TOM PUTNAM: Good afternoon, bienvenue. I’m Tom Putnam, Director of the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, and I’m pleased to welcome you all here and those watching on C-Span to the first forum in our 2009/2010 Kennedy Library Forums series. Let me begin by thanking our generous underwriters, including lead sponsor, Bank of America, Boston Capital, the Lowell Institute, the Corcoran Jennison Companies, and our media sponsors, The Boston Globe, WBUR, and NECN.
It’s not often that the reissue of a memoir written some fifty years ago garners an article on the front page of The New York Times, a sizzling op-ed on its editorial page, and reviews in many of the nation’s leading newspapers and journals. But the author, Ernest Hemingway, was no ordinary writer. A Moveable Feast is no ordinary memoir. And this unique reissue has been restored meticulously by Hemingway’s own grandson, Sean, one of our primary speakers this afternoon.
The book is, of course, more than just memoir. It is a discourse on writing, a travelogue through Paris, a snapshot of a colorful set of American writers, practicing their craft during a magical moment in the 1920s in the City of Lights. We are fortunate to have with us this afternoon an extraordinary panel, each with a unique connection to Hemingway, Paris, and writing. Before introducing them, let us watch a video offering a montage of some of the manuscripts that are housed here in our collections and that were used by Sean in his research and featuring Ernest Hemingway’s sole surviving son, Patrick, who served as the impetus behind this new book.
It is an honor for the Kennedy Library to be home of the Ernest Hemingway Collection, the world’s principle center of Hemingway research where we work with all different types of visitors and supporters. What is rare is to find someone like Sean Hemingway who represents so many of those varied interests in one person. A classicist by training and currently an associate curator of Greek and Roman art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Sean understands museums, preservation, and the power of original artifacts and manuscripts to tell a story. A researcher in our collection, Sean has previously edited two anthologies of his grandfather’s writing -- Hemingway on Hunting and Hemingway on War -- and knows our manuscript and AV materials as well as the archivists who work here. A member of the Hemingway family, he has an intimate connection to these materials, writing in his introduction in this new book of his fascination as a young boy for a large trunk embossed with the initials ‘EH’ and located in the apartment of Mary Hemingway, his godmother and Hemingway’s widow -- the very trunk, he learned later, that had been used to transport from Paris to New York City Hemingway’s forsaken manuscripts and remises that had been stored for decades in the Ritz Hotel and spurred the writing of these classic vignettes.
And, finally, Sean is an ardent supporter of the Collection, serving along with his wife, Colette, as the co-chair of the Hemingway Council which is dedicated to shining a light on these treasured materials and to ensuring the needed resources to support their preservation. Colette, who is here with us today, has also conducted her own research in our archives for her book, In His Time: Ernest Hemingway’s Collection of Paintings and the Artists He Knew. We are grateful to you, Sean and Colette, for being here today and for your ongoing support of our collective enterprise.
Our next two speakers both have experience as American expatriates living as writers in Paris. According to one reviewer, “Diane Johnson updates the transatlantic novel so gorgeously rendered by Henry James and Edith Wharton, evokes the spirit of such expatriates sojourning in Paris as Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald, and mines the pathos of modern fiction in her wonderful and important novels.” Having divided her time now for a number of years between Paris and California, Ms. Johnson states that when she first moved to Paris she trusted that all she had heard about French women — their perfect clothes, dedicated cookery, and elaborate wiles — would turn out on closer inspection to be untrue. Yet she describes her first attempt at a recipe from a Sunday newspaper/magazine marked très facile as taking her the better part of an hour to remove the backbone of a fish, boiling it with leek, laurel, and thyme, reducing the broth to a reduction. All this, she writes, before she began cooking the fish itself. Some stereotypes, she concludes, are based on fact. Her books include Le Mariage, Le Divorce and Into a Paris Quartier.
Adam Gopnik is a staff writer for The New Yorker and the author of Paris to the Moon, an account of the half decade that he and his family spent living in France. As one reviewer has written, “It has been said that a writer is someone who sees differently. Mr. Gopnik sees more. Who else could come up with an analogy between the American obsession with working out and tangling with the French bureaucracy: ‘Three or four days a week, you’re given something to do that is time consuming, takes you out of yourself, is mildly painful, forces you into close proximity with strangers, and ends usually with a surprising rush of exhilaration. Hey, I did it.’” Mr. Gopnik’s most recent book is Angels and Ages, a short book about Darwin, Lincoln, and modern life.
If you are like me, your Saturday morning is planned around home chores or family drives that allow time to listen to NPR’s Weekend Edition and Scott Simon’s thoughtful analysis, compelling essays, and signature wit, decency and joie de vivre. He has participated in a variety of Kennedy Library Forums on topics ranging from Abraham Lincoln to Jackie Robinson. He’s the author of a number of books, including most recently the novel, Windy City and Home and Away: Memoir of a Fan. A native of Chicago, his NPR bio suggests that he lives and dies for the Cubs, White Sox, Bears, Bulls, and now, as a token of affection for his wife, the French National soccer team.
This has been a week for memoir at the Library for we opened on Monday with an influx of visitors who chose to buy their copy of True Compass by the late Senator Edward M. Kennedy in our museum store on the first day it went on sale. As you may know, this hall was uniquely consecrated last month for it is where Senator Kennedy lay in repose as tens of thousands came to pay their last respects to a man who lived a public life. And his most lasting legacy lies in the legislation he wrote during his 47 years in the United States Senate that touched so many lives.
As we turn now to discuss another memoir, it occurs to me that the manuscripts that lie beyond these walls and that are at the heart of the restored version of A Moveable Feast are equally sacred. They are the many true sentences written by a literary legend during a long career that have captivated millions of readers and inspired countless generations of writers to try their hand at Hemingway’s craft. To discuss all of this and more, please join me in welcoming Scott Simon, Adam Gopnik, Diane Johnson, and Sean Hemingway. [applause]
SCOTT SIMON: Let me begin by trying to frame things just a little bit before we go to questions. I think first, I want to say just how pleased I am to be here with a distinguished group to talk about a book which I made a point of reading all over again, uplifted and enlivened me. I was one of those people who came to this Library not knowing that the Hemingway collection was here, a number of years ago, and was introduced to it. And not only was I swept away with that idea, but I’ve been very impressed by the devotion of this institution to looking after Ernest Hemingway, this signature American artist.
So I’m very glad to be here in this capacity. As is no secret, I am from Chicago, rather proudly and outspokenly from Chicago. My mother is from Oak Park, which is right across the street. But there are subtle and more than subtle differences. And when I was a youngster, my mother used to remind me that I could have Saul Bellow stand on top of Richard Wright, who could stand on top of James T. Farrell, three great world writers who were Chicago writers. And in her judgment, they still wouldn’t add up to Ernest Hemingway from Oak Park, right across the street.
She gave me a copy of A Moveable Feast when I was thirteen. And a few years ago I said to her, “You know, just out of curiosity, because this means a lot in our family, did you give it because you could tell even then I wanted to be a writer or wanted to be a journalist? Did you give it to me because Hemingway was a journalist who ultimately, obviously much earlier in his life, began to write fiction?” And she said, “No. I think it was the scene in an Algerian restaurant when he sops up the gravy with his bread that reminded me of you when you were thirteen.” However, it created an important spark.
