The End of Something

Hemingway continues to fascinate. The legendary life and heroic exploits of the man who was so admired, honored, and imitated are now wellknown: fisherman in the Michigan woods, reporter in Kansas City, wounded war hero, foreign correspondent from Constantinople to Cordoba, Left Bank drinker, bullfight aficionado, innovative stylist, African lion hunter, reporter in war-torn Spain, expatriate in Cuba, witness of D-Day and the liberation of Paris, victim of the FBI, survivor of two plane crashes and of two series of shock treatments, husband of four wives, father of three sons, creator of some of the best fiction of the century, winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the Nobel Prize—and brain-blasted suicide.

Yet books about his life continue to roll off the presses. Since my biography appeared in 1985, publishers have brought out seven others by Fernanda Pivano, Kenneth Lynn, Peter Griffin (2), Michael Reynolds (2), and James Mellow; five memoirs—by Jack Hemingway, Denis Brian, Henry Villard, Slim Keith, and Peter Viertel; as well as a second book on Hadley Hemingway and an autobiographical novel by his granddaughter Lorian Hemingway. It seems there is nothing more to say. But viewing familiar material from an original point of view (as Mellow does), instead of presenting a mass of trivial facts (the way Reynolds does), reveals that it is still possible to write a valuable biography.

Reynolds, though he tries...

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