Everything in the Hemingway world seems to be percolating and changing and evolving, especially new versions of his classics.
Hemingway wrote the Green Hills of Africa in 1935. He and his second wife Pauline had just taken a hunting safari on the Serengeti Plains leaving Jack, Gregory and Patrick at home. Hemingway then chronicled the adventure, adding fiction to the non-fiction.
A new edition has come out. It’s been authorized by the Hemingway estate and has a new introduction by his grandson Sean. His son Patrick also shares some personal memories. One new feature that will be historically interesting is that a diary of the trip was kept by Pauline and her observations will be quite interesting to read. That diary will be part of the re-issue.
One of Pauline’s observations is that the chronology of some events was changed by Hemingway and she traces his short story The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber to an incident that occurred on that trip.
So! The Sun Also Rises has been reissued (one version shows the book as originally envisioned with changes Scott Fitzgerald suggested and which Hemingway implemented); A Moveable Feast has been reissued; and A Farewell to Arms has also been reissued.
I read The Green Hills of Africa only once. Being an animal lover, I found the hunting and the carcasses of animals very disturbing. I realize that we have to take all of this in the context of the times when the concept of conservation was truly unexplored. As his grandson Sean noted, portions of Green Hills might be uncomfortable for the modern readers. It’s somewhat telling that Hemingway notes that he fears the consequences of western countries expanding into an undeveloped region. “A continent ages quickly once we come. The natives live in harmony with it. But the foreigner destroys, cuts the trees, drains the water supply so that the water supply is altered. The earth gets tired of being exploited.”
This reminded me of the epithet of The Sun Also Rises about the earth enduring and enduring.
In any event, it should be an intriguing read with some insight into the evolution of Hemingway’s thought processes plus Pauline’s observations.
Ernest Hemingway was born a Protestant but converted to Catholicism when he married Pauline Pfeiffer, his second Wife. Pauline was an observant Catholic who took her religion seriously. Hemingway, who was never observant, but arguably always religious told Gary Cooper that becoming a Catholic was one of the best things he’d done in his life. Gary was also Catholic and hem and Coop had a life long bond. (Rent or buy the movie The True Gen about their touching lifelong friendship. They died 6 weeks apart: Coop of cancer and Hem of a self inflicted gun shot wound.) I am excerpting here from an interview with a Hemingway scholar, H. R. Stoneback (Known as Stoney) on this point and on the concept of a pilgrimage. He is interviewd by Allie Baker of The Hemingway Project.
AB: In your essay, “Pilgrimage Variations: Hemingway Sacred Landscapes,” you come to the conclusion that “The ever-recurring center of Hemingway’s work . . . is the notion of pilgrimage.” You write; “The Sun Also Rises, far from being the chronicle of aimless lost generation that it is often taken for, is Hemingway’s first meditation on the theme of pilgrimage.” This is a new idea for readers who have not read your work. Can you elaborate on this?.
Since we now live in an insistently secular culture, where religious concerns are often seen as an embarrassment, it may be useful to state certain things in a straight declarative manner, more directly than I would usually say: 1) Hemingway, raised a Protestant, takes religious questions seriously from the beginning; (and I mean specifically religious questions not vaguely spiritual meanderings); 2) Hemingway, an adult convert to Catholicism, takes his Catholicism seriously; 3) Pilgrimages, specific historical Catholic Pilgrimages, pervade his work in his usual understated and allusive style, and often the deepest and foundational layers of the submerged iceberg of his story and his style are religious and Catholic and Pilgrimage-centered; 4) The Sun Also Rises, for example, has many explicit and implicit references to specifically Catholic Pilgrimage sites–from Sainte Odile to Lourdes to Roncevaux to Santiago de Compostela; 5) When Hemingway the recent formal Catholic convert goes on his honeymoon with his very Catholic bride Pauline to the pilgrimage country of the Camargue, they are pilgrims; you could say they are making a lower-case pilgrimage to the Mediterranean beaches and an upper-case specifically Catholic Pilgrimage to the sacred place of Les Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer; 6) True pilgrims are never “lost,” certainly never “aimless” for no one is more “aimed” with a fixed, set destination than a pilgrim; Jake Barnes, the Catholic Pilgrim, knows exactly where he is going and why.
