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Stew21
07-10-2008, 08:55 PM
What's happening in the story is Ernest Hemingway (ghost) is telling my MC that he could be a good writer.
*snipped out dialogue*
As the conversation progresses and the MC says he couldn't possibly write the next Gatsby, Hemingway laughs and says, "well perhaps not, but with some effort and a good deal of luck, maybe you could write one as good as..."
Who? It's intended to be a funny insult. Someone hemingway didn't like as a writer, but I sure don't know who.
Does anyone know?

poetinahat
07-10-2008, 09:01 PM
William Faulkner.

I recall that Faulkner sneered at Hemingway's simple vocabulary - for being afraid to make his readers consult a dictionary.

I'll look up the anecdote this weekend (remind me, please). Speaking of which, there is a superb book for just this sort of thing: The Little, Brown Book of Anecdotes (Clifton Fadiman, ed.) - published by Little, Brown). Fascinating, endlessly entertaining, and it gives one countless tidbits to drop into conversation - at a writing forum, for example.

In a way, I hated Faulkner too: My junior-year English teacher declared on the first day of class that he never gave A's. Me being new in the school, I was naive or brash enough to interrupt and ask why. His reply was that, if he gave a 90 to some mere mortal, he wouldn't have a grade high enough to give the next Faulkner, should he appear in a later class.

I noted that perhaps a 95 would suffice; he did not see my point. I did far better in math than I did in English.

Melenka
07-10-2008, 09:02 PM
I'll ask my friend the Hemingway scholar as soon as she returns from working in her garden. I can also ask her what Hemingway called Fitzgerald, if you'd like.

I do know he had an ongoing snark fest with Gertrude Stein, but I don't think he disliked her personally. Since most people find her difficult to read, she's not a bad choice.

alleycat
07-10-2008, 09:05 PM
Yep, Faulkner.

Sarita
07-10-2008, 09:08 PM
Didn't he get into a big fight with Wallace Stevens?

Stew21
07-10-2008, 09:09 PM
I was thinking Faulkner but couldn't remember why. Thanks Everyone.
How old were they when the snark took place?
In A Moveable Feast Hemingway primarily referred to Fitzgerald as Scott. (though in letters Fitzgerald wrote, he sometimes signed them Scott Fitz.)
I was planning on going with Scott.

poetinahat
07-10-2008, 09:16 PM
Here's the anecdote (from The Little, Brown Book of Anecdotes, Clifton Fadiman, General Editor; Little, Brown and Company, Boston, MA, 1985):



Hemingway won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1954. Five years earlier it had been awarded to another American novelist, William Faulkner. The two writers did not have a very high opinion of each other. Faulkner said of Hemingway that he had no courage, that "he had never been known to use a word that might send the reader to the dictionary." When Hemingway heard this, he said, "Poor Faulkner. Does he really think big emotions come from big words? He thinks I don't know the ten-dollar words. I know them all right. But there are older and simpler and better words, and those are the ones I use."

Stew21
07-10-2008, 09:26 PM
thanks Rob!

Melenka
07-10-2008, 09:51 PM
Dr. Hemingway-scholar sayeth:

In terms of disliking their work: Aldous Huxley tops the list. H.L. Mencken is a close second. He thought they were "fakes." Not sure Mencken was a novelist, though.

He referred to FSF as "Scott." He really didn't like FSF's Tender is the Night, but he thought Gatsby was heartbreakingly good.


And now the good doctor is returning to the great outdoors, though she may make it only as far as the veranda. :)

Stew21
07-10-2008, 09:57 PM
Please tell her I said thank you.

ideagirl
07-10-2008, 10:25 PM
How old were they when the snark took place?

He was young, and not yet famous--they knew each other in Paris when he was in his 20s, or maybe early 30s max. I think she was a good deal older though. But it's possible that the snark-fest continued as he got older and became famous.

Stew21
07-10-2008, 10:27 PM
He was young, and not yet famous--they knew each other in Paris when he was in his 20s, or maybe early 30s max. I think she was a good deal older though. But it's possible that the snark-fest continued as he got older and became famous.


thanks, ideagirl. I was referring to Faulkner with that question. It was in the 50's with the Nobel Prize for literature according to Rob's quoted passage.

ideagirl
07-10-2008, 10:27 PM
As the conversation progresses and the MC says he couldn't possibly write the next Gatsby, Hemingway laughs and says, "well perhaps not, but with some effort and a good deal of luck, maybe you could write one as good as..."

