A Hemingway Ballet: Oxymoron??

AND THE NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW OF The Sun Also Rises, October 31, 1926

As you get older it is harder to have heroes, but it is sort of  necessary. Ernest Hemingway

A man “wears a mask, and his face grows to fit it.”  George Orwell

http://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/theater_dance/washington-ballets-hemingway-the-sun-also-rises/2013/05/02/683d1e48-b145-11e2-bbf2-a6f9e9d79e19_story_1.html

Blake Lively
Blake Lively

The Sun Also Rises as a ballet?  Sure why not.  For Whom the Bell Tolls would make a hell of an opera, I think. And I’d love to see a remake of The Sun Also Rises. Brett: Blake Lively. Jake Barnes: Jake Gyllenhall. Robert Cohn: Matt Damon. Mike Campbell: Jude Law. On my first read, I was not sure what all the fuss was about. Bunch of aimless drunks.  Yes, Hemingway did a good job with the settings but, to me at age 19, the dialogue was a bit too : I am good. I am cold.  When I returned to it years later, the light went on in a big way. I got that it was about dreams, loss, death, defeat, and hope.  And love. Always love.The Sun Also Rises

What was it thought of then?  Below is the NY Times review of Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises.

                                                                        

October 31, 1926

Marital Tragedy


THE SUN ALSO RISES
By Ernest Hemingway.


Ernest Hemingway’s first novel, “The Sun Also Rises,” treats of certain of those younger Americans concerning whom Gertrude Stein has remarked: “You are all a lost generation.” This is the novel for which a keen appetite was stimulated by Mr. Hemingway’s exciting volume of short stories. “In Our Time.” The clear objectivity and the sustained intensity of the stories , and their concentration upon action in the present moment, seemed to point to a failure to project a novel in terms of the same method, yet a resort to any other method would have let down the reader’s expectations. It is a relief to find that “The Sun Also Rises” maintains the same heightened, intimate tangibility as the shorter narratives and does it in the same kind of weighted, quickening prose.

Mr. Hemingway has chosen a segment of life which might easily have become “a spectacle with unexplained horrors,” and disciplined it to a design which gives full value to its Dionysian, all but uncapturable, elements. On the face of it, he has simply gathered, almost at random, a group of American and British expatriates from Paris, conducted them on a fishing expedition, and exhibited them against the background of a wild Spanish fiesta and bull-fight. The characters are concisely indicated. Much of their inherent natures are left to be betrayed by their own speech, by their apparently aimless conversation among themselves. Mr. Hemingway writes a most admirable dialogue. It has the terse vigor of Ring Lardner at his best. It suggests the double meanings of Ford Madox Ford’s records of talk. Mr. Hemingway makes his characters say one thing, convey still another, and when a whole passage of talk has been given, the reader finds himself the richer by a totally unexpected mood, a mood often enough of outrageous familiarity with obscure heartbreaks.

The story is told in the first person, as if by one Jake Barnes, an American newspaper correspondent in Paris. This approach notoriously invites digression and clumsiness. The way Mr. Hemingway plays this hard-boiled Jake is comparable to Jake’s own evocations of the technique of the expert matador handling his bull. In fact, the bull-fight within the story bears two relations to the narrative proper. It not only serves to bring the situation to a crisis, but it also suggests the design which Mr. Hemingway is following. He keeps goading Jake, leading him on, involving him in difficulties, averting serious tragedy for him, just as the matador conducts the bull through the elaborate pattern of danger.

The love affair of Jake and the lovely, impulsive Lady Ashley might easily have descended into bathos. It is an erotic attraction which is destined from the start to be frustrated. Mr. Hemingway has such a sure hold on his values that he makes an absorbing, beautifully and tenderly absurd, heartbreaking narrative of it. Jake was wounded in the war in a manner that won for him a grandiose speech from the Italian General. Certainly Jake is led to consider his life worse than death. When he and Brett (Lady Ashley) fall in love, and know, with that complete absence of reticences of the war generation, that nothing can be done about it, the thing might well have ended there. Mr. Hemingway shows uncanny skill in prolonging it and delivering it of all its implications.

