"Take a book of stories by Anderson, Callaghan, Faulkner and Co. Shit. I don't compete with those punks"

Hemingway, Ernest, American writer and Nobel Laureate (1899-1961). Autograph letter signed.

[Paris], 6 November [1933].

4to. 6 pages on 3 ff. With autograph envelope.

 15,000.00

A wide-ranging letter to Arnold Gingrich in Chicago ("Dear Major G"), editor of the newly minted "Esquire" magazine, written ten days after the publication of "Winner Take Nothing". Half of the letter is about writing short stories; the rest concerns Esquire (Hemingway’s comments on the first issue, his editorial advice, his arrangements with the magazine, etc.): "Your statement [in a recent letter] about when and where stories published absolutely correct and exactly what I wrote Scribners in July. Also wrote them what magazines to give credit to. That hasn’t been done either. I am not responsible for their front matter. OK-ed final proof by cable with corrections. Never saw jacket until got book at Sylvia Beach’s [Shakespeare and Co. in Paris] [...] 'Mother of a Queen' and 'Day’s Wait' [stories in 'Winner Take Nothing'] are better stories than you think they are. But thanks very much for taking the trouble to comment. Trouble with 'One Reader Writes' [another story in the book] is that letter is exactly true and because I didn’t make you a picture of the woman. Papa was careless or it was too hot that day in Havana. I’ve written 3 books of stories now and there are 2 unsuccessful ones in the 3 books. I mean that [they] don’t do what they are supposed to do. There are no phony ones [...] Also when you have the time mark a volume - any one - of De Maupassant, Turgenieff, Chekov, Kipling, Merimee and see how you come out on stars and how many phonies there are. Turgenieff and Kipling rate plenty high. I’ve written more good stories and as good stories as Turgenieff - already. Kipling wrote 20 times as many and a damned sight better stories than I have. But I am going to get better as I get older and he didn't. So may have a chance. All right - Take a book of stories by [Sherwood] Anderson, [Morley] Callaghan, Faulkner and Co. Shit. I don’t compete with those punks. Faulkner will go straight for a damned fine wonderful first paragraph - Then get tired and start faking all over the place - Morley was damned honest but dull. He’s still dull. Since it seemed I learned everything I know from Sherwood better not criticize him. But the funny thing is that Sherwood and I both learned everything we knew at the start not from Stein but where Stein learned it - From Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain. Anderson, however, wrote some damned fine stories [...]".

Provenance

1) Arnold Gingrich (recipient).

2) Jonathan Goodwin (Sotheby's Parke Bernet, 12 April 1978, part of lot 717).

3) Maurice F. Neville (Sotheby's New York, 13 April 2004, lot 109).

Condition

In pencil on three sheets of grey paper watermarked "Joynson Extra Superfine". Some light staining on the first sheet, last page a trifle soiled, original stamped envelope addressed in Hemingway’s hand. At the top of page 4 he has typed "Ernest Hemingway / Paris Letter", followed by a five-line typed beginning of the piece; all of this has been crossed through in pencil by him.

References

Hemingway, Letters (ed. Spanier et al.) V, 531-534.

Stock Code: BN#63246 Tags: ,