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Mganga with the Lion

Kenneth Silverman: Hemingway

2 September 1999
HemingwayThe Thirties 
by Michael Reynolds.
Norton, 360 pp., £9.95, October 1998, 0 393 31778 1
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HemingwayThe Final Years 
by Michael Reynolds.
Norton, 416 pp., £19.95, July 1999, 0 393 04748 2
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True at First Light 
by Ernest Hemingway.
Heinemann, 319 pp., £16.99, July 1999, 9780434008322
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... Michael Reynolds is the marrying kind of biographer: president of the Hemingway Society, he has published a 140-page annotated chronology of Hemingway’s life, a 2300-item inventory of Hemingway’s reading, and a monograph-length study of the creation of A Farewell to Arms, as well as three serial volumes of biography: The Young Hemingway (1986); Hemingway: The Paris Years (1989); and ...

Short Cuts

Andrew O’Hagan: Hemingway​ the Spy

16 February 2017
... so attractive to us from an intelligence point of view that we might consider returning them, with their consent, to the countries they came from.’Very nice: ‘with their consent’. And so to ErnestHemingway, whose adventures recorded by the military historian Nicholas Reynolds may not admit such subtlety. Reynolds is a former curator of the CIA Museum in Washington. Reasonably, the museum is a ...


Sanjay Subrahmanyam: Gabriel García Márquez

27 August 2009
Gabriel García Márquez: A Life 
by Gerald Martin.
Bloomsbury, 668 pp., £25, October 2008, 978 0 7475 9476 5
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... When Luis Miguel Dominguín, the celebrated torero, died at the age of 69 in May 1996, the obituaries were many and generous. They recalled his curious relationship with ErnestHemingway, his love affairs with the likes of Ava Gardner, and that he was the father of the famous singer Miguel Bosé. They made much of his close friendship with Picasso, and Le Monde quoted from his brief ...

Just William

Doris Grumbach

25 June 1987
Willa Cather: The Emerging Voice 
by Sharon O’Brien.
Oxford, 544 pp., £22.50, March 1987, 0 19 504132 1
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... Ours,* her Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, was a complete failure and that My Antonia ended on the level of a Ladies Home Journal serial. Lionel Trilling called The Professor’s House ‘lame’ and ErnestHemingway thought Cather had found the war experiences described in One of Ours in D.W. Griffith’s film Birth of a Nation. After her literary success, Willa Cather led a secure, lofty, comfortable ...


Bruce Bawer

2 May 1985
Invented Lives: F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald 
by James Mellow.
Souvenir, 569 pp., £15.95, February 1985, 0 285 65001 7
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Home before Dark: A Personal Memoir of John Cheever 
by Susan Cheever.
Weidenfeld, 243 pp., £10.95, January 1985, 0 297 78376 9
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... Evening Post which set the tone of the ‘Jazz Age’ while paying the Fitzgeralds’ bills for a decade; the friendships with Edmund Wilson, Ring Lardner, Gerald and Sara Murphy, and above all with Hemingway; the insanity that crippled Zelda during the Thirties, and the alcoholism that devastated Scott; the prolonged composition and demoralising failure of Tender is the night; Zelda’s ...


Janet Todd

21 December 1989
Willa Cather: A Life Saved Up 
by Hermione Lee.
Virago, 409 pp., £12.99, October 1989, 0 86068 661 2
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... Catherised’ was how ErnestHemingway described the portrayal of the Great War in One of Ours by Willa Cather. Despite lifting scenes from the movie Birth of a Nation, it made Cather rich and won her the Pulitzer Prize. H.L. Mencken was ...

From Papa in Heaven

Russell Davies

3 September 1981
Ernest HemingwaySelected Letters 1917-1961 
edited by Carlos Baker.
Granada, 948 pp., £15, April 1981, 0 246 11576 9
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... Baker did not know but there was a letter I wrote to Sara Murphy that gives the dope: ‘Mr Stevens ... was just issuing from the door haveing just said, I learned later, “By God I wish I had that Hemingway here now I’d knock him out with a single punch.” So who should show up but poor old Papa and Mr Stevens swung that same fabled punch but fertunately missed and I knocked all of him down several ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: The Killers', Criterion Collection

23 September 2015
... ways? The writer is not giving us any more on the subject, and indeed prided himself on his parsimony. ‘That story probably had more left out of it than anything I ever wrote.’ The writer was ErnestHemingway; the story is ‘The Killers’. For us, the readers, the joke has all kinds of other meanings. One fictional character tells another he should consume more fiction, although in another ...

