Sunday, September 20, 2009

A Moveable Feast

Today we were at the Kennedy Library for a panel discussion about the newly "remastered" Hemingway book, A Moveable Feast. What ho? you ask. Wasn't A Moveable Feast published in the mid-sixties. Well, yes.

And now it's published again, both times by Scribner's. The second publishing is at the behest of some of Hemingway's heirs. This summer there was an op-ed in the New York Times from the former editor of the ur-book, A.E. Hotchner, who had his own take on the remastering.

I hadn't realized that the Kennedy library houses much Hemingway memorabilia and several of his manuscripts.

There are at least two sides to every issue, but all I can say is that as a writer, I wouldn't want any relatives mucking about in my old manuscripts, making "a" look better than "b." Or dis F. Scott Fitzgerald or Ford Maddox Ford. Writers are a competitive bunch, and of course 'papa' was a man's man and probably more competitive than most.

Today the discussion was lively and some of the questions sprightly or learned. I don't know that there is a consensus. I dug my ancient copy out and will reread it.

Oddly enough, I still remember that when I heard news of Hemingway's death I was standing in my parent's kitchen in Denver.

I have a very old book called The Little Review Anthology that has a wonderful Hemingway short story. Think I'll dig that out, too. No wonder my nightstand always has these towers of books, perilously teetering this way and that.



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