I want to turn to Sean for a few questions first. Why? Why was it, if not necessary, desirable for you to put together this version of A Moveable Feast?
SEAN HEMINGWAY: Well, Scott, my uncle, Patrick Hemingway, really had the idea for the project. And I followed up on it with him. It’s been known for a long time that the first edition that came out in 1964 had a number of changes that were made by the editors, and scholars have really poured over this material since it became available in 1979. And books have been written about the text. I have to acknowledge all of that I think.
But in coming to the manuscript, the Kennedy Library here has all of that manuscript material. So it was possible, through the great help of the Ernest Hemingway Collection here and Tom Putnam and his predecessor, Deborah Leff, the Directors, to really look at all that material very closely again and see exactly what those changes were that were made. And it became apparent that there were quite a few changes that were made and that a new edition would really help to show that.
Because I think the unfortunate thing about the first edition is it was presented as completed by my grandfather. So even though it was a posthumous work, it was essentially presented as complete; Mary Hemingway states that it was completed in 1960.
But, in fact, there’s clear evidence in the archives here and elsewhere -- Princeton -- that the book was not finished and that my grandfather was working on it right up until the end of his life. It was very close to being finished, and you see that in the new edition. You see in the nineteen chapters that are presented as the main text (essentially we’re just missing the final chapter and an introduction) that the book was very close. And that’s very close to those chapters that were presented, but the order of the chapters was changed and some additional material was added and an ending was crafted from other chapters that he was considering. So it seemed like the right time. I started this project in 2004. So I spent a lot of time working with the manuscripts before really moving ahead with the project with the publisher.
SCOTT SIMON: You’ve read some of the articles that have questioned the necessity or the propriety of this. I want to give you a chance to give the answer.
SEAN HEMINGWAY: There has been some controversy over this new edition, as you mention and as Tom alluded to. There was a rather scathing op-ed piece in the New York Times, and I disagree with much of what was said in that op-ed piece written by Aaron Hotchner. It’s not surprising to me that there is a gut reaction by people who love the first edition of the book, to think that there would be any changes to it, because it really has a tremendous following.
But I think as people who actually look at this new edition and read it will see, this new edition really adds to the story of A Moveable Feast. And I think it’s important to recognize that this is a posthumous work of my grandfather, that it was not completely finished. And this new edition, really, it gives a window into that whole creative process because it presents it as unfinished and includes all of these additional sketches, ten additional chapters that my father wrote for the book that he had, at the point of his death, had decided to cut from it. And that in itself shows in his writing process, how much he wrote for the book and decided to trim it down, to only keep the very best. And two of those chapters were included in the posthumous edition. So those are parts that most people saw and thought of as complete -- “Ezra Pound and His Bel Esprit,” talking about the poet T.S. Eliot, it’s just wonderful material. That my grandfather cut all that, it’s remarkable that he was really being ruthless in his editing.
So this new edition presents all that material, but as it was at the time of his death. And you have the main body of the text and then you have these additional chapters. And another point to return to the op-ed piece, a point that I disagree with, it was suggested that the manuscript was finished and that he essentially found this manuscript in the trunks that they found at the Ritz in 1956. And I think it’s very clear -- and any one of you can make an appointment and go up and look at the original manuscripts, archival copies of them here at the Library -- and you can see that all -- and we have several drafts of this book, that the drafts are written in the late 1950s. They’re not coming out of very early notebooks that would have deteriorated and would have lines. And you can just tell from the paper. And just also, I think the book itself, I think when reading the book, it feels like a memoir written by a man at the end of his life, not as was suggested in this op-ed piece that it was written essentially at the beginning of his life, in the late 1920s.
SCOTT SIMON: Can I get you to talk about how you understand your grandfather’s frame of mind at the time that he was writing a lot of these vignettes in the late 1950s? Because, of course, obviously those were painful years for your grandfather most notably, and for those who loved him.
SEAN HEMINGWAY: Well, that’s another feature of this new edition that I think is a valuable contribution to my grandfather’s work, is that it really allows you to look at this writing process. And you can see that for most of the book, essentially the part that’s presented in the first part of the book, the main manuscript of the nineteen chapters … You can look at the manuscript pages and they’re very clean. And there’s a selection of them included in the book, so you can see some of them. And you can see there are minor changes. But even in the first draft, he’s composed these chapters very well. And you get a sense that his writing, that he’s still very much on top of his game and writing.
But at the end, really from 1960 to 1961 when his health was failing him tremendously, and in some of the last pieces that are included in the additional sketches of this book, especially the last one, Nada y Pues Nada, which was written as a possible final chapter, it’s a chapter that’s as much about himself at that time in his life as it is about Paris in the 1920s. And it’s very depressing. And I’ve included one manuscript, the last part of that manuscript page in the book. And you get a sense -- I could just read it briefly -- that my grandfather was suffering from depression. And even I could feel, in looking at his handwriting throughout the different manuscript pages, you can see in this last piece, which is written probably in April of 1961, just months before he committed suicide, that his handwriting is not as sure. And yet he’s still working at his craft. So it’s a very poignant and touching vision of him at the very end of his life. And it’s something that hasn’t been written about before.
So let me just read this section here. This is the very last chapter of the book. “But there are remises” -- which is a French word for storage places -- “or storage places where you may leave or store certain things such as a locker trunk or duffel bag containing personal effects or the unpublished poems of Evan Shipman or marked maps or even weapons there was no time to turn over to the proper authorities and this book contains certain materials from the remises of my memory and of my heart. Even if the one has been tampered with and the other does not exist.”
So you see him expressing his despair in this last chapter. And it’s very understandable to me why Mary Hemingway didn’t choose this as the last chapter, working on this book right after his suicide, in the years right after his suicide. And even in looking at this passage, we see references to his time in World War II. We see references to many things besides the time in Paris. So he’s reflecting on all these different things.
SCOTT SIMON: Let me turn to Diane first and then Adam. What does this memoir, this book represent? What has it meant to you personally? What does it represent in the art of memoir?
DIANE JOHNSON: I, unlike you, Scott, read the two versions side by side. And I would have to say that that’s a very interesting way to do it. Because there are certain sentences restored (which you don’t actually have time to go into in your prefatory remarks) that evidently he intended to keep in the manuscript, and which had been edited by the previous editors.
So anything that brings us closer to Hemingway, those of us who are kind of Hemingway reverent and I have to say I’m also coming through the prism of an Illinois person, and I see that, the Illinois-ness of Hemingway as well as …
SCOTT SIMON: Not just the sopping of the sauce, but yeah.
DIANE JOHNSON: In fact, I just had a bit of good luck. Just a quick anecdote: my family grew up hundred and fifty miles from Chicago, and when we were closing my grandmother’s house about ten years ago, there were first editions of Farewell To Arms and Gatsby side by side. So that suggests that people were reading in little Illinois towns, they were reading Hemingway in the ‘20s.
I guess I’m here also to speak as a semi-Parisian. And what really strikes me, probably has struck Adam, how American views of Paris have been really influenced by this work, A Moveable Feast, especially … well, not especially, but I might mention Shakespeare and Company. Because living in Paris as I do, people come through. You know, everyone you know calls you up if you’re in Paris. And one of the things they always make sure to do is go to Shakespeare and Company. And they know this piece by heart. Of course, Shakespeare and Company now is not the same Shakespeare and Company. It’s been usurped. And that’s rather irritating, in fact, because it’s an awfully grotty place now.
