Dateline: Toronto collects all 172 pieces that Hemingway published in the Star, including those under pseudonyms. Hemingway readers will discern his unique voice already present in many of these pieces, particularly his knack for dialogue. It is also fascinating to discover early reportorial accounts of events and subjects that figure in his later fiction. As William White points out in his introduction to this work, "Much of it, over sixty years later, can still be read both as a record of the early twenties and as evidence of how Ernest Hemingway learned the craft of writing." The enthusiasm, wit, and skill with which these pieces were written guarantee that Dateline: Toronto will be read for pleasure, as excellent journalism, and for the insights it gives to Hemingway's works.
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December 31, 1984
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Excerpt from Dateline: Toronto by Ernest Hemingway
By 1924 the by-line "By Ernest M. Hemingway" had become familiar to readers of the Toronto Star Weekly and its companion publication the Toronto Daily Star. From February 14, 1920, until September 13, 1924, Hemingway's pieces appeared in the Star Weekly, and from February 4, 1922, until October 6, 1923, he also contributed to the Daily Star. They were journalism, not short stories or imaginative fiction, but they played an important part in the development of a major American author.
When Hemingway began to write for the Toronto Star, he was completely unknown: his work had been published only in high school periodicals, in Oak Park, Illinois, and in the Kansas City Star, where he was an anonymous cub reporter. By the time his last article was printed in the Canadian newspaper, he had published only a few short stories and two little books in limited editions, Three Stories & Ten Poems (Paris, 1923) and In our time (Paris, 1924); however, his literary career had started. Yet before this career began, Hemingway's work with the Toronto Star Weekly and the Toronto Daily Star gave him a chance to make a living from his writings, while still in his twenties; an opportunity to see more of the world, especially Europe, at first hand while covering political, social, and military activities; and a few important years, while he was still impressionable and growing, to flex his not-yet-literary muscles. From these years in Toronto, and reporting for Toronto readers as their foreign correspondent, came the creative writer and the author of some of the finest short stories and novels of our time.
In reprinting these 172 identifiable articles -- most of them signed "By Ernest M. Hemingway" -- I have relied on the original published texts in the weekly and daily Toronto Star editions. As is the usual newspaper practice, the manuscripts were destroyed shortly after they were set in type in the print shop, so we shall never know exactly what Hemingway wrote, and what the Toronto copyreader added, deleted, or changed. I have not "corrected" Hemingway in the way Emily Dickinson's early editors "corrected" her poetry, though I have changed typographical errors made by linotype operators and missed by proofreaders; and where editors have missed Hemingway's notorious misspellings, such as in German place-names, I have silently spelled the word correctly. To have left it in its original wrong form would have achieved nothing. Though the Star editors or copyreaders may have added commas in Hemingway's sentences, I have changed punctuation only on a few occasions where necessary for clarity or understanding or identity. In a very few cases I have added a word in square brackets for the same reasons. In the rare cases of doubtful grammar, I have made no changes. Hemingway may well have been writing idiomatically, or, even then, before he had fully developed his narrative style, valuing the way in which he said a thing more highly than grammatical niceties.