Hemingway: The Paris Years (Magill's Literary Annual 1990)
The story of Ernest Hemingway’s years in Paris has been told repeatedly. His own fiction and memoirs describe his sojourn in Paris, and many Hemingway friends, biographers, and critics have explored this seminal phase of the writer’s development. What distinguishes Michael Reynolds’ account here, as in the first volume of this ongoing biography, The Young Hemingway (1986), is the way he has steeped himself in this mass of primary and secondary sources while making fresh use of Hemingway’s unpublished writings. Especially valuable is the distinction he is able to make between the way Hemingway and his contemporaries felt then (in the mid-1920’s) and the way they recall the period in their memoirs.
Although the basic story is familiar, it still sparkles with Reynolds’ deft handling of characters and setting. Especially fine is his evocation of Hemingway’s first wife, Hadley. She was always there for Hemingway, warmly maternal, sexually appealing, and enormously patient with her moody, aggressive, and ambitious husband. As long as Hemingway was unsure of himself of exactly when he would make his breakthrough as an artist, Hadley was absolutely essential to his well-being. Recognized only in low-circulation European literary journals and among the Left Bank aesthetes, Hemingway was an obscure, pretentious upstart—sensitive about his apprenticeship under writers such as Sherwood Anderson and Gertrude Stein and belligerent about being...
(The entire section is 1628 words.)
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Bibliography (Magill's Literary Annual 1990)
Kirkus Reviews. LVII, September 15, 1989, p.1389.
Library Journal. CXIV, November 15, 1989, p.86.
The New York Times Book Review. XCV, January 7, 1990, p.19.
Publishers Weekly. CCXXXVI, October 13, 1989, p.34.
The Times Literary Supplement. February 2, 1990, p.108.
The Washington Post Book World. XIX, December 24, 1989, p.1.
(The entire section is 38 words.)