This is too funny. A Farewell to Arms in a 15 second cartoon. Hmmm.
Continuation of post regarding my visit to the Kennedy Library, Hemingway Exhibit on Between the Wars
There was an anecdote displayed of an interview that Hemingway had with George Plimpton. Plimpton knew that Hemingway had written the end of A Farewell to Arms something like 39 times. Plimpton, a writer himself, asked if there was a technical problem that stumped him and why he kept re-writing the end. What was the problem? What was the hold-up???
Hemingway, in typical succinct style, replied “getting the words right.”
Finally, a famous quote from A Farewell to Arms (1929) was posted. Most people know the first sentence, but not the next one. It reads, “The world breaks everyone and after many are strong in the broken places.” Most people stop there.
It goes on, however, “But those that will not break, it kills. It kills the very good and the very gentle and the very brave impartially. If you are none of these, you can be sure it will kill you too, but there will be no special hurry.”
Thus we go from something that sounds somewhat upbeat and promising to a rather grim conclusion. Still, above all Hemingway believed that men can’t be defeated even in death.
Finally, his mantra for writing was the following:
- Use short sentences.
- Use short first paragraphs.
- Use vigorous English.
- Avoid the use of adjectives.
- Eliminate every superfluous word.
Hello Hemingway readers and fans! Every four months, I post my opening post for those just joining in. For those who stop in regularly, I sincerely and truly thank you for reading and for being interested in Hemingway 55 years after his death and 117 years after his birth. So here is my opening post to acclimate you to what will be happening here.
Love and thank you, Christine
There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”
― Ernest Hemingway
What Will Be Happening Here?
This will be 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 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). I try to post at least every two weeks. 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-four 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.
I missed the Democratic convention last night but my friend, Barbara, alerted me to VP Joe Biden’s citing of Hemingway (Quote from A Farewell to Arms) when talking about the challenges and love in his own life. Just an excerpt in reference to the tragic death of his son Beau.
“Thank you. His wife and his two kids are here tonight. As Ernest Hemingway once wrote, “The world breaks everyone, and afterwards, many are strong in the broken places.”
I’ve been made strong at the broken places by my love with Jill, by my heart and son Hunter and the love of my life, my Ashley. By all of you, and I mean this sincerely, those who have been through this, you know I mean what I say — by all of you, your love and prayers and support. But you know what, we talk about, we think about the countless thousands of other people who suffered so much more than we have, with so much less support. So much less reason to go on. But they get up every morning, every day. They put one foot in front of the other, they keep going. That is the unbreakable spirit of the people of America. That is who we are. That is who we are. Don’t forget it.”
Hemingway irrelevant? I think not.
Now, who should play the great parts that Hem has provided for us? My selections in bold:
The Sun Also Rises: (1957)
- Tyrone Power (Jake Gyllenhall) as Jake Barnes
- Ava Gardner (Blake Lively) Brett Ashley
- Mel Ferrer (Matt Damon) as Robert Cohn
- Errol Flynn (Jude Law) as Mike Campbell
A Farewell to Arms: (1932)
- Helen Hayes (Angelina Jolie) as Catherine
- Gary Cooper (Clive Owen) as Frederic
A Farewell to Arms (1957)
- Jennifer Jones as Catherine (Hemingway dismayed that she was 40. Catherine was supposed to be in her twenties.)
- Rock Hudson as Frederic
A Farewell to Arms (In Love and War) (1996)
- Sandra Bullock as Catherine
- Chris O’Donnell as Frederic
For Whom the Bell Tolls: (1943)
- Ingrid Bergman (Rooney Mara) as Maria
- Gary Cooper (Ben Affleck) as Robert Jordan
The Snows of Kilimanjaro (1952)
- Gregory Peck (Ed Harris) as Harry
- Susan Hayward (Sharon Stone) as Helen
- Ava Gardner (Kate Beckinsale) as Cynthia
The Old Man and the Sea ( 1958)
- Spencer Tracy ( Javier Bardem) as Santiago
SO HOW DID I DO?
• I knew that Hemingway’s books were banned in various communities and countries. The below are added nuances.
For Whom the Bell Tolls (1940) by Ernest Hemingway. The story considers suicide in preference to capture during the Spanish Civil War. In 1940, the U.S. Postal Service refused to let it go through the mail.
Hemingway lived and wrote in Piggott, northeast of Jonesboro, around 1930. He worked on another of his frequently banned books, A Farewell to Arms (1929) while in Piggott, where he is remembered by the Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum and Educational Center.
For an intensive weekend, Vets can write and gain access to their creative side at the homestead of Pauline Pfeiffer, Hemingway’s second wife. her Uncle Gus was a generous patron to Hemingway in his earlier years and in fact, Hem dedicated A Farewell to Arms to Gus Pfeiffer. What a great idea for giving back and enriching the community. Read more.
The newly announced name is a tribute to the romance — real and imagined — of young Ernest Hemingway and nurse Agnes von Kurowsky that grew during the author’s stay as a soldier in an American Red Cross hospital in Milan during World War I. “It’s about falling in love with Italy as much as anything,” Lajuenesse said. “It’s a sweet… bittersweet story.”
Hemingway’s first big romance and the basis of the love story in A Farewell to Arms is immortalized in a new Seattle restaurant. the Romance lives.
I mentioned last post that I’ve been re-reading Hemingway’s novels. I finished A Farewell to Arms and Across the River and into the Woods. I found so much more to love in A Farewell to Arms than my first few times around. While Catherine is dated in her attitude and her fawning for love, she still was working, living on her own, and in love. Frederic goes from looking for a fun time so loving Catherine deeply. I loved the scenes with Rinaldi and when he calls Frederic “baby.” Wonderful novel.
Across the River was not on the “best” list, At times, I found it hard to get through but it picked up in the end and I liked it but didn’t understand what The Colonel saw in Renata. She was young and beautiful but vapid and not even very spirited. However, Hemingway too was in love when writing it and Adriana, his prototype for Renata,was being seen through his eye. Still not a favorite. I liked the sense of Venice but not too much else.
Read “Hemingway’s Best Novels” for yourself. Link below.
This was a fun article to read. The comments were just as much fun because everyone has an opinion. It is interesting to see which novels are preferred, and whether only purists love the short stories best. I found the insights to be illuminating. My favorite novel is For whom the Bell Tolls, and among the short stories, I love The Snows of Kilimanjaro and A Clean Well-Lighted Place. The end of Something is also one I reread often.
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.