Hemingway’s Best Novels in someone’s opinion. This includes the Big Three, and does not include A Moveable Feast which was not a novel–or was it?

The Best Hemingway Novels

Photo Credit: The Estate of Yousuf Karsh

In her new biography, Influencing Hemingway: The People and Places That Shaped His Life and Work, Nancy W. Sindelar introduces the reader to the individuals who played significant roles in Hemingway’s development as both a man and as an artist. Sindelar ranks the fiction works of Hemingway.

Ernest Hemingway created memorable characters in his short stories and novels by drawing on real people—parents, friends, and fellow writers, among others. He also drew on real places and events to create settings and engaging plots. Whether revisiting the Italian front in A Farewell to Arms, recounting a Pamplona bull run in The Sun Also Rises, or depicting a Cuban fishing village in The Old Man and the Sea, Hemingway relied on his personal experiences, friendships and observations for the content of his work.

Since Hemingway’s works reflect interests and adventures at different stages of his life, creating a ranking for his fiction is difficult. However, the following ranks his most broadly acclaimed works and comments on their contribution to the Hemingway legacy.

1. The Sun Also Rises – Hemingway’s first novel is at the top of my list because it reflects his reliance on his traditional Midwestern values as he encountered new experiences and values in post-World War I Europe. Using friends and acquaintances that populated the cafes along Boulevard Montparnasse in Paris, he reveals his concern about the valueless life of these Lost Generation characters and begins his personal and literary search for meaning in what appears to be a godless world. In the midst of their heavy drinking and meaningless revelry during a fiesta in Spain, Pedro Romero, the matador, becomes a hero. He conducts himself with honor and courage, and it is here we see the beginnings of what will become the Hemingway Code.

The book also tops my list because it reveals Hemingway’s courageous attempt to write in a new and different way by portraying the bad and the ugly as well as the beautiful. Though The Sun Also Rises was well received by the critics, it was not well received by Hemingway’s acquaintances who saw themselves portrayed as self-indulgent, alcoholic and sexually promiscuous in his unflattering, but honest, characterizations. Nor was it well received by his mother, who said he had produced “one of the filthiest books of the year.”

2. A Farewell to Arms – Hemingway’s second novel is a high on my list because it is the fictional account of events that changed and informed his world view. When Hemingway left the security of the Midwest and went to Italy looking for adventure as an ambulance driver in World War I, he got more than he had bargained for. The idealistic Midwesterner joined the war to end all wars, ready to display honor and courage, but was blown up in a trench. Then he fell in love, contemplated marriage and was rejected by the woman he loved. His confrontation with death, his subsequent wound, and his first experience with love all became catalysts for developing a code of behavior for facing life’s challenges.

A Farewell to Arms was the fictional result of Hemingway’s experiences in Italy and initiates what would become one of the most dominant themes in his novels, the confrontation of death. Though Catherine Barkley’s character seems dated to contemporary female readers, the book still demonstrates that Hemingway used what he learned in Italy to show that war brings out the best and worst in men and women.

3. The Old Man and the Sea – After the unsuccessful reception to Across the River and into the Trees, Hemingway wrote his Pulitzer Prize winning novel to defend his reputation as a writer. Based on his experiences in Cuba, he created a character of an old fisherman. Alone in a skiff, the old man catches a great marlin, only to have it destroyed by sharks. The old man, who had been a champion arm-wrestler and a successful fisherman, was, like Hemingway, trying for a comeback.

The old man embraces the code for living that Hemingway first developed based on his experiences in World War I—the experiences in which a man confronts an unconquerable element. In fighting the sharks, the old man exhibits courage and grace under pressure, believing “a man can be destroyed, but not defeated.”

The reviews and success of the book were nothing less than phenomenal. Appropriately, Hemingway was aboard his boat and out on the Gulf Stream when he heard via the ship’s radio that the book had been awarded the Pulitzer Prize.

4. To Have and Have Not – Hemingway’s growing awareness of financial and social strata are reflected in To Have and Have Not. The characters are based on people the now famous author met in Key West—the working class he encountered on the docks and at Sloppy Joe’s, the rich who moored their boats in Key West harbor, and the illegal Chinese immigrants who were being smuggled from Cuba to Key West to promote tourism in newly formed Chinatowns.

