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Reviewed by:
  • Ernest Hemingway: A Descriptive Bibliography
  • Albert J. DeFazio III
Ernest Hemingway: A Descriptive Bibliography. By C. Edgar Grissom. New Castle, DE: Oak Knoll Press, 2011. 560 pp. + DVD-ROM. Cloth $225.

Audre Hanneman's Comprehensive Bibliography (1967) and Supplement (1975), loose and jaunty in their spines from decades of hard duty, have helped to build biographies, to chart critical reception, and to amass modest and astounding collections of primary works. Carlos Baker, who pointed Hanneman toward Princeton University Press when it came time for her to publish her first volume, told her in a letter that her "reward would be that henceforth her name would appear in any book that dealt with Hemingway" (qtd. in Paul). Baker remains correct a half-century later: Hanneman's secondary listings continue to thrive along side the readers's guides of Linda W. Wagner and Kelli A. Larsen, but the descriptive portions of her Comprehensive Bibliography and Supplement have now been replaced.

Since Hanneman published her Supplement, scholars have been publishing addenda, many of them appearing in the Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America. Piecemeal contributions have come to us from George Monterio, William White, James B. Meriwether, James Hinkle, Michael Reynolds, and Scott Donaldson, among others. In 1999, during the Hemingway centennial, Steve Paul captured Susan Beegel's assessment of things: "Even in the current era of technological ease, no one has had 'the courage,' Beegel says, to pick up where Hanneman left off a quarter century ago." Well, now someone has.

And if your pulse quickens upon hearing that a new edition or printing or state has been discovered, then you should stop reading this review and lay hands on this new bibliography. You will find C. Edgar Grissom's Ernest Hemingway: A Descriptive Bibliography to be the welcome product of a persistent and inquiring mind. One gets the sense that he has chased the sometimes confounding details of his tome to their source—or else pursued them as far as we could have possibly followed ourselves, leaving us with a trustworthy reference [End Page 123] tool that answers, but also asks, questions.

The details and depth of this volume delight. Hanneman's work may have been foundational for two generations of Hemingway scholars, but the foundation of Grissom's work is Grissom's work. He began over again, as it were, and concentrated. A self-taught bibliophile, he spent a dozen years at this task. What has resulted is not merely a description of historical artifacts, although it is precise and painstaking in its description. Grissom has produced the narrative of Hemingway's primary bibliography by first describing, then annotating, and finally supplementing his text with appendices and illustrations. He observes in his introduction "a properly conceived and executed single-author bibliography chronicles the author's writing career" (1).

Certainly his work does this. In more than five hundred pages, he provides full bibliographic detail for separate publications, multivolume publications, and first-appearance contributions to books and pamphlets. He describes every printing of every edition, identifies all parent editions, includes locations of copies described, illustrates throughout with facsimiles of title and copyright pages, and adds seven appendices, as well as providing a DVD-ROM with 2,000 color illustrations, two hundred additional pages of text, and fifty images of Hemingway's signature from 1908-1960.

The new level of detail and thoroughness is extraordinary, as contrasting Hanneman's and Grissom's treatment of The Sun Also Rises will illustrate. Hanneman requires six pages to cover The Sun Also Rises from 1926-1975; Grissom needs thirty-two larger pages to address that span plus the years 1976-2011. Their descriptions of the title page, copyright page, collation, contents, and cover/binding are similar. Both list the date of publication, but Grissom adds the date of printing. Both describe the first state dust jacket, but Grissom also addresses the other five styles of jacket associated with the first ten printings of the novel. He also includes the typography, paper, and locations of examined copies. Judged only by the virtues of the comprehensiveness and thoroughness of Grissom's bibliographical descriptions, his work is without question the new standard for Hemingway scholars...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1548-4815
Print ISSN
0276-3362
Pages
pp. 123-126
Launched on MUSE
2012-06-21
Open Access
No
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