Friday Reads: Hemingway

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“Live the full life of the mind, exhilarated by new ideas, intoxicated by the Romance of the unusual.” – Ernest Hemingway

Are you among the fans who are watching Hemingway, a three-part, six-hour documentary film by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick on PBS? It examines the fascinating life of Ernest Hemingway, one of the most influential writers America has ever produced. Penguin Random House publishes some wonderful books, both by and about Hemingway, to enhance the experience:


In Our Time by Ernest HemingwayIN OUR TIME by Ernest Hemingway

Ernest Hemingway, winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1954, did more to change the style of fiction in English than any other writer of his time with his economical prose and terse, declarative sentences that conceal more than they reveal. In Our Time, published in 1925, was the story collection that first drew the world’s attention to Hemingway.


Ernest Hemingway: The Sun Also Rises & Other Writings 1918-1926 (LOA #334) by Ernest HemingwayERNEST HEMINGWAY: THE SUN ALSO RISES & OTHER WRITINGS 1918-1926 (LOA #334) by Ernest Hemingway; Edited by Robert W. Trogdon

Library of America launches its long-awaited Hemingway edition of writings from his breakthrough years.

With a letter of introduction from Sherwood Anderson, Ernest Hemingway and his first wife, Hadley, travelled to Paris in 1921. There, the young Hemingway came into contact with Gertrude Stein, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Pablo Picasso, James Joyce, and other expatriate writers and artists integral to his rapid development as a writer. This landmark volume of newly edited, authoritative texts by Hemingway scholar Robert W. Trogdon includes Hemingway’s work for the Toronto Star and Hearst’s International News Service, the indelible stories of In Our Time (1925), The Torrents of Spring (1925), and his masterpiece, The Sun Also Rises (1926). Also here are a selection of Hemingway’s letters from the period, which cast light on his extraordinary emergence as an artist and the international modernist moment of which he was a crucial part.


Ernest Hemingway by Mary DearbornERNEST HEMINGWAY: A BIOGRAPHY by Mary Dearborn

Considered in his time the greatest living American writer, Ernest Hemingway was a winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the Nobel Prize whose personal demons undid him in the end. Mary V. Dearborn’s revelatory investigation of his life and work—the first to draw on a wide array of never-before-used material—substantially deepens our understanding of the artist and the man.


Hemingway's Boat by Paul HendricksonHEMINGWAY’S BOAT: EVERYTHING HE LOVED IN LIFE, AND LOST by Paul Hendrickson

Focusing on the years 1934 to 1961—from Hemingway’s pinnacle as the reigning monarch of American letters until his suicide—Paul Hendrickson traces the writer’s exultations and despair around the one constant in his life during this time: his beloved boat, Pilar. Drawing on previously unpublished material, including interviews with Hemingway’s sons, Hendrickson shows that for all the writer’s boorishness, depression and alcoholism, and despite his choleric anger, he was capable of remarkable generosity—to struggling writers, to lost souls, to the dying son of a friend.



Hemingway was not only known for his understated style, but for his public image as America’s greatest author and journalist—and for the grand, expansive, adventurous way he lived his life. The prickly wit and fierce dedication to his craft that defined Hemingway’s life and work shine through in this unprecedented collection of interviews


To Have and Have Another Revised Edition by Philip GreeneTO HAVE AND HAVE ANOTHER: A HEMINGWAY COCKTAIL COMPANION by Philip Greene

A bartender’s manual for Hemingway enthusiasts, this revised and expanded volume offers a unique take on Hemingway’s oeuvre that privileges the tastes, smells, and colors of the cocktails he enjoyed and the drinks he placed so prominently in his stories they were nearly characters themselves. To Have and Have Another delivers fascinating and lively background on the various drinks, their ingredients, their histories, and the characters—real and fictional—associated with them.


Running with the Bulls by Valerie HemingwayRUNNING WITH THE BULLS: MY YEARS WITH THE HEMINGWAYS by Valerie Hemingway

A chance encounter in Spain in 1959 brought young Irish reporter Valerie Danby-Smith face to face with Ernest Hemingway. The interview was awkward and brief, but before it ended something had clicked into place. For the next two years, Valerie devoted her life to Hemingway and his wife, Mary, traveling with them through beloved old haunts in Spain and France and living with them during the tumultuous final months in Cuba. Five years after Ernest Hemingway’s death, Valerie became a Hemingway herself when she married the writer’s estranged son Gregory. Now, at last, she tells the story of the incredible years she spent with this extravagantly talented and tragically doomed family.

From lunches with Orson Welles to midnight serenades by mysterious troubadours, from a rooftop encounter with Castro to numbing hospital vigils, Valerie Hemingway’s memoir tells of her intimate, indispensable role in the lives of two generations of Hemingways.



Ernest Hemingway first landed in Cuba in 1928. In some ways he never left. After a decade of visiting regularly, he settled near Cojímar—a tiny fishing village east of Havana—and came to think of himself as Cuban. His daily life among the common people there taught him surprising lessons, and inspired the novel The Old Man and the Sea. In a rare gesture of humility, Hemingway announced to the press that he accepted the coveted Nobel “as a citizen of Cojímar.” With a focus on the island’s violent political upheavals and tensions that pulled Hemingway between his birthplace and his adopted country, Feldman offers a new angle on our most influential literary figure. Far from being a post-success, pre-suicide exile, Hemingway’s decades in Cuba were the richest and most dramatic of his life, and a surprising instance in which the famous American bully sought redemption through his loyalty to the underdog.



When American authors John Dos Passos and Ernest Hemingway went to Spain in 1937 to witness the Spanish Civil War firsthand, the devastation they encountered was far from impersonal: They had arrived in Spain as comrades, leftist writers–in–arms, but a real–life literary mystery unfolded when Dos Passos’ friend José Robles—a Spanish–born Johns Hopkins professor—disappeared. Written from a novelist’s eye for detail, The Breaking Point is the story of two lives at the intersection of friendship and murder, of love and death, and of literature and history.


The Paris Wife by Paula McLainTHE PARIS WIFE: A NOVEL by Paula McLain

This stunningly evocative, historically rich story is told through the strong narrative voice of Ernest Hemingway’s first wife, Hadley. Hemingway wrote of his first wife, Hadley, “I wish I had died before I loved anyone but her.” Set on the thrumming, seductive streets of the Paris that the Lost Generation knew, vibrant with the voices of characters such as F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound, and Gerald and Sara Murphy, this is Hadley’s gripping, emotionally wrenching story of love and betrayal.


Autumn in Venice by Andrea Di RobilantAUTUMN IN VENICE by Andrea Di Robilant

In the fall of 1948, Ernest Hemingway and his fourth wife traveled for the first time to Venice, which Hemingway called “absolutely god-damned wonderful.” A year shy of his fiftieth birthday, Hemingway hadn’t published a novel in nearly a decade when he met and fell in love with Adriana Ivancich, a striking Venetian girl just out of finishing school. Hemingway used Adriana as the model for Renata in Across the River and into the Trees, and continued to visit Venice to see her; when the Ivanciches traveled to Cuba, Adriana was there as he wrote The Old Man and the Sea. This illuminating story of writer and muse—which also examines the cost to a young woman of her association with a larger-than-life literary celebrity—is an intimate look at the fractured heart and changing art of Hemingway in his final years.


For more on these and related titles visit Hemingway


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Posted: April 16, 2021