In this Depression-era novel Hemingway comes close to arguing for social and political changes needed to help the working man. However, Hemingway does not see the New Deal remedies as the solution. As a result, the fate of the novel’s main character, Harry Morgan, outlines the limits of personal freedom, self-reliance and the absence of grace under pressure, and the closest Hemingway comes to a solution is for Harry to say, “No matter how a man alone ain’t got no f—— chance.”

5. The Nick Adams Stories – This collection of short stories is a favorite because it provides insight into the life of the young Hemingway. As a child Ernest would accompany his father, Dr. Clarence Hemingway, as he provided pro bono medical services and attended to injured Indians, women in child-birth, and individuals in a variety of life-threatening situations in the Indian camps of northern Michigan. The memory of one of these trips appears in “Indian Camp.” Young Nick is with his father on a medical mission to deliver a baby. A Native American woman’s been in labor for two days, and Nick observes his father perform a Caesarian with a jackknife sterilized in a basin of boiled water.

Similarly, the reader gains insight into the relationship of Hemingway’s parents in “The Doctor and the Doctor’s Wife” and understands Hemingway’s feelings of separation from his family and life in Oak Park after returning from World War I in “A Soldier’s Home.”

6. For Whom the Bell Tolls – Based on his experiences as a war correspondent during the Spanish Civil War, this novel contains the classic Hemingway elements—a main character demonstrating grace under pressure and a plot that combines the interest and conflicts associated with love and war. As with his other works, Hemingway uses his friendships and personal experiences. Robert Jordan is modeled after Robert Merriman, an American professor who left his research on collective farming in Russia to become a commander in the Abraham Lincoln Brigade and was killed during the final assault on Belchite. Maria is based on a young nurse of the same name who was gang raped by Nationalist soldiers early in the war. The novel’s three days of conflict takes place near the El Tajo gorge that cuts through the Andalusian town of Rondo, where a political massacre like the one led by Pablo occurred early in the Spanish Civil War.

Though some readers find the details of the battles tedious, it is one of Hemingway’s most popular novels. The book was published in October, 1940. By April, 1941 almost 500,000 copies had been sold, and in January, 1942, the movie rights were purchased by Paramount for $100,000.


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Photo courtesy of the Estate of Yousuf Karsh


Hemingway’s Perfect Hamburger Recipe. I did try it. It’s good.


Hemingway’s Hamburger Helper

The Old Man and the Seasonings

Ernest Hemingway wrote lean prose but liked his burgers fatty and flavorful."Where's the beef?"

The famous author had great appetites. Food and friendships were a moveable feast for him, from Oak Park to Paris to Key West and many points in-between. On the eve of the new season of Check, Please!, I’m passing along a hamburger recipe that local kitchens ought to relish.

When Ernest Hemingway was a well-established and wealthy author, he gave specific instructions to the cooks at his Havana home on the proper way to prepare Papa’s patties.

A shopping trip in and around his hometown last week got me most of the way there. Minus one ingredient, it was still one hell of a burger.

But first: thanks and credit to Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan, author and food blogger for The Paris Review. A Hemingway fan, she came across his notes to his Cuban housekeepers. The recipe had been published before in a cooking encyclopedia after his death, but I was unaware until I saw Ms. Tan’s blog post last month. I probably owe her a burger and an order of F. Scott Fitzgerald french fries.Most of the ingredients for Hemingway's hamburger

The ingredients:

1 lb. ground chuck (fattier than I’d prefer, but more in line with what was available then)
2 minced garlic cloves
2 chopped green onions
2 tablespoons of capers
1 egg beaten
1 tablespoon cooking oil
1/3 cup of dry red wine
1 teaspoon sage

[And then it gets a little more rarified]

1 teaspoon, India Relish (a mix of pickled veggies unavailable at Caputo’s, Whole Foods or Penzey’s Spices — so I skipped it)
1/2 teaspoon Beau Monde Seasoning (basically onion, celery and salt with a touch of pepper and sweetness)
1/2 teaspoon Mei Yen Powder (a discontinued blend, but an online guide suggested part salt, part sugar and a dash of soy.)

