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 Ernest Hemingway Message Boards : General Questions
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Matteo
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Posted: 19 November 2005 at 9:17am | IP Logged Quote Matteo

Is there a list of all the books that Hemingway mentioned in his writings? A few years back I read a few books that he had mentioned and I really enjoyed them.
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Matteo
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Posted: 22 November 2005 at 10:06pm | IP Logged Quote Matteo

Hello? Nobody knows of a list of books that Hemingway referred to in his writings?
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yando
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Posted: 23 November 2005 at 2:01am | IP Logged Quote yando

 

 

 I remember a biographer noting that EH  read  voraciously

in his early  20's and that one of the  books he  checked out

before  writing "The Sun Also Rises"  was  "Thus Spoke Zarathustra"

by Nietzsche. The biographer noted that PEdro Romero may

have been based in part on  Nietzsche's concept of the higher man...

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woyzeck9
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Posted: 26 November 2005 at 8:22pm | IP Logged Quote woyzeck9

I read somewhere that Captain Frederick Marryat was one of his favorite authors.



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RobbieJor
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Posted: 30 November 2005 at 2:37pm | IP Logged Quote RobbieJor

Matteo, 

I don’t know of any list but if you find one please share it with us. 

 

Ernest was a voracious reader all his life of popular books and the backs of the cereal boxes.  When he traveled, his entourage always included a trunk or two of books.  Even to Africa.  He was known to pick newspapers out of the gutter and read them as he walked along.  It might be more interesting to make a list of all the authors he mentions in his writings.  He had some strong opinions of them especially his contemporaries.

 

Some of his favorite authors mentioned in a 1925 letter to Archibald Mac Leish: “…Capt. Marryat, Turgenieff and the late Judge [Henry] Fielding are my favorite authors.”

 

A favorite book of his that he mentions several times throughout his life is War and Peace.  In the same letter he says: “…War and Peace is the best book I know … Tolstoi was a prophet.”

 

Maybe he said this because he knows no one in his right mind is going to read War and Peace.  I read it once as a senior in high school but skipped over all the Russian names so that by the time I got to chapter 15 I didn’t know “What was on first and Who was on second…”

 

Always the teller of tales, and with tongue in cheek, this is what Ernest told Max Perkins in a 1940 letter: “I can write it like Tolstoi and make the book seem larger, wiser and all the rest of it.  But then I remember that was what I always skipped in Tolstoi.”

 

So, focus on the authors and have fun.

 



Edited by RobbieJor on 01 December 2005 at 9:10am


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yando
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Posted: 30 November 2005 at 10:53pm | IP Logged Quote yando

 

 

 I doubt that Ernest's  appreciation  of  War and Peace

was  anything less than sincere.  He loved the Russian  writers

but  strangely called  Chekov an amateur compared

to Tolstoi and perhaps his favorite author Turgenev.

Nick Adams' adventures are in part inspired by Turgenev's

A  Sportsman's Sketches.

Also he  was  ga-ga for the prose of that female writer,

was it Isak Dinesen who wrote Out of Africa? I think so.

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Yngve
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Posted: 01 December 2005 at 11:03am | IP Logged Quote Yngve

There is, indeed, a listing of his most recommended books. It appears in "Portrait of Hemingway" (Lillian Ross, 1950). It is brought on by the author asking EH which books he thought she absolutely had to read.

This is the list:

"Boule de Suif" and "La Maison Tellier" -de Maupassant
"The Red and the Black" -Stendhal
"Les Fleurs du Mal" -Baudelaire
"Madame Bovary" -Flaubert
"Remembrance of Things Past" -Proust
"Buddenbrooks" -Mann
"Taras Bulba" -Gogol
"The Brothers Karamazov" -Dostoevski
"Anna Karenina" and "War and Peace" -Tolstoy
"Huckleberry Finn" -Twain
"Moby Dick" -Melville
"The Scarlet Letter" -Hawthorne
"The Red Badge of Courage" -Crane
"Madame de Mauves" -James

Hope this is of some use to you. I can also recommend "Portrait of Hemingway," as it gives a quite vivid feel of not only a great writer, but also a fantastic human being.

-Yngve

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Hemster
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Posted: 14 February 2006 at 4:16am | IP Logged Quote Hemster

There was a list published of all the books that Hemingway had with him when he left Key West.  I think you can find it online by searching under that and Michael Reynolds, the author of several Hemingway biographies
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Perdu
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Posted: 15 February 2006 at 9:28am | IP Logged Quote Perdu

This might be a little broad relative to the initial question but I hope the info will be of interest . . .

 

As Hemster noted, Michael Reynolds' books are terrific sources for Hemingway data.  Here is one of his books that might be useful: 

Reynolds, Michael S., “Hemingway’s Reading 1910-1940 – An Inventory”, 1981, Princeton University Press, ISBN: 1-691-06447-4, 236 pages.

 

A thorough reference, this book is separated into appendices including Hemingway's High School Courses; Course Descriptions; High School Acquisition records: Facsimile of the Key West Book Inventory, 1940; Hemingway's Recommended Reading List and a User's Guide and Inventory. The book also includes a subject and title index.

 

Relatively scarce, copies can still be found with antiquarian dealers and occasionally on eBay. 

 

On a slightly different topic, some members might be interested to see the inventory of Ernest’s library at Finca Vigía.  A large PDF file can be found at:

 

http://www.jfklibrary.org/download/hemingways-library.pdf

 

The Preface and Introduction to this document make especially interesting reading, I think.



Edited by Perdu on 15 February 2006 at 9:35am


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hijo
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Posted: 15 February 2006 at 10:49am | IP Logged Quote hijo

Nice job, Perdu and Yngve.

Of the Turgenev, he stole the title for his short story "Fathers and Sons" from a story of the same name by the Russian. All Turgenev's stories, by the way, are worth reading.

The same goes for the Spanish writer, Juan Benito Perez Galdos, who many, including Hemingway, refered to as "The Spanish Balzac." Which leads us to the need to read "Old Goiroit," by Balzac, to get a feel for "social fiction."

Another Russian, introduced to me by a friend, good to read would pre-date Turgenev and Tolstoy as well as Dostoyevski - Mihail Lehrmontov, author of "A Hero In Our Time," which brings up subjects including someone being "Marked for death" (see A Moveable Feast). Lehrmontov, some speculated, either predated, gave inspiration to, or perhaps was Pushkin.

And as I recall, EH wrote a farewell piece when Joseph Conrad died. Conrad's work (including The Arrow of Gold, Lord Jim, Youth, etc) is well worth the time and effort.

And then there's other French authors, such as Prevost, who wrote the early novel "Manon L'Escot".

Many people also cite Don Quixote as being perhaps the first "Novel" written, by Miguel Cervantes.

It's also worthwhile to consider Hemingway was a big fan of reading most works - those that he could - in their original language, so as to capture every nuance the writer intended.

In other words, it never hurts anyone to go back and read War and Peace when it's something you want to do, and not an assignment from someone for a grade. Of course, as with all reading, there is always the danger you might actually learn something from the experience...

Best,
hijo
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