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Hemingway and Africa

Hemingway and Africa

Edited by Miriam B. Mandel
Copyright Date: 2011
Published by: Boydell and Brewer,
Pages: 432
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  • Book Info
    Hemingway and Africa
    Book Description:

    Hemingway's two extended African safaris, the first in the 1930s and the second in the 1950s, gave rise to two of his best-known stories ("The Snows of Kilimanjaro" and "The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber"), a considerable amount of journalism and correspondence, and two nonfiction books, ‘Green Hills of Africa’ (1935), about the first safari, and ‘True at First Light’ (1999; longer version, ‘Under Kilimanjaro’ 2005), about the second. Africa also figures largely in his important posthumous novel ‘The Garden of Eden’ (1986). The variety and quantity of this literary output indicate clearly that Africa was a major factor in the creative life of this influential American author. But surprisingly little scholarship has been devoted to the role of Africa in Hemingway's life and work. To start the long-delayed conversation on this topic, this book offers historical, theoretical, biographical, theological, and literary interpretations of Hemingway's African narratives. It also presents a wide-ranging introduction, a detailed chronology of the safaris, a complete bibliography of Hemingway's published and unpublished African works, an up-to-date, annotated review of the scholarship on the African works, and a bibliography of Hemingway's reading on natural history and other topics relevant to Africa and the world of the safari. Contributors: Silvio Calabi, Suzanne del Gizzo, Beatriz Penas Ibáñez, Jeremiah M. Kitunda, Kelli A. Larson, Miriam B. Mandel, Frank Mehring, Philip H. Melling, Erik G. R. Nakjavani, James Plath, and Chikako Tanimoto. Miriam B. Mandel is retired as Senior Lecturer in the Department of English and American Studies at Tel Aviv University.

    eISBN: 978-1-57113-768-5
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-viii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-x)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. xi-xii)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
    M. B. M.
  5. A Note on the Texts
    (pp. xv-xvi)
  6. Hemingway’s African Narratives
    (pp. xvii-xx)
  7. Hemingway in Africa: Chronology
    (pp. xxi-xxviii)
  8. Introduction
    (pp. 1-38)
    Miriam B. Mandel

    Ernest Hemingway was perhaps the most peripatetic of the authors who shaped American literature. He traveled at home and abroad, on ship, train, car, and plane, spending a good bit of time not just on the travel itself but also on the myriad details that attend it: checking timetables, booking passage, obtaining visas, making reservations at hotels, arranging for letters of credit and money in various currencies, requesting and organizing payment for fishing permits, hunting licenses, and tickets for bullfights, making arrangements for the handling of personal mail, bills, and, even more important, manuscripts, publishing contracts, and page proofs that...

  9. I: Knowing What Hemingway Knew

    • 1: Hemingway’s Reading in Natural History, Hunting, Fishing, and Africa
      (pp. 41-84)

      This bibliography began with Jeremiah Kitunda’s tracking down of the “twenty-three rare volumes on African hunting” (Reynolds, The 1930s, 168) that Hemingway ordered from Brentano’s in Paris as he returned from his first safari.¹ The Brentano list is interesting on a number of counts. It is historically oriented, almost half of it consisting of books published in the nineteenth century, with the earliest (Harris) being published almost a century before Hemingway undertook his own first safari. Clearly, at this time Hemingway was not looking for practical up-to-date advice or technical information, but rather, as he prepared to write about his...

    • 2: Ernest Hemingway on Safari: The Game and the Guns
      (pp. 85-121)
      Silvio Calabi

      Ernest Hemingway was a very experienced and skilled lifelong hunter and shooter. He started early. His mother, Grace Hall Hemingway, noted that “Ernest was taught to shoot by Pa when 2½ and when 4 could handle a pistol” (Hotchner, 49). His grandson, Seán Hemingway, specifies that by the time his grandfather was three years old, he “had learned to load, cock and shoot a gun by himself, and at four he was trekking as much as seven miles on hunting expeditions with his father, carrying his own gun over his shoulder” (xxiv). He adds that Ernest Hemingway received his first...

    • 3: “Love is a dunghill. . . . And I’m the cock that gets on it to crow”: Ernest Hemingway’s Farcical Adoration of Africa
      (pp. 122-148)
      Jeremiah M. Kitunda

      Whereas Ernest Hemingway’s contribution to Africa’s image is indisputable, his debt to Africa as a contributor to his life and career remains unexplored. In the 1930s and 1950s, the renowned American writer made two major well-documented excursions to Eastern Africa. These two African excursions, both centered at the foot of Kilimanjaro (Africa’s highest and most massive mountain),¹ inspired an important body of texts that includes essays in magazines (Esquire, Look, and Sports Illustrated), a good-sized correspondence, two very fine short stories (“Snows of Kilimanjaro” and “The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber”), another two short stories embedded in a novel...

  10. II: Approaches to Reading

    • 4: Canonical Readings: Baudelaire’s Subtext in Hemingway’s African Narratives
      (pp. 151-175)
      Beatriz Penas Ibáñez

      This essay develops several interlocking arguments to explain the changes in Ernest Hemingway’s writing between the 1930s and the 1950s. It is my contention that Hemingway’s attention to the work of Charles Baudelaire — an attention practically neglected or unnoticed by Hemingway’s critics¹ — can explain these changes. My second contention is that Ernest Hemingway was aware of the need for him as an artist to keep changing his style of writing according to new aesthetic needs. Third, I contend that from the 1930s onward, Hemingway explored new forms of writing in his African narratives, and that he did this...

