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Ernest Hemingway Selected Letters 1917-1961 (Scribner Classics)

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The death of Ernest Hemingway in 1961 ended one of the most original & influential careers in American literature. His works have been translated into every major language. The Nobel Prize awarded to him in 1954 recognized his impact on contemporary writing. While many people are familiar with the public image of Hemingway & the legendary accounts of his life, few knew him The death of Ernest Hemingway in 1961 ended one of the most original & influential careers in American literature. His works have been translated into every major language. The Nobel Prize awarded to him in 1954 recognized his impact on contemporary writing. While many people are familiar with the public image of Hemingway & the legendary accounts of his life, few knew him as an intimate. With this collection of letters, presented for the 1st time as a Scribner Classic, a new Hemingway emerges. Ranging from 1917 to 1961, this generous selection of nearly 600 letters is, in effect, both a self-portrait & an autobiography. In his own words, Hemingway candidly reveals himself to a wide variety of people: family, friends, enemies, editors, translators & almost all the prominent writers of his day. In so doing he proves to be one of the most entertaining letter writers of all time. Carlos Baker has chosen letters that not only represent major turning points in Hemingway's career but also exhibit character, wit & the writer's typical enthusiasm for hunting, fishing, drinking & eating. A few are ingratiating, some downright truculent. Others present his views on writing & reading, criticize books by friend or foe, & discuss women, soldiers, politicians & prizefighters. Perhaps more than anything, these letters show his irrepressible humor, given far freer rein in his correspondence than in his books. An informal biography in letters, the product of 45 years living & writing, Ernest Hemingway: Selected Letters leaves an indelible impression of an extraordinary man. Ernest Hemingway was born in Oak Park, IL, in 1899. At 17 he left home to join the Kansas City Star as a reporter, then volunteered to serve in the Red Cross during WWI. He was severely wounded at the Italian front & was awarded the Croce di Guerra. He moved to Paris in 1921, where he devoted himself to writing fiction, & where he fell in with the expatriate circle that included Gertrude Stein, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ezra Pound & Ford Madox Ford. His novels include The Sun Also Rises (1926), A Farewell to Arms (1929), To Have & Have Not (1937), For Whom the Bell Tolls (1940) & The Old Man & the Sea (1952). He was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature in 1954. He died in Ketchum, Idaho, on 7/2/61.


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The death of Ernest Hemingway in 1961 ended one of the most original & influential careers in American literature. His works have been translated into every major language. The Nobel Prize awarded to him in 1954 recognized his impact on contemporary writing. While many people are familiar with the public image of Hemingway & the legendary accounts of his life, few knew him The death of Ernest Hemingway in 1961 ended one of the most original & influential careers in American literature. His works have been translated into every major language. The Nobel Prize awarded to him in 1954 recognized his impact on contemporary writing. While many people are familiar with the public image of Hemingway & the legendary accounts of his life, few knew him as an intimate. With this collection of letters, presented for the 1st time as a Scribner Classic, a new Hemingway emerges. Ranging from 1917 to 1961, this generous selection of nearly 600 letters is, in effect, both a self-portrait & an autobiography. In his own words, Hemingway candidly reveals himself to a wide variety of people: family, friends, enemies, editors, translators & almost all the prominent writers of his day. In so doing he proves to be one of the most entertaining letter writers of all time. Carlos Baker has chosen letters that not only represent major turning points in Hemingway's career but also exhibit character, wit & the writer's typical enthusiasm for hunting, fishing, drinking & eating. A few are ingratiating, some downright truculent. Others present his views on writing & reading, criticize books by friend or foe, & discuss women, soldiers, politicians & prizefighters. Perhaps more than anything, these letters show his irrepressible humor, given far freer rein in his correspondence than in his books. An informal biography in letters, the product of 45 years living & writing, Ernest Hemingway: Selected Letters leaves an indelible impression of an extraordinary man. Ernest Hemingway was born in Oak Park, IL, in 1899. At 17 he left home to join the Kansas City Star as a reporter, then volunteered to serve in the Red Cross during WWI. He was severely wounded at the Italian front & was awarded the Croce di Guerra. He moved to Paris in 1921, where he devoted himself to writing fiction, & where he fell in with the expatriate circle that included Gertrude Stein, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ezra Pound & Ford Madox Ford. His novels include The Sun Also Rises (1926), A Farewell to Arms (1929), To Have & Have Not (1937), For Whom the Bell Tolls (1940) & The Old Man & the Sea (1952). He was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature in 1954. He died in Ketchum, Idaho, on 7/2/61.