SCOTT SIMON: A theme park.
DIANE JOHNSON: But also the idea of the life in Paris among Americans, the expatriates and so on. I don't know another work that’s had the influence that this had. And that was brought back to me. What I had forgotten was how he walked down my street, and he reports, more minutely than I’d remembered, on where he was actually walking, where he was crossing. He walks down the Rue Bonaparte to get, you know, here or there.
And I actually met a woman who lives in his apartment on the Rue Cardinale Lemoine. So his ghosts are everywhere in just those little recollections that people have or can summon up. And that is very fascinating. So the whole textual business is itself pretty interesting, very interesting. But it raises all these questions: how do we establish canonical texts, and so on.
ADAM GOPNIK: I will confess that I was rather late coming to A Moveable Feast. I always wore on my lapel the red rose of Liebling and his great book, Between Meals, rather than the white rose of Hemingway. And one of the curious things is that those two books, which have both been hugely influential and affected our vision of Paris, the American experience in Paris, come from exactly the same time, ’62 and ’64 in their first publications: one a book about meals, the other book about feasts. And there’s presumably an extremely dull Ph.D. thesis to be written on that subject -- both Liebling and Hemingway, present in the ‘20s, both of them writing in the late ‘50s about their experiences.
And one of the curious things I think about coming to A Moveable Feast, which I had read many years ago, but which I reread more carefully when I was putting together an anthology of America’s writing by Americans in Paris a few years ago, is that in one way, it’s a much more constrained vision of Paris. That is, most of his experience is the experience of other expatriates: of Gertrude Stein, of Ezra Pound, Fitzgerald. Whereas the experience, say, of an Edith Wharton or of Henry James fifty years before had been essentially Parisian. That is to say, their collisions and intersections had been with French writers and with French society. And a lot of the drama of their work had come from the collision of the innocent American and the over-wise French — in a curious way, not unlike the way your [Diane Johnson’s] work imagines it now. And it’s that subject.
So in one way, his subject was smaller. But the astonishing thing to me in reading through A Moveable Feast -- both in the old edition, then again in the new restored edition -- is the extraordinary notes, surprising I think in a writer who still comes to us or is still misshapen in memory as a writer of tough edges and hard moments, this extraordinary note of domestic tenderness that penetrates and permeates A Moveable Feast. And I thought, just because we should have a little Hemingway prose somewhere in here, I thought I would just read a little bit, one of my favorite passages of that kind from the book. It’s right after Hemingway has found, in the section called “Shakespeare and Company,” has discovered the original Shakespeare and Company and discovered that you can borrow books, European masterpieces, from it, which was hugely important to him. And he’s with his wife and he says:
Home in the rue Cardinal Lemoine was a two-room flat that had no hot water and no inside toilet facilities except an antiseptic container that was not uncomfortable to anyone who was used to a Michigan outhouse, but was a cheerful, gay flat with a fine view and a good mattress and springs for a comfortable bed on the floor, and pictures we liked on the walls. When I got there with the books, I told my wife about the wonderful place I had found.
“But Tatie, you must go by this afternoon and pay,” she said. (Because Sylvia Beach had loaned him the books without paying.)
“Sure I will,” I said. “We’ll both go. And then we’ll walk down by the river and along the quais.”
And she says, “Let’s walk down the rue de Seine and look in all the galleries and in the windows of the shops.”
“Sure. We can walk anywhere and we can stop at some new café where we don’t know anyone and nobody knows us and have a drink.”
“We can have two drinks.”
“Then we can eat somewhere.”
“No. Don’t forget we have to pay for the library.”
“We’ll come home and eat here and we’ll have a lovely meal and drink Beaune from the co-operative you can see right out of the window there with the price of the Beaune on the window. And afterwards we’ll read and then go to bed and make love.”
And she says, “And we’ll never love anyone else but each other.”
“What a lovely afternoon and evening. Now we better have lunch.”
“I’m very hungry,” I said. “I worked at the café on a café crème.”
“How did it go, Tatie?”
“I think all right. I hope so. What do we have for lunch?”
“Little radishes and good foie de veau with mashed potatoes and an endive salad. Apple tart.”
“And we’re going to have all the books in the world to read and when we go on trips we can take them.”
“Would that be honest?”
“Does she have Henry James too?”
“My,” she said. “We’re lucky that you found the place.”
Seems to me that the beauty, the potent quality of it comes from that extraordinary simplification of emotion that he was able to recreate. And one of the fascinating things for me, Sean, in reading through the new version was exactly the idea, which I hadn’t been aware of, that the notion that there were re-found diaries. That the beautiful limpidity of his prose, which is I must say as a Hemingway lover but not an uncritical one, was increasingly absent in the work of the late ‘50s, in his writing in the ‘50s, which is suddenly rediscovered with this heartbreaking clarity and lucidity here. That it was the idea of the rediscovered thing that set him off, that it wasn’t that he actually had the notebooks which he could then reuse, but the notion that there were notebooks, that he had a direct, tangible connection to the spirit of that dialogue was what enabled him to recreate that dialogue, obviously in a stylized and poetic form, and re-find those emotions in himself.
I think that’s one of the things that makes it such an extraordinarily beautiful, and, as Diane said, such an influential book. Because in that dialogue is everything ingenuous, everything touching, everything aspirational in the American experience of Paris. We’ll have books and food …
DIANE JOHNSON: … and alcohol.
ADAM GOPNIK: … and alcohol and drink.
DIANE JOHNSON: I read a book by somebody (I can’t tell you the author) whose thesis was that many great American masterpieces were about drinking. The Sun Also Rises was the instance. And I couldn’t help but remember that critique when I was reading this because, in fact, it’s a lot about what they had to drink. And you see already how important alcohol [simultaneous conversation] …
SCOTT SIMON: But one thing I noted … Go ahead, Sean.
SEAN HEMINGWAY: Well, I would just add to what you were saying about this notion of finding things and what’s inspiring someone to make a memoir, inspiring Ernest Hemingway to make this memoir. And I agree. I think there has been a lot of controversy over what was in those trunks at the Ritz. Did those trunks at the Ritz even exist, as one scholar who spent a lot of time studying these manuscripts didn’t even believe? I think they did. And I think among the material (and the Kennedy Library, again, is the repository for all this material), some of the inspiration were sections for The Sun Also Rises that were cut, like the chapter on Ford Madox Ford, again, involves drinking and the café. So I think it’s true. It’s amazing the little things that can touch off memory and lead to sensitive moments.
ADAM GOPNIK: I think every writer has to invent a lost suitcase at the Ritz. Just to pick up on what Diane was saying, I was struck by that, too, rereading this, that the -- as the French would say -- the sacrés of their time was drinking and sex. Those were the two essential things. Whereas for our time, it’s really children and cooking. Those are our two sacred …
SCOTT SIMON: … and not eating too much.
ADAM GOPNIK: … and not eating too much.
SCOTT SIMON: Drinking a lot, but not eating too much.
