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The Ernest Hemingway Thread

Discussion in 'The Reading Room' started by Nathan Dodge, Jan 14, 2010.

  1. 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.
  2. 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!:eusa_clap

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

    Harp I'll Lock Up

    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.
  4. 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.
  5. :eek: :eek: :eek: 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
  6. Harp

    Harp I'll Lock Up

    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.
  7. Carlisle Blues

    Carlisle Blues My Mail is Forwarded Here

    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,

  8. Magnum Opus - The Sun Also Rises. If we're keeping track, there's two for that one.
  9. Martinis at 8

    Martinis at 8 Practically Family

    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.
  10. Bustercat

    Bustercat A-List Customer

    Define "useless."

  11. Because nobody is perfect! :confused:

    That was the ugly side of his personality which i dislike with all my heart and is repugnant to me.

    The funny thing is that at the end of his life he was so kind to animals (read all about his cats in "Finca Vigia", Cuba)

    Apart from that, Papa Hemingway is my hero! :eusa_clap

    Lets Zelda Fitzgerald have the last word on the subject, when she was refering to those early books and the killing.... She put it like this:

    " Bullfighting - Bullslinging - Bullsh....ing "
  12. Alex Oviatt

    Alex Oviatt A-List Customer

    I am a huge fan of his work and am fascinated by his life--in my office I have a framed B&W photo of the Hemingway Memorial in Idaho, macabre but fitting somehow. His best work, in my opinion, is The Sun Also Rises. I am oddly fond of The Garden of Eden as well. Have retraced many a Hemingway journey, which is how I found myself almost getting gored by a bull in Pamplona (but we just drifted to the coast and hung out in San Sebastian, did some fishing in the mountains......). EH was profoundly influenced by two of my favorite writers, Tolstoy and Turgenev, which may be why I like his work so much.
  13. Carlisle Blues

    Carlisle Blues My Mail is Forwarded Here

    When Hemingway saw his first bullfight in Pamplona in 1923, he brought his wife Hadley along because he hoped the event would have a positive influence on the unborn son she then carried. The sport certainly affected the budding writer. It became one of the reigning passions of his life.


    [​IMG]Hemingway (white pants) tries his luck at bullfighting during the "amateurs" in 1925.

    The Sun Also Rises is symbolic of Ernest Hemingway's seeming obsession with masculinity and machismo, however a subtler symbolic meaning can be gleaned from the vivid depictions of bullfighting in the novel. For example, the piercing dialogue and resulting momentary revealing glimpses of characters in the novel can be viewed as characters feinting about each other in an open arena. As the matador of dialogue, Hemingway masterfully handles his cape of words with true finesse. Viewed from this perspective, Hemingway's bullfight is a metaphor for the intricate but often choreographed relationships between men and women.

    For example, the interesting thing about Jake and Brett's relationship is that it is completely frustrating to both of them, and yet they seem unable to divorce themselves from one another.

    The story is told from the perspective of Jake Barnes, a somewhat disillusioned American expatriate writer with an unfortunate war injury that has rendered him impotent. Jake is in love with Brett, a rich, rather promiscuous woman. The interesting thing about Jake and Brett's relationship is that it is completely frustrating to both of them, and yet they seem unable to divorce themselves from one another.

    But as much as we might want for these two aficionados of repartee to finally find love together, our hopes are gored when the real matador steps into the arena. Pedro Romero.

    Romero is the very model of manhood within the novel. He is controlled, passionate, precise, and understands the art of subterfuge.

    And finally, the language Hemingway employs to describe Romero’s bullfighting is almost always sexual, and his killing of the bull takes the form of a seduction. This symbolic equation of sex and violence further links sexuality to danger and destruction. It is important to note that the distinctions between these interpretations are not hard and fast. Rather, levels of meaning in The Sun Also Rises flow together and complement one another.
  14. Harp

    Harp I'll Lock Up

    ...a great place for steak in Sydney is Steel's on Carrington. ;)
  15. what? did Hem frequented that steakhouse too? :eek: lol are you sure?

    anyway, i don't eat red meat only chicken, fish and seafood! but thank you for the tip ! :D :p
  16. Harp

    Harp I'll Lock Up

    No, he didn't. ;)
    However, Steel serves poultry and seafood too. :D :essen:
  17. This photo is from 1925 in Pamplona, one year before he finished "The Sun Also Rises". Hem on the left, Harold Loeb, Lady Duff Twysden wearing a hat ( the socialite most famous for being the life model for Brett Ashley in EH novel) Hadley, Don Stewart and Pat Guthrie.

  18. Carlisle Blues

    Carlisle Blues My Mail is Forwarded Here

    Here is a poem by EH. It is a eulogy he wrote for a friend, Gene Van Guilder:

    Best of all he loved the fall
    The leaves yellow on the cottonwoods
    Leaves floating on the trout streams
    And above the hills
    The high blue windless skies
    Now he will be a part of them forever
    Ernest Hemingway - Idaho - 1939

    Reminds me of this.

  19. Harp

    Harp I'll Lock Up

    Reminds of Hemingway's Big Two-Hearted River memoir of fly fishing the Fox. :)
  20. Carlisle Blues

    Carlisle Blues My Mail is Forwarded Here

    Yes it is very reminiscent. "Big, Two-Hearted River" by Ernest Hemingway is a two-part story that ends the collection In Our Time, published in 1925.

    Though unmentioned in the text, the story is generally viewed as an account of a healing process for Nick Adams, a recurring character throughout this collection and other works by Hemingway. Nick, back in the United States after suffering shell shock (what would now be termed post-traumatic stress syndrome) in World War I, hopes that a return to his boyhood activities of camping and fishing will rid him of his trauma and despair.

    I find that Hemingway greatly measured and respected those who were injured through military service. His keen eye and kind prose speaks of respect, almost love for those who served and gave of themselves.

    Hemingway is interred in the town cemetery in Ketchum, Idaho, at the north end of town. A memorial was erected in 1966 at another location, overlooking Trail Creek, north of Ketchum. It is inscribed with that eulogy he wrote for a friend, Gene Van Guilder....:)

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