Mix the ingredients and let them marinate for 20 minutes. Shape four burgers and fry them on a hot burner — Hemingway liked his burgers fried, not broiled. Cook for four or five minutes per side, until crispy on the edges and pink and juicy in the middle.

The Bun Also RisesIt took a long time to gather and prepare the ingredients, and it took about 75 seconds to devour the burger. I had to eat a second one to savor what I’d missed during the first inhalation.

It was delicious — even though my carnivorous son took one bite and labeled it: “weird.” And my vegetarian daughter never stepped into the dining room. And my wife said, “It’s good, but I don’t see how it’s worth the trouble.”

"Go ahead. Make my burger."Trust me, it’s worth the effort at least once. I ate it on a toasted bun with lettuce and tomato. I wanted a taste before deciding which condiments to add. It needed nothing. I took one bite, then another, then it was gone. The ground beef was infused with flavor and moisture. A-1 sauce, ketchup or mustard would have been sacrilegious. In all Ernest-ness, it was the best burger I’ve ever made



The Hemingway App: So how did Hem do when put to the test?

Hemingway Takes the Hemingway Test. The article is a bit long itself but interesting. There is such a thing as too terse.

By Ian Crouch

Hemingway Takes the Hemingway Test

Charles McGrath wroteabout a newly digitized collection of ephemera from Ernest Hemingway’s Cuban estate, Finca Vigía, which confirms that the famously terse writer was, as McGrath says, “a hoarder.” Ticket stubs, telegrams, Christmas cards, diary entries—all of it amassed in the twenty-plus years that Hemingway kept his house there. Amid the collection, McGrath identifies two notes that Hemingway had seemingly written to himself, in pencil. One reads: “You can phrase things clearer and better.” And the other: “You can remove words which are unnecessary and tighten up your prose.”

The above paragraph scored an “O.K.” in Hemingway, (The app) an app, created by the brothers Adam and Ben Long, which analyzes text and, as it promises, “makes your writing bold and clear.” The program highlights overly complicated words and suggests alternatives (my “all of it” could have simply been “all”). It also calls out adverbs (“newly,” “famously, “”seemingly”), difficult-to-read sentences (the first being “very” hard to read, while the second was just hard), and instances of the passive voice.

Hemingway launched in September, and gained wide notice this week after it was shared on Hacker News. The app is free, and the brothers are working, in their off hours, on a desktop version, as well as an extension for Web browsers.

Hemingway uses a formula to judge the “reading level” of a particular selection of writing, which the Longs said is “a measure of how complex the sentence structure is and how big the words you’re using are.” It scored my first paragraph as Grade 14. The app suggests that anything under Grade 10 is a sign of “bold, clear writing.”

Bold and clear, that’s the popular image of the Hemingway persona—the kind of man, as Lillian Ross observed in her Profile of him for The New Yorker, who could walk into an Abercrombie & Fitch store, and, being approached by a sales clerk, say, simply, “Want to see coat.” And Hemingway’s notes to himself from Cuba show a parallel artistic imperative: the search for blunt, descriptive, concise prose.

So would Hemingway have approved of Hemingway? Or, another question: Would he pass the tests he helped inspire? What about the visually potent opening paragraph from his short story “A Clean, Well-Lighted Place”?

It was very late and everyone had left the cafe except an old man who sat in the shadow the leaves of the tree made against the electric light. In the day time the street was dusty, but at night the dew settled the dust and the old man liked to sit late because he was deaf and now at night it was quiet and he felt the difference. The two waiters inside the cafe knew that the old man was a little drunk, and while he was a good client they knew that if he became too drunk he would leave without paying, so they kept watch on him.

Bad news. Hemingway rates merely “O.K.” (Grade 15). That “very” in the first sentence might have been cut. (It may have a point there: Doesn’t the fact that everyone had left but one man suggest just how late it was?) The second sentence is “hard to read” and the third is “very hard to read.” Maybe it’s the shifting perspective? No adverbs, though. Yet, as Hemingway’s paragraphs go, that is perhaps a bit twisty. What about the famously spare early story “The End of Something”? It performs significantly better:

Marjorie sat on the blanket with her back to the fire and waited for Nick. He came over and sat down beside her on the blanket. In back of them was the close second-growth timber of the point and in front was the bay with the mouth of Hortons Creek. It was not quite dark. The fire-light went as far as the water. They could both see the two steel rods at an angle over the dark water. The fire glinted on the reels.