ADAM GOPNIK: Not to drop a name, but just before he died, I had a letter from John Updike. And I had written something a few years before saying that it was extraordinary that Updike had broken the curse of the second act, the curse of American writers not being able to go on from early accomplishment to mature accomplishment. And he said it has to do only with drinking. He said, “Ours is the first generation -- Roth and I -- we just don’t drink. And if you don’t drink,” he said, “you can go on writing in your sixties and seventies.”
SCOTT SIMON: And one thing I hope this reissue can do -- because I marked a section -- I think a lot of us today, really for most of my life, most of which has been after the death of your grandfather, have an image. Hemingway was the most successful American writer and in some ways, one of the most successful and best known American images. And he had a home in Cuba and he had a home in Ketchum. He had a trunk at the Ritz. He was friends with Marlene Dietrich.
What you get to know here -- this is the section, “Hunger was a good discipline” -- what you get to know here is a man (forgive me) evacuating into a plastic bucket (probably wasn’t even plastic, therefore harder to clean) in a two-room, not even coldwater flat because the plumbing was outside. Listen to this. He wrote:
“You got very hungry when you did not eat enough in Paris.” Because he would live from check to check, eat well for two or three meals and then spare himself. “You got very hungry when you did not eat enough in Paris because all the bakery shops had such good things in the windows and people ate outside at tables on the sidewalks so that you saw and smelled the food. When you were skipping meals at a time when you’d given up journalism and were writing nothing that anyone in America would buy, explaining at home that you were lunching out with someone, the best place to do it was the Luxembourg gardens, where you saw and you smelled nothing to eat.”
Then he said:
“… you could always go into the museum there and all the paintings were heightened and clearer and more beautiful if you were belly-empty, hollow-hungry. I learned to understand Cézanne much better and to see truly how he made landscapes when I was hungry. I used to wonder if he were hungry too when he painted; but I thought it was possibly only that he’d forgotten to eat. It’s was one of those unsound but illuminating thoughts you have when you’ve been sleepless or hungry. Later I thought Cézanne was probably hungry in a different way.”
That’s startling. What do you think your grandfather thought of F. Scott Fitzgerald?
SEAN HEMINGWAY: Well, my grandfather I think initially he looked up to him as a writer. And like many relationships, friendships that my grandfather had, their relationship kind of went through a cycle.
SCOTT SIMON: Cycle would suggest something comes up at the end.
SEAN HEMINGWAY: Well, it starts and comes up and then goes down again. And I think by the time he was writing these memoirs, Fitzgerald was dead. And his cycle had also sort of come up and come down. And I think he respected him as a writer. He empathized with the problems he had with his difficulties he had writing, drinking and also with the medical issues his wife had.
But what I found interesting is how different the experience of Paris was for Fitzgerald versus the experience Paris was for Hemingway in the 1920s. They came to Paris at a different time in their lives. My grandfather was really just starting out, whereas Fitzgerald was an established short story writer and writing novels that were becoming successful. And he was involved in all these parties, at sort of a different social level, really, in terms of constantly going out. And that all comes out in A Moveable Feast.
But it’s true in A Moveable Feast my grandfather had some harsh criticisms of him. And this was something I think he was trying to do in the book, stories that hadn’t been told about all of these different people. And some of them are not flattering, but they also speak to a person’s character and essential elements that he knew about them.
SCOTT SIMON: There’s a section in there where Sean’s grandfather writes that Fitzgerald came to him, F. Scott Fitzgerald announced that Zelda thought he was under-equipped as a husband -- and I don't mean he kept the television remote in his hand, under-equipped, if you catch my drift -- and they go off to see statues. And your grandfather says (they go to art museums), “No, no. You’re the same size as these nudes that are here. Don’t worry.” But there’s still something very distressing to read it. You think this is not the vignette of a friend when you read something like that.
DIANE JOHNSON: I didn’t feel that since I don’t have that particular kind of anxiety. You know, I haven’t been in that locker room conversation, so it struck me as kind of a locker room conversation that men probably have. I thought it was tenderer about Fitzgerald than I remembered. And I wondered what the difference in their ages was, because I didn’t look it up.
SEAN HEMINGWAY: Not as much as you think. I’m not sure exactly, but he’s not that much older.
DIANE JOHNSON: Hemingway is older?
SEAN HEMINGWAY: No, no. Fitzgerald is older.
DIANE JOHNSON: Because in Hemingway’s presentation, he’s very much the older and wiser person.
ADAM GOPNIK: I think two things interest me. I’d love to read something that, Sean, you singled out here in the introduction. Two things struck me in rereading the parts about Fitzgerald. One is that Fitzgerald comes to Paris, as you were saying, a star. He’s already, if not a finished writer, he’s a famous writer and Hemingway is not.
The other thing is, is that Hemingway (and it’s one of the things that’s striking in A Moveable Feast) Hemingway is going to school to make himself into a modernist. The writers who matter to him are Joyce. There’s that wonderful moment when he talks about going to watch Joyce eat and was it good manners to watch James Joyce eat. And he’s in close contact, obviously, with Gertrude Stein, who has a huge influence on him, with Ezra Pound. These are writers. This is a certain kind of avant-garde ambition, it’s completely alien to Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald is a writer of enormous genius, but it’s the apotheosis of The Saturday Evening Post. It has nothing to do with that particular modernist orbit that Hemingway found himself in.
But I agree with Diane that in reading it again, it struck me that, though there’s a certain ugly competitiveness (writers can compete about anything from the size of their advances to the size of their members), nonetheless, there was an essential tenderness about it, too. But there’s a lovely thing here. This book needs no defense, but certainly in promotion of this restored edition, there’s something that Sean reproduces in the introduction which I thought would be interesting. It’s about Hemingway writing about Fitzgerald.
On Fitzgerald, in the original it reads (if I understand this correctly, in the manuscript):
“His talent was as natural as the pattern that was made by the dust on a butterfly’s wings. At one time he understood it no more than the butterfly did and he did not know when it was brushed or marred. Later he became conscious of his damaged wings and of their construction and he learned to think. He was flying again and I was lucky to meet him just after a good time in his writing, if not a good one in his life.”
And then that became in the posthumous edition, that essentially well wishing sentiment becomes,
“Later he became conscious of his damaged wings and of their construction and he learned to think and could not fly anymore because the love of flight was gone and he could only remember when it had been effortless.”
Which turns Fitzgerald into a kind of pathetic figure. Where in the original, in the final text, the edition, it’s much more salutary, much more positive.
SEAN HEMINGWAY: I think that’s absolutely true. And it’s a puzzle why they decided to go with that other version, Mary Hemingway and Harry Brague, the editors, chose what was an earlier draft of that section …
ADAM GOPNIK: …essentially patronizing.
SEAN HEMINGWAY: Yes. They decided to make it harder. I don’t think that was right in the first edition. Mary Hemingway says an interesting thing in the piece that she did for The New York Times Book Review about the making of the book. And she says when she was talking with Ernest about the book, that it wasn’t so much about him. He called it biography by remate -- this is what Mary says – and remate is a jai alai term for a decisive, finishing two-wall shot. It’s interesting that he talks about it more as biography than memoir. And so he’s clearly writing about these other people and that he’s getting these parting shots on people. But I think he did pull back. And that’s something you can really see in this new edition, is that there was another chapter about F. Scott Fitzgerald and his chauffeur.
