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PORTRAIT OF HEMINGWAY by Lillian Ross

PORTRAIT OF HEMINGWAY

By Lillian Ross

ISBN: 0375754385
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

This portrait of Hemingway is a "Profile" which was originally done for The New Yorker in 1947, introduced by a prologue touching on the continuity of their friendship which began at that time, his generosity towards her (as towards many other writers), and briefly the unexpected response to the "Profile" which many found "devastating" although it met this magazine's criteria of objectivity and high fidelity (and the subject's approval). Probably the main cause for offense was the projection of an image which was not the reader's; Hemingway did not talk or act the way he should, and his idiosyncratic speech ways (a sort of jerky "joke Indian language".. i.e. "He read book all way up on plane... He like book, I think") are more childlike than godlike. Still, no one can question the writer's obvious devotion to the burly, bulky patriarchal presence; her ability - in a few scenes - to spotlight his likes (animals versus people; Paris and Venice, his hometowns, versus New York and Westport), his fondness for "the kraut (Marlene Dietrich), caviar and champagne," for circuses, races, fights, his taste in great books, art, etc.. Anyone familiar with Lillian Ross' shorter and longer pieces know her unerring recording eye and ear and while this is just a footnote in the long bibliography ahead, it does provide a person to person introduction. The first - not the most.