Hemingway as musical inspiration:

Tales of Hemingway 

Hello Hemingway readers! I thought that this article would be about music that might be inspired by some of Hemingway’s novels. It appears however that it is a looser association and is based on mental health issues. Still Hem inspires and is relevant. Best to all, Christine

By JACQUELINE HALBLOOM APR 5, 2019 Symphonies of IowaTweetShareGoogle+Email

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This week, IPR’s Symphonies of Iowa features internationally acclaimed cellist Zuill Bailey and Iowa’s own Michael Daugherty on Orchestra Iowa’s “Tales of Hemingway” concert.

The program opens with Beethoven’s Coriolan Overture, a depiction of the story of Coriolanus, a Roman patrician. Then, Michael Daugherty’s Tales of Hemingway is performed with guest cellist Zuill Bailey.

Orchestra Iowa performs Daugherty’s Tales of Hemingway, an orchestral work inspired by the literature of American author Ernest Hemingway. Guest cellist Zuill Bailey won the 2017 GRAMMY Awards for his world premiere performance of the work with the Nashville Symphony.

Michael Daugherty, a native of Cedar Rapids, is one of the ten most performed American concert-music composers. He has received six GRAMMY awards and international recognition. Daugherty’s music has been “commissioned and premiered by many of the world’s leading orchestras including the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, and the San Francisco Symphony.” He studied composition with “many of the preeminent composers of the 20th century, including Jacob Druckman, Earle Brown, Bernard Rands, and Roger Reynolds at Yale, Pierre Boulez in Paris, and György Ligeti in Hamburg.”  Daugherty is also a frequent guest conductor of professional orchestras, university wind ensembles, and festivals around the world.

Orchestra Iowa also performs Jocelyn Morlock’s My Name is Amanda Todd, the tragic story of a young teenager who took her own life in 2012. The program ends with a performance of Schumann’s Symphony No. 4.

Each piece performed in Orchestra Iowa’s “Tales of Hemingway” concert has a tie to shedding light on mental health awareness, either through the inspiration of the piece or through the composer.

Listen below as Michael Daugherty shares details on his concept for Tales of Hemingway.

PROGRAM

BEETHOVEN                       Coriolan Overture, Op. 62

DAUGHERTY                       Tales of Hemingway

MORLOCK                           My Name Is Amanda Todd

SCHUMANN                       Symphony No. 4

Special Appearances

Tim Hankewich, conductor

Zuill Bailey, celloListen Listening…0:00Listen to Jacqueline’s interview with Michael Daugherty here.TweetShareGoogle+Email

Joint Venture: Cuba and US Conservation Center at Finca Vigia, Hem’s Home

HAVANA — U.S. donors and Cuban builders have completed one of the longest-running joint projects between the two countries at a low point in bilateral relations.

Officials from the Boston-based Finca Vigia Foundation and Cuba’s National Cultural Heritage Council cut the ribbon Saturday evening on a state-of-the-art, $1.2 million conservation center on the grounds of Ernest Hemingway’s stately home on a hill overlooking Havana.

The center, which has been under construction since 2016, contains modern technology for cleaning and preserving a multitude of artifacts from the home where Hemingway lived in the 1940s and 1950s.

When he died in 1961, the author left approximately 5,000 photos, 10,000 letters and perhaps thousands of margin notes in roughly 9,000 books at the property.

“The laboratory we’re inaugurating today is the only one in Cuba with this capacity and it will allow us to contribute to safeguarding the legacy of Ernest Hemingway in Cuba,” said Grisell Fraga, director of the Ernest Hemingway Museum.

U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern, a Democrat from Massachusetts, spoke at the ceremony and called it a sign of the potential for U.S.-Cuban cooperation despite rising tensions between the Communist government and the Trump administration.

Lady Duff: Part FOUR


“[Here is] Lady Duff is sitting on a mule during an adventure up in Northern New Mexico, probably enjoying the services of a dude ranch,” he informed me. He speculated that the photo was taken in Bandelier, a national park with over 30,000 acres of canyon and mesa country. 

The image is undated, but it may be the last surviving photograph of Lady Duff Twysden, and this is the first time it has been published. It was poignant to behold her there in that desert, a world away from the raucous cafes and bals musettes of Montparnasse. Even though free at last from fleets of suitors, she still seemed to have a commanding presence—and the aloofness that intoxicated men on two continents. This seems appropriate. After all, so few people have been so effectively immortalized yet remained so mysterious at the same time.

