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Friday, 2 July 2010

The Quotable Hemingway - In Ernest or In Jest?

The Quotable Hemingway - In Ernest or In Jest? 

Ernest Hemingway (who died on this day - July 2 - in 1961) was one of the great American writers across many formats: novels, short stories, articles, etc. He won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1953 for The Old Man and the Sea and he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1954. His other major works included: The Sun Also Rises (1927), A Farewell to Arms (1929), Death in the Afternoon (1932), For Whom the Bell Tolls (1940) and A Moveable Feast (1964).

As a writer who lived life to the full and more, Hemingway was eminently quotable about his chosen profession ...

"A writer should write what he has to say and not speak it."

"A man's got to take a lot of punishment to write a really funny book."

"The good parts of a book may be only something a writer is lucky enough to overhear or it may be the wreck of his whole damn life - and one is as good as the other."

"My attitude toward punctuation is that it ought to be as conventional as possible. The game of golf would lose a good deal if croquet mallets and billiard cues were allowed on the putting green. You ought to be able to show that you can do it a good deal better than anyone else with the regular tools before you have a license to bring in your own improvements."

"I don't like to write like God. It is only because you never do it, though, that the critics think you can't do it."

"All my life I've looked at words as though I were seeing them for the first time."

"Having books published is very destructive to writing. It is even worse than making love too much. Because when you make love too much at least you get a damned clarte that is like no other light. A very clear and hollow light."

"The parody is the last refuge of the frustrated writer. Parodies are what you write when you are associate editor of the Harvard Lampoon. The greater the work of literature, the easier the parody. The step up from writing parodies is writing on the wall above the urinal."

"A serious writer is not to be confused with a solemn writer. A serious writer may be a hawk or a buzzard or even a popinjay, but a solemn writer is always a bloody owl."

"When writing a novel a writer should create living people; people not characters. A character is a caricature."

"You can write any time people will leave you alone and not interrupt you. Or rather you can if you will be ruthless enough about it. But the best writing is certainly when you are in love."

"All modern American literature comes from one book by Mark Twain called Huckleberry Finn ... American writing comes from that. There was nothing before. There has been nothing as good since."


Quotations about Hemingway's writing ...

"Editing Hemingway was like wrestling with a god."
Tom Jenks

"Hemingway is great in that alone of living writers he has saturated his work with the memory of physical pleasure, with sunshine and salt water, with food, wine and making love and the remorse which is the shadow of that sun."
Cyril Connolly

"I wonder now what Ernest Hemingway's dictionary looked like, since he got along so well with dinky words that everybody can spell and truly understand."
Kurt Vonnegut

"He got hold of the red meat of the English language and turned it into hamburger."
Richard Gordon

"I read him for the first time in the early 1940s, something about bells, balls, and bulls … and I loathed it."
Vladimir Nabokov

"Ernest Hemingway was a highly readable writer, one whose stories lost no time in communicating themselves from the printed page to the reader, from dialogue on paper to dialogue sounding in one's own ears and carrying his tales forward as if the characters were alive and right there in person. The immediacy of Hemingway's reality conveys itself with more than deliberate speed, and with an impact few other writers so quickly and so compactly achieve. Some commentators said years ago that Hemingway was a writer's writer. He turned out to he a reader's writer as well."
Langston Hughes

"If pretty words alone could provide leadership, then why not just give the presidency and the Peace Prize to a Hemingway novel?"
Todd Harris

A Farewell to Arms - "A footnote to the minor art of Gertrude Stein, an appendix to the biography of the great novelist Scott Fitzgerald, and the Ouida of the thirties."
Brophy, Levey & Osborne, 50 Works of Literature We Could Do Without (1967)

For Whom the Bell Tolls - "Mr Hemingway ... please leave stories of the Spanish Civil War to Malraux."
Commonweal

The Sun Also Rises - "His characters are as shallow as the saucers in which they stack their daily emotions."
The Dial



For more great quotations, inspirational thoughts and famous sayings, go to A2Z of Quotes
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