hemingWay of the Day: How To Tell If You’re In A Hemingway Novel

This is totally silly, and doesn’t make Hemingway sound terribly smart, or interesting; but there’s room for that in this world, too. The man was sometimes a caricature. In fact, I’ve been doing some musing lately as I read Hotel Florida: Truth, Love, and Death in the Spanish Civil War, by Amanda Vaill. It’s a lovely book, that examines the experience of six individuals (three couples) in the Spanish Civil War; Hemingway and Gellhorn are two of the six. I have some thoughts to share, but will save those for that book review. (Hint: good book.)

Today for giggles and deprecations: How To Tell If You’re In A Hemingway Novel. Enjoy.

hemingWay of the Day: as an archivist

Oh my word, Liz does it again. Never was there an article more designed to make me sigh and daydream. From PRI’s The World comes

This came to me from Liz, who got it in turn from Jessamyn West (blogtwitter). A solid pedigree right there. I swoon; this is my dream job.

hemingWay of the Day: on sadness

A profound and, I think, true – but not particularly uplifting – thought for the day today courtesy of Papa:

Happiness in intelligent people is the rarest thing I know.

From what I think might be an underappreciated and understudied Hemingway novel: The Garden of Evil. I know one person who I love very much who I think might be just too smart and wise to be happy. These words ring true. But hopefully also, intelligence can help us map a path through this quite depressing world we inhabit, towards happiness despite it all. That’s one of the things I really enjoyed about Derrick Jensen: his ability to show us how f*ed up everything is, and still find things to smile at.

Of course, these words about a dearth of happiness sound especially poignant coming from a man who ended his own life with a shotgun. Or maybe we’re thinking too hard; he put this line into the mouth of a character rather than his own…

What do you think?

hemingWay of the Day: on being drunk

I am hoping to pick up some Hemingway next week while I’m on vacation. It’s been a while since I’ve read any, and I miss him. To inspire myself (and maybe you?) I have chosen a rather classic few lines from my favorite of his books, For Whom the Bell Tolls.

“No,” Pablo said, dipping up another cup. “I am drunk, seest thou? When I am not drunk I do not talk. You have never heard me talk much. But an intelligent man is sometimes forced to be drunk to spend his time with fools.”

“Go and obscenity in the milk of thy cowardice,” Pilar said to him.

This is classic Papa because 1. it involves drunkenness; 2. it includes that oh-so-quotable line, “an intelligent man is sometimes forced to be drunk to spend his time with fools” (which I picture as one of those I’m-with-stupid t-shirts, but the literary version); and 3. Pilar’s line is on the one hand crass and on the other hand, linguistically interesting. Hemingway has used the word “obscenity” in place of a presumed (ahem) obscenity, like bleeping it out; and “thy” translates the Spanish “tu.” For Whom the Bell Tolls also features some interesting Spanish-language word order, to emphasize the feeling that these Spaniards’ dialogue has been translated for our benefit. I like the flavor that that adds to the book.

That’s our short taste of Hemingway today. Hopefully I’ll have more to tell you about soon!

hemingWay of the Day: as reported by his son Gregory

I’m stretching the definition of my hemingWay of the Day feature just a little bit. This is a quotation, not from Papa himself, but from Gregory H. Hemingway’s book Papa: A Personal Memoir. Here’s Gregory writing, and quoting his father.

He said he loved to read the Bible when he was seven or eight because it was so full of battles. “But I wasn’t much good reading at first, Gig, just like you. It was years before I realized that ‘Gladly, the cross I’d bear’ didn’t refer to a kindly animal. I could easily imagine a cross-eyed bear and Gladly seemed like such a lovely name for one.”

Isn’t that sort of darling? Aside from being funny, I think it’s a good example of what charmed me so much about Papa as seen through Gigi’s eyes: that he was often a tender and loving father. Here we see him reassuring his son the late reader. Gigi’s book is still resonating with me weeks afterward; isn’t it nice when a book does that for us?

hemingWay of the Day: on nightlife

Nightlife is a funny thing. There seems to be no reason or rule that controls it. You cannot find it when you want it. And you cannot get away from it when you don’t want it. It is a European product.

from “European Nightlife: A Disease,” The Toronto Star Weekly, 15 December 1923

So true, Papa, so true! I feel like I’ve spent all my life either trying to find the party or to escape it. (Is that a metaphor for something?) This article was a charming little assessment of the nightlife scenes in a handful of European cities – not a travel guide or anything, since it’s so dated (!), but a snapshot in time of one man’s experience, at least, and well presented, and funny.

hemingWay of the Day: on Clemenceau

There is nothing deader than a dead tiger and Georges Clemenceau was a very great tiger. Therefore Georges Clemenceau is very dead.

from “Clemenceau Politically Dead,” The Toronto Daily Star, 18th February 1922

I found this one in On Paris, a brief collection of Hemingway’s early journalism from the time when he lived in the City of Light. I’m struck by his simple, yet funny, wording, which makes a point about Clemenceau’s special brand of deadness in an interesting way, that may take a moment to sink it. I find it very typical of Hemingway, and I love (about this, and about all of On Paris) that his distinctive voice was present, if unpolished, very early on.

hemingWay of the Day: last words

Thank you to Buzzfeed’s The Last Words of 25 Famous Dead Authors for today’s brief words from Papa. [Go click that link and read some others; there are a number of humorous, poignant last words up for your contemplation.]

Goodnight, my kitten.

Spoken to his fourth and last wife, Mary, before she retired; she would be awakened in the morning by the sound of gunshots and have the honor of finding his body, which frankly I think was an awfully mean thing to do to her.

Pagesofjulia is having a season of Hemingway around here. You might have noticed. Goodnight, Papa, we miss you.

HemingWay of the Day: in Town & Country (I know, weird, huh?)

Well, unfortunately it doesn’t seem to be available on the interwebs at all. You have to go find a physical print copy of the September issue of Town & Country magazine to read these articles. But keep your eyes open for one, because it might be worth it! There are two Hemingway-related articles: the first is available in part (and with some lovely pictures) at Mariel Hemingway’s blog – that’s Papa’s granddaughter. It basically catches us up with the current generation: Mariel, a successful Hollywood actor, and the fate of her two sisters who haven’t done as well; and then Mariel’s daughters, Dree and Langley. Town & Country’s focus is clearly on the beautiful people (Mariel and Langley; Dree is only mentioned) and the beautiful house: the Hemingway estate in Ketchum, Idaho. Yes, that’s where Papa died. The short story is, these beautiful ladies seem to have overcome their family legacy of depression, angst, and suicide. Good for them.

The second article is even more worthwhile, though. It contains an excerpt from Paul Hendrickson’s new book, Hemingway’s Boat, which you may have noticed I am mad for (main review here). I don’t have any kind of electronic version of it. :( Sorry. If you see a Town & Country (September issue – with the younger Hemingway women on the cover, at right), check it out. Or better yet, go get a copy of the recently published Hemingway’s Boat! (You will get much more Papa that way.)

hemingWay of the Day: with love

According to Paul Hendrickson in his meticulously researched Hemingway’s Boat which I respect and admire very much, Hemingway wrote to Sara Murphy (an old friend from the Paris days) in December of 1935 of his concerns on aging… his work habits… and a recent hunting trip with his son Patrick. The part I like the best (and which strangely echoes Gertrude Stein) is his closing,

with very much love much love and love also with love.

I love you too, Papa.


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