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About the Author
Date of Birth:July 21, 1899
Date of Death:July 2, 1961
Place of Birth:Oak Park, Illinois
Place of Death:Ketchum, Idaho
Read an Excerpt
Hemingway needs no introduction...
Ernest Hemingway, the best-known writer of his generation, needs no introduction to readers today. But this volume, made up of less than one third of the identifiable prose he wrote for newspapers and magazines between 1920 and 1956, does need a few words of explanation. Early in his career, some time before 1931, Hemingway wrote to his bibliographer, Louis Henry Cohn, that the "newspaper stuff I have written...has nothing to do with the other writing which is entirely apart...The first right that a man writing has is the choice of what he will publish. If you have made your living as a newspaperman, learning your trade, writing against deadlines, writing to make stuff timely rather than permanent, no one has any right to dig this stuff up and use it against the stuff you have written to write the best you can."
This is a perfectly reasonable attitude for a novelist or creative writer to take in distinguishing between his fiction and his newspaper reporting. Yet in his more than forty years of writing, not only did Hemingway use the very same material for both news accounts and short stories: he took pieces he first filed with magazines and newspapers and published them with virtually no change in his own books as short stories. For example, two pieces, "A Silent, Ghastly Procession" and "Refugees from Thrace" are news reports (for The Toronto Daily Star) based on experiences he was later to use in In Our Time (1930), where he wrote:
"The Greeks were nice chaps too. When they evacuated they had all their baggage animals they couldn't take off with them so they just broke their forelegs and dumped them into the shallow water. All those mules with their forelegs broken and pushed over into the shallow water. It was all a pleasant business. My word yes a most pleasant business."
The same material turns up again in "On the Quai at Smyrna" in The Fifth Column and the First Forty-Nine Stories (1938) and a few other places. Another Toronto Star "news story," "Christmas on the Roof of the World," which is included in the present collection, was privately printed (not by Hemingway) as Two Christmas Tales (1959). But the blurring of the distinction between his news writing and his imaginative writing is most evident in these three instances: "Italy, 1927," a factual account of a motor trip through Spezia, Genoa and Fascist Italy, first published in The New Republic (May 18, 1927) as journalism, then used as a short story in Men Without Women (1927) with a new title, "Che Ti Dice La Patria," and in The Fifth Column and the First Forty-Nine Stories (1938); "Old Man at the Bridge," cabled as a news dispatch from Barcelona and published in Ken (May 19, 1938) and also put into the First Forty-Nine Stories without even a new title; and "The Chauffeurs of Madrid," originally sent on May 22, 1937, by the North American Newspaper Alliance (NANA) to subscribers of its foreign service as part of Hemingway's coverage of the Spanish Civil War, and which was included by Hemingway in Men at War (1942), which he edited and subtitled "The Best War Stories of All Time." (What did he mean by "stories"?) Hemingway also used in the same collection the Caporetto passages from A Farewell to Arms and the El Sordo sequence from For Whom the Bell Tolls. As Chaucer liked to say, "What nedeth wordes mo?"
As a reporter and foreign correspondent in Kansas City (before World War I), Chicago, Toronto, Paris among the expatriates, the Near East, in Europe with the diplomats and statesmen, in Germany and Spain, Hemingway soaked up persons and places and life like a sponge: these were to become matter for his short stories and novels. His use of this material, however, sets him apart from other creative writers who, as he himself says, made their living as journalists, learning their trade, writing against deadlines, writing to make stuff timely rather than permanent. Hemingway, no matter what he wrote or why he was writing, or for whom, was always the creative writer: he used his material to suit his imaginative purposes. This does not mean that he was not a good reporter, for lie showed a grasp of politics and economics, was an amazing observer, and knew how to dig for information. But his craft was the craft of fiction, not factual reporting. And though he wrote as he saw things, his writing shows most vividly how he felt about what he saw. If the details were sometimes slighted, the picture as a whole -- full of the emotional impact of the events on the people -- was clear, lucid and full. For the picture as a whole was what Hemingway the artist cared about.
