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Introduction Mark P. Ott and Mark Cirino There are so many sorts of hunger. In the spring there are more. But that’s gone now. Memory is hunger. —Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast There were some other places I wanted to see since we would be going through them; places I was sure I remembered incorrectly due to haste or stress or the distortions of vision that being under fire bring, but we would see them sooner or later and I could make my corrections of memory then. There were certain places that I liked to show to Bill for their incredibility; to show them as museum pieces of the impossible in war. But I had shown him the positions on the road above the village of Guadarrama on the way up to the pass on the high road to Avila and they had been so obviously preposterous to hold that I did not blame him for not believing me. When I saw them I could believe them myself although the original memory of them was sharper than any photograph. —Ernest Hemingway, The Dangerous Summer Ernest Hemingway had an uneasy relationship with the present; he seemed to believe it rarely made for the best fiction. Yet his mind was always attuned to the present, to the moment as he was immersed and absorbed within it, and that hypersensitivity to what he was experiencing would move into his memory, dwell there, and later become the fuel for his fiction. As every student of Hemingway’s biography knows, Michigan, Italy, Spain, Paris, East Africa, and the Gulf Stream are some of the most distinctive places in the Hemingway oeuvre; in short fiction, novels, journalism, and correspondence, Hemingway revisited these sites, reimagining and transforming them into texts. “Memory,” to the surprise of no one, is a topic closely aligned with Hemingway ’s work. Nearly all of Hemingway’s fiction exists as an extension, ix Cirino & Ott.indb 9 3/23/10 9:34:25 AM dramatization, and condensation of his actual experience, yet it is not autobiography . Thus the ambiguity of the phrase “geography of memory” taken as our title underscores its usefulness. Returning to a place inspires a celebration of memory, providing a clarification of an essential truth of human existence, a contrast between then and now. The Italy of the eighteen-year-old Hemingway is returned to, again and again, as the writer evolves from an ambulance driver into a journalist, finally becoming the artist who creates A Farewell to Arms (1929) and Across the River and Into the Trees (1950). The immediacy and urgency of the hunt is conveyed concisely in Green Hills of Africa in 1935. By 1955, when Hemingway is re-creating the events of his second safari in 1953, that conciseness is replaced by a free-flowing, occasionally comic account of the land and people in the manuscripts eventually published as True at First Light (1999) and Under Kilimanjaro (2005). Just as A Moveable Feast (1964) is a reinvention of the Paris depicted in The Sun Also Rises (1926), The Dangerous Summer (1960), chronicling the Spanish bullfight season of the summer of 1959, tries to recapture the authority and the vivid atmosphere of the best sections of Death in the Afternoon (1932). Stylistically, Hemingway relied on a vocabulary of imagery to convey loss and the passage of time, a contrast between a younger self and a wiser, experienced self. Composing A Moveable Feast in 1959, he uses horse chestnuts to signal forms of change and loss, evoking the textures of life in Paris for the young Hemingway in 1924. In the memoir he writes, “Do you remember when the horse chestnuts were in bloom?” (54). Indeed, the roasted nuts are a cure for hunger (11) and the trees are beautiful next to the Seine (43). As a young man writing in Parisian cafés, he carries the horse chestnut in his pocket, along with a rabbit foot for luck. Thus, to the aging memoirist, the horse chestnut evokes this time in the idealized, youthful Hemingway’s life, when he was a young father happily married to Hadley, when he was powerfully convinced that he could shape his own artistic future. How do we understand Hemingway’s use of “memory”? So much of his movement through the world was a process of continual self-exile as he sought new environments to bolster his identity as a writer and his essential self. As Donald Pizer notes, self-exile, or expatriation...


Subject Headings

  • Memory in literature.
  • Hemingway, Ernest, -- 1899-1961 -- Criticism and interpretation.
  • Geography in literature.
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