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Hemingway Hunt

Frank Kermode

17 April 1986
Along with Youth: Hemingway, the Early Years 
by Peter Griffin.
Oxford, 258 pp., £12.95, March 1986, 0 19 503680 8
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The Young Hemingway 
by Michael Reynolds.
Blackwell, 291 pp., £14.95, February 1986, 0 631 14786 1
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HemingwayA Biography 
by Jeffrey Meyers.
Macmillan, 646 pp., £16.95, March 1986, 0 333 42126 4
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... performer than Messrs Vidal and Mailer, but he was also able to hold a self in reserve. For Hemingway it was all much more difficult. His private life was extraordinary to begin with, and he enlarged its extraordinariness for the benefit of all. The image of it was projected onto the mist of the media like a Brocken spectre, a ghost upon which the ...


Wendy Lesser: Surfing the OED on CD-ROM

3 October 1996
... OED readily acknowledges that the really new words often come from poets and novelists. In 1952, Ernest Hemingway was the first to weigh in with rubberiness, Mary McCarthy provided apolitical, Norman Mailer came up with porno (natch), Stanley Kauffmann – a novelist as well as a film critic – originated both gabbiness and vomitous, and John Betjeman ...

Vampire to Victim

Nina Auerbach: The Cult of Zelda

19 June 2003
Zelda Fitzgerald: Her Voice in Paradise 
by Sally Cline.
Murray, 492 pp., £25, September 2003, 0 7195 5466 7
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... family from which Scott had been her escape. Zelda lived to please, but nobody much liked her. Ernest Hemingway, who detested women writers, saw her as an insane harpy who destroyed Scott’s work. Though Cline insists, often on flimsy evidence, that Zelda was an authentic artist, she is fair-minded enough to surround her with women who really did ...
1 May 1980
Bernard Berenson: The Making of a Connoisseur 
by Ernest Samuels.
Harvard, 477 pp., £9.50, June 1979, 0 674 06775 4
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Being Bernard Berenson 
by Meryle Secrest.
Weidenfeld, 473 pp., £8.50, January 1980, 0 297 77564 2
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... Bouvier Kennedy (whose presence was, BB felt, ‘life-enhancing’), and, most improbable of all, Ernest Hemingway. Meryle Secrest discloses that Hemingway was desperate in his suit for Berenson’s favours, and would have prostrated himself for a petal from the Great Man’s boutonnière. He clambered out of plane ...
24 April 1997
The Bicycle 
by Pryor Dodge.
Flammarion, 224 pp., £35, May 1996, 2 08 013551 1
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... were mounted by bookmakers and publicans, who might otherwise have been organising ratting pits. Ernest Hemingway, it seems, became so excited by the six-day bicycle races in post-1918 Paris that he could not bring himself to read the proofs of A Farewell to Arms. The Tour de France went from one excess to another. It is puzzling to read that the ...

Going Wrong

Michael Wood

7 March 1996
directed by Martin Scorsese.
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directed by Michael Mann.
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directed by David Fincher.
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... and what is the world coming to. It closes with Morgan Freeman’s voice over a blank screen: ‘Ernest Hemingway said the world is a fine place, and worth fighting for.’ Pause. Freeman adds: ‘I agree with the second part.’ Seven is a film which talks a lot about sermons, and is one. Its freight of meaning makes Casino’s aimlessness look pretty ...


Jenny Diski: On Palm Island

22 April 1993
... is discontent in paradise. Papa Caldwell, who bought Palm Island for a dollar (for all I know from Ernest Hemingway) is a Jack London-reading Texan who believes in only eating when hungry and not having second helpings. Mary is the wife he collected at the end of the war from Australia, after building a boat to collect her in, and go in search of ...
24 February 1994
Unhappy Valley 
by Bruce Berman and John Lonsdale.
James Currey, 224 pp., £45, April 1993, 0 85255 022 7
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Mau Mau and Kenya: An Analysis of a Peasant Revolt 
by Wunyabari Maloba.
Indiana, 228 pp., £32.50, January 1994, 0 253 33664 3
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... at handling guns, women and a constant flow of champagne’. This society produced, through Ernest Hemingway, one of the classic books about ‘us’ in Africa, and generally gave white-settler claims to Olympian power a suitably upper-class tone. Next there was the arresting spectacle of a peasant army of rebels, who fought for years against ...

