On Reviewing Books

Morley Callaghan met Ernest Hemingway while Hemingway was working as a reporter for the Toronto Star in 1920. (Hemingway later referred to that city as a “fistulating asshole.”) A few years later, Callaghan wrote to Hemingway in Paris and informed him that he was writing book reviews for the Star. Hemingway, who felt that writers should not be in the business of reviewing the work of other writers, replied with the following warning (as paraphrased by Callaghan):

Avoid reviewing books. It is alright to talk about a writer if you had to, but always remember that you can’t run with the hares and hunt with the hounds.

From That Summer in Paris, by Morley Callaghan (published 1963).

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Published in: on August 30, 2010 at 3:44 pm  Leave a Comment  
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On Memoir

Hemingway really understood the nature of  memoir:

If the reader prefers, this book may be regarded as fiction. But there is always the chance that such a book of fiction may throw some light on what has been written as fact.

From the preface to A Moveable Feast, by Ernest Hemingway (published 1964).

Published in: on June 7, 2010 at 10:11 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Callaghan on Gertrude Stein

Morley Callaghan, on Gertrude Stein:

I no longer had any curiosity about the grand lady. If Scott (Fitzgerald) was interested in Miss Stein, he could have her. For my part, she had written one good book, Three Lives. Having waded through The Making of Americans, and those stories of hers like “As a Wife as a Cow: A Love Story,” I had done a little brooding over her. Abstract prose was nonsense. The shrewd lady had found a trick, just as the naughty Dadaists had once found a trick. The plain truth was, as I saw it, Gertrude Stein had nothing whatever to say.

From That Summer in Paris, by Morley Callaghan, published 1963.

Published in: on June 5, 2010 at 3:51 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Lady Duff

Jimmy, the bartender at the Falstaff in Paris, describing what Lady Duff, the inspiration for Lady Brett in Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises, was really like:

You won’t tell Hemingway, will you? No? Well, she was one of those horsey English girls with her hair cut short and the English manner. Hemingway thought she had class. He used to go dancing with her over on the Right Bank. I could never see what he saw in her.

From That Summer in Paris, by Morely Callaghan (published 1963).

Published in: on June 5, 2010 at 3:46 pm  Leave a Comment  
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