Thursday, April 8, 2010

Five Minutes with a Hemingway Fan

Love him or hate him, Ernest Hemingway's literary influence is indisputable. Here's an excerpt from Anders Osterling's presentation of the 1954 Nobel Prize for Literature:

Hemingway's significance as one of this epoch's great moulders of style is apparent in both American and European narrative art over the past twenty-five years, chiefly in the vivid dialogue and the verbal thrust and parry, in which he has set a standard as easy to imitate as it is difficult to attain. With masterly skill he reproduces all the nuances of the spoken word, as well as those pauses in which thought stands still and the nervous mechanism is thrown out of gear. It may sometimes sound like small talk, but it is not trivial when one gets to know his method. He prefers to leave the work of psychological reflection to his readers, and this freedom is of great benefit to him in spontaneous observation.

At some point in the past year I stumbled across The Hemingway Project, a blog devoted to the appreciation and study of Hemingway's life and work. This week, it was fun to read there an interview with Denise C., a Hemingway fan and literary sleuth who frequents Ennyman's Territory from time to time. Please take a few moments to read it. I asked for permission to probe a little further and Denise not only shared the following, but also a few images from her trip to Idaho, the setting where "Papa" Hemingway spent the last years of his life.

Ennyman: Writers so often vividly re-create places so that it's as if you were there. Hemingway so vividly painted the setting in For Whom the Bell Tolls that I wanted at one time to move to Spain. What three to five places would you most like to visit based on Hemingway's life and books?

DC: Cuba--

Right now I am Cuba-obsessed. I so want to go there some day. I have been following a blog for some time called Along the Malecón. This blog is written by a journalism professor at Flagler College in St. Augustine, Florida, named Tracey Eaton. He also happened to have been employed by the Dallas Morning News from 2000 to 2005 as bureau chief or their "man in Havana." He is also a very good photographer and I enjoy his people photos and photos of daily life in Cuba. He has even posted photos of the Finca Vigía (Hemingway's Cuban house) on his blog at my request. What a nice guy. On his blog are links to Cuban bloggers and other links that present various views on Cuba and the Cuban people. The most interesting right now for me is Generation Y, written by a very brave lady name Yoani Sanchez. We take so much for granted.

Key West--

Any beach locale would be a great place to visit. One of the engineers I work for went to Key West last year and took some wonderful photos of the house at Whitehead Street that I posted here.


I have been to Paris, Rome, and Oslo, but I have never been to New York or Chicago. I have always wanted to visit the Art Institute and see the city. I know someday I will fulfill this dream and see some of the sights in the Windy City.

E: What is the first Hemingway book that really connected with you on a personal level and why?

DC: A Moveable Feast was a book I had always heard about but I had really never given much thought. Even after visiting Paris I wasn't stirred to read it until I read about the Murphys and how Ernest dismissed them and others in the book and I wanted to see what he really said. One day I went to Barnes and Noble after work and just picked up the book and read it cover to cover in a few hours. I was taken with his stories of the people he met and hung out with and how he liked certain people at first and then disliked them later. I was glad I had been to Paris and knew the layout to a certain extent of the arrondisements Hemingway lived and worked in. I enjoyed reading about his family life and how he would take Bumby to Shakespeare and Company to give Hadley a break. The particular Barnes and Noble I is close to work and has a large number of regulars and it felt so Paris-like reading this book among them. One of the older gentlemen sitting near me was a recognizable Dallas political activist who was reading a book of teachings by Yogananda and serendipitously I had just finished taking a meditation class that followed Yogananda. Yogananda wrote Autobiography of a Yogi.

E: You've obviously delved into the real life of the man more than most people. What most intrigued you about his Paris years?

DC: Can you imagine being based in Paris and then being fortunate enough to spend time in places like Switzerland and Spain for fun, and other places like Germany and Turkey for work? All of this while making friends with some of the most talented people in the century, before any of them was famous?

E: Yes, Paris at that time must have been a very special place. Based on your readings of letters and other material, what was the role Gertrude Stein played in the lives of the artists and writers whom she touched?

DC: She seemed to have been very interesting and very helpful to many of the young Americans in Paris, giving them advice and holding salons in her apartment. They were exposed to a lot of the art she had collected with her brother through the years and she and Alice B. Toklas' place was a gathering spot where many writers and painters met each other and shared ideas. They probably shared information on living in Paris and/or overseas. Gertrude drew people together that might not have met each other anywhere else.

E: Thank you for these images from Idaho, the monument, the tombstone with wine and flask, and the setting. And for your time.

Recommended reading: Allie Baker's blogspot, The Hemingway Project.

For better viewing, click images to enlarge.


Allie Baker said...

This is wonderful! Denise you are such an interesting person and I loved the additional(and very interesting) questions. I agree with you, Cuba would be a wonderful place to explore - the music, the art, the faded grandeur of the buildings. The Idaho photos are beautiful. I will post a link for you both in the morning!


ENNYMAN said...

Thanks, Allie. Your Hemingway Project is rich... & Denise's interview there was great. Thanks for making it possible. Keep it going... (I like the surveys, btw)

Best to you

M Denise C said...

Thanks go to you two for wanting to hear my EH obsessions!

Allie Baker said...

Ed, are there any questions you would suggest for survey questions - things you'd like to hear opinions on? I am getting ready to post new ones!

I posted a link to you today


ENNYMAN said...

I always want to know what Hemingway book first connected with someone. Maybe the question could be, What was the first Hemingway book that made an impact on you?"
All your questions for Denise were good.

Maybe a question about his books that have been made into films. Which one is best or worst adaptation? I just saw Old Man and the Sea with Anthony Quinn as the old man. Quinn was actually good, but the director gave it a happy ending (more or less).

Maybe some yes/no questions? Or most memorable scenes in various books?

Thanks for the link...