Saturday, July 2, 2011

Summer Soiree: Selected Hemingway Short Stories

 Hemingway's 1923 Passport Photo

Selected Hemingway Short Stories
for 6-Week Summer Soiree
beginning Thursday 14 July, 8-10 pm

I got lucky yesterday.  After sending out the Hemingway Summer Soiree mailing, Mufidah and I trawled a half-dozen or so used bookshops in Lewes in search of the Hemingway books we'll be reading over the course of our six weeks together.  I already had A Farewell to Arms.  In fact, it was my beginning to reread this over the past few days which inspired the Soiree.

We came up dry with the first two bookshops, but were delighted to see that the first Hemingway we came upon, at the Bow Windows Bookshop (just a few doors down from us, though we had decided to start from the top of the town and work our way down), was a 1960 hardcover edition of The First Forty-Nine Stories.

I also have a lovely edition of Hemingway's A Moveable Feast, a gift from an old friend who bought it at Shakespeare and Company, Sylvia Beach's bookshop on Paris' Left Bank, from which Hemingway used to borrow books (the bookshop was also a lending library) upon first arriving in Paris in 1922.  I was considering our discussing A Moveable Feast in our final class, on 18 August, but decided, instead, to include a selection of Hemingway's early stories in Week 1, prior to our moving on to his novels.  This will provide a better sense of Hemingway's development as a writer.

And, so, true to the subject line of the present mailing, below is the selection from The First Forty-Nine Stories which we'll be reading for the first class, on Thursday evening, 14 July, in order of original publication:
  • Indian Camp (his first published story, 1924)
  • A Very Short Story (1925)
  • Big Two-Hearted River, Parts 1 and 2 (1925)
  • Banal Story (1926)
  • Now I Lay Me (1927)
  • A Clean, Well-Lighted Place (1927)
  • A Day's Wait (1933)
  • The Gambler, the Nun, and the Radio (1933)
  • Fathers and Sons (1933)
Just before heading home, after visiting the used bookshops at the bottom of Cliffe High Street, we stopped in to the charity shop across the street from Boots, and, lo and behold, they had a used paperback edition (the very same edition which I linked out to in yesterday's mailing) of The Sun Also Rises, for which I paid a whopping £1.25.  The corners of many of the pages had been folded as placemarkers, but this was easily rectified.

That leaves my only needing to find a copy of The Old Man and the Sea, a book I first read as an eighth-grader (12-13 years old), at Carroll Middle School in Southlake, Texas, when I was in desperate need for a book short enough for me to both read and crank out an essay on to be handed in the following day.  The length of The Old Man and the Sea fit the bill perfectly.  So, my debt to Hemingway goes way back!

If you'd like to have a poke around the bookshops near you, or consider buying used editions (check out BookFinder.com), there's plenty of time for you to do so, particularly for the novels.  Also, there's a good chance you could find the short stories online for Week 1, if you'd prefer to just print these out rather than buy the The First Forty-Nine Stories collection.

Here's an example.

I'm really looking forward to this course.  If you'd like to join us for this summertime reading adventure, click here to book your place.

With warm regards,

Sean

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