SCOTT SIMON: That was actually set back here.
SEAN HEMINGWAY: It was set back in the States and is a little bit later chronologically. And so you can see a number of reasons why he cut it. But I think it’s also pulling back a little bit from being harsh on Fitzgerald. In the same regard, Ford
Madox Ford, you think, in reading the first edition, how could he have been any worse to Ford? And then you read this additional chapter that he cut, which is even harsher. And he describes it as, “I could make up things, but the worst thing is to actually be truthful,” just when he writes this short chapter, which is very harsh about him and his lying, and that he even exudes a smell, which is interesting. So I think you’re both right in that he’s critical, but he’s also remembering these people who were important to him in his life.
ADAM GOPNIK: The Ford’s chapter, the restored one, is a little bit worse than harsh. It’s gratuitously malicious.
DIANE JOHNSON: About Ford?
ADAM GOPNIK: About Ford. And it’s one of the things that makes Hemingway an endlessly interesting writer is that constant back and forth between the gratuitously malicious and insanely competitive, side by side with this extraordinary lyrical gift and the ability to evoke the most intimate moments of human aspiration, of desire, to find all of those little correlates like the wine and the apple tart, that lovely … putting “apple tart” as a separate sentence, “apple tart” at the end of that, so beautiful. And that back and forth constantly in Hemingway’s work is never stronger than in this book in a way. It’s almost schizophrenic in this book, between the generous and the gratuitous.
SCOTT SIMON: I’m going to ask about the relationship between your grandfather and Hadley, his wife. I was particularly struck by, I guess it’s a restored section, he talks about growing his hair long and what that represented, the line between, “I’m going to throw my hat over the wall and not just be a lousy wage slave,” which is to say a journalist. “I’m going to try and write serious fiction and I’m going to stake my life on it. But to do that, I have to grow my hair long so that The Toronto Star can’t cable me and say, ‘Get to an economics conference in Vienna,’ because I can’t afford a haircut.”
SEAN HEMINGWAY: That chapter is one of my favorite ones in the new restored edition of additional pieces, and it’s a very touching chapter. It shows, it expresses so much love for Hadley and also them in a state of love. And the whole business of cutting the hair is interesting. I mean, it really portrays him as really someone starting out with only one suit and one pair of shoes for work. I think it’s a wonderful piece. There was only a single draft of this piece so it’s unfinished. And he wrote it. And then I think also the business of cutting the hair was probably a little bit … I don't know. For a number of reasons he may have cut it. But there are many parts of the book where he expresses great love for Hadley. And I think you can see in the fragment section of the restored edition, where he’s trying to sum up the book, he expresses many times how Hadley is the heroine, Hadley, this book is for her. And it’s true. I think he expresses a great deal of love for her.
SCOTT SIMON: And heaps blame on himself for the …
SEAN HEMINGWAY: … and heaps blame on himself.
SCOTT SIMON: For not just the failure of a marriage, but for making her life miserable.
SEAN HEMINGWAY: And that’s part of the rationale for this new edition. I can even understand why Mary Hemingway decided on the ending in the chapter, “There is Never Any End to Paris,” to end with the break-up, but that leaves Hadley alone and abandoned.
And so he wrote that as a possible ending, which is included in this new edition as “The Pilot Fish and the Rich.” But he decided, at least at the end of his life as he was grappling with this, that’s not the ending he wanted. He wanted a better ending that didn’t leave her abandoned and alone.
DIANE JOHNSON: Who was the pilot fish? Just to explain, there’s this very elliptical section in which he refers to a person called the pilot fish who is sort of a sycophant of rich people. And he suggests that he and Hadley were kind of drawn into the pilot fish’s coterie. I never have read who that was. And then he also refers to the person who was to be his second wife, I gather Pauline, as this kind of home-wrecker who insinuated herself into the affections of Hadley. I didn’t understand Hotchner saying that one reason for this new edition was to put Pauline in a better light, since it doesn’t actually. It’s, if anything, more sympathetic to Hadley than the published edition.
SEAN HEMINGWAY: The pilot fish (and I’m relying more on scholarship to answer this question) is thought to be John Dos Passos.
DIANE JOHNSON: Oh, interesting.
SEAN HEMINGWAY: But he’s never mentioned in any of the manuscripts as that’s who it is. But that’s what people have suggested. It’s true that Pauline doesn’t really come off much better in this new edition. My uncle, Patrick, of course Pauline was his mother and my grandmother. So we were very interested to see if there was more material about her, because she hardly comes into the book at all. But as it turns out, there isn’t a great deal about her in the book. And he wrote this chapter, which is at the end. There are some nice parts about how there’s unbelievable happiness in their marriage and how it’s a beginning, not an ending. And Mary cut those out when she was re-crafting that final chapter. So she made it even worse in the first edition, I mean, she comes off a little bit worse. And, again, that didn’t seem a true, a proper editorial decision to cut. If you’re going to include that chapter, you should include it as it was written as opposed to cutting out paragraphs of it, several paragraphs.
SCOTT SIMON: When you’re in Paris, do you go to the bar at the Ritz? And when you hand over your credit card, do they say, “Ho, ho. Hemingway?”
SEAN HEMINGWAY: Well, of course, there’s the bar at the Ritz. And now there’s also a Hemingway bar at the Ritz, which is actually the ladies bar. But it’s very nice. And they’ve made it up in the Hemingway style. We were there last year, and we went and had a drink. And what I was struck about it was that the bartenders, there’s still very much that sort of camaraderie between the bartender and the clientele and the stories, and that these people continue to be very interesting people.
SCOTT SIMON: We’re going to go to your questions in a moment. I want to turn to Adam and Diane a moment to get you to talk about Paris and a writer’s life. My wife is French and she went to school in Paris and spent some time living in Paris. But she’s actually from Normandy, which is to say, she loves Paris. It’s Parisians she can’t stand. This is a fairly common viewpoint in the rest of France. And let me get you to talk about the relationship between writers in that city as it’s been in your own life and as you’ve observed it, if it was a kind of magnet for you for that reason.
DIANE JOHNSON: Among American writers in Paris now? Or among French writers?
SCOTT SIMON: However you want to tweak that.
DIANE JOHNSON: Well, there is quite a bit of camaraderie, I would say, in Paris. We have a lunch group, for example. And we have it in the rotunda where Hemingway went and ate lunch.
ADAM GOPNIK: Really?
DIANE JOHNSON: Yes, and when you’re in Paris, you must, you know, reveal your presence, because that’s where we talk about -- we don’t talk about Hemingway -- we complain about our agents and, you know, up-to-date shop talk. None of us, I think, has many French writer friends. And you don’t get the feeling that Hemingway did either. I think the French literary world is still a bit reserved about Americans.
SCOTT SIMON: No, his best friends are bartenders.
DIANE JOHNSON: Yes, absolutely, waiters and bartenders are friendly in Paris. But the French … Did you ever get to be friends with French writers?
ADAM GOPNIK: Yes, four or five who I still see regularly.
DIANE JOHNSON: Yeah? Well, Beachelle(?)
