Ken Burns has a new documentary of Papa. It pulls no punches as it would seem he was not a good man.....used and abused his friends, abusive including physical abuse of the women in his life. As they say...."It was a good thing he could write." But as someone who worshipped him and read everything of his some 50 years ago my attempts to revisit his writings have not been a great experience. Not a great writer in my estimation.....his work has not stood up well at all.Am rereading “The Sun Also Rises” now. Perhaps I’m shallow... am not focusing on “was Hem anti-Semitic?” Or “was Hem a misogynist?” Or “does Jake Barnes hint at androgynous tendencies?” Or is the book a “statement about lost generation nihilism?” No. I’m thinking “damn, those expats in the 1920s drank like Vikings!”
Not a great writer in my estimation.....his work has not stood up well at all.
And I still think him a highly over rated writer. He did have some moments but much of his work is unreadable today...or at least grimace producing. I shall watch Burns doc for certainAwww, Papa. Yes, it’s all true. He was a man of his times... like most of that generation (including my own father), he would FAIL today’s tests of enlightened behavior. No doubt about that. His drinking, alone, would be frowned upon by modern neo-prohibitionists.
On the other hand, he had —-at the same time—- some things in the “plus” column. His heroics in WWI gained him a legitimate medal (although, yes, the exploits were later exaggerated.) He was at the very head of anti-fascism: he truly believed in the loyalist cause in Spain —-before it was popular—- and donated time, money, and ink to the cause. He also went behind enemy lines for the loyalists. Years later in Cuba, he more or less supported down-and-out exiled Spanish loyalists who had escaped Franco’s grasp. He famously said that he would not go back to Spain, his favorite country, while any of his friends were in prison. While in Cuba he also paid for a Cuban little league team (buying uniforms, etc). The number of young writers that he befriended and mentored is not inconsiderable. In the 50s, one of his best friends was A. E. Hotchner, who happened to be a Jew, perhaps contradicting the famous accusation. Hemingway was THERE at D-Day. He did indeed lead a bunch of French Resistance fighters into Paris. In the bloody battles of the Huertgen Forest, U.S. General Lanham praised Hem’s bravery and knowledge of military matters. Married four times, there were in fact women who loved him ...Marlene Dietrich maintained a lifelong friendship with him and praised his thoughtfulness. Until his end, he was on friendly terms with his first wife and true love. He befriended prostitutes and movie stars (paying for the funeral of at least one hooker). He held big game fishing world records.
A remarkable life by any standard. And that’s not even mentioning that he profoundly revolutionized English prose writing and won the Nobel Prize for literature. Even today, some of his books are legitimately termed “classics”. The opening paragraph of “A Farewell to Arms” is routinely pointed at as being a classic in itself.
Could he sometimes be a son-of-a-barnacle? No doubt. He got into stupid fist fights all too often. He and his last wife, Mary, had epic OTT fights that would be outrageous in modern times. He held grudges against those who criticized his writing or his lifestyle. He was one of those guys who, if you were on his good side, he was the best friend ever... yet, if you fell out of grace, there was hell to pay. I don’t know. He was a very, very complicated man. Let’s not throw the baby out with the bath water.
We toured the Finca in 2006 and it was a wonderful day. It was set up in Cuban fashion....that is no fanfare, rundown, and a touch shabby. It was easy to immerse in the place and easy to imagine that Hem was just gone to Havana for the day. The swimming pool was empty. But his boat Pilar was in good shape. I understand it has had an extensive refurbishment and I hope in the doing it didn't lose that shabby chic, authentic vibe.One more. This time the tale is about Hemingway and his gal pal, Ava Gardner. What the article doesn’t mention is how they first met in person. Gardner was in a hospital in Spain. Her current boy toy (she was still married to Frank Sinatra) was a famous Spanish Bullfighter who was a friend of Hems. When said bullfighter went to the hospital to visit his girlfriend, he brought the American writer along. When Hemingway walked in the door, Ava was on the phone with her agent, screaming a long stream of unprintable obscenities at the agent. Finally she slammed down the receiver. Hemingway’s first words to her were: “Damn. It’s a good thing the nuns who run this hospital don’t speak English!” As the story goes, that was the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
The stories that can be told about Hemingway are endless. Here is another one that I haven’t heard before. Like a lot of Hemingway stories, there is some debate about how true it is. Nonetheless, it’s a fun story.
