The Letters of Ernest Hemingway: Volume 2, 1923-1925

Overview

The Letters of Ernest Hemingway document the life and creative development of a gifted artist and legendary personality whose work would both reflect and transform his times. Volume 2 (1923-1925) illuminates Hemingway's literary apprenticeship in the legendary milieu of expatriate Paris in the 1920s. We witness the development of his friendships with the likes of Sylvia Beach, F. Scott Fitzgerald and John Dos Passos. Striving to "make it new," he emerges from the tutelage of Ezra Pound and Gertrude Stein to forge...
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Overview

The Letters of Ernest Hemingway document the life and creative development of a gifted artist and legendary personality whose work would both reflect and transform his times. Volume 2 (1923-1925) illuminates Hemingway's literary apprenticeship in the legendary milieu of expatriate Paris in the 1920s. We witness the development of his friendships with the likes of Sylvia Beach, F. Scott Fitzgerald and John Dos Passos. Striving to "make it new," he emerges from the tutelage of Ezra Pound and Gertrude Stein to forge a new style, gaining recognition as one of the most formidable talents of his generation. In this period, Hemingway publishes his first three books, including In Our Time (1925), and discovers a lifelong passion for Spain and the bullfight, quickly transforming his experiences into fiction as The Sun Also Rises (1926). The volume features many previously unpublished letters and a humorous sketch that was rejected by Vanity Fair.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
08/26/2013
This second of 17 projected volumes of Hemingway’s correspondence collects 242 letters, telegrams, and postcards in which the globetrotting young author waxes exuberantly on such topics as bullfighting, nostalgia, the grind of writing copy for the Toronto Star, the creative process, the difficulties of making a career as a fiction writer, and the joys of writing fiction (“Have just finished a swell story of 100 pages and feel as though I would like the nurse to lift it up and tell me if it’s a boy or a girl”). Many letters are brief and inconsequential, but some of these contain gems—for instance, a 1924 letter to Vanity Fair includes “My Life in the Bull Ring with Donald Ogden Stewart,” a previously unpublished jeu d’esprit that the magazine rejected. In August 1925, he writes to Jane Heap that he’s completing “a hell of a fine novel. Written very simply and full of things happening and people and places and exciting as hell”—a reference to The Sun Also Rises, published the following year. Hemingway’s correspondents include F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, Ezra Pound, Gertrude Stein, Maxwell Perkins, Sherwood Anderson, and John Dos Passos. This expertly edited and annotated volume will be devoured by fans eager to learn how the literary titan came into his own. (Oct.)
From the Publisher
"Never is Hemingway more fascinating or in flux than in these letters from his Paris years, that dark and dazzling confluence of literary ascendancy and personal maelstrom. Bravo to Sandra Spanier for giving us this dazzling gem of literary scholarship, and the young Hemingway in his own words—unvarnished, wickedly funny, mercilessly human."
--Paula McLain, author of The Paris Wife
Library Journal
★ 09/01/2013
This second installment of Hemingway's collected letters, now projected to run to 17 volumes, contains 242 letters, two-thirds of which are previously unpublished. Correspondents include family, youthful companions, and literary luminaries such as Ezra Pound, Gertrude Stein, and Robert McAlmon. The letters document the significant role Hemingway (1889–1961) played in promoting the work of his friends in literary journals such as Transition and This Quarter, as well as his stylistic development leading to the publication of In Our Time (1925) and The Sun Also Rises (1926). Hemingway's letter-writing style is generally playful. Overall, the letters provide a portrait of the author as son, husband, father, and friend—an ordinary American embodying both the values and prejudices of his time. Included are a useful introduction, detailed notes, and a 15-page chronology for the years covered. VERDICT Hemingway did not want his letters published, but this carefully researched scholarly edition does them justice. Carlos Baker's 1981 edition of Hemingway's Selected Letters may suffice for casual readers; however, devotees will find this and future volumes indispensable.—William Gargan, Brooklyn Coll. Lib., CUNY
From the Publisher
"Never is Hemingway more fascinating or in flux than in these letters from his Paris years, that dark and dazzling confluence of literary ascendancy and personal maelstrom. Bravo to Sandra Spanier for giving us this dazzling gem of literary scholarship, and the young Hemingway in his own words - unvarnished, wickedly funny, mercilessly human."
Paula McLain, author of The Paris Wife

