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Reflections on the Writer by His Longtime Majordomo
“This is the story of a poor, young Cuban boy who grew into a man and gained the trust and respect of a famous American author, whom he loved like a father. A man he called ‘Papa.’’—from the Preface
In 1996 René Villarreal returned to Cuba to retrieve his memoir of his life with Ernest Hemingway at the Finca Vigia. Sadly, he learned that the manuscript and photographs had been lost. Determined to tell his story, Villarreal, together with his son Raúl, set about rewriting the account of how he came to be Ernest Hemingway’s majordomo, confidant, and friend—his Cuban son.
Hemingway, called El Americano by the Cubans, moved into the Finca Vigia, an estate outside of Havana, in 1939. He allowed the village children to play on his property, and they soon became fixtures, caring for his pets, performing odd jobs, and running errands. Hemingway recognized René as especially responsible and attentive and made him household manager, or majordomo, in 1946 when René was only seventeen.
For the next fifteen years, René ran the Finca, tending to Hemingway and his wife, Mary, and their visiting family and distinguished guests. Villarreal’s clear recollections offer up humorous stories of escapades and adventures with Hemingway as well as insightful comments on the writer’s work habits, moods, passions, and friendships. He also writes of Cuba before and after the revolution, capturing so well the sense of place and time. Scholars and readers of Hemingway worldwide will be caught up in this compelling story of a great friendship and will find insight into this complicated, fascinating, brilliant writer.
Imagining the Spanish World
Ernest Hemingway famously called Spain “the country that I loved more than any other except my own,” and his fortyyear love affair with it provided an inspiration and setting for major works from each decade of his career—the novels The Sun Also Rises, Death in the Afternoon, For Whom the Bell Tolls, The Dangerous Summer, and The Garden of Eden; his only fulllength play, The Fifth Column; the Civil War documentary The Spanish Earth; and some of his finest short fiction, including “Hills Like White Elephants” and “A Clean, Well Lighted Place.” In Hemingway’s Spain, Carl P. Eby and Mark Cirino collect thirteen penetrating and innovative essays by scholars of different nationalities, generations, and perspectives who explore Heming way’s writing about Spain and his relationship to Spanish culture and ask us in a myriad of ways to rethink how Hemingway imagined Spain—whether through a modernist mythologization of the Spanish soil, his fascination with the bullfight, his interrogation of the relationship between travel and tourism, his involvement with Spanish politics, his dialog with Spanish writers, or his appreciation of the subtleties of Spanish values. In addition to fresh critical responses to some of Hemingway’s most famous novels and stories, a particular strength of Hemingway’s Spain is its consideration of neglected works, such as Hemingway’s Spanish Civil War stories and the novel The Dangerous Summer. The collection is noteworthy for its attention to how Hemingway’s post–World War II fiction revisits and re-imagines his earlier Spanish works, and it brings new light both to Hemingway’s Spanish Civil War politics and his reception in Spain during the Franco years.
Hemingway’s lifelong engagement with Spain is central to under standing and appreciating his work, and Hemingway’s Spain is an indispensable exploration of Hemingway’s home away from home.
Ernest Hemingway’s enlistment with the American Red Cross during World War I was one of the most formative experiences of his life, and it provided much of the source material for A Farewell to Arms and his writings about Italy and the Great War. As significant as it was, Hemingway’s service has never been sufficiently understood. By looking at previously unexamined documents, including the letters and diary of Hemingway’s commanding officer, Robert W. Bates, official reports of the ambulance and canteen services, and section newspapers published by volunteers, author Steven Florczyk provides crucial insights into Hemingway’s service.
The book opens by sharing tales of the volunteer ambulance units from the Western Front, which also led to the involvement of the American Red Cross in Italy. This was where Hemingway came to know many of the experienced drivers from France. In the spring of 1918 the young writer enlisted, serving first with an ambulance unit in Schio and then as a canteen worker at the Piave River until he was wounded. After the war when the volunteer outfits disbanded, Hemingway returned home where he took up his plan to earn a living as a writer.
Hemingway’s Red Cross experience was a major influence on his development as a writer and a thinker. Through the power of words, Hemingway’s journalism, short stories, and novels exposed the falsehoods of World War I propaganda. His involvement with the Red Cross led to some of the finest American literature on the Great War.
Daniel Carter’s Here Both Sweeter is a book in which you “have a seedling in each pocket,” a “body bodies,” and words are something you “carve out” so as to make a home. The poems are stories, are seeds, are secret messages cast and sent across the natural world to a reader, where they blossom in the imagination. The plot is “scatter-wild,” the lyrics “all willful and fallow.” Carter’s language serves as a garden, rich and strange, full of acorns and ink and ash, and in it the green world (of nature, of the heart and body, of words and ideas) is overturned, recycled, and remade.
Inside the Ernest Hemingway Archives of Oak Park
Thinking of Ernest Hemingway often brings to mind his travels around the world, documenting war and engaging in thrilling ad- ventures. However, fully understanding this outsized international author means returning to his place of birth. Hidden Hemingway presents highlights from the extraordinary collection of the Ernest Hemingway Foundation of Oak Park. Thoroughly researched, and illustrated with more than 300 color images, this impressive volume includes never-before-published photos; letters between Heming- way and Agnes Von Kurowsky, his World War I love; bullfighting memorabilia; high school assignments; adolescent diaries; Heming- way’s earliest published work, such as the “Class Prophecy” that appeared in his high school yearbook; and even a dental X-ray. Hidden Hemingway also includes one of the final letters Hemingway wrote, as he was undergoing electroshock treatment at the Mayo Clinic. These documents, photographs, and ephemera trace the trajectory of the life of an American literary legend.