Blume is the author of Everybody Behaves Badly: The True Story Behind Hemingway’s Masterpiece The Sun Also Risesfrom which this article is partially adapted.

Fitz and Hem
Hem and Bumby 1924
Image result for Photos of Duff Twysden
Duff front left

Hem and Lady Duff Part THREE

When the book was released a year later, Brett Ashley became something of a lifestyle icon to girls who reveled in her dissolute glamour. “Young women of good families took a succession of lovers in the same heartbroken fashion as the heroine,” recalled expat writer Malcolm Cowley.

But Lady Duff was reportedly aghast by the portrait. In the years that followed, she was said to call the novel “cruel” and added that Hemingway had played a nasty trick on her and the others. In her opinion, it was nothing more than an example of “cheap reporting.” For her and the other people whose lives and misfortunes had been co-opted the book, life could now be divided into two categories: “B.S.” (Before Sun.) and “A.S.” (After Sun).

In the years that followed, she was said to call the novel “cruel” and added that Hemingway had played a nasty trick on her.

Readers of The Sun Also Rises likely suspect that the character Lady Brett Ashley was not destined for happiness. After all, as Hemingway wrote in Sun, she and the others belonged to a Lost Generation: without hope, beyond redemption. 

Lady Duff Twysden did not fare badly, on the other hand, although she died tragically a little over a decade after Sun was released. After her divorce came through, she married Clinton King, a young Texan artist and heir to a candy fortune. This might have given Duff some security at last, but his family, displeased by their union, cut him off following their wedding. The couple stayed together anyway, and were reportedly happy. They returned to North America for a decade “A.S.”, drifting from New York City to Mexico to Santa Fe.

The Kings elicited mixed reactions there “on account of their drinking and lewdness,” noted Santa Fe-based poet Witter Bynner. (Duff was apparently virtuosic in the art of swearing and had a repertoire of indecent music hall songs.) That said, Bynner conceded that Duff was “witty and hearty on the uptake and a swell yelper over puns,” and added that she had remained “lankly handsome.” It was known in the Santa Fe community that Hemingway had based Lady Brett Ashley on Duff; her neighbors occasionally referred to her as “Brett” or even “the Duff-Brett woman.”

Duff would spend her final days in the city. In 1938, while in Texas, she was diagnosed with tuberculosis. The Kings returned to Santa Fe, where Duff was placed in a sanatorium. “She looks as frail as a dried sea horse but maintains the gallant sparkle,” Bynner reported to a friend. He predicted that the disease would keep her hospitalized for a year and might even kill her.

She died just 22 days after this prediction was made, on June 27, 1938, at the age of 46. While Lady Brett Ashley would forever live on as the model of unconventional glamour, “Mrs. Duff Stirling King” was listed as a “housewife” on her death certificate.

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HEMINGWAY TOWARD THE END OF HIS LIFE. HE DIED IN 1961.GETTY IMAGES

News of her death filtered back to Hemingway, who once again could not resist taking liberties with her life narrative. “Brett died in New Mexico,” he told his friend A. E. Hotchner years later. “Call her Lady Duff Twysden, if you like, but I can only think of her as Brett.” 

All of “Brett’s” pallbearers had been her former lovers, he went on; one of these gentlemen slipped while holding the coffin, which then crashed to the ground and cracked open. (In reality, Duff had been cremated, and no funeral was held.) When Hotchner repeated the ghoulish story in his 1966 book Papa Hemingway, it created a minor sensation and added another ignoble chapter to the already notorious fictionalized life story of Lady Duff Twysden.

Clinton King outlived Duff by more than 40 years, and when I was researching Everybody Behaves Badly, I worked hard to track down remnants from his estate. I hoped for photos of Duff, letters, paintings by her (she was a supposedly a passable artist)—anything.

After Duff’s death, King had married again, this time to Chicago meat-packing heiress Narcissa Swift. Swift’s niece told me that she had been jealous of Duff and likely made Clinton dispose of any memorabilia pertaining to his former wife, news that made my heart sink. It seemed I would have little luck in finding any tangible remainders from her life.RELATED STORYParis, Through the Eyes of Hemingway’s Assistant

Then, one afternoon, I received an email from a Santa Fe gentleman who had been charged with handling items from Ms. Swift King’s estate, which contained remnants of Clinton’s papers and effects as well. Most of those materials had been sold or “liquidated” before I had contacted him. However, this fellow still had a few boxes of materials in a basement, and had kindly combed through them for me—and came across an astonishing image.