This passage, so Hemingway (the app) tells us, would be readily comprehensible to a fourth grader. The app likes dialogue, too, scoring the next bit of the story similarly:https://d99d5cd7ed237b7db28d60d547f15f10.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.htmlADVERTISEMENThttps://d99d5cd7ed237b7db28d60d547f15f10.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html

“I don’t feel like eating,” said Nick.
“Come on and eat, Nick.”
“All right.”
They ate without talking, and watched the two rods and the fire-light in the water.

“The End of Something” is a sharp pocketknife of a story, capturing in its seeming slimness all the depth and disorientation of young man’s stunted attempts at love and friendship—and the places where those two often overlap. Its force comes from the declarative power of its words combined with the implied frustration and muteness of its silences. It is also a prime example of a kind of writing prized by people from E. B. White to Gordon Lish, Elmore Leonard, and numberless creative-writing teachers: show don’t tell, always keep the verbs active and propulsive, never use a two-dollar word when a ten-center might suffice, leave adverbs to the nervous and the self-obsessed. There are, of course, other ways to write, even for a mass audience. Leonard’s own rules for writing (“No 10: Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip”) end with him noting that he enjoys many of the writers who break them.VIDEO FROM THE NEW YORKERHow to Draw a Creepy Clown

The Hemingway app is fun to experiment with, and it’s useful in that it calls out in your writing places of friction—allowing you to decide whether they are necessary or merely sloppy. No one is above clarity. And the app, based on the experience of running examples of my own writing through it today, is, like a good editor, attuned to the places where vanity seems to be getting the better of things.

But do we want to write like Hemingway? Or, better, did Hemingway really write like Hemingway? He was able to see the humor in the public’s sense of his work; Lillian Ross caught him, at times, playacting a kind of Indian-speak version of his characters’ reticence: “He read book all way up on plane.” “He like book, I think.” His contained style, and the expectations that it engendered in the reader, made his departures from it all the more powerful. Take this description of Romero, the bullfighter, in “The Sun Also Rises”:

Afterward, all that was faked turned bad and gave an unpleasant feeling. Romero’s bull-fighting gave real emotion, because he kept the absolute purity of line in his movements and always quietly and calmly let the horns pass him close each time.

This breaks several of the Hemingway rules. The passive voice loses points, as do the two adverbs at the end. But “quietly” and “calmly,” are, of course, essential to the point. Bullfighters, masterly or not, avoid the horns most of the time. Only the artists like Romero manage it quietly and calmly. And that word, “quietly,” which is not quite literal, is a little surprise. Regarding the passive voice, it injects emotional uncertainty into the scene. “All that was faked turned bad,” scans like a melody, and in its passivity and slightly odd tense, feels like an elegy. It is not exactly clear. But it’s bold.

Photograph: Torre Johnson/Magnumhttps://d99d5cd7ed237b7db28d60d547f15f10.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html

Ian Crouch is a contributing writer and a member of The New Yorker’s editorial staff.

Take a trip without leaving home: Hemingway’s A MOVEABLE FEAST

Travel Through Books: In times of pandemic, transport yourself to different destinations via travel books

June 27, 2021 3:00 AM

Considering that a third wave is imminent, a wiser and safer alternative perhaps would be to transport oneself to different destinations through books.

Here, we bring to you some popular travel books to read while at home.Here, we bring to you some popular travel books to read while at home.

By Reya Mehrotra

With the lockdowns ending, people have been thronging destinations like Himachal Pradesh to beat the heat and take a break, often flouting Covid protocols. Considering that a third wave is imminent, a wiser and safer alternative perhaps would be to transport oneself to different destinations through books. Here, we bring to you some popular travel books to read while at home.

