University of Delaware Library

Special Collections Department


Ernest Hemingway In His Time

INTRODUCTION

Woodcut from a portrait by Henry Strater Perhaps no figure in twentieth-century American literature has dominated the literary landscape, as both a writer and a public figure, as has Ernest Hemingway. At the height of his career, Hemingway took on a larger-than-life persona that transformed him into one of the most recognized figures in American culture, even to those who had no familiarity with his writing. Nearly thirty-five years after his death in 1961, Hemingway remains one of the most widely-read, and best-known American authors of this century.

Although Hemingway seemed to burst onto the literary scene in the 1920s, his initial success was due largely to his dedication to learning the craft of writing. He began his career as a journalist, serving initially as a cub reporter with the Kansas City Star in 1917 and subsequently as a feature writer and a foreign correspondent for the Toronto Star. Hemingway's work for the Star enabled him to move to Paris in 1921 and it was here that he befriended and garnered support from such American expatriates as Gertrude Stein and Ezra Pound. Though journalism continued to serve as his primary source of income, Hemingway also wrote fiction and poetry, and began to see his work published in magazines such as Poetry, The Little Review, and the Transatlantic Review, Der Querschnitt, transition, and other magazines and anthologies which featured the work of the emerging modernist authors.

The American Mercury, Nov 1950 Hemingway's first book, Three Stories and Ten Poems (Paris, Contact Publishing Co.), was published in 1923 by the American expatriate Robert McAlmon. Hemingway's second collection, in our time (Paris, Three Mountains Press), was published the following year by the American journalist William Bird as part of a series of chapbooks edited by Ezra Pound. With the publication of in our time, Hemingway's reputation as a rising young writer grew and he obtained a contract with the American publisher Horace Liveright, who published an expanded In Our Time in 1925. Following a dispute with Liveright, Hemingway met the editor Maxwell Perkins and began a lifelong relationship with the publisher Charles Scribner's Sons who in 1926 published both The Torrents of Spring and The Sun Also Rises. With the publication of the latter book Hemingway's reputation as a major new author was secured. Over the next two decades he would become an internationally-acclaimed author with the publication of Men without Women (1927), A Farwell to Arms (1929), Death in the Afternoon (1932), To Have and Have Not (1937), and For whom the Bell Tolls (1940).

Aboard the Normandie Hemingway's literary success was accompanied by his growing status as a public figure, largely fueled by his own journalistic efforts chronicling his big game hunting in Africa and deep sea fishing in the Caribbean, and perhaps most notably, his exploits, real and imagined, as a Loyalist supporter during the Spanish Civil War. Hemingway's notoriety, in fact, contributed to a decline in his reputation among critics during the 1940s, and it was not until the publication of The Old Man and the Sea, for which he received the Pulitzer Prize in 1953, and his award of the Nobel Prize the following year that Hemingway's literary stature was restored. Hemingway's final years were dogged by recurrent illnesses, both physical and emotional, and he would die by his own hand in July 1961. Shortly before he died, however, Hemingway completed an autobiography of his early years in Paris, and the book, which was published under the title A Moveable Feast in 1964, serves as a fitting conclusion to the career of this great American author. Ernie, the Neanderthal Man, unattributed caricature

The University of Delaware Library houses one of the largest and most comprehensive collections devoted to the writing of Ernest Hemingway. The collection includes a complete collection of first editions of Hemingway's books; an exhaustive collection of subsequent editions, translations, contributions to books and anthologies, and periodical appearances; ephemera and associated materials; and an important collection of Hemingway's manuscripts and correspondence. The cornerstone of the University of Delaware Library's Hemingway holdings is the collection of books and papers assembled by Captain Louis Henry Cohn and his wife Marguerite Cohn. Captain Cohn, who was Hemingway's first bibliographer, and his wife Marguerite founded the New York bookstore House of Books in 1930, which specialized in the sale of first editions by contemporary authors. As one of Hemingway's first major collectors, Cohn dedicated himself to becoming the American author's inital bibliographer. A Bibliography of the Works of Ernest Hemingway was published in 1931 and during the course of his research, Cohn and his wife Marguerite assembled one of the great private collections devoted to the work of Hemingway. The Cohn Collection contains copies of virtually all of Hemingway's published writings, including first editions, variants and subsequent editions, translations, and contributions to anthologies and periodicals. The collection houses a substantial amount of correspondence, including letters from Ernest Hemingway to Louis Henry Cohn and others, and Cohn's correspondence with Hemingway's editors, publishers, and friends pertaining to his bibliographic efforts. The Cohn Collection also includes several of Hemingway's manuscripts, as well as an extensive group of galleys and other proof materials of writings by and about Hemingway. The Cohns also assembled a vast array of ephemera and other materials associated with Hemingway, all of which is present in their collection. Although Louis Henry Cohn's bibliography has been superseded, the Cohn Collection continues to serve as a major resource for study and research on Ernest Hemingway.

Hemingway's bookplate The University of Delaware Library also houses a small, but significant collection of Ernest Hemingway's literary manuscripts. The core of this collection is a group of the author's typescripts for some of his best-known works, including the short stories, "A Clean Well-lighted Place" and "The Happy Ending," which was published as "The Snows of Kilimanjaro"; an eighty-four-page section of the manuscript of Hemingway's account of big-game hunting, The Green Hills of Africa; and an untitled play that was eventually published under the title The Fifth Column. The collection serves as an important resource for the study of Hemingway's compositional process. from a publisher's advertisement

"Ernest Hemingway in His Time: An Exhibition" serves as an introduction to an important scholarly resource for research and study of one of the most important literary figures of the twentieth century.


Table of Contents for the exhibition Ernest Hemingway in His Time


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