Earlier this year, a trove of about 2,500 documents from Hemingway’s home in Cuba, Finca Vigia, were shipped to the Hemingway collection in the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library in Boston. They were digitized and many have already been made available. The documents include letters, lists, diaries, telegrams, insurance policies, bank statements, passports, a page of his son, Patrick’s, homework, and many Christmas cards.
For those of us who love and follow all things Hemingway, it’s an enormous boon that he was a packrat. He seems to have saved everything. In 2008, another group of documents and letters were sent to the library, including an alternate ending for For Whom the Bell Tolls. Robert Jordan lives??
In reading about the material that went to Boston, I felt sad all over again. When Hemingway and Mary left, they didn’t know that they would not be going back. Books were left open, shoes were left out, a Glenn Miller record was on the phonograph.
After Hemingway’s death in July of 1961, relations with Cuba could not have been much worse. The Bay of Pigs invasion occurred in April of 1961 and our two countries were not cozy. Nevertheless, John F. Kennedy quietly arranged for Mary Hemingway to travel to Havana and meet with Fidel Castro. They agreed that Mary could take paintings and papers out of the country and in return, she gave the Finca Vigia and its remaining contents to the Cuban people.
The property declined significantly, but due to the efforts of the Finca Vigia Foundation, which was started by Jenny Phillips, the granddaughter of Maxwell Perkins, Hemingway’s long-time editor, the decline has been arrested. Documents are being preserved and the house has been shored up with some repairs taking place.
It was interesting to read about the documentation and how it came through in a very random way. In the middle of a folder of Christmas cards, a recipe might appear or an important letter about Hemingway’s style. A telegram from Archibald MacLeish congratulating him on For Whom the Bell Tolls is followed by Mary’s hamburger recipes. There are logs from his boat, the Pilar, as well as correspondence that Mary had. According to Susan Wrynn, the curator of the Hemingway collection at the JFK Library, Mary Hemingway, while packing up papers to take back to America also burned some messages which were sent to Mary but were believed not to be written by Hemingway but by a newspaper man named Herb Clark, an old flame of Mary’s in the Paris days. Perhaps she thought that her own correspondence wasn’t important?
There are also stories with edits by Hemingway critiquing his own work, noting “you can phrase things clearer and better.” Or, “you can remove words which are unnecessary and tighten up your prose.” All in all, it’s quite a find and addition to this amazing collection.
Michael Hirst adapting Ernest Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast
6 March, 2014 | By Geoffrey Macnab
WHO WILL PLAY THE LEAD ROLES??
EXCLUSIVE: Ernest Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast is being adapted for the big screen by Elizabeth screenwriter Michael Hirst and actress Mariel Hemingway.
The film version of A Moveable Feast, Ernest Hemingway’s memoir about his time as a young writer in Paris in the 1920s, is edging closer toward production.
A script is now being written by Michael Hirst, the award-winning British writer of Working Title’s Elizabeth and Elizabeth The Golden Age and creator of historical drama series Vikings.
The project is being developed with actress and author Mariel Hemingway, who was Oscar nominated for her role in Woody Allen’s Manhattan and is the granddaughter of Ernest Hemingway.
“I have waited years and years for that to be set up. Mariel Hemingway has set that up for me and I am enjoying it enormously,” Hirst commented of the project.
“It is just the greatest love story ever written – the most painful love story and the most honest,” Hirst observed of Hemingway’s memoir which was published in 1964, three years after its author’s death. “It is a challenge to do but it is such a worthy challenge.”
Hirst was speaking during the London junket for the second season of Vikings, a drama series made for History.
A Moveable Feast, which features Hemingway’s observations of such lauded literary figures as Gretrude Stein, F. Scott Fitzgerland, has provided inspiration and background material for several earlier features, among them Alan Rudolph’s The Moderns and Woody Allen’s Midnight In Paris.
A hotel chain wants to have Hemingway themed hotels focusing on adventure and lust for life, I guess. The Hemingway Estate is working with them in this endeavor. Not sure what I think of this at the moment. ET TU?
If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast. Ernest Hemingway
It’s the beginning of a very rugged winter—or so it seems—in Connecticut. Yesterday the winds were grueling and temps were in the twenties. I’m writing this in November as I have a busy December and a trial in January so things will be even worse here by the time this is printed..
I’m sustaining myself by planning my springtime trip to Paris. I’ve never been to Paris unless you count passing through it one day in college. On that trip I stayed outside of the city of Paris in a little town called Meaux. I don’t know if I was particularly hungry but the restaurant in the small hotel that I stayed in was one of the best I’d ever had. I’ve always carried that fond memory of France with me.
For my June trip, I’ve rented an apartment for eight days. It’s located in the Marais district on a quiet street. I’ve heard that the Marais is quaint, has lots of boutiques and restaurants, and encompasses both the gay district and the Jewish district, an interesting juxtaposition.