30 review for Ernest Hemingway Selected Letters 1917-1961 (Scribner Classics)

  1. 5 out of 5

    Edita

    […] there is nothing like Africa as there is nothing like youth and nothing like loving who you love or waking each day not knowing what the day will bring, but knowing that it will bring something. * But you know how you handle that of course? You last through until the next morning. * Don’t you be any more bitter than you have to be. Remember we all should have been quite dead before we were twenty and so we are as ancient and as little understood as people can be. We overstayed our welcome and […] there is nothing like Africa as there is nothing like youth and nothing like loving who you love or waking each day not knowing what the day will bring, but knowing that it will bring something. * But you know how you handle that of course? You last through until the next morning. * Don’t you be any more bitter than you have to be. Remember we all should have been quite dead before we were twenty and so we are as ancient and as little understood as people can be. We overstayed our welcome and you having brains and being a fighting man would always be suspect in your Army. I have never known a fighting man with a good brain to ever come to any good end.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Veli Çetin

    Probably because of the economic reason (increase the selling), its local name is "Istanbul, during the years of war" in Turkey.Not so good bir OK for me.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Christina

    It amazes me I even find time to read fiction when I can read the letters of those that came before and inspired us, left their mark with mere words, and vanished into deaths arms. Hemingway spent many years in the Keys and cuba writing some of his most infamous work. It is exciting to hear him describe his progress as well as his new ideas that transpired into greatness. Pg. 482 'started on another I'd had no intention of writing for a long time and worked steadily every day found that I had fif It amazes me I even find time to read fiction when I can read the letters of those that came before and inspired us, left their mark with mere words, and vanished into deaths arms. Hemingway spent many years in the Keys and cuba writing some of his most infamous work. It is exciting to hear him describe his progress as well as his new ideas that transpired into greatness. Pg. 482 'started on another I'd had no intention of writing for a long time and worked steadily every day found that I had fifteen thousand words done; that is was very exciting; and that it was a novel [For Whom the Bell Tolls]. so I am going to write on that until it's finished. I wish I could show it to you so far because I am very proud of it but that is bad luck too. So is talking about it. Anyway I have a wonderful place in Cuba with no telephone, nobody can possibly bother you, and I start work at 8:30 and work straight through until around two every day. I am going to keep on doing that until it is finished. I turned down a lot of Hollywood money and other money and I may have to draw on you to keep goIng.' *Ernest to max Perkins, key west -march 25 1939

  4. 4 out of 5

    Phil Greaney

    I've been reading this for a while, dipping in here and there. I've no current scholarly ambition as regards Hemingway, so I can flick through and read one when I take my fancy. They are mix of the crude, simplistic, mundane and domestic with the more profound, entirely as you might expect. But even the simple and domestic are interesting, if you know a little about Hemingway - letters to Max Perkins, his mother - why he doesn't go to church - and of course those that help explain his approach t I've been reading this for a while, dipping in here and there. I've no current scholarly ambition as regards Hemingway, so I can flick through and read one when I take my fancy. They are mix of the crude, simplistic, mundane and domestic with the more profound, entirely as you might expect. But even the simple and domestic are interesting, if you know a little about Hemingway - letters to Max Perkins, his mother - why he doesn't go to church - and of course those that help explain his approach to writing explicitly, and all of which reveal something of his approach to life and other people implicitly. His famous approach to writing - his pared-back 'style' - he writes to Owen Wister comes from the fact that: 'much of the plain speech is from being unable to do it any other way' because he finds writing 'as hard as hell'. His great innovations born from necessity, we wonder. I see that Cambridge have released the beginnings of several editions of the complete letters. I've got my eye on them. For the hardcore amongst us, I suspect. The six hundred letters here are more than a taster.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Unbridled

