Sunday, November 26, 2006

Hemingway The Young Journalist

Ernest's passport from late 1921. He was going to Paris with Hadley and the passport was provided by the Toronto Star newspaper. He was going to be their foreign correspondent in Paris.
Ernest had been a writer for the Kansas City Star newspaper for seven months in 1917. Learning to write "newspaper style" seemed to be to his liking. He adhered to the Kansas City Star's style guide which begins: "Use short sentences. Use short first paragraphs. Use vigorous English. Be positive, not negative." This style of writing was also called "cablese" by journalists because of the sparse style that sending telegrams required. Telegrams were expensive and journalists cut down their transmissions to the bare essentials. He carried these lessons over to the Toronto Star.
(Telegrams were called "cables" because they were transmitted on wires - usually running between railroad stations. Almost any town of any importance had a railroad station. If there was a fire in Boston, for example, the story would be sent from there to telegraph receivers up and down the rail line. The story was said to have "moved on the wire." The first reporter to telegraph the story is said to have "broke" the story and "scooped" the competition. Cables could also be sent by radio -"wireless", as the British called radio - anyone who has seen a movie about the Titanic is familiar with radio telegrams. Radios and the necessary large antennas were not very practical or common in the 1920s.)
It was in his newspaper work for the Toronto Star that Hemingway developed not only his stylistic quirks (his famous terse, staccato style of writing), but also his hard-boiled dialogue, his comedic structure, major themes and sense of plot and character.
When he arrived in Europe he was slow in beginning his work for the Star. It took him two months to mail in his first articles. That soon became about two a week. He wrote about Swiss tourism, German inflation, tuna fishing at Vigo, the election of Pope Pius XI, Clemenceau's place in French history, a book review ( his first) of a novel set in Africa; about thirty articles from february untill the end of March, 1922.
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Meg said...

Did he stop working for them in March?

Nikon said...

He worked, on a mostly irregular basis, until January 1, 1924. He wanted to devote all of his time to writing his first novel, The Sun Also Rises.

Carlos said...

I have read somewhere that Hadley had a 3.000 USD annual income. If so why did they live so miserably in Paris?

Nikon said...

Hi carlos,
Yes, that's a good question. Hadley did have an income of $3,000 a year and Earnest had his journalism checks from the Star.
Also, both came from wealthy families, so if an emergency arose, it is suspected that they could ask for assistance.
But when they went apartment hunting in Paris, Earnest chose one with the bathroom in the hallway.
Did they want to fit the image of "starving artists"?

Icarus said...

Hey Paul, how are things going? I understand from Carlos that you are in 'home difficulties'. I have to tell you that I too am facing a very great crisis in the smae department in the coming weeks. I can't see a solution, but I'd like you to know that you are not entirely alone in this, for what it's worth. Nothing is quite as it may seem, is it? You take good care. We'll find out.....

Nikon said...

Hi MS,
I didn't know that you were in the same fix - very sorry to hear it. Lot's of sentimental ties to this place. I've got about a month or so.
Too bad we can't team up as roommates!
Good luck and please keep in touch.

Icarus said...

Yeah, Paul. it is REALLY serious, no kidding. Sometimes, we can do so well in sheltering ourselves from fact, and sheltering everyone else from them too. Then time the master kicks in and it's the big, one-sided confrontation. For me, it's the second time in less than a year. A traumatic year. Whenever there is radical, earth-shattering change, what we need most is something that offers sanctuary, in order to stabilise, defend & fight back. A base. That's what is now missing here, no roots and it is going to be very tough. Carlos has told me more & yours is another situation I had long, painful experience with. So, once again, you aren't alone. Take care, and keep your herad facing's vital. For both of us.

Nikon said...

Hello Stewart,
It's tough, for sure, I'm hanging on by a thread.
The "base" you mention, is just what is missing, so you're right about its importance.
Email me anytime - do you have plans?
I have no resources at the moment adding to the angst.
Good luck.

Icarus said...

Hi, Paul. I WILL mail. My clearest plan is to try & stay cool & calm and to keep seeing all of the realities clearly. You must too.

Emmanuelle said...

Paul, thanks for the visit and a comment :)