A Moveable Feast
The 1964 memoir by Ernest Hemingway chronicles his years of struggle as a writer and journalist in the 1920s in Paris. The personal accounts by Hemingway in the story mention many notable figures like Ezra Pound, F Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald. It was published posthumously in 1964. The title comes from Hemingway’s description of Paris to a friend in 1950 when he called it ‘a moveable feast’. In 1956, he recovered two trunks of his notes from the 1920s and that’s when the process of converting them into memoirs began.

What a Journey!

The Alchemist
Paulo Coelho’s 1988 allegorical novel The Alchemist was originally written in Portuguese. Andalusian shepherd Santiago’s journey has been chronicled in the classic novel. When a gypsy fortune teller interprets the young boy’s recurring dream, he comes to know that he will discover fortune at the Egyptian pyramids. The boy sets out on a journey and meets several people along the way. The book is about finding one’s destiny and how the universe conspires for something to happen if you really want it. It has inspired a devoted following around the world.

The Adventures of Tintin
For comic book lovers and those who grew up watching/reading The Adventures of Tintin, revisiting the classic piece of literature is like living a childhood dream, which includes travelling to different places along with the central character Tintin. A set of 24 comics created by Belgian cartoonist Georges Remi, the series was the most popular European comic in the 20th century. It was adapted into films, for radio, television and theatre. Tintin is a young and courageous Belgian reporter and adventurer who owns a dog named Snowy, which often helps him.

Lands of Lost Borders: Out of Bounds on the Silk Road
Canadian author Kate Harris’ Lands of Lost Borders chronicles her explorations as she sets off on her bicycle on the Silk Road, cycling through the remotest places on earth, breaking geographical boundaries, the boundaries she set for herself and the existential need to explore. She grew up dreaming of going to Mars and this childhood yearning resulted in her explorations. The reflective book cherishes the connection between humans and the natural world.

Falling off the Map
Pico Iyer’s Falling off the Map focuses on the lesser explored places and uncovers their cultural wealth while shining a light on their lack of development. In the book, Iyer talks about his travels to Bhutan, Vietnam, Cuba, Argentina, Korea, Paraguay, Iceland and many more. The book explores his experiences of travel to each country and its culture.

In Patagonia
It was Charles Bruce Chatwin’s first book In Patagonia (1977) that established him as a travel writer. As a part of his job, he travelled the world to interview public figures. In 1974, he left The Sunday Times Magazine to visit Patagonia in Argentina, which inspired this book. Chatwin’s work is said to have revived travel literature and inspired writers like William Dalrymple. He spent six months in the region, travelling and meeting people who settled there from other places. The author used the story of ‘brontosaurus’ from his childhood days to frame the story of the trip.

The Innocents Abroad
American writer Mark Twain’s The Innocents Abroad, or The New Pilgrims’ Progress, is a travel book that was published in 1869 and humorously chronicles Twain’s five-month excursion onboard Quaker City, a chartered vessel, through the Holy Land and Europe in 1867. It’s the best-selling travel book of all times. During the voyage, there were a number of side trips and stops along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. The major theme is the conflict between history and the modern world.

Turn Right at Machu Picchu: Rediscovering the Lost City One Step at a Time
In 1911, Yale professor Hiram Bingham III climbed the Andes Mountains of Peru and found what we now call the ancient citadel of Machu Picchu. However, nearly a century later, reports portrayed him as a smuggler who smuggled artefacts from the site.

In the book, author Mark Adams sets out to retrace the path to the citadel along with guides. Through his journey, he takes readers on an adventure-filled tour to the historic landscapes of Peru.

The early days in PARIS
Young man with all of it ahead
Where he wrote in Paris

5 More surprising Facts: continuation of article by Scott Beggs

6. One of Ernest Hemingway’s best works came about from him leaving some luggage at the Ritz Hotel in Paris.

Speaking of A Moveable Feast, Hemingway wrote it later in life (it was published posthumously) after a 1956 stay at the Ritz Hotel in Paris wherein he was reminded that he’d left a steamer trunk (made for him by Louis Vuitton) in the hotel’s basement in 1930. When he opened it, he rediscovered personal letters, menus, outdoor gear, and two stacks of notebooks that became the basis for the memoir of his youth in Paris’s café culture.