No amount of analysis can convey the quality of “The Sun Also Rises.” It is a truly gripping story, told in a lean, hard, athletic narrative prose that puts more literary English to shame. Mr. Hemingway knows how not only to make words be specific but how to arrange a collection of words which shall betray a great deal more than is to be found in the individual parts. It is magnificent writing, filled with that organic action which gives a compelling picture of character. This novel is unquestionably one of the events of an unusually rich year in literature.

http://www.nytimes.com/books/99/07/04/specials/hemingway-rises.html

Not bad for an unknown kid from Illinois.

Working at the Finca
Working at the Finca

 

 

Paula McLain on THE PARIS WIFE

Paula McLain The Paris Wife author
Paula McLain
The Paris Wife author

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, A Moveable Feast

 

Married to a man who hates mother
Married to a man who hates mother
Paris of Hemingway
Paris of Hemingway

 

I came across this footage and liked it.  You might enjoy seeing Ms. McLain talk about her research and how she went about making fiction of non-fiction.  I enjoyed it even though I want to be her!

Paula McLain The Paris Wife author
Paula McLain
The Paris Wife author

http://catholicbelle.wordpress.com/tag/ernest-hemingway/

Interview with Hem in Spanish after Nobel Prize

This is interesting . It’s in Spanish and you can tell that Hemingway was enunciating carefully and considering his answers.  It seems that he really tried to be gracious about his fans although he was not thrilled with the publicity after the Nobel and Pulitzer Prizes.

http://www.openculture.com/2013/04/ernest_hemingway_appears_on_cuban_tv_in_1954.html

Why the Hemingway Collection is in Boston–of all Places.

The largest collection of Hemingway letters and memorabilia is in Boston, Massachusetts at the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum.  Mary Welch Hemingway, Hem’s fourth wife, made that selection. While Hemingway and John Kennedy never met, Kennedy respected Hemingway’s writing and person. In his own Pulitzer Prize winning book, Profiles in Courage, Kennedy cited Hemingway’s description of courage, writing that, “This is a book about the most admirable of human virtues — courage. ‘Grace under pressure,’ Ernest Hemingway defined it.”

John F. Kennedy
John F. Kennedy

Hemingway was invited to President Kennedy’s inaugural address but he had to decline due to ill health. The inauguration was in January 1961 and Hem died in July 1961.  While there was a ban on travel to Cuba in 1961 due to the tension from the Bay of Pigs incident, Mary was permitted to return to the Finca, their home in Cuba, to retrieve papers and personal possessions.  The Kennedy Administration worked to make this possible. Fidel Castro personally promised safe passage for Mary so that she could collect and ship artwork, notes, letters, and beloved possessions.

Working at the Finca
Working at the Finca

There were many suitors for these prized items.  Mary maintained her connection with the White House and was the guest of President and Mrs. Kennedy at the White House dinner for the Nobel Prize winners in April, 1962. Hem was honored as one of America’s distinguished Nobel laureates and Frederic March read excerpts from the works of three previous Nobel Prize winners, Sinclair Lewis, George C. Marshall, and Hemingway – the opening pages from his then-unpublished Islands in the Stream.

Jacqueline Kennedy
Jacqueline Kennedy

In 1964, Mary contacted Jacqueline Kennedy and offered her husband’s collection to the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, which was still in the planning stage with the intent that it be a national memorial to John F. Kennedy. The collection included drafts of various novels of Hemingway, rewrites, and a sense of how he wrote and revised.

In 1972, Mrs. Hemingway deeded the collection to the Kennedy Presidential Library and began depositing papers in its Archives.

On July 18, 1980, Patrick Hemingway, Hem’s older son with his second wife, Pauline Pfeiffer, and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis dedicated the Hemingway Room in the JFK Library.

