Not that he’s really dead.

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Hemingway’s Madrid

From The New York Times (Hat tip: Paul Davis On Crime): Blood, Sand, Sherry: Hemingway’s Madrid, by David Farley. It’s a tour of Madrid.

I was…following the tracks of that American writer, Ernest Hemingway. Hemingway is associated with a handful of places around the planet — most notably Paris, Pamplona,HavanaKey West and Ketchum, Idaho, where he took his own life in July 1961. But none may have held a warmer spot in his heart than Madrid, which he called “the most Spanish of all cities,” referring to its diverse population from every region of the country. He also titled a short story based in Madrid “The Capital of the World.”


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Ernest Hemingway’s Suicide Unraveled

From The Independent, “America’s most celebrated writer, Ernest Hemingway, ended his life 50 years ago – in a manner his biographers have struggled to explain.” John Walsh claims to have it figured out. Some of those commenting consider the article “sloppy.” Whatever the truth is, I liked one of the comments referring to a Spanish saying: “Take what you want from life—and pay for it.” Yes…those damnable consequences that arise from our choices.


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Review—On Paris, by Ernest Hemingway

A Review by Jesse Freedman at Powell’s Books:

On Paris, a lean collection of Ernest Hemingway‘s dispatches while working as a foreign correspondent for the Toronto Star , provides an unfettered glimpse into one of the author’s most significant periods of stylistic evolution. Originally published between 1922 and 1923, the articles are divided in their coverage between three primary topics: French politics, Parisian cafes, and American tourism. A fourth topic — one which permeates the collection, but which is not discussed directly — is Hemingway’s development as a writer. Taken together, these broad categories of reflection reveal a budding, sometimes temperamental, writer assembling a detailed vision of France’s social and political landscapes in the wake of World War I. This vision manifests an admiration for the French and their spirit, but furnishes an equally enticing image of the young newsman on the precipice of change.

Read the whole thing at the “review” link.

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15 Most Famous Cafes in the Literary World

15 Most Famous Cafes in the Literary World has a heavy dose of Hemingway haunts. The introduction:

Some of the most famous novels and literary moments of all time were written and inspired by cafes in Europe. From the American ex-pat writers in Paris to Henrik Ibsen’s continental travels, cafes were a place to work while socializing, building stories, and of course, eating and drinking. If you’ve turned to coffee shops and restaurants to study instead of your room or the library, you’ll appreciate the literary significance of these 15 famous cafes.

And the only one I’ve ever visited is Les Deux Magots in Paris.

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Book Review—To Have and Have Not

To Have and Have Not, by Earnest Hemingway (1899-1961), published 1937

Of Hemingway’s novels, I’ve read The Old Man and the Sea (1952), for which he won the Pulitzer Prize, For Whom the Bell Tolls (1940), A Farewell to Arms (1929), The Sun Also Rises (1926) and The Green Hills of Africa, but all a long time ago, about the same time I read most of his short stories, my favorite being The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber.

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On Elmore Leonard and Justified

From the Houston Chronicle, an article on Elmore Leonard’s writing and his contribution to the television show Justified:

Were Elmore Leonard a mechanic, you might return to the garage to find your car reduced to a single tire with a seat hitched to it. Leonard’s writing — a process that could just as well be called un-writing — has been published for 60 years now and the 85-year-old author maintains a mean pace. His novel Djibouti was published in October, and he’s writing a new novel about his recurring character U.S. Marshall Raylan Givens, who appears in the TV show Justified.

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