Hem and Hadley

7. The famous “Baby Shoes” story is most likely a myth.

Oddly enough, a story many people associate with Hemingway probably has nothing to do with him. The legend goes that one night, while drinking, Hemingway bet some friends that he could write a six-word short story. Incredulous, they all put money on the table, and on a napkin Hemingway wrote the words “For Sale: Baby Shoes, Never Worn.” He won the bet. Unfortunately, there’s no evidence it ever happened. Some newspapers had printed versions of the general plotline in the 1910s without crediting Hemingway, and there’s no record of his link to the phrase until 1991 (in a book about the publishing business), three decades after Hemingway’s death.

Hem and baby bumby

8. Ernest Hemingway almost died in back-to-back plane crashes.

In 1954, Hemingway and his fourth wife, Time and Life correspondent Mary Welsh, were vacationing in Belgian Congo when their sightseeing charter flight clipped a pole and crashed. When attempting to reach medical care in Entebbe the following day, they boarded another plane, which crashed upon takeoff, leaving Hemingway with burns, a concussion, and his brain leaking cerebral fluid. When they finally got to Entebbe (by truck), they found journalists had already reported their deaths, so Hemingway got to read his own obituaries.

9. Ernest Hemingway dedicated a book to each of his four wives.

Each time he got divorced, Hemingway was married again within the year—but he always left something behind in print. The dedication for The Sun Also Rises went to his first wife, Elizabeth Hadley Richardson; Death in the Afternoon was dedicated to second wife Pauline Pfeiffer; For Whom the Bell Tolls was for third wife Martha Gellhorn; and Across the River and Into the Trees went “To Mary with Love.”

Hadley near the time of her wedding: He dedicated The Sun Also Rises to her

10. Ernest Hemingway’s house in Key West features a urinal from his favorite bar.

Hemingway wrote several iconic works, including To Have and Have Not, at his house in Key West, Florida. It’s also where he converted a urinal from a local bar into a fountain. Local haunt Sloppy Joe’s was a favorite watering hole of the irascible author, so when the place went under renovation, Hemingway took one of the urinals as a memento, quipping that he’d already poured enough money into it to make it his.

the house

10 Surprising Facts About Ernest Hemingway


Central Press/Getty Images

Ernest Hemingway was a titan of 20th-century literature, converting his lived experiences in multiple wars into rich, stirring tales like A Farewell to Arms and For Whom the Bell Tolls. The avid sportsman also called upon his love for the outdoors to craft bittersweet metaphorical works like Big Two-Hearted River and the Pulitzer Prize-winning The Old Man and the Sea. Here are 10 facts about the writer known as Papa, who was born on July 21, 1899.


Hemingway served as an ambulance driver in Italy during World War I, and on July 8, 1918, he was badly wounded by mortar fire—yet he managed to help an Italian soldier reach safety. The action earned him an Italian Silver Medal of Valor. That honor was paralleled almost 30 years later when the U.S. awarded him a Bronze Star for courage displayed while covering the European theater in World War II as a journalist. His articles appeared in Collier’s and other magazines.

Nurse Agnes Von Kurowsky: Early love


Following D-Day on June 6, 1944, when Hemingway, a civilian, was not allowed to disembark on Omaha Beach, he led a band of Resistance fighters in the French town of Rambouillet on a mission to gather intelligence. The problem was, war correspondents aren’t supposed to lead armed troops, according to the Geneva Convention. The Inspector General of the Third Army charged Hemingway with several serious offenses, including removing patches from his clothing that identified him as a journalist, stockpiling weapons in his hotel room, and commanding a faction of Resistance operatives. Eventually, he was cleared of wrongdoing.

Hemingway always maintained that he’d done nothing but act as an advisor. He wrote to The New York Times in 1951, stating he “had a certain amount of knowledge about guerilla warfare and irregular tactics as well as a grounding in more formal war, and I was willing and happy to work for or be of use to anybody who would give me anything to do within my capabilities.”

