THE ONLY COMPLETE COLLECTION BY THE NOBEL PRIZE-WINNING AUTHOR
In this definitive collection of Ernest Hemingway's short stories, readers will delight in the author's most beloved classics such as "The Snows of Kilimanjaro," "Hills Like White Elephants," and "A Clean, Well-Lighted Place," and will discover seven new tales published for the first time in this collection. For Hemingway fans The Complete Short Stories is an invaluable treasury.
The subtitle of this monumental collection refers to the home (Lookout Farm) that Hemingway owned in Cuba from 1939 to 1959. That time frame accounts for most of the short fiction, published and unpublished, that followed the major collection issued in 1938, The First Forty-Nine. There are 60 stories in all. Of the 21 not included in the 1938 collection, the seven heretofore unpublished pieces will interest readers most. Three are especially good. "A Train Trip" and "The Porter" are self-contained excerpts from an abandoned novel that match in tone and appeal the early Hemingway work in which he explored the adolescent sensibility exposed to an adult world that is exciting but at the same time threatening and morally complex. Drawing from the author's experiences in Europe during World War II, "Black Ass at the Crossroads" is excellent in its detailing of violent action, portraying an ambush of German soldiers from the point of view of an American infantry officer, depressed and angry over the suffering he has inflicted in the course of battle. The other previously unpublished pieces include a Spanish Civil War story reminiscent of Hemingway's play, The Fifth Column; two quite touching stories about a father's disappointments with a troubled son; and a long section comprising four chapters from an early version of the novel, Islands in the Stream. Intrinsically readable, the collection is also significant in drawing together much that was unavailable or difficult to access.
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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August 02, 1998
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Excerpt from The Complete Short Stories Of Ernest Hemingway by Ernest Hemingway
There has long been a need for a complete and up-to-date edition of the short stories of Ernest Hemingway. Until now the only such volume was the omnibus collection of the first forty-nine stories published in 1938 together with Hemingway's play The Fifth Column. That was a fertile period of Hemingway's writing and a number of stories based on his experiences in Cuba and Spain were appearing in magazines, but too late to have been included in "The First Forty-nine."
In 1939 Hemingway was already considering a new collection of stories that would take its place beside the earlier books In Our Time, Men Without Women, and Winner Take Nothing. On February 7 he wrote from his home in Key West to his editor Maxwell Perkins at Scribners suggesting such a book. At that time he had already completed five stories: "The Denunciation," "The Butterfly and the Tank," "Night Before Battle," "Nobody Ever Dies," and "Landscape with Figures," which is published here for the first time. A sixth story, "Under the Ridge," would appear shortly in the March 1939 edition of Cosmopolitan.
As it turned out, Hemingway's plans for that new book did not pan out. He had committed himself to writing three "very long" stories to round out the collection (two dealing with battles in the Spanish Civil War and one about the Cuban fisherman who fought a swordfish for four days and four nights only to lose it to sharks). But once Hemingway got underway on his novel -- later published as For Whom the Bell Tolls -- all other writing projects were laid aside. We can only speculate on the two war stories he abandoned, but it is probable that much of what they might have included found its way into the novel. As for the story of the Cuban fisherman, he did eventually return to it thirteen years later when he developed and transformed it into his famous novella, The Old Man and the Sea.
Many of Hemingway's early stories are set in northern Michigan, where his family owned a cottage on Waloon Lake and where he spent his summers as a boy and youth. The group of friends he made there, including the Indians who lived nearby, are doubtless represented in various stories, and some of the episodes are probably based at least partly on fact. Hemingway's aim was to convey vividly and exactly moments of exquisite importance and poignancy, experiences that might appropriately be described as "epiphanies." The posthumously published "Summer People" and the fragment called "The Last Good Country" stem from this period.
Later stories, also set in America, relate to Hemingway's experiences as a husband and father, and even as a hospital patient. The cast of characters and the variety of themes became as diversified as the author's own life. One special source of material was his life in Key West, where he lived in the twenties and thirties. His encounters with the sea on his fishing boat Pilar, taken together with his circle of friends, were the inspiration of some of his best writing. The two Harry Morgan stories, "One Trip Across" (Cosmopolitan, 1934) and "The Tradesman's Return" (Esquire, February 1936), which draw from this period, were ultimately incorporated into the novel To Have and Have Not, but it is appropriate and enjoyable to read them as separate stories, as they first appeared.
Hemingway must have been one of the most perceptive travelers in the history of literature, and his stories taken as a whole present a world of experience. In 1918 he signed up for ambulance duty in Italy as a member of an American Field Service unit. It was his first transatlantic journey and he was eighteen at the time. On the day of his arrival in Milan a munitions factory blew up, and with the other volunteers in his contingent Hemingway was assigned to gather up the remains of the dead. Only three months later he was badly wounded in both legs and hospitalized in the American Red Cross hospital in Milan, with subsequent outpatient treatment. These wartime experiences, including the people he met, provided many details for his novel of World War I, A Farewell to Arms. They also inspired five short story masterpieces.
In the 1920s he revisited Italy several times; sometimes as a professional journalist and sometimes for pleasure. His short story about a motor trip with a friend through Mussolini's Italy, "Che Ti Dice La Patria?," succeeds in conveying the harsh atmosphere of a totalitarian regime.
Between 1922 and 1924 Hemingway made several trips to Switzerland to gather material for The Toronto Star. His subjects included economic conditions and other practical subjects, but also accounts of Swiss winter sports: bobsledding, skiing, and the hazardous luge. As in other fields, Hemingway was ahead of his compatriots in discovering places and pleasures that would become tourist attractions..