"This expertly edited and annotated volume will be devoured by fans eager to learn how the literary titan came into his own."
Publishers Weekly

"Hemingway did not want his letters published, but this carefully researched scholarly edition does them justice … devotees will find this and future volumes indispensable."
Library Journal

"This second volume of The Letters of Ernest Hemingway documents the years in which he became himself … His style is at once close to and yet unutterably distant from that of his fiction."
The New York Times

"Bawdy, humorous, linguistically playful."
Literary Review

"The volume's 242 letters, about two-thirds previously unpublished, provide as complete an account of Hemingway's life during the Paris years as one could ask for."
Star Tribune

"Roughly written as they are these letters show occasional flashes of true Hemingway … It is fascinating to watch the private rehearsals of what would be public performances."
The Daily Telegraph

"For those with a passion for American literary history and an interest in the machinery of fame, these letters, ably and helpfully annotated by a team of scholars led by Sandra Spanier of Penn State University, provide an abundance of raw material and a few hours' worth of scintillating reading."
The Kansas City Star

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Sandra Spanier, Professor of English at Pennsylvania State University, is General Editor of The Cambridge Edition of the Letters of Ernest Hemingway and co-editor of its first volume. Some of her publications include Kay Boyle: Artist and Activist (1986) and Martha Gellhorn and Virginia Cowles' rediscovered play Love Goes to Press (1995, revised edition, 2010). Her essays on Hemingway have appeared most recently in Ernest Hemingway in Context (2012) and she serves on the editorial board of The Hemingway Review.

Albert J. DeFazio, III, Term Professor at George Mason University, is author of Literary Masterpieces: The Sun Also Rises (2000), editor of Dear Papa...Dear Hotch: The Ernest Hemingway/A. E. Hotchner Correspondence (2005) and Associate Editor of Volume 1 of The Letters of Ernest Hemingway. He has contributed bibliographies in The Hemingway Review, served on its editorial board, and edits The Hemingway Newsletter.

Robert W. Trogdon is Professor and Chair of the Department of English at Kent State University. He is co-editor, with Sandra Spanier, of The Letters of Ernest Hemingway, Volume 1. He is author of The Lousy Racket: Hemingway, Scribners and the Business of Literature (2007) and editor of Ernest Hemingway: A Literary Reference (2002). He is a member of the board of the Ernest Hemingway Foundation and Society.

Biography

Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961), born in Oak Park, Illinois, started his career as a writer in a newspaper office in Kansas City at the age of seventeen. Before the United States entered the First World War, he joined a volunteer ambulance unit in the Italian army. Serving at the front, he was wounded, was decorated by the Italian Government, and spent considerable time in hospitals. After his return to the United States, he became a reporter for Canadian and American newspapers and was soon sent back to Europe to cover such events as the Greek Revolution.

During the twenties, Hemingway became a member of the group of expatriate Americans in Paris, which he described in his first important work, The Sun Also Rises (1926). Equally successful was A Farewell to Arms (1929), the study of an American ambulance officer's disillusionment in the war and his role as a deserter. Hemingway used his experiences as a reporter during the civil war in Spain as the background for his most ambitious novel, For Whom the Bell Tolls (1940). Among his later works, the most outstanding is the short novel, The Old Man and the Sea (1952), the story of an old fisherman's journey, his long and lonely struggle with a fish and the sea, and his victory in defeat.

Hemingway -- himself a great sportsman -- liked to portray soldiers, hunters, bullfighters - tough, at times primitive people whose courage and honesty are set against the brutal ways of modern society, and who in this confrontation lose hope and faith. His straightforward prose, his spare dialogue, and his predilection for understatement are particularly effective in his short stories, some of which are collected in Men Without Women (1927) and The Fifth Column and the First Forty-Nine Stories (1938). Hemingway died in Idaho in 1961.

© The Nobel Foundation 1954.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Ernest Miller Hemingway (full name)
    1. Date of Birth:
      July 21, 1899
    2. Place of Birth:
      Oak Park, Illinois
    1. Date of Death:
      July 2, 1961
    2. Place of Death:
      Ketchum, Idaho

Table of Contents

General editor's preface Sandra Spanier; Acknowledgments; Note on the text; Abbreviations and short titles; Introduction to the volume J. Gerald Kennedy; Chronology; Maps; The letters, 1923–1925; Roster of correspondents; Calendar of letters; Index of recipients; General index.
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