Mining for Gold

 

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.

The Old Man and the Sea
The Old Man and the Sea

For whom the bell tolls

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.

John F. Kennedy
John F. Kennedy

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.

Mary in older age
Mary in older age

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?

Hem at typewriter
Hem at typewriter

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.

Intelligent and happy?
Intelligent and happy?

Okay, now i’ve seen almost everything! It’s called BRANDING!

http://theblogalsorises.com/2014/03/17/okay-now-ive-seen-almost-everything-its-called-branding/

http://www.nydailynews.com/blogs/pageviews/2012/04/the-bellboy-tolls-for-thee-ernest-hemingway-estate-announces-hotel-chain

 

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?

 

My Irish Connection

Windy in Dingle
Windy in Dingle

A few weeks ago, I was bemoaning how to relate my trip to Ireland in May to my Hemingway obsession and I just came across an article about a new biography of Maeve Binchy, the great Irish novelist who cultivated the cozy neighborhood story to high art and who passed away recently.  She wrote many novels, usually about the west country of Ireland which is where I was.  Her writing style, her topics, and her resolutions are/were about as far from Hemingway as you can get but the article was fun and began with a famous Hemingway belief.

Dingle Peninsula
Dingle Peninsula

“It was famously laid down by Ernest Hemingway that the first condition for a writer is to have an unhappy childhood. I assumed that Maeve Binchy was the exception to the Hemingway principle, as she always spoke about the idyllic nature of her childhood.”

http://www.independent.ie/entertainment/books-arts/memories-of-maeve-29469292.html

So, I qualify!  My childhood is a story for some other longer post, probably in some other blog that focuses on Dickensian beginnings.  I was born in NJ; my parents died 5 months apart when I was seven; the court became involved, and the story goes downhill from there in certain ways but also uphill in other ways.

Anger
Anger
My life falls apart when I'm awake!
My life falls apart when I’m awake!

Hem in some ways had a good childhood in the sense that his family was large; his father took him hunting and fishing; and there were family vacations at a lake in Michigan yearly that formed the basis of many of the short stories. Hem got his love of the outdoors and nature while on the lake in Michigan with many friends and family.  However, Hem’s relationship with his mother was always a struggle and his father was a more shadowy figure in Hem’s life, who ultimately killed himself.  His mother later sent the gun to Ernest as a gift. Huh? .

So tell me about a great writer who had a great Rockwellian childhood! I’d like to hear about it.

Love crazy
Love crazy
Intelligent and happy?
Intelligent and happy?
Cliffs of Moher
Cliffs of Moher

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/