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North Dakota Quarterly - Fall 2003

  • Subtitle: Hemingway: Life and Art
  • Issue Number: Volume 70 Number 4
  • Published Date: Fall 2003

This special issue of NDQ, more than three hundred pages long, covers Hemingway’s involvement with the theater, his 1935 trip to China, his relationships with nurse Agnes von Kurowsky and “spiritual kid brother” Arnold Samuelson, and much more. (Don’t miss Heidi Brotton Hudson’s linoleum-block print of a reflective Hemingway looking down, which seems somehow more essential than all the handsome hale fellow photographs we’ve seen.) There’s even a scholarly examination of why the film In Love and War (starring Sandra Bullock and Chris O’Donnell) failed so miserably (it jettisoned the “literary underpinnings” that might have given it weight and substance). Included here are conversations with sister Carol Hemingway Gardner (at 90), who spent vacations with Ernest and received help from him with college and travel expenses, but was banished from his life (a pattern of his) when she married a man he didn’t like. John E. Sanford considers Hemingway’s connection to painting, with particular regard to the works of his mother Grace, who took up the art at the age of fifty-two. Sanford argues less for her work’s influence on her son than for the bond they shared as creative artists, and offers up this startling fact: “at her son’s request, Grace sent Clarence’s [her husband’s] suicide revolver to Ernest,” “in a carton that contained a chocolate cake, some cookies, a book for Bumby and a roll of Grace’s two best canvases of desert scenes.” Poet and Hemingway critic H. R. Stoneback contributes a fascinating exploration of Hemingway’s symbolic treatment of diving, swimming, and sunbathing (heliophilia) that, despite its title, is quite accessible and swims right up to the essential mystery that is Hemingway in his attempts to convey (not to explain) in words “all the power and glory and beauty and strangeness of the great shadowy depth of being,” as Stoneback puts it. Near the end, you’ll find an elegy for Johnny Cash that has no stronger thread of connection to the Hemingway theme than that it’s written by Stoneback and mentions Hemingway’s name once, yet seems appropriate here, where two larger-than-life holdouts for art are remembered by a mutual friend who still loves them both: “at my door the leaves—everything falling but snow / the good songs always sing you where they want to go.” [North Dakota Quarterly, The University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, ND 58202-7209. E-mail: . Single issue $8.] – AS

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Review Posted on August 31, 2004

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