Patrick Hemingway 2013
Patrick Hemingway 2012 at Hemingway library

I’m going to visit it again in a few weeks. If any of you have been, I’d love to hear your impressions.  I always get a thrill seeing a photo that I haven’t seen before. It makes it all come alive for me anew.

 

 

 

The Nobel Prize For Literature in 1954

http://exp.lore.com/post/45912087429/ernest-hemingways-1954-nobel-prize-acceptance

The Old Man and The Sea
The Old Man and The Sea
Nobel Prize to Wm. Golding
Nobel Prize to Wm. Golding

 

He did it.  He should have done it in 1942 for For Whom the Bell Tolls but the committee was divided; some felt the sexual content was “improper”; no prize was awarded at all that year.  It’s a bit sad that the award happened when it did, as Hem was not up to accepting it in person at that time and, I think, would have truly appreciated it.  He scoffed at the Nobel Prize for Literature calling it the Ignoble Prize but it mattered to him to be passed over.

Well, he won it for The Old Man and the Sea, his little novella that was to be part of a trilogy.

I'm appreciated!
I’m appreciated!

Listen to the speech on the above link (well it’s just the beginning of the speech) in Hem’s voice.  He enunciates his “t’s” and I’m not sure if it was for the purpose of being clear in this speech or if that was his mid-western accent.  (If anyone out there knows, please let us know.) He could not make it to the actual ceremony due to the two plane crashes he’d been in  and other health matters.  John Cabot read his acceptance speech in Sweden and Hem made this recording after.

Hem, Martha, and boys on Safari
Hem, Martha, and boys on Safari

It’s humble and beautiful–and short.

It’s funny. Words are a writer’s craft and lifeline, yet many writers are not outgoing.  Hem apparently was actually shy especially when not drinking and he was always reluctant to engage in public speaking.

Today, given the press for writers to be “out there”, I wonder how he would feel about twitter and facebook for himself.  He likely would not have done it in the later years. His privacy became more valuable but of course, by then, he was not ernest hemingway but HEMINGWAY so no need to cultivate the masses.

Hem at typewriter
Hem at typewriter

I wish he’d lived longer.

To Hem
To Hem

Myth # 3: Hemingway as Misogynist??

The one thing I know is that a woman should never marry a man who hated his mother. Martha Gellhorn.

I write one page of masterpiece to ninety-one pages of shit. I try to put the shit in the wastebasket. Ernest Hemingway

Married to a man who hates mother
Married to a man who hates mother

Hemingway Misogynist (Definition) – noun, jargon. A male heterosexual individual whose misogynistic beliefs are seen predominantly when he is in a relationship with a strong, independent female who is, most likely, smarter than him. The Hemingway Misogynist is capable of having powerful lifelong friendship bonds with a few strong, independent women smarter than him, but only if he never enters into a sexual relationship with them. He will often say and believe hateful things about women in general, citing his own female friends as individual exceptions. Don’t sleep with this dude, because he will leave tire marks on your lawn when you publish your dissertation to rave critical reviews. Hemingway misogynists, Hemingway cats. Andrea Grimes

I'm insane due to men
I’m insane due to men

Hmm. May I protest?? Pauline, Martha, and Mary were all smart strong women.  And Hadley was no dope. And he seems to have slept with all of his wives.  Pauline and Mary did tend to defer to Hem but I’d say he liked that both were smart.  Martha did challenge him and he did like his wives to be home with life revolving around him.  However, I never saw him as disliking women.  He just liked his life the way he liked it.

 

If we look at his literary women, what can we see? Brett, from The Sun Also Rises was smart and strong although troubled. Jake presumably slept with Brett before his injury.  Catherine, from A Farewell to Arms, was a career woman before her time and she drove a good amount of that relationship.  Maria, in For Whom the Bell Tolls, was young but strong. Pilar was a mountain of a woman, brave, and a hero in my book. Not one was a wimp or simpering girly-girl who just wanted to be dominated.  Falling in love is not the same as wanting to be subservient.

Love is the answer (ha !)
Love is the answer (ha !)