The items showcased in Hidden Hemingway are more than stagedressing for a literary life, more than marginalia. They provide definition—and, in some cases, documentation—of Hemingway’s ambition, heartbreak, literary triumphs and trials, and joys and tragedies. It’s Hemingway’s stature as a Pulitzer Prize– and Nobel Prize–winning author that draws so many biographers and historians to his work. It is also the wealth of material he left behind that makes him such a compelling, engaging, and often polarizing figure.
For Hemingway, the material he saved was both autobiography and research. He gathered data and details that made the life lived in his books more authentic. The authors of Hidden Hemingway have done the same, telling a life story through items that illuminate Hemingway’s legacy. Some of the material contradicts the public image that Hemingway built for himself, and some supports his larger-than-life myth. In all, Hidden Hemingway celebrates the Ernest Hemingway archives and Oak Park’s most famous author.
Radical History and the Early Republic
A new perspective on the cultural politics of Charles Brockden Brown
The novels of Charles Brockden Brown, the most accomplished literary figure in early America, redefined the gothic genre and helped shape some of America’s greatest writers, including Herman Melville, Edgar Allan Poe, and Nathaniel Hawthorne. However, little has been said about the latter years of Brown’s career. While his early novels are celebrated for their innovative and experimental style, Brown’s later historical narratives are often dismissed as uninteresting, and Brown himself has been accused of having become “a stodgy conservative.”
Through a re-examination of these neglected historical writings, Mark L. Kamrath takes a fresh look at Brown’s later career and his role in the cultural politics of the early national period. This interdisciplinary study uses transatlantic historical contexts and recent narrative discourse to unveil Brown’s philosophic inquires into the filiopietistic tradition of historiography and increasingly imperialistic notion of American exceptionalism. It recovers a forgotten debate—and radical position—about the nature of historical truth and representation and opens up for contemporary discussion what it means to write about the past.
“In Leah Osowski’s exquisite debut, hover over her, the poet immerses us in geographies of unrealized adolescence, where young women are singular amidst their cacophonous backdrops, whether beside a lake, inside a Dali painting, or stretched out in a flower garden. These spaces are turned inside out for us through Osowski’s linguistic curiosity and unforgettable imagistic palate. Negative possibilities hang around every corner as well, showing us the ways in which we are also complicit in the constructions and obstructions of gender. As the speaker in ‘she as pronoun’ says, ‘she’s I and she’s you every / time you hid beneath your own arms.’ But through the evolution and renaissance of Osowski’s speaker, we find affirmation in these shared connections, transparency in the landscapes of growth and escape, and the freedom that comes from the task of unflinchingly examining our whereabouts inside of them.”
—Adrian Matejka, author of The Big Smoke
A Critical Biography of Ruth Pitter
An important addition to the literature on modern English poets and poetry
A significant poet in her own right, Ruth Pitter has long deserved this biography, which thoughtfully assesses her place in the British poetic landscape. Popular in the United Kingdom from the early 1930s until her death in 1992, Pitter won the Hawthornden Prize for Literature in 1937 for A Trophy of Arms and was the first woman to win the Queen’s Gold Medal for poetry in 1955. A working artisan from Chelsea, she lived through World War I and World War II and appeared often on BBC radio and television. Pitter had close relationships with C. S. Lewis, Owen Barfield, Lord David Cecil, and other Inklings. Author Don W. King’s exploration of these notable friendships brings a critical perspective to Pitter’s remarkable life and work.
Once she found her poetic voice, Pitter created work that is profound, amusing, and beautiful. The lyricism and accessibility of her poems reflect her personality—humorous, independent, brave, kind, stern, proud, and humble. King draws on Pitter’s personal journals and letters to present this overview of her life and also offers a close, critical reading of Pitter’s poetry, tracing her development as a poet.
Hunting the Unicorn is the first treatment to discuss the entire body of Pitter’s verse. It will appeal to scholars and general readers as it places Pitter into the overall context of twentieth-century British poetry and portrays a rather modest, hardworking woman who also “witnessed” the world through the lens of a gifted poet.
“In the old story of love and loss, Lisa Ampleman’s I’ve Been Collecting This to Tell You cuts to the core of the matter with concision and subtlety. Hearts are laid bare, dissected, even grown anew. Masterfully structured and alert to the most vital details, this collection has lots to tell us—and a voice at once authentic and lyrical with which to do it.” —Don Bogen
“In these poems, the beloved is a space the speaker moves through—at first with trepidation, then with gathering force—emerging finally into a hard-won world ravishing in its clarity under a brutally beautiful ‘sky pinking up/like a newly healed limb.’ The poems of Lisa Ampleman’s collection don’t flinch, and the reward of their acute seeing is a song that’s sustenance itself.” —Kerri Webster
“Lisa Ampleman’s subtle and beautifully wrought poems make way for the possibility that all is not ‘frenzy’ in this ‘agitated world.’ Although we might be ‘the walking wounded,’ and ‘like Thomas/need scars to believe,’ the poems assure us that we heal, that wholeness and grace await us.” —Eric Pankey
“A prairie is plain, they say—those who have not stood in one. And so, too, is an ordinary heartbreak, until Lisa Ampleman begins to unfold it in these closely observed and quietly surprising poems. Salvation doesn’t live here, but there’s plenty to salvage in the wry, self-effacing metaphors by which she harvests what wisdom experience yields.” —Susan Tichy,