“In the cycle of a fiction writer, there is a pattern: youthful works, reviews/articles and fiction during the author’s lifetime; then posthumously comes unpublished fiction, journals, collected articles and – finally – letters.
“Letters are the most fugitive of literary texts. They are distributed between numerous recipients and their descendants, sold to collectors, lost, forgotten, destroyed. But they allow us to experience life events from the perspective of the author.
“So it is with Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961). In The Letters of Ernest Hemingway, Volume 5: 1932-1934, we spend time with him in the Florida Keys, a period when Vanity Fair featured a full-page, full-colour Ernest Hemingway paper doll, captioned ‘Ernest Hemingway, America’s own literary cave man; hard-drinking, hard-fighting, hard-loving – all for art’s sake’. The paper costumes were Neanderthal, soldier, boulevardier, fisherman and bullfighter. By this point, Hemingway was already working to maintain a macho reputation he himself had promoted: a proper man’s man, but with the sensitivity of a poet and the avant-garde technique of a literary Picasso.
“Hemingway was notorious for exaggerating his masculine achievements, but he had real prowess as a sports fisherman…”
Read the rest of the article on Spiked here: https://www.spiked-online.com/2021/04/13/revealing-the-hidden-hemingway/