With Buck Lanahan


Renowned American modernist writer Gertude Stein moved to Paris in 1903 and hosted regular salons that were attended by luminaries and artists of the time. They included Pablo Picasso, Ezra Pound, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and a young Ernest Hemingway. Stein became godmother to Hemingway’s first son, Jack, in 1923.

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When Collier’s sent the legendary war correspondent Martha Gellhorn to China for a story in 1941, Hemingway, her husband, accompanied her and filed dispatches for PM. Documentation from the Soviet Union (revealed in a 2009 book) shows that Hemingway was possibly recruited as a willing, clandestine source just prior to the trip and was given the codename “Argo.” The documents also show that he didn’t deliver any useful political intel, wasn’t trained for espionage, and only stayed on their list of active sources until the end of the decade.


Hemingway chronicled his life in Paris in his 1964 memoir A Moveable Feast, in which he claimed he had one memorable encounter with F. Scott Fitzgerald. The Great Gatsby author shared that his wife Zelda had mocked his manhood by claiming he wouldn’t be able to satisfy a lover. Hemingway offered to investigate the matter and render a verdict. He took Fitzgerald to the bathroom at Michaud’s, a popular restaurant in Paris, to examine the organ in question. Ultimately, Hemingway assured Fitzgerald that his physical endowment was of a totally normal size and suggested he check out some nude statues at the Louvre for confirmation.

Fitz and Hem:


Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald

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Hem and Scott

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Rue Gertrude Stein, Paris
Rue Gertrude Stein, Paris

I just finished a book about the life of Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald called “Z.”  It was interesting.  Zelda’s hatred for Hemingway came across loud and clear.  I know that it’s historically true.  However, there’s a claim that Hemingway came on to her, which didn’t strike me as true based on all that I’ve read and Hem’s feelings toward/against her. And there’s another portion in which she wonders if her husband, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Hemingway were closet homosexuals who had an attraction to each other.  I don’t know that much about F. Scott Fitzgerald, but there’s not anything in the volumes that I’ve read about Hemingway and his past that would even slightly suggest that. I’ve read all of the hypotheses that Hemingway went ultra-macho to compensate for homosexual feelings. I don’t see that but everyone can have an opinion. Those comments aside, I found that I had sympathy for Zelda’s plight and her frustration in her life with F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Zelda and Scott
Zelda and Scott

I also couldn’t help comparing Fitzgerald, of course, to Hemingway.  When Hemingway met Fitzgerald, Fitzgerald was the star, having come off of  a great success with The Beautiful and Damned. His short stories were successfully being sold and some were going to Hollywood.  F. Scott Fitzgerald was generous with his time and advice to Hemingway and they remained really close friends for a long time before something of quiet falling out occurred, probably due to normal as opposed to cut-throat literary rivalry and partly due to Hemingway’s disgust with F. Scott Fitzgerald’s drinking and Zelda.  Whatever else you can say about Hemingway and his later serious problems with the bottle, for much of his career, he was disciplined when it came to writing.  He often stopped drinking for some significant periods of time while writing and he didn’t drink during the day while he was getting his words down on paper.  Fitzgerald began to drink daily from morning on and for many years, didn’t even try to write. Once Hemingway began to abuse alcohol, it was not good. 

Hem and Fitzgerald shared the editor Max Perkins at Scribners. After their falling out, they used Max to find out about each other. There was attachment between them. Hemingway was so competitive that he had trouble being friends with writing rivals. he was both confidant and insecure. 

Heim in Midnight in Paris
Hem in Midnight in Paris

I also gathered from “Z” that the ragefulness between Zelda and Fitzgerald went on for years and they both treated each other badly.  It was a sort of recreational warfare.  That behavior certainly didn’t occur between Hemingway and Hadley.  I think there was some bitterness in his fighting with Pauline (second wife) in the end, but not the low blows Zelda and Scott hurled.  Hemingway generally felt guilty at the end of a relationship and didn’t rant and rave at his soon to be ex-wife.

The Sun Also Rises
The Sun Also Rises

His relationship with Martha (third wife) was an exception because it did become volatile.  Certainly there was anger and insults with Mary (fourth wife) and they might have divorced had Hem lived longer.  With the exception of Martha, Hem’s other three wives didn’t try to compete with him and perhaps that was what he was looking for in a woman. All gave up a great deal of independence to be with him. He tended to prefer stable, smart, but non-challenging women–and Martha was not any part of the latter. Further, he was married four times, whereas Fitzgerald and Zelda were only married once, although affairs did occur in the marriage.

