Spanning the years 1920 to 1956, this priceless collection shows Hemingway's work as a reporter, from correspondent for the Toronto Star to contributor to Esquire, Colliers, and Look. As fledgling reporter, war correspondent, and seasoned journalist, Hemingway provides access to a range of experiences, including vivid eyewitness accounts of the Spanish Civil War and World War II. By-Line: Ernest Hemingway offers a glimpse into the world behind the popular fiction of one of America's greatest writers.
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December 31, 1966
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Excerpt from By-Line Ernest Hemingway by Ernest Hemingway
Ernest Hemingway, the best-known writer of his generation, needs no introduction to readers today. But this volume, made up of less than one third of the identifiable prose he wrote for newspapers and magazines between 1920 and 1956, does need a few words of explanation. Early in his career, some time before 1931, Hemingway wrote to his bibliographer, Louis Henry Cohn, that the "newspaper stuff I have written...has nothing to do with the other writing which is entirely apart...The first right that a man writing has is the choice of what he will publish. If you have made your living as a newspaperman, learning your trade, writing against deadlines, writing to make stuff timely rather than permanent, no one has any right to dig this stuff up and use it against the stuff you have written to write the best you can."
This is a perfectly reasonable attitude for a novelist or creative writer to take in distinguishing between his fiction and his newspaper reporting. Yet in his more than forty years of writing, not only did Hemingway use the very same material for both news accounts and short stories: he took pieces he first filed with magazines and newspapers and published them with virtually no change in his own books as short stories. For example, two pieces, "A Silent, Ghastly Procession" and "Refugees from Thrace" are news reports (for The Toronto Daily Star) based on experiences he was later to use in In Our Time (1930), where he wrote:
"The Greeks were nice chaps too. When they evacuated they had all their baggage animals they couldn't take off with them so they just broke their forelegs and dumped them into the shallow water. All those mules with their forelegs broken and pushed over into the shallow water. It was all a pleasant business. My word yes a most pleasant business."