    • 5: Tracking the Elephant: David’s African Childhood in Hemingway’s The Garden of Eden
      (pp. 176-198)
      Suzanne del Gizzo

      In the wake of the publication of The Garden of Eden, Patrick Hemingway pointedly noted: “it may come as a surprise, but Hemingway never shot an elephant.” He goes on to explain that his father “thought it was wrong — he felt that elephants were our equals” (Pooley, 1). Patrick was likely responding to readers’ interest in the poignant elephant hunting episode in Garden that James Nagel and many other scholars have argued is the heart of the novel (330), but his statement also begins to revise the image of his father as the rugged trophy hunter, one of the...

    • 6: An Elephant in the Garden: Hemingway’s Africa in The Garden of Eden Manuscript
      (pp. 199-211)
      Chikako Tanimoto

      Reading Ernest Hemingway’s The Garden of Eden, we need to ask whether, or to what degree, it presents Africa as a cultural reality, or if Africa merely forms the backdrop for what is at heart an essentially Euro-American psychological narrative. In the manuscript version of the book, David and Catherine’s sexual experiments are referred to as “tribal things,” which, together with the darkening of their skin from exposure to the sun, suggests what we might call “Africanization” in both physical and psychological terms. On the other hand, while the elephant hunting story David writes has its background in East Africa,...

    • 7: Between Ngàje Ngài and Kilimanjaro: A Rortian Reading of Hemingway’s African Encounters
      (pp. 212-236)
      Frank Mehring

      Like no other American artist, Ernest Hemingway has left his literary mark on the iconic summit of Kilimanjaro. Hemingway’s admiration for the African region attracted worldwide curiosity. Particularly striking was his metaphorical use of the Masai expression Ngàje Ngài (“House of God”) to refer to the highest mountain on the continent. With “The Snows of Kilimanjaro” (1936), Hemingway inspired readers to follow him in facing the essentials of life, either by means of an aesthetic transfer in the act of reading or quite literally by hiring a travel guide from Tanzania. Today, you can book a “Last Frontier Expedition” with...

  11. III: On Religion and Death

    • 8: Memorial Landscapes: Hemingway’s Search for Indian Roots
      (pp. 239-272)
      Philip H. Melling

      Hemingway went to Kenya in 1953 to explore and understand his tribal past. It was a brave and intellectually curious journey, but it ended in confusion and, in the telling, became subject to the fantasies and inventions that Hemingway was prone to throughout his career. In a letter to Robert M. Brown written three years after the safari, he described his initiation with the Wakamba tribe, boasting that the challenge he had set himself had been fully achieved: “I was the first and only white man or 1/8 Indian who was ever a Kamba,” he announced proudly, “and it is...

    • 9: Hemingway’s African Book of Revelations: Dawning of a “New Religion” in Under Kilimanjaro
      (pp. 273-298)
      Erik G. R. Nakjavani

      Religious motifs constitute a sizeable and complex body of references in Ernest Hemingway’s Under Kilimanjaro. As the quasi-fictional narrator, Hemingway gradually prepares the reader for the birth of a “new and unknown religion” (UK, 168). First cautiously and then eagerly, the reader steps into the narrator’s religious experiences as they unfold in the lee of Kilimanjaro. Although the narrator leavens his exploration of religion with jokes, he often feels it necessary to assure his wife, Mary, and ultimately the reader, that his “new religion” is “not a joke” (420). I do take this assurance seriously.

      In what follows, I intend...

    • 10: Barking at Death: Hemingway, Africa, and the Stages of Dying
      (pp. 299-320)
      James Plath

      In Green Hills of Africa, the first-person narrator says that Crane “was dying from the start” (23). In a way, so was Ernest Hemingway, whose fiction betrays what Frank Scafella described, without exaggeration, as an “extreme anxiety of death” (5). Not surprisingly, there has been a great deal written on the subject, much of it having to do with Hemingway’s love of the corrida and most of it harking back to Phillip Young’s interpretation of a famous Hemingway phrase: “grace under pressure”¹ (Ernest Hemingway, 7–9, 14). Young saw the emergence of a “code hero” very early in Hemingway’s fiction,...

  12. IV: What Others Have Said

    • 11: On Safari with Hemingway: Tracking the Most Recent Scholarship
      (pp. 323-384)
      Kelli A. Larson

      Over two hundred essays, notes, and books appear on Ernest Hemingway’s life and art annually. Add the occasional posthumous publication and the critical debate rises to a feverish pitch. That Hemingway’s writing continues to sustain such intense critical scrutiny proves once again that although he writes simply, Hemingway is not a simple writer. Scholars who seek to answer questions and contribute to the ever-increasing pool of Hemingway knowledge struggle to keep abreast of the latest developments in the field. Testifying to their diligence and success is the dramatic increase in the quality of Hemingway scholarship over the past two decades....

  13. Notes on the Contributors
    (pp. 385-388)
  14. Index
    (pp. 389-398)
  15. Back Matter
    (pp. 399-399)