I haven't tuned into this podcast yet but should. I worked in the logistics end of the international high-end art world for some years. The funny thing about Picasso which no auction house wants the world to know is that he was insanely prolific. A man who lived and breathed art, and a true genius, to be sure; but to have something "by Picasso" is not necessarily very rare, in the Capitalist value sense - there are literally tens of thousands of his drawings, paintings, sculptures, plates, tiles, cups... I mean, the man used to pay bar & restaurant tabs with a sketch. That piles up fast.
Six or seven years ago, Picasso's granddaughter Marina - who inherited the lion's share of his estate - was threatening to dump her own collection of his work en masse onto the international art market. We're talking something like 10,000 pieces in all mediums, no joke (to say nothing of his tools, clothing, books, furniture, & personal effects).
In proposing this giant sale Marina Picasso had been hoping, as she looked ahead to her final decade or two of life, to be able to ensure that her favorite charities would be funded with the proceeds in exactly the way she desired; Sotheby's, et al. nearly had a heart attack trying to talk her down, desperate to preserve artificial scarcity & thus auction value & thus their own profit potential.
Low & behold, there's now been a steady series of selective "exclusive" auctions of Marina's trove spaced out over the past few years...
I can't even count how many Picasso ceramics I personally handled in the course of my former work. Mostly plates. So many plates. It's cool at first then gets boring; they begin to seem as though created for quick cash. He & his studio workers probably made thousands of plates & tiles. Point being that the presentation of this story suggests it would be actually a bit ridiculous for a PICASSO! ceramic to end up in Cuba and then Florida, among the in/famous & wealthy, because Picasso's, like, a real artist, blah-blah-blah, so doesn't this tale sound suspect?
Whereas in reality, it's like, Dude, I'm sure there are a hundred Picasso ceramics around the Caribbean basin in 2022. Easily. Because the man basically made his own currency. Hell, I could point you to a few dozen Picasso ceramics to be found among the homes of just one residential block in Chicago, Illinois USA. And that's in "Flyover Country." But Picasso ceramics are anywhere money is to be found, because every poorly-educated rich dupe wants to Buy a Picasso and has no idea as to just how Common it is in the eye of a dealer vending from quite deep stock.
Picasso was the old guard of the Parisian expats by the time Hemingway arrived after WWI, but if the two ever had any rapport, I could completely believe Pablo giving Ernest some ceramics he'd made, especially given their mutual love of Spain & hatred of Fascism. Anyway, I'll give the podcast a go, thanks again for the recommendation, forgot to listen after initially seeing your post.
Being a Hemingway descendant is a career path in its own right. I’ve lost track/count of them.
My memory goes back to when the book came out, so several years ago and, hence, not perfect, but I thought "Go Set a Watchman" was an interesting addition to "To Kill a Mockingbird."
It's all fiction, so if you only want the Atticus Finch of TKAM, then he will always be there for you inside its pages. But if you wanted to see more, or if you prefer, a version of him other than what was revealed in TKAM, the GSAW version is now there too.
I was initially amazed at the blowback to GSAW, but then realized that many people didn't like seeing a nearly perfect hero - the Atticus Finch of TKAM - made less of hero, even if more of a real-life southern man of that time, in another book.
In the interest of literary probity and adherence to earlier editorial manuscript rejection, the two pieces
are not cojoined twins but separate manuscripts writ apart, with the latter quickened published decades
later without any authorization from Harper Lee who suffered dementia prior to her death in 2016,
following Go Set A Watchman release the previous year. Had Ms Lee desired a continuance to her
classic To Kill A Mockingbird with/without any revision she never evidenced any inclination to do so.
Second, Academe resentment over Lee in the form addressed to Flaubert frankly cheapens this
estate gin further. Third, legal ethics were skirted by Lee's executor/executrix.
The cumulative in this instance advised letting best left alone instead of rationalizing a complete
revised protagonist which substantially mars established character issues essential to the second draft,
amounting to fraudulent intent for financial gain.
As to the legal machinations, the counter to all your points is it was legally published and released.
It is quite right to note that, at least initially and for many years, Lee only wanted the TKAM released.
As I mentioned earlier, the estate exs skirted ethical considerations within legal allowance as to position,
Harper Lee being ill and unable to object artistic trespass; so Watchman is legally published,
however said objection remains.
To best knowledge, Lee never had any desire or interest in publishing her first-born child,
which substantially differs or even warps character of Atticus Finch. To the extent of inherent intellectual
property legal, ethical, and most certain artistic moral privilege, my position is that Lee estate exs traversed stricture.
My guess is your assessment is correct, but as a senior lawyer told me once, it's legal if it's been ruled legal and until and if another court rules it illegal.