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A Bit of a Lush

Christopher Tayler: William Boyd, 23 May 2002

Any Human Heart 
by William Boyd.
Hamish Hamilton, 504 pp., £17.99, April 2002, 9780241141779
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... Woolf. Cyril Connolly and Evelyn Waugh are London acquaintances. Picasso sketches his portrait, Hemingway is a fellow war correspondent, and Paris brings a meeting with James Joyce. His wartime boss at Naval Intelligence is, of course, Ian Fleming, who sends him to keep an eye on the Duke and Duchess of Windsor in the Bahamas – and so on. In his opening ...

I adore your moustache

James Wolcott: Styron’s Letters, 24 January 2013

Selected Letters of William Styron 
edited by Rose Styron and R. Blakeslee Gilpin.
Random House, 643 pp., £24.99, December 2012, 978 1 4000 6806 7
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... whose ghostly father and bearded Neptune disturbing the liquor cabinet deep into the night was Ernest Hemingway. Even those least influenced by Hemingway’s style couldn’t fail to register the impact of his hold on America’s consciousness: he established the co-ordinates of celebrity and masculinity that turned ...


Wendy Lesser: Surfing the OED on CD-ROM, 3 October 1996

... OED readily acknowledges that the really new words often come from poets and novelists. In 1952, Ernest Hemingway was the first to weigh in with rubberiness, Mary McCarthy provided apolitical, Norman Mailer came up with porno (natch), Stanley Kauffmann – a novelist as well as a film critic – originated both gabbiness and vomitous, and John Betjeman ...

Petal by Petal

C.K. Stead, 27 May 1993

E.E. Cummings: Complete Poems 1904-1962 
edited by George Firmage.
Liveright, 1102 pp., £33, January 1993, 0 87140 145 2
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... has been, over the decades since, a writers’ book, praised by T.E. Lawrence, Robert Graves, Ernest Hemingway and many other notables, but always selling modestly. Hemingway describes it in his letters as ‘the classic example of the really fine book that could not sell’, and suggests that its problem was ‘a ...

Hemingway Hunt

Frank Kermode, 17 April 1986

Along with Youth: Hemingway, the Early Years 
by Peter Griffin.
Oxford, 258 pp., £12.95, March 1986, 0 19 503680 8
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The Young Hemingway 
by Michael Reynolds.
Blackwell, 291 pp., £14.95, February 1986, 0 631 14786 1
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HemingwayA Biography 
by Jeffrey Meyers.
Macmillan, 646 pp., £16.95, March 1986, 0 333 42126 4
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... performer than Messrs Vidal and Mailer, but he was also able to hold a self in reserve. For Hemingway it was all much more difficult. His private life was extraordinary to begin with, and he enlarged its extraordinariness for the benefit of all. The image of it was projected onto the mist of the media like a Brocken spectre, a ghost upon which the ...

Vampire to Victim

Nina Auerbach: The Cult of Zelda, 19 June 2003

Zelda Fitzgerald: Her Voice in Paradise 
by Sally Cline.
Murray, 492 pp., £25, September 2003, 0 7195 5466 7
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... family from which Scott had been her escape. Zelda lived to please, but nobody much liked her. Ernest Hemingway, who detested women writers, saw her as an insane harpy who destroyed Scott’s work. Though Cline insists, often on flimsy evidence, that Zelda was an authentic artist, she is fair-minded enough to surround her with women who really did ...

Defeated Armies

Scott Sherman: Castro in the New York Times, 5 July 2007

The Man Who Invented Fidel: Castro, Cuba, and Herbert L. Matthews of the ‘New York Times’ 
by Anthony DePalma.
PublicAffairs, 308 pp., £15.99, September 2006, 1 58648 332 3
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... War were mutilated by his editors, pilloried by his critics and celebrated by such admirers as Ernest Hemingway: ‘When the fakers are all dead they will read Matthews in the schools to find out what really happened,’ Hemingway announced in 1938. But nothing compared with the rage and opprobrium that followed the ...