Yup, there were many manipulative bitchy women in the short stories and novellas but many of the men were no prizes either. Helen in the Snows of Kilimanjaro and Margo in The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber were wealthy, entitled, and limited. Still Harry in The Snows freely admitted his weaknesses and Helen’s efforts to help him as a writer. When honest, he admitted it was he who chose to be seduced by the easy life more than it was Helen forcing his hand.  Margo was not easy in her condescending way but Francis was without backbone until the tragic end.

Catherine and Frederic
Catherine and Frederic

Hemingway was attracted to women with spirit: Marlene Dietrich, Jane Mason, Josephine Baker, Gertrude Stein, Adriana.  All had opinions, attitude, and grace. Yes, Hem hated his mother but he didn’t hate women-kind. In fact, there is ample evidence that he enjoyed women quite a bit not just as lovers but as friends and sounding boards. But, hey, what do I know? Do you think he did?

Marlene
Marlene

 

Hemingway Myth #2: Mr. Hemingway Drinks a little

Harry's Bar
Harry’s Bar

Actually he drank a lot but it didn’t start out that way.  He drank socially although significantly.  He did not drink while working.  On one occasion when asked by a journalist if he drank while writing his novels and short stories, he said,

Drinking and working with cat

“Jeezus Christ! Have you ever heard of anyone who drank while he worked? You’re thinking of Faulkner. He does sometimes – and I can tell right in the middle of a page when he’s had his first one. Besides, who in hell would mix more than one martini at a time?”

William Faulkner
William Faulkner

Hi favorite drink, contrary to some claims, was not the mojito, but a very dry martini, very very cold. He also, contrary to other claims, did not invent the Bloody Mary (the claim being that it was named after his fourth wife, Mary), during what was to be the equivalent of a period of drinking celibacy and that he used the tomato base to disguise the vodka. Good story but not true.

Drinking began early, probably at age 17 and then more drinking while in Italy during the war. Then, once he moved to Paris with Hadley, “the cafes, bars and bal musets became rallying points, look around the table and you might see the brightest minds of the Lost Generation—F. Scott Fitzgerald insanely drunk on champagne, Ezra Pound sipping absinthe, Gertrude Stein enjoying a fine red, James Joyce savoring scotch and Ford Maddox Ford sending back a brandy for the fourth time. They drank up liquor, they drank up life, they drank up each other.” Quote from Hooching with Hemingway by Frank Rich.

Scott Fitzgerald
Scott Fitzgerald

 

Scott and Zelda from Midnight in Paris
Scott and Zelda from Midnight in Paris

Hem was highly critical of Scott Fitzgerald’s drinking in their salad days, claiming it sapped Scott’s creativity, in addition to Zelda doing the same. He was annoyed by Fitzgerald’s alcoholism and occasionally criticized his writing in public. Hem and Zelda hated each other and there was never a détente in those feelings. Hem clearly did not see himself falling deeper into the alcoholic lifestyle as the years passed.

By the time Hem left Paris, his drinking habits had changed.  “Where before he’d been a classic binge drinker, he now kept a steady bottle-killing pace. The transition had taken place just months earlier, after Hadley had lost a trunk containing most of his early work, literally years of labor. Crushed, Hemingway turned to alcohol as a means of drowning his bitter rage—when the anger came, he would slip down to the cafe and drink brandy and carouse with friends until happiness seeped back in. Quote from Hooching with Hemingway by Frank Rich

Martini: drink of choice
Martini: drink of choice

 

Hem also had fun with it.  When Jigee Viertel revealed one evening that she had never had a drink of hard liquor, Hem was astounded. When she indicated a desire to try one, he suspended all that he was doing to consider whether Jigee— now in her mid-thirties— should end her tee totaling and if so, what the proper first drink was. Hem thought she should at least try a drink. He ran down options from a Bloody Mary, to a Manhattan to various gimlets. Finally he decided only a Scotch Sour would do.  Jigee broke into a smile at the first sip, and Hem said, “It’s a good omen.”  (A.E. Hotchner Papa Hemingway Page 60-61)

A Scotch sour and a breeze!
A Scotch sour and a breeze!