Spying on Writers

Christian Lorentzen

11 October 2018
... saying he was an ‘objectivist’, and asked to meet him. He brushed her off – it turned out that he’d meant to say he was ‘objective’ (as if). The biggest file on display belongs to ErnestHemingway, who worked for the FBI in Cuba over the winter of 1942-43. It was a marriage arranged by the US ambassador, Spruille Braden, and not a happy one. In exchange for uncovering Falangists and Germans ...

Issues for His Prose Style

Andrew O’Hagan: Hemingway

7 June 2012
The Letters of Ernest HemingwayVol. I, 1907-22 
edited by Sandra Spanier and Robert Trogdon.
Cambridge, 431 pp., £30, October 2011, 978 0 521 89733 4
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... hunting for nouns. They want the odd verb too, but the main thing is the nouns, especially the proper ones, the who, what and where. The thing British schoolchildren call a ‘naming word’ was, for Hemingway, a chance to reveal what he knew, an opportunity to be experienced, to discriminate, and his style depends on engorged nouns, not absent adjectives. But at times it strikes you that the cult of ...

Short Cuts

John Lanchester: Who’s Afraid of the Library of America?

19 June 2008
... binding and printing. The Library has filled its mission admirably and most of America’s acknowledged great writers are represented. (The omissions smack of rows over royalties and copyright: no ErnestHemingway, no Emily Dickinson, no Marianne Moore.) Some have even argued that the brief has been stretched too far. Wilson’s canonisation came after those of Charles Brockden Brown, H.P. Lovecraft ...

Strange Fruit

Francis Spufford

5 February 1987
The Garden of Eden 
by Ernest Hemingway.
Hamish Hamilton, 247 pp., £9.95, February 1987, 0 241 11998 7
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... Who would have suspected Hemingway’s resources as a food writer? Not me, at any rate. The Garden of Eden is studded with provincial delicacies Elizabeth David would be proud of (‘jamon serrano, a smoky, hard-cured ham from pigs ...


Stephen Fender

23 June 1988
by Kenneth Lynn.
Simon and Schuster, 702 pp., £16, September 1987, 0 671 65482 9
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The Faces of HemingwayIntimate Portraits of Ernest Hemingway​ by those who knew him 
by Denis Brian.
Grafton, 356 pp., £14.95, May 1988, 0 246 13326 0
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... Even before he shot the top of his own head off, Americans had begun to wonder whether they had come to love Hemingway not wisely but too well. This suspicion had little to do with his stories and novels: it was the fiction that Hemingway and others had made of his life that held the attention – the text of the man ...
21 November 1985
The Dangerous Summer 
by Ernest Hemingway.
Hamish Hamilton, 150 pp., £9.95, June 1985, 0 241 11521 3
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... be impossible to extend these analogies into matters of political style. In such an unusual setting it is not surprising to discover that one of the greatest American books of the 20th century is Hemingway’s Death in the Afternoon, first published in 1932. Hemingway’s reputation is now somewhat in eclipse, although the effect of his stylistic innovations on other writers continues. Remembered for ...

A Bit of a Lush

Christopher Tayler: William Boyd

23 May 2002
Any Human Heart 
by William Boyd.
Hamish Hamilton, 504 pp., £17.99, April 2002, 9780241141779
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... and Henry Green are his contemporaries at Oxford; he takes tea with Ottoline Morrell and twits Virginia Woolf. Cyril Connolly and Evelyn Waugh are London acquaintances. Picasso sketches his portrait, Hemingway is a fellow war correspondent, and Paris brings a meeting with James Joyce. His wartime boss at Naval Intelligence is, of course, Ian Fleming, who sends him to keep an eye on the Duke and Duchess of ...

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