Lovely article by Juan Vidal and what Hemingway’s debut novel meant to him. Best, Christine
From Pamplona, With Love: ‘The Sun Also’ Turns 90
I’ve always wondered myself why no Broadway shows or musicals have ever been made of Hemingway’s work. It seems that some of them would lend themselves well. A Farewell to Arms certainly could be a tragic, beautiful story with music – as it is even without the music.
I just read an article by an opera lover opining on this same issue. Fred Plotkin wrote an article after his visit to Ketchum, Idaho, which inspired him to do more thinking about Hemingway. He noted that Hemingway wrote little about Idaho, where he spent many years and where he worked on For Whom The Bell Tolls, A Moveable Feast, The Dangerous Summer, Islands In The Stream, A Garden of Eden, and The Shot.
Hemingway is buried in the local cemetery where his fourth wife, Mary, and his sons Gregory and Jack, are also buried.
Hemingway first went to Ketchum, Idaho in 1939 at the invitation of the Sun Valley Resort. Sun Valley was trying to gain some acceptance as a visitor’s holiday center. As part of a promotional invitation, the resort also invited movie stars Lucille Ball, Gary Cooper and Clark Gable. Hemingway was not only known in 1939 as a superb writer but also as an outdoorsman, a hunter and a fisherman, all of which would be attractions for visitors to the Ketchum area.
In exchange for some promotional photographs, Hemingway was offered a two year stay. He ended up dividing those years between Idaho and his home in Cuba.
He wrote a great deal of For Whom The Bell Tolls in 1940 when he stayed in a cabin in Sun Valley with Martha Gellhorn and his three sons, Jack, Patrick and Gregory.
In 1946, Hemingway returned with his fourth wife Mary and stayed in various cabins in the area. He returned for good –well for good part-time – in 1958. Ultimately, when it appeared that it was prudent to leave Cuba and the FBI would not let him return to get his things, he and Mary settled permanently in Ketchum, although they kept an apartment in New York City for a while.
During the intervening years, he had won the Pulitzer Prize in 1953 for Old Man In The Sea and the following year the Nobel Prize for Literature.
His health also was in decline.
Never a snob, Hemingway mingled easily with the local people in Ketchum as he had done in Spain and Cuba. He was well liked and upon his death, the locals did their best to keep the press out at Mary Hemingway’s request.
Fred Plotkin notes that he created a list of operas that have been based on American writers’ novels. Those included An American Tragedy (Dreiser), The Aspern Papers, (Henry James), Bel Canto (Ann Patchett), The Great Gatsby (Fitzgerald), Little Women (Alcott), McTeague (Frank Noris), Moby Dick (Melville), Of Mice and Men (Steinbeck), The Postman Always Rings Twice (James M. Cain), The Scarlett Letter (Hawthorne), and Willy Stark (based on Robert Penwarren’s All The King’s Men).
It turns out that there is a one act opera version of The Sun Also Rises written by Webster Young. It premiered at Long Island Opera in 2000.
A two act opera, written by a man in the Soviet Union, was composed of Hemingway’s life.
Mr. Plotkin would chose The Old Man and the Sea as a chamber opera. I don’t know much about opera, but he is suggesting that Santiago be sung by an older bass, such as Samuel Ramey or Ferruccio Furlanetto.
Please read this article directly at this link. The photos of Hemingway’s view from his porch in Ketchum and his home are well worth looking at: an inspiration to an amazing writer who used just enough words to say what he wanted to say.
The inspiration for the novel was Hemingway’s love/infatuation for eighteen-year-old Adriana Ivancich. He met her in a rain storm. She was a bit bedraggled and Hemingway took his comb and broke it in half, giving her one half. The book became something of a scandal, more for her than for him, as the implication was that she and Hemingway were lovers. He would have wanted that but it appears that that did not happen. Adriana created the first cover art for the book, which was also widely criticized as amateurish. Hemingway’s fourth wife, Mary, also was none too keen on this book for many reasons. The reviews were brutal. Still it became a best seller within 7 weeks of its release in America.
Isabella Rosallini has signed on as the countess’s mother.