That sentence itself doesn't sound like Hemingway. Check out the post about his comments on Faulkner--he pretty much talked how he wrote: simple declarative sentences. So I would say your sentence there needs to be broken into at least two, if not three, short Hemingwayesque sentences.

Also, somehow the presence of "perhaps" and "maybe" in the same sentence sounds odd to me. They're different registers, different degrees of formality. You could just omit the "maybe" and change "could" to "might."

ideagirl
07-10-2008, 10:29 PM
thanks, ideagirl. I was referring to Faulkner with that question. It was in the 50's with the Nobel Prize for literature according to Rob's quoted passage.

Oh, gotcha. So EH was what, in his fifties? Ditto Faulkner. It blows my mind that they were only a couple of years apart in age. In Faulkner's Nobel acceptance speech (of which sound recordings exist) he sounds like an old man to me.

MarkEsq
07-10-2008, 10:33 PM
Stew,
Check out the Paris Reviews, Volume 1. It has a long interview with Hemingway, about his writing, other authors. Fascinating stuff.
Mark

Stew21
07-10-2008, 10:58 PM
That sentence itself doesn't sound like Hemingway. Check out the post about his comments on Faulkner--he pretty much talked how he wrote: simple declarative sentences. So I would say your sentence there needs to be broken into at least two, if not three, short Hemingwayesque sentences.

Also, somehow the presence of "perhaps" and "maybe" in the same sentence sounds odd to me. They're different registers, different degrees of formality. You could just omit the "maybe" and change "could" to "might."
I'm just toying with it still. I have given Hemingway's ghost a lot of dialogue and have worked really hard at keeping it to what I believe to be "his voice". For the most part I keep him short and declarative, but he and my MC have gotten close, they are in the bathroom while my MC shaves before work during this conversation. I have made him more verbose at some moments and very cryptic at others. this seemed very upbeat, so he's talking a bit more. I'll play with the way he says it several times before I'm happy, and will definitely take your comments into consideration when I do.


Stew,
Check out the Paris Reviews, Volume 1. It has a long interview with Hemingway, about his writing, other authors. Fascinating stuff.
Mark
I will definitely check that out. Thanks.

geardrops
07-10-2008, 11:04 PM
IIRC he parodied one of Stein's lines from "a rose is a rose is a rose" to "a bitch is a bitch is a bitch."

I could be mis-remembering.

Stew21
07-10-2008, 11:34 PM
IIRC he parodied one of Stein's lines from "a rose is a rose is a rose" to "a bitch is a bitch is a bitch."

I could be mis-remembering.
heh. He also said she looked like a roman emperor. :)

Danger Jane
07-11-2008, 02:23 AM
heh. He also said she looked like a roman emperor. :)

And I believe a rhinoceros?

Melenka
07-11-2008, 04:36 AM
I have been informed that Hemingway's snark towards Faulkner was prompted by envy. EH thought Faulkner a brilliant writer and did not think he could match up.

ideagirl
07-11-2008, 06:03 PM
this seemed very upbeat, so he's talking a bit more.

Talking a bit more is one thing--talking in complex sentences is another. You could take a look at Hemingway's dialogue: how do his characters talk, when they're with people they're close to and feeling upbeat? I seem to remember a congenial scene in Islands in the Stream where some male friends are hanging out... they're catching up, asking questions like "How's the woman situation?" It might be worth reading scenes like that from H's work.

Stew21
07-11-2008, 09:44 PM
Thanks. I've already written the book, and done a lot of work with it and have read a great deal of Hemingway's work. That was a first draft sentence. As I said, I'll be working on it more.
I appreciate everyone's help. I believe I have what I need.

Thanks.

kuwisdelu
07-13-2008, 08:23 AM
"...his wife"?

I'm not sure about Hemingway's feelings on Zelda Fitzgerald, but she didn't like him. She called him out on his alleged homosexuality long before anyone else, and was often paranoid about him hitting on her husband. Zelda wrote one novel and some of her husband's short stories are rumored to be hers, so she might work, too.

shebitme
07-31-2008, 04:53 AM
even if you find the answer to the question, will the reader know what you mean?

will the reader know that Hemmingway hated Faulkner, or whoever you choose?

scheherazade
08-03-2008, 04:16 AM
Faulkner sounds like a fitting choice - without knowing much about their personal lives - because both had such different style and ran with very different circles and lived in pretty different environments. Yet underneath they're both quite similar - both American masters of the same period. Most readers would probably accept that there might be some tension between the two without needing to know much about the writers.

That said, though, Faulkner did adapt Hemingway's To Have or Have Not for Hollywood. So there's probably some mutual admiration between the two, hidden behind manly posturing.