Hem brought his own booze to Spain or had it supplied; he kept it on his boat in great abundance.  While he went through periods of abstinence, it never lasted and it was his pacifier of choice.  My own reading leads me to think that initially, he became even more gregarious than he normally was when he drank. Once a certain point was passed, he perhaps became overly verbose and cantankerous.  There is that thin line between wonderful raconteur and domineering ego-maniac who keeps going to the point of becoming a boor and a bore.. I don’t know if that was so in Hem’s case but I think it happened in the later years.

Drunken people crossing
Drunken people crossing

 

Sadly, alcoholism did play its role in Hem’s demise and decline. It appears to have ravaged other relatives after him too. Sad to consider other works that Hemingway may have written absent depression and alcoholism.

 

The below site talks about Hem’s drinking and some specifics.  Interesting article. Check it out.

http://www.foodrepublic.com/2012/10/30/7-things-you-didnt-know-about-ernest-hemingways-dr

http://austin.eater.com/archives/2013/04/10/modern-mixologist-tony-abouganim-on-hemingways-cocktails-brazilian-boozing-at-the-austin-food-wine-f.php

 

 

Mariel Hemingway’s “Running from Crazy”

About morals, I know only that what is moral is what you feel good after and what is immoral is what you feel bad after. Ernest Hemingway

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, winter light. But you knew there would always be the spring, as you knew the river would flow again after it was frozen. When the cold rains kept on and killed the spring, it was as though a young person died for no reason. A Moveable Feast, Ernest Hemingway

Mariel Hemingway has written a new movie called “Running from Crazy.” It’s her documentary about the Hemingway legacy of mental illness and its common outcome: suicide.

Mariel
Mariel

I have not seen it yet. I’m feeling hostile to it although I’m not sure why. I like Mariel Hemingway very much.  She perseveres; she tries to live healthy; she seems honest. Perhaps I’m feeling the negative vibe of this movie and not liking that. It’s about bad stuff that seems inescapable, predestined.

Mariel never knew her grandfather and there is no question that depression was a part of his make-up.  Suicide seems not only to run in the family but in those around Hem. Martha Gellhorn killed herself when in ill health. Adriana Ivancich, his muse, killed herself in despair. Siblings of Hem killed themselves. But is depression “crazy”?   Is not suicide perhaps the recognition that for yourself, tomorrow is just not bearable? It’s as sad as sad gets, but is it crazy? I don’t know. Maybe. Mental illness covers a broad spectrum.

Depressed or crazy?
Depressed or crazy?

I also read that Mariel is claiming in this movie documentary that her father, Jack, may have molested her older sisters, Muffet and Margaux. She then notes that he likely would not remember due to alcohol use/abuse and that he is not evil.(Apparently, Mariel’s mother also was an alcohol abuser.) I don’t know what to make of this: benign abuser/ non-evil molester?

Jack Hemingway
Jack Hemingway

Muffet has manic schizophrenia and is institutionalized; Margaux killed herself. There is apparently extraordinary video footage of Margaux as she made a documentary about her famous grandfather including interviews of her father. Those videos are movies within a movie in Mariel’s film.

Margaux Hemingway
Margaux Hemingway

By all accounts, Jack was a very nice man–outdoorsy, fisherman. I’ve heard the alcoholic portion before but not the abuser accusation. I’ll need to see the film to see if there is proof or some vague speculation. It’s unfair to the film to critique it without a viewing. I will see it and report back.  Anyone who has seen it already, jump in please.

It is all unsettling. Family secrets are damaging and if Mariel has the proof, and wishes to expose, then I say expose away. There is little more heinous than child molesting. I’ll see the movie and hope you do. Come to your own conclusions. I hope it sheds light on the Hemingway history and true story of their saga and curse. Let me know what you thought.

Margaux and Mariel in Lipstick (the movie)
Margaux and Mariel in Lipstick (the movie)