In selecting the 77 articles in the present volume, I have not limited myself to "uncollected" material, for many of the Toronto Star pieces appear in Hemingway: The Wild Years (1962), edited by Gene Z. Hanrahan; "Marlin off the Morro" (Esquire) in American Big Game Fishing (1935), edited by Eugene V. Connett; "A. D. in Africa" (Esquire) in Fun in Bed: Just What the Doctor Ordered (1938), edited by Frank Scully; "Remembering Shooting-Flying" (Esquire) in Esquire's First Sports Reader (1945), edited by Herbert Graffis; "On the Blue Water" (Esquire) in Blow the Man Down (1937), edited by Eric Devine; "Notes on the Next War" and "The Malady of Power" (Esquire) as outstanding essays in American magazines in American Points of View 1934-1935 (1936) and American Points of View 1936 (1937), edited by William H. and Kathryn Coe Cordell; "The Clark's Fork Valley, Wyoming" (Vogue) in Vogue's First Reader (1942), with an introduction by Frank Crowninshield; "A New Kind of War" (NANA) in A Treasury of Great Reporting (1949), edited by Louis L. Snyder and Richard B. Morris; and "London Fights the Robots," (Colliers) in Masterpieces of War Reporting: The Great Moments of World War II (1962), edited by Louis L. Snyder.
The 29 selections (in Section I) from Hemingway's 154 in the Toronto Daily Star and Star Weekly represent his first contribution and the best of his work for those papers. The last piece in the section was written in Paris after he left journalism and launched his career as a short-story writer. By the time he was writing his "letters" almost every month in the 1930's for Esquire -- which make up the second section -- this career was at its height. Of Hemingway's 31 contributions to Esquire I have chosen 17; however, of the remaining 14, six are fiction, outside the scope of my collection.
The NANA dispatches, nine of which I have chosen from the 28 he cabled from Europe, represent Hemingway's return to professional newspaper reporting during the Spanish war. In this third section I also have two articles (out of 14) he wrote for Ken, an anti-Fascist magazine edited by Arnold Gingrich; they are not up to the quality of "Old Man at the Bridge," but they are examples of the sort of thing he wrote for almost every issue of this periodical. Although "The Clark's Fork Valley, Wyoming," from Vogue, has nothing to do with the Spanish war, it is in this section because of its 1939 date. It is clearly a change-of-pace item and represents Hemingway's continuing interest in fishing, hunting, and the out-of-doors. Every section in the book -- except for the one on World War II -- has such an article by Hemingway the naturalist, the hunter, the fisherman.
Section IV is made up of eight articles from the short-lived ad-less New York newspaper PM, written in 1941, and six reports he wrote for Collier's in 1944 as the chief of their European Bureau -- "only enough to keep from being sent home." These PM dispatches, the work of a mature observer on his first Oriental trip, six months before the bombing of Pearl Harbor, show Hemingway's grasp of things to come; for he predicted that Japan's attack on British and American bases in the Pacific and southeast Asia would force us into the war. Datelined Hong Kong, Rangoon, and Manila, they were all written from notes made abroad after his return to New York. His seven by-lined news stories and the interview by Ralph Ingersoll, which Hemingway edited, are an excellent analysis of the military situation, but they contrast somewhat with his other war correspondence, for the Toronto Star, NANA, and Collier's, which emphasizes people and places instead of politics. When Hemingway finally got back to Europe for Collier's, his escapades led to his being investigated and cleared by army authorities -- for violating the Geneva Convention. Of more significance from a journalism standpoint is the fact that his second Collier's article, "London Fights the Robots," was chosen in 1962 as one of the "masterpieces of war reporting" by history professor Louis L. Snyder.
For the last section of By-Line: Ernest Hemingway I have a fishing article from Holiday and a hunting article from a men's magazine, True; Hemingway's own account in Look of what happened in his near-fatal plane crashes in Africa in 1954; and more about the author himself and his writing in a later Look article of 1956.
The texts in the collection follow those of the printed versions in their original newspaper and magazine appearances. I have mainly used the original titles, except for certain newspaper headlines which are too long for an anthology of this kind and which are certainly not Hemingway's in any case. In each instance where a change was made I have included in the table of contents the original headline. (To do otherwise would have caused bibliographical confusion and difficulties for literary historians.) But I have deleted subheads, which were written by newspaper copyreaders purely for typographical purposes to break up long columns of type, and I have quietly (without the use of the academic "sic") corrected obvious misspellings and typographical errors, regularized capitalization and some punctuation. These are accepted practices for a reading text. For the Toronto selections, a considerable debt is due to W. L. McGeary, librarian of the Toronto Star.
Hemingway's literary apprenticeship was served in journalism, and his later work in the field earned him money and sent him to places where he wished to be. Yet his enthusiasm, his compassion, and his imagination made such writing far more than just timely stuff. Some readers will no doubt view the material as rounding out the Hemingway record; others, it is to be hoped, will regard it simply as among the best newspaper and magazine reporting available in our troubled times.
FRANKLIN VILLAGE, MICHIGAN
February 16, 1967
Copyright © 1967 By-Line Ernest Hemingway, Inc.; renewal copyright © 1995 by Patrick and John H. Hemingway