Lady Brett/Duff: Part TWO

Everywhere Lady Duff went, a flock of men sat at her feet, “listening to her every word, loving her looks and her wit and her artistic sensitivity,” as one former expat put it. “We were all in love with her,” recalled writer Donald Ogden Stewart. “It was hard not to be. She played her cards so well.” She treated her many admirers with a democratic flippancy, calling each of them “darling,” possibly because she couldn’t remember any of their names.

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HEMINGWAY IN 1920GETTY IMAGES

A few writers in the expat colony in Paris were already eyeing her as a muse for their writings, and it was perhaps only a matter of time before someone translated her on paper as a character in a novel.

Hemingway got there first. Even though he was married to his first wife, Hadley, when he met Duff, he reportedly became “infatuated” with her, according to one of his former Paris friends. The timing of Duff’s entrance into his life was auspicious: Hemingway was, at that moment, trying to stage a professional breakthrough and desperately needed material to create the all-important debut novel.

Lady Duff would soon provide the basis for the perfect anti-heroine. That summer, when Hemingway took an entourage to Pamplona, Spain, to take part in the San Fermin bullfighting festival there, Lady Duff came along, with two of her lovers in tow, no less. 

As one might reasonably expect, the voyage was not a harmonious one. The outing quickly devolved into a Bacchanalian morass of sexual jealousy and gory spectacle. Hemingway nearly came to fisticuffs with one of Duff’s suitors, Harold Loeb; Duff herself materialized at lunch one day with a black eye and bruised forehead, possibly earned in a late-night scrap with her other lover, Pat Guthrie. Despite the war wound and atmosphere she was creating, Twysden reportedly glowed throughout the fiesta. The drama became her.

It also became Hemingway, but in a different way. Seeing Twysden there amidst all of that decadence triggered something in him. He realized that he finally had the basis for an incendiary story. The moment he and Hadley left Pamplona to watch bullfights throughout the region, he began transcribing the entire spectacle onto paper.

Suddenly every illicit exchange, insult, and bit of unrequited longing that had happened within his entourage during the fiesta had a serious literary currency. The story became a novel—eventually titled The Sun Also Rises—which he finished in just six weeks.

image

A FIRST EDITION OF ERNEST HEMINGWAY’S ‘THE SUN ALSO RISES’GETTY/HERBERT ORTH

In the end, The Sun Also Rises was a (barely) fictionalized account of the events that had gone down in Pamplona. Donald Stewart, who appeared in the book’s pages as “Bill Gorton,” was astonished that Hemingway was even passing it off as fiction: it was, in Stewart’s opinion, “nothing but a report on what happened … [it was] journalism.”

The first draft of the manuscript even contained the names of the real-life people up until the very last page. Lady Duff would not become Lady Brett until Hemingway revised the book. (He considered and rejected various names for her character, including “Lady Doris.”) Yet little about Lady Brett Ashley was fictional: in a later-omitted introduction to the book, Hemingway laid out Duff’s background in excruciating detail, from her failed marriage to her drinking habits to her physicality, including her sleek, boy-short haircut, then known as an Eton crop.

Duff Twysden or Lady Brett Ashley should we say? Part ONE.

Fascinating. 1925 Paris. Duff died very young at age 36 of tuberculosis as i recall. She was smart, beautiful, reckless, fascinating.

Read and enjoy. Best, Christine

The Untold Story of the Woman Who Inspired Hemingway to Write The Sun Also Rises

An exclusive look at the last known of photograph of Lady Duff Twysden.

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by LESLEY M.M. BLUMEJUN 5, 2016

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THE LAST KNOWN PHOTOGRAPH OF LADY DUFF TWYSDENPAPERS OF CLINTON KING, MATT KUHN COLLECTION

Several years ago, I came across a photograph of young Ernest Hemingway sitting at a cafe table with a group of people, including one beguiling, fashionable lady. There was something about the way she gazed at the camera; she managed to be both demure and coquettish. I soon learned that her name was Lady Duff Twysden, and that she had been the real-life inspiration for Lady Brett Ashley, Hemingway’s iconic femme fatale in his debut novel, The Sun Also Rises

I was astonished at first; I have long been a Lost Generation obsessive, but I hadn’t realized that Brett was drawn from real life, and I wanted to learn more about her. I started looking for a compelling account of the full, real-life story behind The Sun Also Rises, and found nothing. I decided to write that book myself—Everybody Behaves Badly: The True Story Behind Hemingway’s Masterpiece The Sun Also Rises—and spent many subsequent months in Lady Duff’s company.