Who’s Got the Moxie?

A. Craig Copetas

23 March 1995
The Mexican Tree Duck 
by James Crumley.
Picador, 247 pp., £15.99, May 1994, 0 330 32451 9
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One to Count Cadence 
by James Crumley.
Picador, 338 pp., £5.99, May 1994, 0 330 32450 0
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... the first disowned American hero to find this out, on the rolling slopes of the Little Big Horn. Ernest Hemingway abandoned Africa to scatter his fame across Idaho with a shotgun. Richard Brautigan fled Haight-Ashbury for the solitude of Montana to write Trout Fishing in America and other then classics now discarded. Few make the arduous journey to ...

Several Doses of Wendy

Robert Baird: David Means

10 August 2016
by David Means.
Faber, 352 pp., £16.99, May 2016, 978 0 571 33011 9
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... In this respect, the novel lives in the long shadow of Pat Barker, Tim O’Brien and especially Ernest Hemingway, who is credited by Singleton with capturing ‘a new way of thinking and speaking that came from what was left out, from the things war had demolished and pushed away for ever’. The result of all this compression is a novel whose pressure ...

Her Guns

Jeremy Harding

8 March 1990
The View from the Ground 
by Martha Gellhorn.
Granta, 459 pp., £14.95, September 1989, 0 14 014200 2
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Towards Asmara 
by Thomas Keneally.
Hodder, 320 pp., £12.95, September 1989, 0 340 41517 7
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... from Graham Greene and H.G. Wells. For years, her literary standing was compromised by her ties to Ernest Hemingway in the Thirties and Forties. This has long since ceased to be the case. The Face of War, her collected war reporting, is one of the most readable accounts of conflict in the 20th century, unspoiled by convictions which would have been ...

I adore your moustache

James Wolcott: Styron’s Letters

24 January 2013
Selected Letters of William Styron 
edited by Rose Styron and R. Blakeslee Gilpin.
Random House, 643 pp., £24.99, December 2012, 978 1 4000 6806 7
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... whose ghostly father and bearded Neptune disturbing the liquor cabinet deep into the night was Ernest Hemingway. Even those least influenced by Hemingway’s style couldn’t fail to register the impact of his hold on America’s consciousness: he established the co-ordinates of celebrity and masculinity that turned ...
27 May 1993
E.E. Cummings: Complete Poems 1904-1962 
edited by George Firmage.
Liveright, 1102 pp., £33, January 1993, 0 87140 145 2
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... has been, over the decades since, a writers’ book, praised by T.E. Lawrence, Robert Graves, Ernest Hemingway and many other notables, but always selling modestly. Hemingway describes it in his letters as ‘the classic example of the really fine book that could not sell’, and suggests that its problem was ‘a ...

Apoplectic Gristle

David Trotter: Wyndham Lewis

25 January 2001
Some Sort of Genius: A Life of Wyndham Lewis 
by Paul O'Keeffe.
Cape, 697 pp., £25, October 2001, 0 224 03102 3
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Wyndham Lewis: Painter and Writer 
by Paul Edwards.
Yale, 583 pp., £40, August 2000, 0 300 08209 6
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... The day he first met Wyndham Lewis, shortly after the end of the First World War, Ernest Hemingway was teaching Ezra Pound how to box. The encounter took place in Paris, where Pound had a studio, and Lewis, impassive beneath his trademark wide black hat, seemed content to watch in silence. ‘Ezra had not been boxing very long and I was embarrassed at having him work in front of anyone he knew, and I tried to make him look as good as possible,’ Hemingway wrote ...

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