A Moveable Feast Essay

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Years earlier, Fitzgerald had urged Perkins to publish “The Sun Also Rises,” a favor Hemingway never forgot.

But as Hemingway’s reputation grew -- and Fitzgerald became enmeshed in personal tragedy -- the men drifted apart.

Such was their relationship that Hemingway saw nothing wrong with excoriating his former friend in the story “Snows of Kilimanjaro,” published later in 1936.

Fitzgerald, Hemingway’s narrator laments, thought the rich “were a glamorous race and when he found they weren’t it wrecked him just as much as any other thing that had wrecked him.”Fitzgerald objected to the portrayal, but Hemingway scoffed. Fitzgerald died a few years later at 44 -- a victim, appropriately enough, of a weak heart.

This new version is meant as a corrective, drawn from Hemingway’s typed manuscript and featuring several previously unpublished vignettes. Hotchner, a friend of Hemingway’s, the author had all but finished “A Moveable Feast” at his death.

Pauline Pfieffer, Hemingway’s second wife -- and Seán Hemingway’s grandmother -- is cast in a more favorable light, and the chapters have been returned to what Seán claims is the proper order. Furthermore, Hotchner argues, Mary “had very little involvement with the book.” A new edition is, therefore, not only unnecessary but also dangerous; from now on, the logic goes, relatives of famous authors will have license to muck about with the canonical texts.

“Belief was very much at issue, for the Republicans needed a secular faith to replace the religion they [had] left behind,” Donaldson writes of Jordan.

So too of Hemingway, who cherished the spark of the fight, especially when the odds were long.

Unlike in “The Rise and Fall of a Literary Friendship,” Donaldson does not bring his subjects together.

The result, paradoxically, is to cast more light on their bond, not less.


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