ADAM GOPNIK: Beachelle and Pascal Bruckner, others. You know, what strikes me is that inevitably there are two Parises that exist simultaneously. One of the Parises is the Paris that James, Wharton, Liebling, Hemingway invented …
DIANE JOHNSON: … Fennimore Cooper. It goes way back.
ADAM GOPNIK: … Fennimore Cooper, Ben Franklin. And that’s a Paris that we not only inhabit if we’re lucky, but that we go in search of. It’s our iconic Paris. It’s the Paris that I fell in love with as an eight year-old in Philadelphia and was determined to get to, and Diane as a young woman. And that Paris exists. It’s not a tourist trap. That is there is a genuine sense in which the things that we love about that imaginary Paris, its quality of commonplace civilization, its endless beauty, its perverse mysteries, all of those things are so. They’re not imagined.
But they exist within a city which is, as your wife would say or as any French person would say, is simply a big, and dirty and, in many respects, duplicitous metropolis. I just finished a long piece about the Dreyfus affair. It’ll be in The New Yorker tomorrow. And it is one of the things that strikes you when you’re writing about, reading about the Dreyfus affair, about the army captain who was wrongly accused of espionage, Jewish army captain, is that it’s all taking place in the 1890s. He’s degraded. His uniform is stripped from him horrible, right underneath the Eiffel Tower at the end of the Champs de Mars. That’s the American Paris going on. And simultaneously there’s this very different, uglier, more complex, in some ways more compelling Paris that also exists that’s the Paris of Sacré-Coeur up at the other end of Paris, the Paris of reaction, of Catholicism and all of those things.
So I think that I would never apologize for the American Paris. I would never think that that Paris is partial or fraudulent or illusory because it’s not. It’s as much a part of the experience of Paris as the extended experience of the Revolution, of the Jameses, of the Elliots are of Boston. That’s part of what people come to Boston to experience. It doesn’t begin to exhaust the experience of Boston, which is much more complex and contentious and difficult. But I think the same thing is true of Paris. And I think the thing that as an American in Paris you try and pay attention to if you can is the awareness that we live and love one Paris. There’s another Paris there …
DIANE JOHNSON: … that we’re never going to be admitted to anyway.
ADAM GOPNIK: … that we will never fully inhabit. You can touch it and learn from it and take part … The only way, I think in the whole history of Americans in Paris that you can fully inhabit it is to marry into it the way that, even metaphorically, Mary Cassatt sort of married Degas and she moved from the Rue de Rivoli up to the Rue de Rome, and she became Parisian in that way. But I think that, you know, our poetic imaginings are as real as our prosaic instances. And I love Paris for that.
SCOTT SIMON: I’ve heard writers suggest that, for a writer, Paris today or certain streets in the Bronx or Queens or Brooklyn, or in fact Philadelphia, where there’s a multiplicity of inexpensive ethnic restaurants and kind of an intellectual support community of writers and artists rubbing up against each other, that part of what made Paris that kind of center in the ‘20s was the recovery from World War I, was actually economic hard times within the country.
DIANE JOHNSON: I’ve heard it said that there are fewer Americans in Paris now because the young writers can’t afford it. Now, I happen to have a husband who works there, and so it’s okay for me. But if you’re just where Hemingway was in the ‘20s, it’s way too expensive now. And so they go to Prague instead or some other place.
ADAM GOPNIK: Prague, Budapest, Warsaw. I think that’s true. But remember, the Hemingway/Liebling experience of the ‘20s is a kind of parentheses within the whole larger American experience in Paris. Because if you think of the 19th Century, you think of Henry James’s experience or Edith Wharton’s experience; they similarly were sort of independently wealthy or well off bourgeois who went to Paris and whose essential contact was with Parisians.
DIANE JOHNSON: It was kind of broken up by the First World War. But Americans were in the habit of going to France a lot. There was a close bond from the beginning of America up until it became kind of logistically more difficult.
SCOTT SIMON: Questions from the audience?
QUESTION: My name is Jeff Wein(?). I live in Dorchester, actually just over a mile from here. My son is a college student and last spring he signed up for a summer language study in Paris and I gave him a copy, my old copy of A Moveable Feast. And he read it last spring and I was lucky enough to be able to visit him for a few days this summer. And because the book meant a lot to me also, one of the things we wanted to do was kind of relive or recapture some of that spirit. But the horrifying thing was that so many of the places that Hemingway lived and wrote about are so changed, and not in a good way either. The old part of the Latin Quarter strikes me as a kind of Disney version of it now. And the areas around where Hemingway lived and where he ate and drank are very upscale now, touristy and expensive.
So I’m wondering, does any of that Moveable Feast Paris still exist somewhere in Paris, obviously not in the places where it once was? I was lucky enough to stay in a cheap hotel near République. And that area near the Canal Saint-Martin and toward Oberkampf sort of struck me as something more akin to a livable place where artists could survive.
And I wonder if there are other parts of Paris that still have that quality.
DIANE JOHNSON: Actually he mentioned Rue Cardinale Lemoine, isn’t that changed? The Rue Mouffetard is still okay. One of my children married a Frenchman and they live in the 19th arrondissement [simultaneous conversation]
ADAM GOPNIK: All of our friends live in the [simultaneous conversation]
DIANE JOHNSON: Yes. It’s the new yuppie place actually.
QUESTION: Can you tell us how the Hemingway papers came to come to the Kennedy Library?
SEAN HEMINGWAY: The Kennedy papers really came as the gift of Mary Hemingway, Ernest Hemingway’s last wife. And it was really through a friendship between her and Jackie Kennedy Onassis that the papers came here. They’re part of the National Archives. And there’s a room upstairs in the building here, on the fifth floor, where people can see all of the facsimile copies of all of the manuscript material, as well as his letters and also personal effects, many scrapbooks and photographs. So it’s really a tremendous collection, and paintings that he owned as well.
SCOTT SIMON: I really recommend it to everybody here, because it’s right in the neighborhood. I recommend it to people across the country who would come to Boston. I remember being, I guess about thirteen, and reading the Ernest Hemingway interview in the collected Paris Review interviews. And they have a single manuscript page that was in the collection of your grandfather’s signature spidery handwriting and the cross-outs, and being excited and thrilled to see that. There are -- what? -- a million sheets of paper upstairs with that signature spidery handwriting. It’s extraordinary to see. We were just up there before we came down to see the corrections made in Ernest Hemingway’s own hand. I’m not even sure corrections is the word I mean — the changes, the way he tightened, the way he sharpened. It’s an extraordinary thing to see.
ADAM GOPNIK: You know, it also struck me in thinking about it, is that (though I know that this was not the intention or not the overt intention) there is an odd kind of likeness between John F. Kennedy and Hemingway in the sense that they both are men of very complicated accomplishment, both men about whom it’s possible to have highly critical, ambivalent feelings, who nonetheless continue to radiate, perhaps because of some essential gallantry in their lives, continue to radiate an aura of heroism which seems undiminished 50 years on. And there’s a funny kind of symmetry, a funny kind of appropriateness in that double existence in this place.
QUESTION: Hello. I’m Carol Vanguard. And I thank you for your insights. I’d like to refer to the fifth chapter, “A False Spring” and the second to the last paragraph. I have a question about it. He writes, “It was a wonderful meal at Michaud’s after we got in; but when we had finished and there was no question of hunger anymore the feeling that had been like hunger when we were on the bridge was still there when we caught the bus home. It was there when we came in the room and after we had gone to bed and made love in the dark, it was there.” I wonder if you’d comment on that.
