That Summer in Paris — 1925

Morley Callaghan. Image: Toronto Star

In 1923 Morley Callaghan was, with Ernest Hemingway, a journalist on the Toronto Star. When they were in Paris, a year or so later, they decided to put on the boxing gloves and slug it out…

Morley Callaghan’s splendid book, That Summer in Paris, was first published in 1963, with my copy still readable, but rather fragile. Chapter One starts like this:

“ One September afternoon in 1960 I was having a drink with an old newspaper friend, Ken Jonstone, when unexpectedly he told me he had a message to pass on from Ronnie…


Swing, Brother, Swing

Benny Goodman in the 1950s. Image: Old Tybee Ranger Blogspot

First it was Benny Goodman, then it was everyone, and the kids jitterbugging in the theatre aisles. Among other things, though hardly most important, it was the first time that outsiders began to concern themselves about the sociological and psychological implications of jazz (why did everyone flock around the bandstands? What made those ‘teen-age dancers carry on like that?) …


“ We had breakfast before daylight and were started before sunrise, climbing the hill beyond the village in single file…”

Image: Ernest Hemingway Collection

Many are now very squeamish about the big game hunting of the past, and rightly condemn the illegal poaching of, for instance, elephants and rhino for their tusks and horns today. The latter is a deplorable practice born out of corruption and poverty that will see more of those two species killed in a few months than Hemingway and his fellow hunters were ever able to gun down in a lifetime of safaris.

Hemingway’s superb book, Green Hills of Africa


Arnold Samuelson

In 1934, at the height of the Depression a young man rode the rails from Minneapolis to Key West to ask Hemingway’s advice about writing…

Arnold Samuelson could easily have been a character out of a Hemingway short story: he certainly has a touch of Nick Adams about him and, like Hemingway, he also had a domineering mother who insisted he make something of himself. But how was he to achieve anything in the middle of a depression that had put 14 million people out of work in the US. …


The Story of a Friendship

Ernest & Gary. Image: Forbes

A Farewell to Arms was the first novel by Ernest Hemingway to be filmed, released by Paramount in 1932. Hemingway described it as an “abomination”, although there was something about its star, Gary Cooper.

Eight years later, in 1940, Hemingway heavily promoted Gary Cooper to play Robert Jordan in the upcoming production of For Whom the Bell Tolls (Hemingway had sold the rights for $135,000 plus a percentage), with Cooper playing Jordan. …


A Title Fight in Ten Rounds

Jed Kiley. Image: Methuen & Co Ltd

There have been many books written about Ernest Hemingway, with some of the best by people who showed him friendship in his early days as a writer, especially in the Paris of the 1920s. One of those was Jed Kiley.

Jed wasn’t his full name. His full name was John Gerald Kiley, and he was born on June 10th 1889 in Chicago, ten years and a month before Hemingway’s birth just a stone’s throw away in Oak Park.

Sadly, he’s virtually forgotten these days, but was, in his day a bit of a star…


A Painting by Joan Miró

The Farm. Image: wikiart / National Gallery Washington DC

The American writer, Jon Dos Passos, used to enjoy calling in at the Hemingway apartment above the sawmill in Paris in the early 1920s, chatting, and often helping to give their youngster ‘Bumby’ (John Hemingway) his evening bath, and read him bedtime stories. He much preferred to be with the Hemingways, in their small cold apartment that smelled of wood chippings and other peoples cooking, than with the Murphys in their large, rather sumptuous apartment in the Quai des Grand-Augustins.

He loved art, and enjoyed talking to Ernest about art, and about how much Ernest…


“ When the casualties had first come in during those late summer campaigns in the foothills of the Dolomites Agnes had been appalled at the horrifying wounds…”

Agnes. Image: deviantart/ellie-lucy

The story of Ernest Hemingway and Agnes von Kurowsky has become something of a romantic legend that, nevertheless, grows ever stronger with the retelling, and ever more poignant. Of course Hemingway’s novel, A Farewell to Arms (and the many film and TV versions), has a fictionalised version of their relationship at its heart.

Agnes Hannah von Kurowsky was a tall dark haired girl from Washington
D.C. She was a dutiful daughter and, for two…


Seen through the pages of John Buchan’s biography of The Lord Protector

“ Oliver realised parliament had become irrelevant. He must act.”

Cromwell. Image: nam.ac.uk

And in the House of Commons, on the 25th November, 1644, the day after Milton’s polemic, Oliver Cromwell “…set forth mercilessly…” all of Manchester’s short comings: his delays and hesitations, with “…these mistakes…due not to accident or to mere improvidence but to ‘…his backwardness to all action…’, and that this backwardness sprang from…an unwillingness to prosecute the war ‘…to a full victory.’ ”

After the parliamentary debate on the 9th of December, Cromwell again rose to make, in…


Starring Spencer Tracy

Image: moviesrankings.com

Even with the extraordinary success of Hemingway’s novel, The Old Man and the Sea, Hollywood didn’t come knocking on the author’s door demanding to give him huge amounts of money for the film rights. That didn’t bother Hemingway too much, he was thinking more about another trip to Europe including Spain, followed by big game hunting in East Africa, and then there was Paulin’s house to sort out in Key West. He didn’t really want to get mixed up in filming The Old Man, plus the Hollywood studios were in a bit of a financial flux, with…

Steve Newman Writer

Playwright, Historian, Biographer & Freelance Writer Living and Working in Shakespeare’s Stratford

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