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Archive for Tuesday, September 28, 2004

New Hemingway story discovered

Estate won’t permit publication of early tale

September 28, 2004

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A bullfight, an act of bravado, a brush with death. A newly discovered story by the young Ernest Hemingway has all the elements to delight fans and scholars -- but it can't be published.

The late writer's estate hasn't approved publication of the 1924 piece, a gory, over-the-top parody about a bullfight in the Spanish city of Pamplona, the manuscript's owner, Donald Stewart, told The Associated Press on Monday.

People who have seen the story say it's no masterpiece. But it could give important clues about Hemingway's first attempts at trying on different literary styles, especially because most of his early work disappeared when his suitcase was stolen in the early 1920s.

The short story also foreshadows Hemingway's fascination with blood, spectacle and bullfights. Two years later, he published the classic "The Sun Also Rises," about aimless expatriates hanging out in Paris and the bull-running city of Pamplona.

The tone of the tale, written when Hemingway was in his mid-20s, is light and satirical. Its main character is a comic personification of "what later became the Hemingway myth," Stewart said by telephone from his home in Rome. "A heroic man with a lot of hair on his chest."

Stewart, a 72-year-old writer, had the documents for years without realizing it. He recently discovered the manuscript and letter from Hemingway in an envelope left by his father, Donald Ogden Stewart, who died in 1980.

To publish a new Hemingway find, permission must be granted by both the Foundation and the Hemingway estate. The Foundation wanted to publish it, but the family didn't.

Suzanne Balaban, vice president and director of publicity at Scribner's, Hemingway's original publisher, said "the Hemingway estate doesn't feel they've really explored the best way to present this story to the public."

She said the story might be published in the future, "but that hasn't been decided yet."

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