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Duff is third from left, to Hem’s left.

ERNEST HEMINGWAY, HAROLD LOEB, LADY DUFF TWYDSEN, ELIZABETH HADLEY RICHARDSON (HEMINGWAY’S WIFE), DONALD OGDEN STEWART, AND PAT GUTHRIE AT A CAFE IN PAMPLONA, SPAIN, SUMMER 1925.ERNEST HEMINGWAY COLLECTION, JOHN F. KENNEDY PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARY AND MUSEUM

She was a tricky person to reconstruct. When she died, she left no known diaries, few surviving letters, no self-aggrandizing memoir—which was rather unusual within her coterie of publicity-seeking expats. Anyone and everyone who ever had a Hemingway connection seems to have turned it into a book at one point or another. Very few photos exist of Duff; I’ve only seen three from the 1920s, when she was allegedly at the peak of her allure.ADVERTISEMENT – CONTINUE READING BELOW

Much of what is known about Duff has been pieced together through the testimonies and writings of her contemporaries. When Hemingway met her in 1925, she was in her mid-thirties. A Brit, she had acquired her title by marriage, but was soon to lose it: she had come to Paris to weather a nasty divorce. Her aristocratic husband had remained back in the U.K. Though a notoriously hard drinker, she handled her liquor admirably for such a stylishly lithe creature.

“We were all in love with her,” recalled writer Donald Ogden Stewart. “It was hard not to be. She played her cards so well.”

Everywhere Lady Duff went, a flock of men sat at her feet, “listening to her every word, loving her looks and her wit and her artistic sensitivity,” as one former expat put it. “We were all in love with her,” recalled writer Donald Ogden Stewart. “It was hard not to be. She played her cards so well.” She treated her many admirers with a democratic flippancy, calling each of them “darling,” possibly because she couldn’t remember any of their names.

image

HEMINGWAY IN 1920GETTY IMAGES

A few writers in the expat colony in Paris were already eyeing her as a muse for their writings, and it was perhaps only a matter of time before someone translated her on paper as a character in a novel.

Hemingway got there first. Even though he was married to his first wife, Hadley, when he met Duff, he reportedly became “infatuated” with her, according to one of his former Paris friends. The timing of Duff’s entrance into his life was auspicious: Hemingway was, at that moment, trying to stage a professional breakthrough and desperately needed material to create the all-important debut novel.

Lady Duff would soon provide the basis for the perfect anti-heroine. That summer, when Hemingway took an entourage to Pamplona, Spain, to take part in the San Fermin bullfighting festival there, Lady Duff came along, with two of her lovers in tow, no less. 

As one might reasonably expect, the voyage was not a harmonious one. The outing quickly devolved into a Bacchanalian morass of sexual jealousy and gory spectacle. Hemingway nearly came to fisticuffs with one of Duff’s suitors, Harold Loeb; Duff herself materialized at lunch one day with a black eye and bruised forehead, possibly earned in a late-night scrap with her other lover, Pat Guthrie. Despite the war wound and atmosphere she was creating, Twysden reportedly glowed throughout the fiesta. The drama became her.

It also became Hemingway, but in a different way. Seeing Twysden there amidst all of that decadence triggered something in him. He realized that he finally had the basis for an incendiary story. The moment he and Hadley left Pamplona to watch bullfights throughout the region, he began transcribing the entire spectacle onto paper.

Suddenly every illicit exchange, insult, and bit of unrequited longing that had happened within his entourage during the fiesta had a serious literary currency. The story became a novel—eventually titled The Sun Also Rises—which he finished in just six weeks.

image

A FIRST EDITION OF ERNEST HEMINGWAY’S ‘THE SUN ALSO RISES’GETTY/HERBERT ORTH

In the end, The Sun Also Rises was a (barely) fictionalized account of the events that had gone down in Pamplona. Donald Stewart, who appeared in the book’s pages as “Bill Gorton,” was astonished that Hemingway was even passing it off as fiction: it was, in Stewart’s opinion, “nothing but a report on what happened … [it was] journalism.”

