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Thread: The Ernest Hemingway Thread

  1. #1
    One Too Many Nathan Dodge's Avatar
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    Arrow The Ernest Hemingway Thread




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    Tell us about your entry into "Papa's World"! How long have you been reading his works? What do you like about Ernest Hemingway's writings? How about his life? Do you think his personal life was more interesting than his fiction? Have you grown a beard? Which stage of the author's life and works do you like best/least? All these questions and whatever else comes to your mind about Ernest Hemingway is welcome here, just so long as your a fan.

    I'll get the ball rolling:

    In 1994, when I was 23, Hemingway's grinning, bearded face stared up at me from A.E. Hotchner's Hemingway memoir, Papa Hemingway, so after what seemed like an eternity, I started reading my grandfather's copy of this book, a paperback edition from 1966.

    I was immediately hooked.

    The book has an impressive conversational tone and pace. Hotchner's been accused of quoting letters and making them into conversations, but who cares? This is captivating reading! When Hotchner first meets "Papa" in 1948 we are there to witness Hemingway downing vase-sized daiquiris, and we see Hemingway robustly swimming ashore with his shorts and shirt tied in a bundle with the German "Gott Mit Uns" belt, hand held over his head while swimming using only one arm. These vignettes captured my imagination and were about as ideal a Hemingway image as one could imagine! Hotchner captures Hemingway the wise philosopher, the hurt, angry writer whose 1950 novel, Across the River and Into the Trees is roundly rejected by the critics, and we ride high alongside Papa when he storms back to the top of the heap with The Old Man and the Sea. Hotchner vividly recalls Cuba, Italy, and Spain as he accompanies Hemingway on his adventures.

    After reading Papa Hemingway, my enthusiasm took off and by the next year I had read and collected most of Hemingway's works as well as the numerous biographies about him. Hemingway was my portal to the first half of the 20th Century. Through this book I discovered many of the writers, artists, and political figures of his time and became fascinated with the 1920s and '30s. Papa Hemingway might not be the ideal first book to discover Hemingway the writer, but it serves as a magnificent first book to anyone wanting to learn about Hemingway the raconteur, adventurer, and friend.

    My favorite Hemingway works are the short stories, especially the Nick Adams tales. I understood Hem's style--the "iceberg method" of writing and realized without a doubt that it was for real--especially after reading "The Old Man and the Bridge." A brief story but everything you had to know about the story's character was there, but unsaid. Hem's the only author I know of who could convey what wasn't said up front.

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    I'll Lock Up HadleyH's Avatar
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    Thumbs up

    Nice thread!
    I'll make it brief, otherwise i'd never end ... love this topic too much.

    For me it was the moment I read "A Moveable Feast" That was what really started my curiosity about The Lost Generation, Paris in the Twenties, and the 1920s in general as a decade. That was the book that in a sense hooked me on what was going to become for me a lifelong love affair with those years and the people who inhabited it.

    EH and his first wife Hadley, early 20s, Europe. It's about this time in his life that "A Moveable Feast" is all about.What a great book!



    EH, Hadley, "Bumby" in Shruns, Austria, 1925 ( Jack Hemingway aka "Bumby was the father of Margaux and Mariel of course.)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nathan Dodge
    Tell us about your entry into "Papa's World"! How long have you been reading his works? What do you like about Ernest Hemingway's writings? How about his life? Do you think his personal life was more interesting than his fiction? Have you grown a beard? Which stage of the author's life and works do you like best/least? All these questions and whatever else comes to your mind about Ernest Hemingway is welcome here, just so long as your a fan.

    Peel back Ernest Hemingway's simple declarative prose and tight construction,
    and the veteran reveals elemental postwar nihilism; certainly consonant with
    his generation, but a perspective also tinged with the narcissism he displayed
    throughout his personal life. I consider The Sun Also Rises to be his
    finest work and most emblematic of Hemingway's internal struggle with
    Eros and other issues that ultimately resulted in suicide.
    A larger-than-life literary figure to be sure, yet a man plagued by his own self.
    "The stars are threshed, and the souls are threshed from their husks." ---William Blake

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    One Too Many Nathan Dodge's Avatar
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    I'm currently in a "Pauline Pfeiffer Mood", so I've been re-reading A Farewell to Arms and supplementing that with Michael Reynolds' biography, Hemingway: The Homecoming, which covers the writing and endless revision of that novel. I'm amazed at how Hemingway could focus on that Herculean task while dealing with his father's suicide and the constant traveling with a new bride, who's dealing with a complicated pregnancy, to boot.

    And I recommend the A&E Biography documentary, Ernest Hemingway: Wrsetling with Life.