AB: When and where do you think Hemingway’s Pilgrimage started?HRS: . When and where did Hemingway’s Pilgrimage start? Hard to say exactly. Maybe when he first lit candles in a Catholic church in Petoskey; when, after his wounding, he was given Last Rites by a Catholic priest on an Italian battlefield; when he went to the great Cathedral of Chartres and changed the title of his novel from The Lost Generation to The Sun Also Rises; when he started carrying and wearing (as he did much of his life) Catholic religious medals; certainly, by the time of the writing of The Sun Also Rises and his Pilgrimages to Les Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer and Santiago de Compostela soon after, he is a confirmed Catholic Pilgrim.
This is me, Christine, again. Below is a portion of the New York times Obituary of Ernest Hemingway
Ketchum, Idaho, July 4 (UPI)–Ernest Hemingway will be buried under a blanket of red roses; beside one of his closest friends. The grave was dug today in Ketchum Cemetery beside that of Taylor Williams, a hunting and fishing guide who was Mr. Hemingway’s frequent companion for twenty years. He died in 1959.
A simple graveside service was planned. The time was left uncertain pending the arrival of Mr. Hemingway’s son Patrick, who has been hunting in Africa. The services may be held tomorrow.
The Rev. Robert J. Waldemann, Roman Catholic pastor of St. Charles Church in Hailey, Idaho, and of Our Lady of the Snows in Ketchum, will conduct the services. Father Waldemann said that there would be no formal Catholic services. He said there would be no mass and probably no rosary, but he said that the matter of accident or suicide had no bearing on the funeral. “We pass no judgement on that and asked no questions,” he said.
There still was no official decision–and there may never be–as to whether the death of the writer early Sunday from the blast of a 12-gauge shotgun had been an accident or suicide. However, the fact that Mr. Hemingway had been divorced would bar him from a Catholic Church funeral. Catholic sources said there was nothing improper in a Catholic priest saying prayers at graveside.
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.
Just when you think everything that can possibly be written about Hemingway or his life or his writing has been done, another level of knowledge is uncovered.
The third volume of Hemingway’s letters, which covers the period 1926 to 1929, has been published. Those were truly wonderful years. He wrote The Sun Also Rises in about six weeks—at least for the first draft—in 1926. It was published in 1927. These letters cover correspondence with some of the literary luminaries of the day as well as cover a very rich and turbulent period for Hemingway.
We are all familiar with the spare prose and tight structure of his writing. Consequently, his letters are surprisingly rambling and fun. He writes very honestly about his divorce from his first wife, Hadley, and of the pain of falling in love with a woman who became their mutual friend, Vogue journalist Pauline Pfeiffer. He also wrote of the drama of the birth of his first son, Patrick, by cesarean section during which Pauline almost died. It also was at this period of time that he relocated to Key West and completed his second book Men Without Women.
While Hemingway aficionados are familiar with his dislike of his mother throughout his life, it may be less well known that he was very fond of his father who killed himself. In the letter to Pauline’s mother following his father’s suicide, he wrote, “I was awfully fond of my father—and still feel very badly about it all and not able to get it out of my mind and my book into my mind.”
Seventy percent of the letters have never been published before. They reveal a side to Hemingway that has had very little exposure: his intense drive to be the best writer out there, his insecurities, his enjoyment of a little gossip. He wrote F. Scott Fitzgerald asking him to write “all the dirt.”
It also seems clear that the culminating event in A Farewell to Arms, i.e. Catherine’s death during childbirth—is based in large part on Pauline’s difficulties. At the end of A Farewell to Arms when the nurse asks Frederic Henry if he’s proud of his newborn son, Frederic’s response is almost verbatim from a Hemingway letter in which he replied, “No, he nearly killed his mother.”
Hemingway had always asked that his letters never be published, but his fourth wife Mary agreed to the publication of some and I’m not familiar enough with the details of the estate to know exactly how these came to be published.
Read the letters and enjoy. Also, if you’re in New York catch the exhibit that’s at the Morgan Library. You won’t regret it. Love, Christine