Bonking with Berenson

Nicholas Penny, 17 September 1987

Bernard Berenson. Vol. II: The Making of a Legend 
by Ernest Samuels.
Harvard, 680 pp., £19.95, May 1987, 0 674 06779 7
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The Partnership: The Secret Association of Bernard Berenson and Joseph Duveen 
by Colin Simpson.
Bodley Head, 323 pp., £15, April 1987, 9780370305851
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... art trade, which made him a very rich man by the time the second volume of his biography by Ernest Samuels opens in 1903. These relations with dealers, which were either discreet or secret, deepened in subsequent decades, and it should have come as no surprise to Berenson when he returned from holiday in October 1922, to his luxurious Florentine ...

Imperial Dope

Alan Hollinghurst, 4 June 1981

by Gore Vidal.
Heinemann, 510 pp., £8.95, April 1981, 0 394 50015 6
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... is repeatedly ‘accepted’ into informality by the great: the public mask drops, and we get what Ernest Hemingway would call ‘the dope’. This is rarely the real dope, however, as the great are blinkered by their power: ‘Each sees the world from his own vantage-point. Needless to say, a throne is not the best place from which to see anything except ...

Who’s Got the Moxie?

A. Craig Copetas, 23 March 1995

The Mexican Tree Duck 
by James Crumley.
Picador, 247 pp., £15.99, May 1994, 0 330 32451 9
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One to Count Cadence 
by James Crumley.
Picador, 338 pp., £5.99, May 1994, 0 330 32450 0
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... the first disowned American hero to find this out, on the rolling slopes of the Little Big Horn. Ernest Hemingway abandoned Africa to scatter his fame across Idaho with a shotgun. Richard Brautigan fled Haight-Ashbury for the solitude of Montana to write Trout Fishing in America and other then classics now discarded. Few make the arduous journey to ...

Going Wrong

Michael Wood, 7 March 1996

directed by Martin Scorsese.
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directed by Michael Mann.
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directed by David Fincher.
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... and what is the world coming to. It closes with Morgan Freeman’s voice over a blank screen: ‘Ernest Hemingway said the world is a fine place, and worth fighting for.’ Pause. Freeman adds: ‘I agree with the second part.’ Seven is a film which talks a lot about sermons, and is one. Its freight of meaning makes Casino’s aimlessness look pretty ...

The Female Accelerator

E.S. Turner, 24 April 1997

The Bicycle 
by Pryor Dodge.
Flammarion, 224 pp., £35, May 1996, 2 08 013551 1
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... were mounted by bookmakers and publicans, who might otherwise have been organising ratting pits. Ernest Hemingway, it seems, became so excited by the six-day bicycle races in post-1918 Paris that he could not bring himself to read the proofs of A Farewell to Arms. The Tour de France went from one excess to another. It is puzzling to read that the ...


Jenny Diski: On Palm Island, 22 April 1993

... is discontent in paradise. Papa Caldwell, who bought Palm Island for a dollar (for all I know from Ernest Hemingway) is a Jack London-reading Texan who believes in only eating when hungry and not having second helpings. Mary is the wife he collected at the end of the war from Australia, after building a boat to collect her in, and go in search of ...

The Motives of Mau Mau

Basil Davidson, 24 February 1994

Unhappy Valley 
by Bruce Berman and John Lonsdale.
James Currey, 224 pp., £45, April 1993, 0 85255 022 7
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Mau Mau and Kenya: An Analysis of a Peasant Revolt 
by Wunyabari Maloba.
Indiana, 228 pp., £32.50, January 1994, 0 253 33664 3
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... at handling guns, women and a constant flow of champagne’. This society produced, through Ernest Hemingway, one of the classic books about ‘us’ in Africa, and generally gave white-settler claims to Olympian power a suitably upper-class tone. Next there was the arresting spectacle of a peasant army of rebels, who fought for years against ...

Several Doses of Wendy

Robert Baird: David Means, 11 August 2016

by David Means.
Faber, 352 pp., £16.99, May 2016, 978 0 571 33011 9
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... In this respect, the novel lives in the long shadow of Pat Barker, Tim O’Brien and especially Ernest Hemingway, who is credited by Singleton with capturing ‘a new way of thinking and speaking that came from what was left out, from the things war had demolished and pushed away for ever’. The result of all this compression is a novel whose pressure ...

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