"Edson’s vivid portrayal of the urban area, as well as the working class and underclass, creates a vision of Saint John that highlights the discrepancy between the pre-modern idyllic notion of life in Atlantic Canada and the more complicated reality of the region."

-The New Brunswick Literary Encyclopedia

Saturday, April 21, 2012

The Hemingway Papers

Hemingway's 1923 passport photo
From 1920 to 1924 Ernest Hemingway worked on and off for The Toronto Star, and though this period remains for the most part either skimmed or swept under the rug by most Hemingway scholars (god forbid us Canadians played a part in his growth), preferring to focus more on his time with the Kansas City Star for which he worked for a mere six and half months as an 18-year-old, it was Hemingway's Toronto Star experience that is one of the earliest and most important times in his apprenticeship as a writer. It is widely known that his Paris years sculpted his simple style that would, within a few years, make him one of the most important literary voices of the 20th Century. And there are several writers attributed to coaching the young writer along during this time (Gertrude Stein, John Dos Passos, F. Scott Fitzgerald etc.). But it should be remembered that Hemingway was still under the employ of the Toronto Star while in Paris, working as a foreign correspondent. Indeed, one of the lesser mentioned writers who joined Hemingway in Paris was Star writer Morley Callaghan who'd befriended Hemingway while in Toronto. Callaghan often boxed with Hemingway but in many bios his name will be omitted, preferring to only mention the American poet Ezra Pound who also boxed with him. Callaghan later wrote a lovely book called That Summer in Paris, one of the first Hemingway biographies I'd ever read. For Hemingway geeks like myself, I was excited yesterday when it was announced that The Star will  publish an 80-page newsprint collection of more than 70 of the Toronto articles (not sure yet if there will be any from his Paris dispatches).

To check out Friday's article reprinted from 1923 when the 24-year-old author was dispatched to cover a jailbreak from the Kingston Penitentiary CLICK HERE. To order a copy of the articles directly from The Star CLICK HERE.

For a more detailed account of Hemingway in Toronto, read Hemingway: The Toronto Years by William Burrill.

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