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Hemingway and the lure of Paris

While a correspondent during the Second World War, Ernest Hemingway wrote five short stories inspired by military events. These stories intertwined the themes of condemnation of savagery, patriotic sentiments, civil responsibility, and the dream of a simple humanity unaffected by rancor and revenge. Upon their completion, this US writer (awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1954) handed over these stories to his editor, commenting: “You can always publish them after I’m dead”. Since his death in 1961, only one of these tales has been published. Now, another one has been published by The Strand Magazine and will be available in US bookstores as of Thursday 2 August, as reported by The New York Times. The story, which is called “A Room on the Garden Side”, narrates, in the first person, the story of an American author named Robert who lives in Paris when the Allied Forces liberate the French capital from Nazi occupation in August of 1944. It is easy to detect the autobiographical element in the plot, considering that the same Hemingway was living in Paris during the days of liberation. He was staying at the Ritz Hotel, from where he enjoyed a magnificent view of Place Vendôme; and the garden, named in the title of the story, calls to mind the light that broke forth after days of darkness.

Andrew F. Gulli, editorial director for Strand Magazine said, “Hemingway’s deep love for his favorite city is on full display. The author had traveled a great deal ... but Paris was always his favorite city”. Although focused on the war, the story, written by Hemingway’s hand, becomes an opportunity to reaffirm the importance of the relationship between literature and morals, particularly when a writer, although conditioned by events of the war, knows that “it is always good to state the truth”, beyond the different interests of the parties involved. (Gabriele Nicolò)

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Oct. 17, 2018

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