The first draft of the manuscript even contained the names of the real-life people up until the very last page. Lady Duff would not become Lady Brett until Hemingway revised the book. (He considered and rejected various names for her character, including “Lady Doris.”) Yet little about Lady Brett Ashley was fictional: in a later-omitted introduction to the book, Hemingway laid out Duff’s background in excruciating detail, from her failed marriage to her drinking habits to her physicality, including her sleek, boy-short haircut, then known as an Eton crop.

TO BE CONTINUED IN PART II

Hemingway’s Joan Miro, the farm

BLOG POST                                                                                      March 11, 2019

Hemingway’s Joan Miró

The below statement of the history Joan Miró The Farmis taken, in large part, from the printout of the National Gallery of Art and its description of its provenance.

In all of my reading about Hemingway, I don’t have a clear impression as to whether or not he was a devoted art lover. I do know, though, that he loved the paint by Joan Miró called The Farm. It was painted on oil canvass in 1921-22 and Hemingway’s path crossed with Miró, Dali, Picasso during the Paris years of the 20s. Hemingway and Hadley (his wife at the time) acquired it somewhere toward the end of 1925. It’s not clear if their friend Evan Shipman had it previously. It stayed within Hemingway family until Mary Welsh Hemingway, Hemingway’s fourth wife and his wife at the time of his death, bequeathed it in 1987 to the National Gallery.

That is the Miro in Hem’s Dining room in Cuba. It’s larger than i expected

There is a bit of history and backstory, however. Hemingway wrote in a 1934 article that Evan Shipman originally wanted to buy it and then he reconsidered and thought Hemingway should have the painting. The story goes that the two rolled dice for it and Hemingway won purchasing the painting from Galerie Pierre by paying for it in monthly installments. 

When Hemingway and Hadley divided their personalty when they were divorced in December 1926, Hemingway delivered the painting to Hadley (per Carlos Baker, Hemingway’s biographer). Hadley maintained the painting for a few years lending it on occasion to various exhibitions. In approximately 1934, Hemingway, who was then living in Key West, asked Hadley to lend it to him for a time and she did. Despite a bitter divorce, they were on good terms and co-parented their son Jack before co-parenting was a “thing.”

Hemingway then lent the painting to a Miró exhibit in New York and the painting was shipped back to Hemingway. He never returned it to Hadley despite requests by her. When he moved to Cuba in 1939/1940, the painting remained in his possession until his death in 1961.

When Hadley was interviewed by Alice Sokoloff she said, “Everyone Ernest married after me thought the Miró belonged to her.” 

After Hemingway’s death, Hadley and Mary reached an agreement out of court through their lawyers. Mary paid Hadley in return for Hadley given up her claims to the painting. Mary bequeathed to the National Gallery.

Hotchner does Play of The Old Man and the Sea

PlayJanuary 31, 2019

  • Robin Young
  • Oh boy, Is this great?! while not an action packed play, i’m sure, I can’t wait to see this. And Aaron Hotchner. If anyone can adapt the book, he can. Always a loyal friend to Hemingway. Best for the new year to all Hemingway readers: fans, not such fans, and the obsessed like me. Happy new year! Christine

Actor Anthony Crivello plays the roll of Santiago in a stage adaptation of Ernest Hemingway's "Old Man and the Sea" during a dress rehearsal at the Pittsburgh Playhouse in Pittsburgh Sunday, Jan. 27, 2019. The stage version was written by journalist and playwright AE Hotchner, the writer's confidant and fishing companion in Cuba during the period in which the novella was written, and his son Tim Hotchner. (Gene J. Puskar/AP)
Actor Anthony Crivello plays the roll of Santiago in a stage adaptation of Ernest Hemingway’s “Old Man and the Sea” during a dress rehearsal at the Pittsburgh Playhouse in Pittsburgh Sunday, Jan. 27, 2019. The stage version was written by journalist and playwright AE Hotchner, the writer’s confidant and fishing companion in Cuba during the period in which the novella was written, and his son Tim Hotchner. (Gene J. Puskar/AP)

It was 1952 when novelist Ernest Hemingway published his Pulitzer Prize-winning “The Old Man and the Sea” — the sparingly written story of the down-on-his-luck Cuban fisherman Santiago, and his desperate attempt to catch a marlin after 85 increasingly desperate days without one.

