August 13, 1923: Hemingway’s first book

August 13, 2012

Cover to Hemingway's "Three Stories and Ten Poems," published August 13, 1923 - Wikipedia image

Cover to Hemingway’s Three Stories and Ten Poems, published August 13, 1923 – Wikipedia image, from University of Delaware

Do you subscribe to Today in Literature?  Perhaps you should.  Today we learn:

On this day [August 13] in 1923 Ernest Hemingway published his first book, Three Stories and Ten Poems. This was an edition of 300 copies, put out by friend and fellow expatriate, the writer — publisher Robert McAlmon. Both had arrived in Paris in 1921, Hemingway an unpublished twenty-two-year-old journalist with a recent bride, a handful of letters of introduction provided by Sherwood Anderson, and a clear imperative: “All you have to do is write one true sentence.”

More about Hemingway, much more about literature, at Today in Literature.


Quote of the moment: Hemingway, writers need “shock-proof, [excrement] detector”

July 30, 2012

Ernest Hemingway and cat Cristobal, Cuba; JFK Library collection

Ernest Hemingway with his cat, Cristobal, at his home, Finca Vigia, San Francisco de Paula, Cuba.  Date unknown (circa 1955?) Photo from Ernest Hemingway Collection, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston. (Copyright status unknown)

Was Ernest Hemingway the greatest writer in English of the 20th century?  Fortunately we don’t have to choose.  We can read Hemingway, and Faulkner (with whom he had a few bones to pick), and Hammett, and Parker, and Feynman, and Vonnegut, Bellow, Morrison, dos Passos,  Shaw, Kipling, Ford, Conrad and a dozen more, enjoying each for the gifts she or he demonstrated so well on a page.

Any way you stack it, though, Hemingway was a great one.

In an interview with George Plimpton, published in the Paris Review in 1958, Hemingway talked about what it takes to be a great writer.  Maybe it’s something one needs to be born with:

The most essential gift for a good writer is a built-in, shock-proof, shit detector. This is the writer’s radar and all great writers have had it.

If we could make a machine to substitute for that, a solid-gold, built-in, shock-proof [excrement] detector, we could improve writing, politics, government, business, and a hundred other fields of endeavor.

If we had a just and appropriately skeptical world, everyone would have one, a “solid gold, built-in, shock-proof [excrement] detector.”

What an enormous If.

Also at Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub:

Typewriter of the moment: Hemingway’s, at Key West

June 18, 2009

The man wrote, wherever he was.

Hemingways typewriter at Key West, Florida - Stefan Möding, copyright

Hemingway's typewriter at Key West, Florida - Stefan Möding, copyright

Ernest Hemingway often wrote standing up at his typewriter.  Obviously, here in Key West, he wrote sitting down.  At every home, it appears, he had a typewriter.

In Key West, early on in an apartment near the Ford dealership, where they awaited the delivery of the Ford purchased for Hemingway and his wife Pauline, by Pauline’s Uncle Gus, Hemingway wrote most of A Farewell to Arms, published in 1929.

The house was purchased later.  I can’t tell — some say he used here a Royal Quiet DeLuxe.

Pauline and Hemingway divorced in 1939.

In Key West, visit the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum.

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