SEAN HEMINGWAY: That’s a wonderful passage in that chapter. It reminds me a little bit of “The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber” … Sorry, “The Snows of Kilimanjaro” when Death is sort of at the door. There’s a kind of foreshadowing in that chapter of discontent, and it’s interesting, but it’s something that comes up. And it’s a fair question to ask since we don’t have the final chapter to this book, if that’s a foreshadowing that this perfect love is going to change, and if he’s thinking about that ending, of moving on to his life with Pauline Pfeiffer, if that’s what that is. But it’s one of those literary passages that evokes many, opens the door to many possible …
ADAM GOPNIK: You know, it’s funny. All writers, I think, have one myth that they rewrite and reenact again and again. And Hemingway’s very much was the Garden of Eden. There’s always a beautiful, pure place that he’s able to evoke. And then there’s a snake who will remove you from it. It’s in Sun Also Rises, it’s the beautiful, pure place of trout fishing in Spain. And then there are all the snakes of sexual desire that lure you out of it. Again and again and again, I’m struck reading this, this tells that same story again: “There once was a time when I was happy with my first wife and my child. And something happened to us to break the purity of that moment.”
Now in reality, I’m sure, because this is true of all people, he broke the purity of the moment. We are all our own snakes. But it’s extraordinary how vivid and radiant he continues to be able to make the evocations of those little Edens that he finds and describes.
QUESTION: Hello. One of the things in that fiery editorial that you mentioned that was implied was that this restored edition is only of passing interest to scholars. I’m teaching this edition along with the 1964 one at a state college in a writing class, in a book group format. And they’re looking at both editions and sort of comparing and contrasting. And I strongly disagree with that implication in the editorial, because I think that the ability to look at writing as a process, which is something I’m trying to get them to do in their own writing every day, is so important. So I wonder if you, Mr. Hemingway, or anyone else could talk about the importance of reading both editions and make the case that this edition is so much more than passing interest to scholars and students.
SEAN HEMINGWAY: Well, I would absolutely agree with you. Thank you. You can read the first edition and the second edition side by side, and there are many small textual differences. In the book I think, one of the most dramatic is the changing in the narrative from the second person to the first person in many places, which was something that Hemingway was clearly consciously trying to do with this book. To me, it seems a little bit more experimental. It sort of brings you into the story by saying ‘you’ all the time.
But there are lots of little things. And some of them may be just editorial. I mean, in some cases you could argue that the editors did the right thing. He uses ‘wonderful’ a lot. And the editors of the first edition varied that. But in doing this edition, I tried to be very careful to really … We already had an edition that was edited by the editors. This edition really presents the state of the manuscript as it was at the time of his death. I mean, it’s important to realize that for the first part of that, there are three drafts and then two copies of a manuscript of all the chapters in order with very light notation. So he was very happy with where this manuscript was for the first part of this book, except for the ending. And then all of these additional pieces -- the ten chapters which he had written and cut -- since the book wasn’t finished, might have added some or not, it’s really opens a fruitful dialogue about the whole writing process. I think it will be a valuable teaching tool for students who are interested in the writing process.
In one of the chapters in the additional sketches, is writing in the first person, which was a very different, also kind of an expository, very short piece on that kind of writing. And that, I think is also of interest for people who are doing creative writing.
SCOTT SIMON: Do you call your grandfather Hemingway, or at least under certain circumstances?
SEAN HEMINGWAY: Sometimes I do. You know, he died before I was born so I never knew him personally. I feel like I’ve come to know him through my family and my father. My mother also worked as his personal secretary, and she actually typed the manuscript of A Moveable Feast. She was working with him at the end of his life at that time. My uncle is now the last person of that generation alive, and I’m very close with him. But I feel like I’ve come to know him through these people, but also through his writing because his writing does tell an awful lot about him.
QUESTION: I have two questions. One is for Sean, which is to understand where does the nickname ‘Tatie’ come from? Then if I could just ask the other question, which is I wondered if the panel could return to that discussion of drinking. Because it did seem, the book is full of so many lyrical descriptions. And I was struck by how Ernest Hemingway grew up, I believe in a dry household, militantly dry household, and that this was part of that experience of liberation that Paris was for him.
SEAN HEMINGWAY: Well, you know, I’m not sure, to be honest, what is the original derivation of that name. It’s an endearing name, and he had endearing names for all of his wives. Mary Hemingway was ‘Pickle’. I’m sorry; I don't know the answer to that. But it is endearing; it’s part of this language and he develops this idea of the sort of private language between them as lovers, that they have names for each other. And it’s part of their secret life together.
ADAM GOPNIK: Just about drinking, of course, one of the things that you have to keep in mind is that the experiences he’s recalling, as is Liebling’s work, are taking place during Prohibition in America. So that the idea that this is a place (we were talking a moment ago about paradise), a kind of paradise where you get all the alcohol you want just by asking for it and paying for it, is a very powerful one for Americans coming over. Not just that alcohol is available, but that it’s part of the rights and part of the rituals of …
DIANE JOHNSON: … so much of the mystique of the …
ADAM GOPNIK: Exactly. It’s not just something that you do sort of secretly in a closet, but something that you’re proud to do. There’s a whole lore and ritual. He mentions ‘the Beaune co-operative’ in that little section [simultaneous conversation] …
SCOTT SIMON: I would never want to deny a relationship between literature and alcohol. It arguably is sometimes, more than sometimes, a destructive relationship. But I think also when we talk about that time (there have been studies on this), people used to drink a lot more generally, and for breakfast, without being reproached for it. ‘Course I say that having married into a French family where some of that still goes on. But even if it still goes on, people will sometimes say that’s a potential problem. But people just drank more in those days, too.
ADAM GOPNIK: Just a quick story: when I was starting out at The New Yorker, I had a good friend -- because our generation does not drink in that way or very rarely does -- but I have a good friend who was another young staff writer. And we both were obsessed with clothes, and he was trying on a jacket that I had admired. And at that moment, Roger Angell, who’s sort of the oldest living citizen at The New Yorker, opened the door and saw us toying with this jacket. And he said, “You know, writers around this place used to drink,” and he slammed the door shut and walked away in disgust.
QUESTION: Wynn Sharples. I was sitting here thinking how all of us here have been brought here by a fascination, this man’s writing and this particular work. Mine came, not through the published edition, but through Life magazine. My daughter, sitting here beside me, was a few weeks away from joining us. And we’d been arguing for months over a suitable name. Couldn’t come up with one. And I turned the pages of Life. It was very precious to me when it came out. A lost manuscript of this marvelous man was like finding a new film by Truffaut today. And I looked, and there was a picture of a woman in profile in a cloche hat in front of frosted glass in a restaurant. And the name was Hadley Hemingway. And there was no debate after that as to what my daughter would be called. Fate came back twice to our family. A wonderful schoolmate of mine, while politically campaigning, went down in a small plane crash in South Hadley, Mass. And my daughter later attended Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Mass.
I do have a particular question. It just intrigues me, particularly Sean, but of course all of you, were you aware of that issue of Life? It did have remarkable evocative photos to illustrate. And my other question, did she really lose the manuscript of his first novel in a suitcase on a train? That would seem to have a somewhat deteriorative effect upon the relationship.