But before the book’s release, Hemingway gave the manuscript to his friend A.E. Hotchner, also then in Cuba, and asked him for his opinion.

“I must say, I was transported. Imagine for the first time seeing the wrinkled-up pages and reading what will become an epic of American literature,” Hotchner tells Here & Now‘s Robin Young.

Years later, when the movie based on the book, starring Spencer Tracy, opened in 1958, Hemingway took Hotchner with him to see it. When they left, Hemingway told his friend that maybe one day he — Hotchner — could try to do it better.

“Ernest was rather direct and he said, ‘Maybe someday you’ll take a shot at it,’ ” Hotchner recalls.

Ernest Hemingway's close friend and biographer A.E. Hotchner holds a photograph of the pair together, Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2019, at the Hotchner family home in Westport, Conn. (Kathy Willens/AP)
Ernest Hemingway’s close friend and biographer A.E. Hotchner holds a photograph of the pair together, Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2019, at the Hotchner family home in Westport, Conn. (Kathy Willens/AP)

That was 61 years ago. Now, at age 101, Hotchner has done just that alongside his son Tim. The stage adaptation of “The Old Man and the Sea” the two wrote together will open at the Pittsburgh Playhouse of Point Park University on Friday, in partnership with RWS Entertainment Grou

Play

Interview HighlightsOn the moment when Hemingway gave him “The Old Man and the Sea” manuscript

A.E. Hotchner: “Well we just had dinner. I had gone into my guest house and he came in with a sheaf of typewritten manuscript in his hand and he said, ‘I just finished this. Mary typed it up. Would you like take a look at it?’ And I said, ‘Sure leave it.’

“A few weeks later, he called and said, ‘Life magazine wants to publish it in one issue, but I wonder if I should save it to do a bigger book about the sea?’ And I said, ‘Well, you told me one of the golden rules of freelancing is if you write something and they want to publish it, grab the money and run.’ So we did. And let’s go about five years later, he’s come to New York for the World Series. But ‘The Old Man and the Sea’ has just been made into a movie with Spencer Tracy. We’re walking down Park Avenue and he said, ‘Why don’t we go and take a look at it?’ which we did, and we lasted about 10 or 12 minutes and he turned to me and said, ‘I’m ready to go.’ And I said sure. So we left and he said, ‘You know, you write something and you like it. Over the years it does well, and then they do this to it. It’s like pissing in your father’s beer.’ “

On tackling the stage adaptation of “The Old Man and the Sea”

A.E.: “It took me a long time. I wrote my biography of him, ‘Papa Hemingway.’ I did that five years after he died. But over the years, I kept thinking about him saying, ‘Why don’t you take a shot at it?’ And finally, I decided I would. It took me four or five years to get the version that I liked and I brought my son into it. We have high hopes.”

Tim Hotchner: “Well we spent about two months on it before rehearsals, really kind of reimagining the story, because you know it’s such a difficult one to put on the stage. Obviously it works beautifully as a book. So we really had a look at it. My father had the great idea of putting Hemingway in the piece.”

“This book has become such a treasure. It’s really a great example of how one man’s devotion to the cause of his life — which is the sea — is everybody’s devotion to some cause.”A.E. Hotchner

On the meaning behind the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel

A.E.: “You understand that this book has become such a treasure. It’s really a great example of how one man’s devotion to the cause of his life — which is the sea — is everybody’s devotion to some cause, this old man and his attitude and his achievement, and yet he falls short. But in a way, that touches the course of everyone’s life. That’s really what goes out on the stage.”

Tim: “It had been 11 years since Hemingway wrote ‘For Whom the Bell Tolls’and he had a lot to prove at this time in his career as well.”

A.E.: “He had previously, not very long before, written a novel called ‘Across the River and into the Trees.’ And for the first time in his long writing life, that book had been roundly assaulted by the critics, the sharks. So now, he has to organize himself to write a rebuttal. And ‘The Old Man and the Sea’ is Hemingway, the old man, getting back at the elements that have attacked his virtuosity.”