So we’ll see.
This is too funny. A Farewell to Arms in a 15 second cartoon. Hmmm.
Four classics so far have been made child friendly by KinderGuides: On The Road, by Jack Kerouac; Breakfast at Tiffany’s, by Truman Capote; Arthur C. Clarke’s 2001: A Space Odyssey—and Ernest Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea. The stories have been dramatically abbreviated and have large, colorful illustrations. Among the next four classics to be published by KinderGuides are Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, and Jane Austin’s Pride and Prejudice. Bear in mind, these are being read to 6 to 12-year olds. On the Road, by Jack Kerouac, blessedly omits the drugs, prostitutes and wild parties.
Forbes just published an article by Frank Miniter entitled “A Startling Example of How the Politically Correct Currents Pull Strongly Toward Mediocrity.” It starts out asking if Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, actually can be watered down for young readers, noting that the great dumbing down of the American mind isn’t just underway, but has become a parody of itself.
The KinderGuides’ version of The Old Man and the Sea begins with, “Santiago is an old fisherman who lives in a small village by the sea, on an island called Cuba. Every day he takes his boat far out into the ocean to catch fish. But after 84 days of trolling, he hasn’t caught any fish at all. He is sad.”
Frank Miniter’s article notes further that The Old Man and the Sea is a concise novella as it is, exploring man’s struggle, not just with a fish, but with his mortality. The prose in the original is hardly difficult. The real Hemingway begins, “He was an old man who fished alone in a skiff in the gulfstream and he had gone eighty-four days now without a fish.” If the word ‘skiff’ is a new and challenging word, there is always the dictionary. At the Forbes article goes on to note, the theme of a man’s struggling, knowing his body is failing him and that inevitably he will be a tragic figure, but that nevertheless he must face his mortality with grace, regardless, is lost in the KinderGuides’ version.
Miniter writes, “Instead of raising children’s knowledge and understanding of these things, this is another example of watering down the education of our youth. Should great paintings also be simplified into cartoon characters? How about plays and music?”
This reminds me of the cartoons—which were designed to be ironic and funny—of condensing of Hemingway’s books into one-minute cartoons. I’ll repost A Farewell to Arms below. (IN FIFTEEN MINUTES SEE INSTAGRAM NOVEL.)
Do you think this is a smart way to introduce children to the classics or just plain ridiculous?
Best to all for the New Year!
14. “Don’t try to figure out what other people want to hear from you; figure out what you have to say. It’s the one and only thing you have to offer.” Barbara Kingsolver.
Christine Whitehead @cwhitehead95 23m23 minutes ago
New FREE contest for writers of historical fiction http://tinyurl.com/zodcsgo . Judged by agent @EliseShaull, via @ChuckSambuchino
Dear Friends: My new novel–The Rage of Plum Blossoms–was just published by Kindle’s own private press. It is available in ebook and paperback on Amazon. There are a few Hemingway references and if you like a mystery with some humor, please check it out. My previous novel, Tell Me When It Hurts, had more Hemingway references as the heroine is a big fan of his. The reviews so far have been good so please see if it might appeal to you.
The book trailer will be out soon. I’ll post it when it is. It came out really well in terms of capturing the mood and it’s short–always a good thing. Thank you so much for reading. Best, Christine
BOOK DESCRIPTION BELOW:
Attorney Quinn Jones is in over her head. Her husband, Jordan Chang, Annapolis grad and superstar businessman, has been found dead outside their Greenwich Village brownstone. He’s wearing clothes that aren’t his, and was last seen at a place he never went while consorting with people he shouldn’t. Since NYPD has labeled Jordan’s death a suicide, Quinn is on her own to uncover the truth. Courtrooms, Quinn knows. Chanel No. 5, horses, frizzy hair, and martial arts, she knows. Murder, she doesn’t know but she’s learning fast in order to stay alive. With a few clues to work with, including a photo of Jordan with a stunning unknown woman and a copy of a 1986 check payable to Jordan for twelve million dollars, Quinn stalks the back streets of Chinatown, haunted by the need to know what happened that day and why.
Thank you again. Love, Christine
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: