THE LETTERS OF ERNEST HEMINGWAY:
Volume 1, 1907-1922.
Edited by Sandra Spanier and Robert W. Trogdon.
Cambridge Univ. Press. 431 pp. $40
Fifty years after he ended his life, Ernest Hemingway (1899–1961) resides in the American consciousness mostly in caricature. The brilliant war journalist and writer of spare, evocative fiction has been overtaken by the macho, absinthe-swilling bohemian, the writer’s life having become more important than the writer’s writing.
There is, of course, something to these cartoonish portrayals. In The Letters of Ernest Hemingway: Volume 1, 1907–1922, the first of a slated dozen or so volumes of his complete, unexpurgated correspondence, the future Nobelist recounts, often in tedious detail, his love of fishing, his heroics on the Italian front, and his burgeoning friendships with expatriate American writers Ezra Pound and Gertrude Stein. Unlike previous collections of Hemingway’s letters, this one leaves nothing on the cutting room floor. (The volume begins with a note from an eight-year-old Hemingway to his father.)
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Michael C. Moynihan is managing editor of Vice magazine.more from this author >>