Ernest Hemingway's close friend and biographer A.E. Hotchner, left, and his son Tim Hotchner, a documentary filmmaker and writer, chat during an interview with The Associated Press, Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2019, at the family's home in Westport, Conn. (Kathy Willens/AP)
Ernest Hemingway’s close friend and biographer A.E. Hotchner, left, and his son Tim Hotchner, a documentary filmmaker and writer, chat during an interview with The Associated Press, Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2019, at the family’s home in Westport, Conn. (Kathy Willens/AP)

On Hemingway’s personality

A.E.: “Well Hemingway and I had many adventures together — bullfighting, fishing. But he was not the braggadocio, knock-down-the-opposition man, that has sort of endured over the years. He was really much more introspective, much quieter. He was belligerent and he was tough … but that was not the overriding menace of his personality.”

On capturing the essence of Hemingway onstage

Tim: “So once we started to kind of play with reimagining it and that dichotomy, we kind of started to think Hemingway could move around. He can be a part of not just the narration, but a part of the exploration to actually bring out what I think Mr. Hemingway was getting at with a lot of the character traits, especially of Santiago. He’s a moving, living, breathing character. And again, this is I think Hemingway’s most sensitive piece in terms of nature and our relationship to the environment and the sun and the moon and stars and all these things that these days, we seem to want to kind of conquer. And Hemingway was saying, ‘Let’s just sit back and behold some of these.’ “

On what Hemingway would think of their stage adaptation

A.E.: “It’s very hard to know. I think that he would applaud the fact that we didn’t put the book on a pedestal and just replicate it. … It did bother me for a lot of years, that tossing around in my mind. I couldn’t find a way to get it away from its literary self and into its dramatic self.”

Tim: “And to just see my old man, kind of in his perseverance and his kind of going back after the marlin repeatedly, I mean he’s always said that’s what’s gotten him to 101. That we can be destroyed, but we can’t be defeated, I guess.”


Karyn Miller-Medzon produced this interview and edited it for broadcast with Todd Mundt. Serena McMahon adapted it for the web.

This segment aired on January 31, 2019.

Hemingway on Hong Kong

Good morning, Hemingway Readers: I’ve edited the below to focus on Hemingway but it is interesting all around! By Paul French, a true crime writer. I added a few photos.Thanks for reading Hemingway. Best, Christine

What authors from Kipling to Hemingway and Auden made of Hong Kong, good and bad

  • Somerset Maugham, Noel Coward, Auden, Ian Fleming – ‘Asia’s world city’ attracted some of the globe’s most celebrated writers
  • Author Paul French recalls how they praised, and condemned, Hong Kong

BY PAUL FRENCH

Visiting writers have had a mixed response to Hong Kong over the years.

Rudyard Kipling may have gone on to be dubbed the “Bard of the British Empire”, but he had nothing good to say about Hong Kong, which he visited in 1889, only to be outraged by the presence of white prostitutes (he’d never had any problems with Indian ones in the brothels of Lahore.

Image result for The Painted Veil
The Painted Veil

Somerset Maugham was famously “welcome only once” wherever he went. This was due to his rather scurrilous short stories that resulted from his travels, and which enraged expats in the likes of Malaya and Singapore. In 1925, Maugham’s novel The Painted Veil was published. It was set partly in Hong Kong, which he had visited. The story of the lovely but shallow Kitty Fane, adulterous wife of Walter, a bacteriologist stationed in China, and of her husband’s revenge, outraged Hong Kong

The 2006 movie of the novel (the third film adaptation) , starring Edward Norton and Naomi Watts, also shied away from the British colony and set the adulterous affair in Shanghai. With cinema audiences, at least, Shanghai’s reputation as sin city has frequently overwhelmed that of Hong Kong, though – in keeping with tradition – after The Painted Veil, Maugham was no longer welcome in the territory.

American playwright Eugene O’Neill sought to escape the hassles of success and a failed marriage, and travel to Shanghai in 1928.  When his liner finally reached Victoria Harbour, O’Neill opted to stay aboard, deciding that Hong Kong was “too damp” for him. Once in , he had a nervous breakdown.Image result for eugene o'neill

In 1938, W.H. Auden and Christopher Isherwood came to Hong Kong, en route for China, to cover the war with Japan. The trip led to their book Journey to a War (1939). They described it as a city of dinner parties, dinner jackets and taxis home.

War brought smart and savvy American war correspondent Martha Gellhorn to town in 1941. It was her first trip to the East and – despite her reason for coming – she had visions of a Maugham-type colonial lifestyle in the Orient. Gellhorn liked Hong Kong, but she was keen to get up into China and see the war. However, she was having a hard time shifting her “UC”.

