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140 of 151 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars He won the Nobel Prize in Literature for a reason, November 22, 2003
This review is from: Ernest Hemingway on Writing (Paperback)
Of course, I've read everything he wrote, but I wasn't prepared to get the key information on writing enclosed in this little book. Most people think Hemingway was a rough and tumble guy who wrote in his spare time when he had the urge. Most other times, the legend goes, he was too busy drinking, fishing, or womanizing. This book clearly shows that ain't so. He spent most of his time, the way real writers do: Writing and thinking about writing. Often he would check into a hotel, let everyone know he was there, and then stay somewhere else so as not to be disturbed from his main mission. The gems of informations depicted here come in the form of advice to the Mice (H's term for young student writers) from Y.C. (your correspondent). Did you know, for instance, "Most live writers do not exist. Their fame is created by critics who always need a genius of the season, someone they understand completely and feel safe in praising, but when these fabricated geniuses are dead they will not exist." Or how about this gem: "If an sonofbitch could write he wouldn't have to teach in college." Particulary interesting is Papa's advice to writers about reading. He was of the opinion that most writers write too much and don't read enough. His advice is to master Tolstoi, Flaubert, Mann, Joyce, Fielding, Mark Twain, Stendhal, Dostoevskis, Crane, Kipling, Turgenev, Hudson, James, (on and on so fast you can't write them down, three times that many) before you start writing. Very good advice, I would say. His point being you must first read the literature before you can write literature. This book does omit one piece of advice that H never gave but which he practiced by example. He memorized the King James Bible (cf Moveable Feast) and could recite it by heart. He did this to get down into the very structure of his brain the cadences that express beauty and truth effectively. The secret of his terse style is therefore the secret of clear and simple expression as in that wonderful version of the Bible.
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Showing 1-5 of 5 posts in this discussion
Initial post: May 18, 2012, 10:38:15 AM PDT
Rhonda G. says:
Thanks for the info about the KJ Bible. Very interesting.

Posted on Jan 23, 2013, 3:13:15 PM PST
Java Dude says:
Are you sure about Hemingway _memorizing_ the KJV Bible? What is your source? Never heard of his memorizing it -- only that his writing was influenced stylistically by the KJV.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 27, 2013, 12:52:09 AM PST
Dingfelder says:
He gives it in his review -- A Moveable Feast.

Posted on Apr 5, 2014, 12:58:45 PM PDT
[Deleted by Amazon on Feb 1, 2017, 8:03:43 AM PST]

Posted on Aug 11, 2014, 1:00:56 AM PDT
A. Horwitz says:
Great review although I don't ever recall him mentioning memorizing the King James Bible in A Moveable Feast.
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