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    I'll Lock Up HadleyH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nathan Dodge
    I'm currently in a "Pauline Pfeiffer Mood", so I've been re-reading A Farewell to Arms
    What? Reading A Farewell to Arms, and only in a Pauline Pfeiffer Mood?
    (which is ok, but...) not in an Agnes von Kurowsky Mood??? the nurse who served in the American Red Cross and nursed him while he convalesced at the hospital in Milan in 1918? Not only this affair left a huge impression on EH, he also modeled Catherine Barkley in A Farewell to Arms on von Kurowsky... and if that is not enough - when he shot himself - 40 years and 4 marriages later - her love letters were still by his side!!!!!





    Beautiful Agnes

    Ernest H, and Agnes

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    Quote Originally Posted by HadleyH
    ... not in an Agnes von Kurowsky Mood??? the nurse who served in the American Red Cross and nursed him while he convalesced at the hospital in Milan in 1918? Not only this affair left a huge impression on EH, he also modeled Catherine Barkley in A Farewell to Arms on von Kurowsky... and if that is not enough - when he shot himself - 40 years and 4 marriages later - her love letters were still by his side!!!!!
    Hemingway, like Emily Bronte's character, Heathcliff, hopelessly in love
    with a woman whom had rejected him, calling out to his beloved Catherine,
    nee Agnes. One has to admire the man within the mystery.
    "The stars are threshed, and the souls are threshed from their husks." ---William Blake

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    There are differing perspectives regarding Heminway's realtionship. For example, Hemingway had hoped to marry her. He was devastated when she rejected him after the war, addressing him as ''kid'' in a Dear John letter and saying she was fond of him ''more as a mother than a sweetheart.''

    But there is one thing that cannot be denied Agnes whispered to his soul.......

    The effect of the relationship on Hemingway's life and career has intrigued scholars for years. The details of the wartime romance, however, remain obscured, primarily by the differing accounts of the two lovers. In later years, von Kurowsky insisted it had been an innocent flirtation, while Hemingway maintained they'd had a sexual affair.

    However the impact upon Hemingway was monumental.

    Here is the content of the letter she had sent him:

    Ernie, dear boy,
    I am writing this late at night after a long think by myself, & I am afraid it is going to hurt you, but, I'm sure it won't harm you permanently.

    For quite awhile before you left, I was trying to convince myself it was a real love-affair, because, we always seemed to disagree, & then arguments always wore me out so that I finally gave in to keep you from doing something desperate.

    Now, after a couple of months away from you, I know that I am still very fond of you, but, it is more as a mother than as a sweetheart. It's alright to say I'm a Kid, but, I'm not, & I'm getting less & less so every day.

    So, Kid (still Kid to me, & always will be) can you forgive me some day for unwittingly deceiving you? You know I'm not really bad, & don't mean to do wrong, & now I realize it was my fault in the beginning that you cared for me, & regret it from the bottom of my heart. But, I am now & always will be too old, & that's the truth, & I can't get away from the fact that you're just a boy - a kid.

    I somehow feel that some day I'll have reason to be proud of you, but, dear boy, I can't wait for that day, & it was wrong to hurry a career.

    I tried hard to make you understand a bit of what I was thinking on that trip from Padua to Milan, but, you acted like a spoiled child, & I couldn't keep on hurting you. Now, I only have the courage because I'm far away.

    Then - & believe me when I say this is sudden for me, too - I expect to be married soon. And I hope & pray that after you thought things out, you'll be able to forgive me & start a wonderful career & show what a man you really are.

    Ever admiringly & fondly,

    Your friend,

    Aggie

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    One Too Many Chinaski's Avatar
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    Magnum Opus - The Sun Also Rises. If we're keeping track, there's two for that one.

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    I have read most of his books. I get no enjoyment from his novels with the possible exception of The Old Man and the Sea. I did however very much enjoy Death in the Afternoon, his non-fiction treatise on bullfighting even though a bullfighter gets beat up in The Sun Also Rises. I regard Death in the Afternoon as his best work.

    This got me looking at some of his other non-fiction, but I was disappointed in that as well. I felt that A Movable Feast was simply the non-fiction version of The Sun Also Rises. Interesting how the two were published at the extreme ends of his writing career. Writers writing about writers - these portrayals show them to be as useless as the characters in On the Road by Kerouac, a writer that I intensely dislike.

    Not really sure why Hemingway liked bullfighting, not sure why I like it either, but it seems to be more fair than doing something like hunting deer in that that the man in the arena can be killed by the animal. Hemingway also said that there are really only three sports worthy of real men (1) bullfighting, (2) motor-sports, racing cars & motorcycles, and (3) mountain climbing. I agree, so probably would have gotten along with him in real life. I guess he liked to chase skirts as well, which was probably more of a sporting challenge back then.

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    these portrayals show them to be as useless as the characters in On the Road by Kerouac, a writer that I intensely dislike.
    Define "useless."

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