    1917-1961 is a lifetime, from the age of 18 to the very end, and it is an excellent, exuberant read. There is some redundancy, as there must be, given the form. He is loose with his spelling, syntax, and grammar; and he is, at turns, wise, gossipy, principled, witty, bitchy, generous, ruthless, sensitive, bawdy, demanding, and (of course) prideful - he's everything he's supposed to be and a lot of small things you do not expect. There is a lot to learn in the sliding cuts and glimpses into his m 1917-1961 is a lifetime, from the age of 18 to the very end, and it is an excellent, exuberant read. There is some redundancy, as there must be, given the form. He is loose with his spelling, syntax, and grammar; and he is, at turns, wise, gossipy, principled, witty, bitchy, generous, ruthless, sensitive, bawdy, demanding, and (of course) prideful - he's everything he's supposed to be and a lot of small things you do not expect. There is a lot to learn in the sliding cuts and glimpses into his motor, his sincerity and phoniness, his awareness and ignorance, as well as the pleasures of his gossiping. Beating the pulp out of my favorite (modern) poet, Wallace Stevens! Noting Joyce's worries about his (Joyce's) work being too 'suburban.' His menopause theory of Stein! The constant talk of hunting and fishing is less interesting; but as a fisherman in my youth, I understand the need to talk about it. He also displays an able intelligence about writing and his estimations (and devaluations) of his contemporaries (like Dos Passos, Joyce, Fitzgerald, Pound, Stein, Anderson, etc.) are acute and brutal…but fair. Here, for example, he taps Faulkner in a letter to Harvey Breit: "He is a good writer when he is good and could be better than anyone if he knew how to finish a book and didn't get that old heat prostration like Honest Sugar Ray at the end. I enjoy reading him when he is good but always feel like hell that he is not better. I wish him luck and he needs it because he has the one great and un-curable [sic:] defect; you can't re-read him. When you re-read him you are conscious all the time of how he fooled you the first time. In truly good writing no matter how many times you read it you do not know how it is done. That is because there is a mystery in all great writing and that mystery does not dis-sect out. It continues and it is always valid. Each time you re-read you learn something new. You do not just see the mechanics of how you were tricked in the first place. Bill had some of this at one time. But it is long gone. A real writer should be able to make this thing which we do not define with a simple declarative sentence." Hemingway wrote this passage in response to something Faulkner wrote to Harvey Breit (shortly after Faulkner received the Nobel): "Hemingway said that writers should stick together just as doctors and lawyers and wolves do. I think there is more wit in that than truth or necessity either, at least in Hemingway's case, since the sort of writers who need to band together willy nilly or perish, resemble the wolves who are wolves only in pack, and, singly, are just another dog." As you might suspect, Ernie did not let it go easily because he took up the topic again (only two days later) in another letter to Breit: "In the first place take the wolf part. Surely he has never seen a wolf in wild state or he would know that he is nothing like a dog. No one could ever mistake him for a dog and the wolf knows he [is:] not a dog and he does not have to be in a pack to give him dignity nor confidence. He is hunted by everyone. Everyone is against him and he is on his own as an artist is. My idea [is:] that wolves should not, and in a wild state never would, hunt each other. The part about doctor's and lawyers is that there is a secret professionel [sic:] and the good ones do help each other. Gypsies don't steal from other gypsies. They kill each other. But they do not prey on each other…" Finally, same letter, he gets cunning about Faulkner's writing (and drags along Fitzgerald as well): "Then if you need the longest sentence in the world to give a book distinction you might as well hire Bill Veek and have midgets. As a technician I would say that sentence was not a sentence. It was made of many, many sentences. But when he came to the end of a sentence he simply did not put in the period. It would have been much better if properly punctuated. As it was it was damned good but as always I felt the lack of discipline and of character and the boozy courage of corn whiskey. When I read Faulkner I can tell exactly when he gets tired and does it on corn just as I used to be able to tell when Scott would hit it beginning with Tender Is The Night. But that is one of the things I thought writers should not tell out-siders. It is not a question of log-rolling or speaking well of each other. It is a question of knowing what is wrong with a guy and still sticking with what is good in him and not letting the out-siders in on secrets proffesionel [sic:]." These passages are why I found the reading so entertaining - the style of the prose, the blunt truthfulness of the message, and the touch of bitchiness, a sampling of the Hemingway pride. You need to trudge through some muck to get there, but get there you do. I look upon Ernie differently too - human, all too human, to be sure, but he was a serious man swimming in deep currents with a commanding mind. I found myself studying the dates of his letters and counting down to the date of his death, which I wanted to forestall because I'd finally found myself thoroughly at ease with the juxtaposition of the Legend and the Human. I'd also found Ernie increasingly sympathetic and pitied his swift degradation from physical and mental illness. There is no 'surprise' to his suicide. From the start his letters regularly finger the surfaces of death and suicide. In the end, I should have known, a writer does not become an artist, much less a great artist, without an almost debilitating sensitivity and a deep seriousness about his/her art - and so it was with Hemingway. The letters have inspired me to read his biography and re-read his great books.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Julie Barrett

    Ernest Hemingway, selected letters, 1917-1961 So fascinating to hear the letters, who they are from and who he replies to and the subject matter. You can follow his reporter career during the war and all the exotic places visited. I received this book from National Library Service for my BARD (Braille Audio Reading Device).