Martha Gellhorn and Ernest Hemingway with unidentified Chinese military officers in Chungking, in 1941. Picture: JFK Presidential Library

The “Unwilling Companion” in question was her new husband and supposed war correspondent colleague Ernest Hemingway. Reporting their marriage, some wag at the South China Morning Post came up with the (rather good) headline, “For Whom the Belle Falls”.

Gellhorn was independent and tough. She had been a foreign correspondent in Paris with United Press in the early 1930s, then worked for the Federal Emergency Relief Administration during the Great Depression, as part of President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal. Her work with photographer Dorothea Lange, documenting America’s poorest communities, resulted in one of the great books of the Depression, The Trouble I’ve Seen (1936).

In love and war: a Hong Kong honeymoon for Ernest Hemingway and Martha Gellhorn

Gellhorn had met Hemingway and then gone to cover the Spanish civil war and Nazi Germany. Now she wanted to see the war in China. However, the Post was only interested in Hemingway, whose arrival they eagerly anticipated. Gellhorn was dismissed in a passing mention as “a bottle blonde” – she certainly was not.

UC Hemingway had immediately taken to Hong Kong. He was happy to find a ready circle of hangers-on to praise him and pour his drinks at the bar of the Hongkong Hotel (which was on Pedder Street, in Central). Former Shanghailander and New Yorker correspondent Emily Hahn claimed Hemingway introduced the concept of the Bloody Mary to Hong Kong.

Hemingway (second from right) uses chopsticks in Hong Kong as a guest of British army officers.

The problem, however, was that the bar of the Hongkong Hotel was not where the story was. Gellhorn famously said, “Where I want to be, boy, is where it is all blowing up.” And that was not Hong Kong – not quite yet. But Hemingway would not be moved from the bar and so, in March 1941, Gellhorn flew to Chungking (today Chongqing), at night, freezing cold and at high altitude to avoid Japanese fighter planes.

Hemingway opted to stay in the British colony, enjoying his circle of admirers, annoying the management of the Hongkong Hotel by letting off firecrackers in his room and pushing all the furniture out into the corridor so he could teach his new gang of acolytes and drinking buddies to box. Hemingway then headed into the New Territories to hunt for pheasant in the company of Morris “Two-Gun” Cohen, who had been Sun Yat-sen’s cockney bodyguard, and who was in semi-retirement in Kennedy Town. Eventually, Hemingway had to go to China proper too – but he hated it and was glad to eventually get back to the United States, describing his entire Hong Kong-China trip as an “unshakeable hangover”.

James Bond author Ian Fleming.

More positively, in 1962, writer Ian Fleming arrived in Hong Kong on a BOAC jet and started enjoying life on The Sunday Times tab. The James Bond author thought Hong Kong the “most vivid and exciting city I have ever seen” and spent plenty of time enjoying Shek O and Big Wave Bay. In his Sunday Times column, later collated as the travelogue Thrilling Cities (1963), Fleming listed the best three things about Hong Kong as: 1) food; 2) suits tailored perfectly in 48 hours; and 3) cheap cigarettes at 1s 3d for twenty.

Paul French, author of true-crime bestseller Midnight in Peking (2011), is in Hong Kong for the Hong Kong International Literary Festival

12 Quotes: 9-12

#9

It wasn’t by accident that the Gettysburg address was so short. The laws of prose writing are as immutable as those of flight, of mathematics, of physics.”

#10

“We are all bitched from the start and you especially have to be hurt like hell before you can write seriously. But when you get the damned hurt use it—don’t cheat with it. Be as faithful to it as a scientist.”

 #11

“But sometimes when I was starting a new story and I could not get it going, I would sit in front of the fire and squeeze the peel of the little oranges into the edge of the flame and watch the sputter of blue that they made. I would stand and look out over the roofs of Paris and think, ‘Do not worry. You have always written before and you will write now. All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.'”

 #12

“Writing, at its best, is a lonely life. Organizations for writers palliate the writer’s loneliness but I doubt if they improve his writing. He grows in public stature as he sheds his loneliness and often his work deteriorates. For he does his work alone and if he is a good enough writer he must face eternity, or the lack of it, each day. For a true writer each book should be a new beginning where he tries again for something that is beyond attainment. He should always try for something that has never been done or that others have tried and failed. Then sometimes, with great luck, he will succeed.”