When good Americans die, wrote Oscar Wilde, they all go to Paris. Of course, Americans can be impatient people, and quite a few, hoping to beat the queues, don’t wait for death. Many good American writers, plus quite a few British and Irish writers, have made their way to Paris with the idea that in the City of Light they will be able to find their literary voice in a way that would not be possible in Des Moines or Darlington or Dublin. Or at least get a seat on the terrasse of Café de Flore.
A hundred years ago, Ernest Hemingway, arguably the most famous of the American literary expatriates, first climbed the stairs with his wife Hadley, past the shared toilets on each landing, to their cramped fourth floor flat in 74 Rue du Cardinal Lemoine. The apartment, Hemingway wrote to a friend back home in Chicago, “would not be uncomfortable to anyone used to a Michigan outhouse”. Hemingway was only 22, and hadn’t yet written anything of note. The couple were sustained by Hadley’s small trust fund and by news stories that Hemingway filed to the Toronto Star.
If you were asked to picture life as an expatriate in Paris, your mind is likely to drift to one of two images, at once similar and radically different. The first is literary squalor — the starving artist — as depicted in books such as George Orwell’s Down and Out in Paris and London and Henry Miller’s Tropic of Cancer. The second is the cafe society associated with figures like F. Scott Fitzgerald.
Straddling both categories is the quintessential Parisian literary expatriate, Ernest Hemingway. In A Moveable Feast, Hemingway writes of walking around Paris with an empty stomach and a head full of ideas, resembling the nameless narrator of the 1890 novel Hunger by Knut Hamsun, whom Hemingway says “taught me to write.”
Before becoming the starving flaneur, Hemingway was the Paris correspondent for the TorontoStar newspaper, a position to which he was appointed at the ripe old age of 22. Hemingway’s articles of this period — written in the Star’s lean, declarative style, which would come to characterize the American’s fiction — are highly revealing of life in Paris a century ago.
In an article titled “A Canadian with $1,000 a Year Can Live Very Comfortably and Enjoyably in Paris,” Hemingway discusses the amount of money required to live well in the City of Light.
Privately owned for decades, the materials include a short story featuring F. Scott Fitzgerald, personal effects and rough drafts
By Molly Enking, Daily Correspondent, September 26, 2022 3:13 p.m.
A veritable treasure trove of papers, artifacts and photos linked to Ernest Hemingway is now accessible to scholars and the public for the first time. As the New York Times’ Robert K. Elder reports, the archive—part of the new Toby and Betty Bruce Collection at Penn State University Libraries—represents “the most significant cache of Hemingway materials uncovered in 60 years.”
Objects featured in the trove include Hemingway’s earliest known short story (written at age 10), hundreds of photographs, four unpublished short stories, manuscript ideas, letters, clothing and personal effects. The writer was a notorious “pack rat,” saving “everything from bullfighting tickets and bar bills to a list of rejected story titles written on a piece of cardboard,” says Sandra Spanier, a literary scholar at Penn State, in a statement.
Hemingway left the materials in storage at one of his favorite bars, Sloppy Joe’s in Key West, Florida, in 1939. They remained there until his death by suicide in 1961.
After sitting for decades in a storage room in Sloppy Joe’s Bar in Key West, Florida, Ernest Hemingway’s favorite bar, a treasure trove of materials belonging to the author could change the way we think about him.
From fishing logs and his American Red Cross Uniform, to drafts and galleys of his book “Death in the Afternoon,” the collection is full of artifacts that should make any Hemingway fan excited. Robert K. Elder in The New York Times even called it the “the most significant cache of Hemingway materials uncovered in 60 years.”
Ernest Hemingway was affectionately called “Papa,” but what kind of dad was he?
In my role as Associate Editor of the Hemingway Letters Project, I spend my time investigating the approximately 6,000 letters sent by Hemingway, 85% of which are now being published for the first time in a multivolume series. The latest volume – the fifth – spans his letters from January 1932 through May 1934 and gives us an intimate look into Hemingway’s daily life, not only as a writer and a sportsman, but also as a father.
The latest volume – the fifth – spans his letters from January 1932 through May 1934 and gives us an intimate look into Hemingway’s daily life, not only as a writer and a sportsman, but also as a father.
During this period, Hemingway explored the emotional depths of fatherhood in his fiction. But his letters show that parenting could be a distraction from what mattered most to him: his writing.