  7. 5 out of 5

    Lisamarie

    Great book for napping!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Nick

    Some of the best Hemingway is his personal correspondence. Overlay these chronologically with his novels and short works, and you see the development of a kid from the midwest into the experiences that are reflected in his fiction. Hemingway experienced before he wrote. He was minimalist with a desire to generate 'the truth' from his experiences into a fictional mirror. What's missing, or glossed over, in this collection is the deterioration that occurred, in the 50s, that lead to his eventual s Some of the best Hemingway is his personal correspondence. Overlay these chronologically with his novels and short works, and you see the development of a kid from the midwest into the experiences that are reflected in his fiction. Hemingway experienced before he wrote. He was minimalist with a desire to generate 'the truth' from his experiences into a fictional mirror. What's missing, or glossed over, in this collection is the deterioration that occurred, in the 50s, that lead to his eventual suicide. Or, perhaps, it wasn't deterioration but his recognition of a truth, that the world of the wilderness that was core to him was gone. Imagine Hemingway not dieing in the early 60s, and, living to an extreme old age, witnessing the gentrification of Ketchum Idaho. Hemingway at a bar, at the very end of his life, seeing Demi Moore and Bruce Willis sit down next to him. Glad that never happened.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Alicia Bien

    These letters penned by Ernest Hemingway to friends, family and publishers prove what an articulate, opinionated and smart writer he was. When his mother berates him in a letter (which we do not have a copy of here) about the "filth" that is his just published novel THE SUN ALSO RISES, he writes back to her with reasons why he disagrees with her. He takes her down a peg while displaying a strong sense of self and confidence in his work. In the end he is still able to sign off to his mother with These letters penned by Ernest Hemingway to friends, family and publishers prove what an articulate, opinionated and smart writer he was. When his mother berates him in a letter (which we do not have a copy of here) about the "filth" that is his just published novel THE SUN ALSO RISES, he writes back to her with reasons why he disagrees with her. He takes her down a peg while displaying a strong sense of self and confidence in his work. In the end he is still able to sign off to his mother with "affection". Wow. Reading this letter alone is worth reading the book.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Scott Thompson

    This is what it says it is, a book of Hemingway letters. There are new letters that have been released in the last few years, but this book that was edited and compiled many years ago still stands up well. For the casual reader of Hemingway this won't be of much interest, but for the avid Hemingway fan this is a must own. Instead of reading this book in a short time I spent two years slowly reading each letter. I think that was a more enjoyable way to read the letters that were sent throughout H This is what it says it is, a book of Hemingway letters. There are new letters that have been released in the last few years, but this book that was edited and compiled many years ago still stands up well. For the casual reader of Hemingway this won't be of much interest, but for the avid Hemingway fan this is a must own. Instead of reading this book in a short time I spent two years slowly reading each letter. I think that was a more enjoyable way to read the letters that were sent throughout Hemingway's adult life.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Sherry

    To be honest, I have not read this thoroughly but instead spent a leisurely day perusing the pages, reading the letters that caught my eye. Those of particular note were the ones to F Scott Fitzgerald, William Faulkner, and my personal fave a letter to Senator McCarthy, calling his sorry ass out, that was likely never sent, but was wonderful all the same.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Ole Phillip

    Took me a while to realise I was never going to finish this one... I don't really like Hemingway and even if I try I can't get into his stuff. He's work is supposed to be great, I heard that too, but I find it boring....

  13. 5 out of 5

    D'artagnan

    The evolution in time and space of Ernest as a writer and maniac shines through, right between the lines. Inspirational, macho, chemically dependent, sad, and headed for suicide, which has always intrigued me.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Grant

    even if you do not like his novels, stories, writing style, persona, and whatever else, these letters of his spanning not only the greater part of his life but the lives of many other writers, editors, actors, soldiers, and real life characters is great reading.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Anna

    Hemingway fan! I'm on a roll. All thanks to The Paris Wife.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Tess Anderson

    i love him. would dig him up if i could. even though, if you asked him, he'd say, "i am a bastard."

  17. 5 out of 5

    Courtney

    Letters.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Maura

    I dunno, just got bored. I guess I could've skipped forward a couple dozen years but I was just not compelled....

  19. 4 out of 5

    David Marande

  20. 4 out of 5

    Ryan Blacketter

  21. 5 out of 5

    Míceál Ó Gealbháin

  22. 5 out of 5

    Ralf Kircher

  23. 4 out of 5

    Claudia W

  24. 5 out of 5

    Carla DeBock

  25. 4 out of 5

    Alex Ringsell

  26. 5 out of 5

    George Filipov

  27. 4 out of 5

    Kate

  28. 4 out of 5

    Robert Rofina

  29. 5 out of 5

    Lori Walker

  30. 5 out of 5

    Ola

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