I’ve looked on the internet and found suggested Hemingway walks and tours. I’m sure that many of Hemingway’s places are no longer there but I can imagine. I’ll check out Shakespeare and Company, Montparnasse, the old home of Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas, the apartment where Hemingway and Hadley lived and the separate place where Hemingway rented a room to write. I know that we all romanticize Paris of that era and it doesn’t exist anymore except with the help of Woody Allen’s admirable efforts to revive it in Midnight In Paris. However, I’m still looking forward to the trip.
I’ve heard that Paris is the most magical city in the world. I’ve also heard that it’s just one more big, dirty city. I want to decide for myself.
If anyone has great ideas about places I should go or must see places that are Hemingway-related or just great places, please do let me know.
I’ve already booked dinner at a place that is featured in my new book. It’s a restaurant called Dans Le Noir where dinner is served completely in the dark. I’m told that it is really completely dark. The waiters and waitresses are blind and it’s supposed to be an amazing experience of your senses. In my new book, I’ve renamed it En La Obscuridad and made it a Spanish restaurant in New York City. A dramatic scene takes place there so I must try the original. As I’m clumsy anyway, this should be good: eating in the dark.
Anyway, let me know your thoughts on “must see” and “must do” events in Paris.
This is a place to talk Hemingway and any topics related to him and his life. That gives us a lot of material: writing, Paris, divorce, relationships, Key West, Cuba, Idaho, fishing, boats, bulls, boxing, cats, horses, dogs, the Midwest, movies, other writers. Anything else? Oh right, drinking, awards, depression, friends, cruelty, generosity. Heard enough? Well, there’s still politics, women, religion, Fidel Castro, Gary Cooper, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Africa. Done yet? Uh, no. we’ve still got mothers, hair, sexual ambiguity, sons, daughters, actresses, sex, suicide, death, clothes, honor, hygiene, the IRS, psychiatrists.
And what would Papa say about a blog? Hmm, well, if I wanted to pull a page from Woody Allen, I’d say that he’d say: No subject is terrible if the story is true, if the prose is clean and honest, and if it affirms courage and grace under pressure. He was a journalist first and foremost and he kept up with the times so I think he’d be amused.
So what qualifies me to write this blog? Not too much that’s going to impress you. All I can say is that I love him, just as he was, flawed and fabulous, mean-spirited bully and most gracious of men, driven wordsmith and drunken raconteur, bigot and egalitarian, all of it. I’m no scholar. I’ll leave that to Timeless Hemingway, www.timelesshemingway.com, which does a superb job and is an unparalleled resource. However, I’ve read them all many times: the books, the short stories, the analyses, the biographies, the women, even the Hemingway cookbook which I actually cook from (the trout is delicious). I’m just an obsessed fan, uncluttered by the need to be neutral. I hope to learn from you too.
Finally, I find him fascinating, complex, and yes, manly but I think he actually “got” quite a bit about women contrary to popular myth. That’s a topic for another day. Also a topic for another day is why the mask above on the oh so lovely woman. Also a topic for another day is what do we call him in this blog? Ernest, Ernesto, Wemedge, Nesto, Ernie, Oinbones,Papa, Tatie, Hem, Hemingstein, Hems, or just plain Hemingway? We’ll see. Perhaps we’ll put it to a vote. I have a Hemingway party on his birthday every year (July 21) and I’ll take a poll there too and let you know the results.
Of course, none of my friends “get” it and think Hemingway was that guy who wrote in short sentences and wanted to fight with everyone and run with the bulls. They are partially right and mostly wrong. But hey, you can’t throw away old friends just because they don’t really read or have an informed opinion about Hemingway–or can you?
These posts will be short and fun (I hope) and will be up every Friday by midnight. I hope it’s enjoyable for Hemingway people as well as for casual observers. I’ve looked at the other blogs about Hemingway. Most are terrific but there still is room for a lighter take and for the unending discussion about why we continue to read him fifty years after his death. And if you have to ask . . .
Check me out when you have a chance. It’s going to be one hell of a ride.
Apparently a new movie is being made about Hem and Gregory Fuentes, who is the model in part of the fisherman in the Old Man and the Sea.
Anthony Hopkins was to play Hem. Jon Voight has replaced him. Should be interesting.
Filming starts this summer in the Dominican Republic
13.) There’s no one thing that’s true, it’s all true. For Whom the Bell Tolls.
14.) If we win here, we will win everywhere. The world is a fine place and worth the fighting for and I hate very much to leave it. For Whom the Bell Tolls.
15.) But did thee feel the earth move? For Whom the Bell Tolls.
16.) Do know how an ugly woman feels? Do you know what it is to be ugly all your life and inside to feel that you are beautiful? Pilar in For Whom the Bell Tolls.
17.) He was violating the second rule of the two rules for getting on well with people that speak Spanish; give the men tobacco and leave the women alone. For Whom the Bell Tolls.
18.) Thou wilt go, rabbit. But I go with thee. As long as there is one of us, there is both of us. For Whom the Bell Tolls.
19.) Never go on trips with anyone you do not love. A Moveable Feast.
20.) You expected to be sad in the fall. Part of you died each year when the leaves fell from the trees and their branches were bare against the wind and the cold wintery light. A Moveable Feast.