Hemingway and Gellhorn
Hemingway and Gellhorn

I liked the book and I felt for Zelda, which I didn’t expect.  It was interesting to read another perspective on the jazz age, and the whole lost generation crowd in Paris, including the Murphys, Gertrude Stein, John Dos Passos, Ford Madox Ford, Picasso.

You might try it.  It’s an easy read and Hemingway features prominently.

Paris 1927
Paris 1927


Fitz and Hem:

Presentations coming up through The Hemingway Society

For those who are members, the Hemingway Society has some wonderful Webinars coming up. Some are academic; some very timely; some just plain interesting and illuminating. Hope all are having a good summer. Best, Christine

A Publication of the Hemingway Society | July 13, 2021THE HEMINGWAY SOCIETY IS PLEASED TO BEGIN OUR2021 WEBINAR SERIESDear Hemingway Friends, The Hemingway Society’s webinar series–A Dangerous Summer–begins this week with our discussion of The Sun Also Rises on Friday and a joint session with the Fitzgerald Society on the Academic Publishing Marketplace on Wednesday!Dig deep into Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises.  Whether you are preparing to teach the novel or just want to revisit it with fellow aficionados, this session will review the publication history, reception, and major critical approaches that have shaped the way we understand this important work. The discussion is moderated by Juliet Conway and features Susan Farrell, Jeffrey Herlihy-Mera, and KatieWarczak. This webinar is Friday, July 16 at 1pm EDT.Register for The Sun Also Rises! 
And before the first Dangerous Summer session, join us for a joint webinar with the Fitzgerald Society on the Academic Publishing Marketplace.  Fitzgerald Review managing editor Kirk Curnutt and Hemingway Review editor Suzanne del Gizzo as they explore the dos and don’ts of writing, submitting, and revising. We’ll be joined by special guests, including Lee Zimmerman, editor of Twentieth-Century Literature; Lynda Zwinger of Arizona Quarterly; Aurora Bell, acquisitions editor at the University of South Carolina Press; and James W. Long, acquisitions editor at Louisiana State University Press.The webinar is Wednesday, July 14, 2021, at 1 pm EDT. For registration, you can click to: REGISTER HERE 

And don’t forget to register for our other Dangerous Summer events!
July 23rd @ 1 pm – Hemingway’s Short StoriesModerated by Ellen Andrews KnodtPanelists: John Beall, Susan Beegel, Donald Daiker, and Ross TangedalJoin us as a small group of scholars candidly discuss some of Hemingway’s short stories. Whether you are preparing to teach Hemingway stories or just want to hear what fellow aficionados have to say about them, this discussion will focus on how we and our students read the short stories now, posing questions such as what elements of the stories interest students and what stories or aspects of Hemingway stories are most problematic now?  Register for The Short Stories!
 July 30th @ 1 pm – Hemingway and Race Moderated by Marc DudleyPanelists:  Gary Holcomb, Ian Marshall, Quentin Miller, and Peggy Wright-Cleveland How might the Black Lives Matter movement affect the way we read, teach, and write about Hemingway? Will it? If so, in what ways? Hemingway and Race is a large and complicated topic. Hemingway wrote about Native peoples and had a long relationship with the Latin world. This panel will focus primarily on Hemingway’s interactions with black people, his portrayals of black characters, and his awareness of and relationship to social movements related to race. Register for Hemingway and Race!
 August 6th @ 1 pm – Hemingway and SexModerated by Suzanne del GizzoPanelists: Carl Eby, Debra Moddelmog, Lisa TylerHow does the #MeToo movement affect the way we read, teach, and write about Hemingway? Gender and sexuality have been defining topics in Hemingway scholarship for nearly forty years now, but #MeToo adds new levels of complexity to that already rich discussion, inviting us to think about the dynamics of sex, seduction, and sexual violence in Hemingway’s work. Register for Hemingway and Sex!
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