Before it is too late, actual collaboration between the U.S. and Cuba is happening regarding the restoration of Hemingway’s beloved Cuban home. He lived there for about twenty years. As mentioned in previous posts, he and Mary left many papers and mementos when they were not allowed to return. Apparently, there remain many writings/notes of historical and literary interest even after Mary was permitted to remove some of them post-Hemingway’s death.
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.
So, what could be controversial about some multi-toed cats living peacefully in Key West? Well a lot apparently. For four years the Hemingway Museum has been in litigation with the town which wanted the cats caged saying they exceeded limits and thus constituted an animal exhibit and needed to be licensed and caged. Hmm. That seems a stretch. I am happy to report that the Hemingway Museum won the case and an exception/exemption was noted by the Key West City Commission, which voted to exempt the Hemingway cats from federal rules, calling them “animals of historic, social and tourism significance.” They are, said city officials, “an integral part of the history and ambiance of the Hemingway House.” Well, who didn’t know that? Full article below.
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.
Now that Cuba has opened a bit, more opportunities for on location filming is possible. The new biopic about Hem’s declining years was just filmed and it sounds like the producer was able to use the actual Cuban locations. However, more of this should be possible in the future.
Nice article about places to visit and feel Papa’s memories. I did not know that his usual seat at La Flordita in Havana was blocked off and a daiquiri placed on the counter daily near his statue. I have it on good authority that his favorite drink however was a mega-cold Martini. However, a daiquiri will do. Hem Places