SEAN HEMINGWAY: I have not seen that. And I’ll definitely look for it, the Life magazine piece. And the loss of the manuscript is another thing, like the discovery of the trunk in the Ritz, that has a sort of legendary quality to it. I was with my uncle in Montana a few weeks ago. He’s notorious for having an opinion. And I was surprised to hear him say, “Well I don't think that that ever happened. I don't think that ever really happened.” But it’s hard to know. Again, there’s no definite documentation, I think. But certainly, it’s something, it seems plausible that he had a lot of writing and that it could have gotten lost.
SCOTT SIMON: But if it were to show up suddenly …
SEAN HEMINGWAY: Yeah, it rings true to me, I mean, the story of it seems believable.
DIANE JOHNSON: Wouldn’t that be something?
SCOTT SIMON: Yeah. They’d have to beware of forgery certainly at this point.
QUESTION: Thank you. John Brighton. Good afternoon. Your grandfather had an interesting relationship with Scribner, the letters and the checks and what have you. And I noticed the new edition is also Scribner. And I wonder if you had any contentious correspondence with Scribner, any checks missing, anything like that from your work process?
SEAN HEMINGWAY: No, we haven’t had any. Scribner is now part of Simon & Schuster. It’s been consumed in the spirit of many companies these days. And we had a very nice working relationship with them. My grandfather’s works have always been published, once he started with Scribner -- a relationship that F. Scott Fitzgerald introduced to him, too. So we haven’t had any problems with them.
ADAM GOPNIK: Sean, I had a question on one point that’s related to that. I think the restored edition is terrific and wonderful to read. But don’t you think there’s legitimate objection to be made that if this edition replaces in the Scribner’s catalogue the ’64 edition, which after all is already part of American literature, right or wrong, good or bad, it’s a piece of history of American literature, and if it becomes inaccessible and replaced by this, aren’t we, in a sense, falsifying that history?
SEAN HEMINGWAY: I think that’s a very good point, Adam. And I should say that there are no plans to do that. It’s called the restored edition. And they will be continuing to sell and publish the first edition as well, so that people will have an opportunity to see both.
QUESTION: William Kratt. As you have told us (thank you very much) and as your uncle has recognized, there’s not much about Pauline in A Moveable Feast. But the image that comes through is not always positive. Something negative is there, and also in the short stories, they’ve sometimes been interpreted. I wonder if you would share with us something, quite apart from A Moveable Feast, if that’s possible, what understanding you have formed of your grandmother and her relation with your grandfather.
SEAN HEMINGWAY: Well, that’s not a small question, Bill. But I think that they had a wonderful relationship for many years. She, as you know, died tragically young after they had divorced. I don't know. It was very interesting for me to work on this material and to read about her. She’s one of the Hemingway wives that has had the least attention in terms of biography and sort of study. So I think there’s a lot more work really to do on that relationship. I know that there are many different opinions about her. But she was quite a lady in her own right. She was a writer for Vogue magazine. And she was an international woman. And I think my grandfather, you know, he had a whole sequence of wives and of women who were strong women in their own way, writers and who made, you know, wonderful homes for him. So I’m not sure if that really answers your question, but I think she’s a very interesting person and a character now, especially in this new edition.
QUESTION: Don’t you think that the title, A Moveable Feast, is applicable to his whole writing career, starting in Michigan and then going on to Paris, Cuba, Spain, the green hills of Africa? He more or less devoured each country, not exploited them, but made love to them as if they were women. He caressed each country and we got to know them through his eyes, his body, his senses, and his great gifts of language. That’s my question.
SEAN HEMINGWAY: I think that’s a wonderful observation. And I think the title is a whole interesting idea. And my uncle talks about it a little bit in the foreword to the book. And you’re right, I think it can be applied to a number of different things.
SCOTT SIMON: He wrote any number of titles, didn’t he?
SEAN HEMINGWAY: Yes. It was not a title that he had actually decided upon for the book. But it was a title that Aaron Hotchner heard him say to him in Paris in 1950, so the story goes. And he told Mary about this title or this quote. And she ended up using it for the book. And it’s a wonderful title. And it’s wonderful about Paris. And it’s a phrase that my grandfather used elsewhere in his writing. And so we know it is a known phrase, not about Paris actually, but he talks about love being a moveable feast in Across the River and Into the Trees, and he also talks about happiness as a moveable feast in the manuscript of True At First Light. So it’s definitely an idea that he was interested in. And I think my Uncle Patrick describes it very well in the foreword, this notion of being able to recall things. And I think my grandfather had a tremendous memory for most of his life until the very end. And so you’re right. I think it can be applied to many different experiences and places that he wrote about and that he was passionate about. Thank you.
ADAM GOPNIK: There’s a beautiful alternate title that you mention in the introduction -- Some Things As They Were. That’s one of those all-purpose titles like Lost Illusions.
DIANE JOHNSON: And there’s another one about ear and eye [simultaneous conversation] very strange.
SCOTT SIMON: You’ve been very good about waiting. If you have the nerve to follow that last question, I want to give you the opportunity now.
QUESTION: My name is Amy Salvatore. Thanks for answering. I haven’t read obviously this new edition, but obviously the first one and had always been disturbed by his reference to Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas -- Gertrude Stein who had been so very kind to him in many ways and believed in him from the start. And she gets a bit of a rough treatment, I think, in this. And I wonder if the new edition adds any more light to that, or if it’s pretty much the same.
SEAN HEMINGWAY: There’s really very little in the new edition that differs from the first edition on Gertrude Stein. There isn’t very much additional material.
ADAM GOPNIK: I think, you know, competitiveness is the writer’s curse, and gratitude is the writer’s vocation. And I think that a lot of what’s going on there is that Hemingway owed an enormous amount to Gertrude Stein, not just as a patron but as an influence. There’s a very good essay by Wilfrid Sheed called “Farewell to Hemingstein” that just makes the case, in a non-scholarly but very persuasive way, of how much Stein’s work changed Hemingway’s in the course of those years. And one thing that is always true about writers is, is that we are embarrassed by our fathers and mothers. We point with pride to our grandfathers and grandmothers up on the wall. So Hemingway had no hesitation about talking about Cezanne. But our parents are always a little embarrassing by the time we’re complete people ourselves. And I think that embarrassment or ingratitude is a bit at play there.
SCOTT SIMON: Very credible follow-up, by the way.
SEAN HEMINGWAY: There’s a piece that you’d be interested in reading that my grandfather wrote for The New Yorker after the autobiography of Alice B. Toklas came out that was called “The Autobiography of Alice B. Hemingway.” And so in that he’s also venting at a very much earlier date about Gertrude Stein. There were feelings that festered in him for a long time.
TOM PUTNAM: Before we thank the panelists, I did want to make two announcements. The book is on sale in our bookstore, and Sean has graciously agreed to sign copies. That’ll happen right out in the hallway. And if you didn’t see it on the way in, we have a document table display, again right outside this hallway, which shows some of those manuscripts and Hemingway’s handwritings and some photos from the era. But please join me in thanking Adam Gopnik, Diane Johnson, Sean Hemingway, and Scott Simon. [applause]