Two Autograph Letters Signed

Ernest HEMINGWAY

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Item#: 126347 price:$18,500.00

Two Autograph Letters Signed
Two Autograph Letters Signed
Two Autograph Letters Signed
Two Autograph Letters Signed

"THIS FALL, WINTER AND NOW SPRING… IS THE BEST APPRENTICESHIP I'VE EVER SERVED": TWO SUPERB HEMINGWAY AUTOGRAPH LETTERS TO HIS BIOGRAPHER CHARLES FENTON, AUTHOR OF THE APPRENTICESHIP OF ERNEST HEMINGWAY, AN EARLY DRAFT OF WHICH HEMINGWAY WAS READING AT THE TIME HE WROTE THESE LETTERS

HEMINGWAY, Ernest. Two autograph letters signed ("Ernest Hemingway" and "E.H.") to Charles Fenton at Yale University. Kenya ("on safari near Laitakitok") : December 5, 1953 (both letters written on the same day, one at "1500" hours, the other at "1700"). Two folios of blue paper, penned on the rectos for two pages, measuring 8 by 10 inches. Housed together with original air mail envelopes, each addressed by Hemingway, one with his return address in Kenya, in a custom cloth clamshell box. $18,500.

Two superb Hemingway autograph letters signed (as "Ernest Hemingway" and "E.H.") to Charles Fenton at Yale University, in which he discusses his safari, the Masai, the Nobel Prize, writing and criticism. Hemingway had taken a copy of Fenton's dissertation, titled "The Literary Apprenticeship of Ernest Hemingway," with him on his safari in Africa; the following year Fenton published this work as a book under the same title.

Charles Fenton, then a doctoral student at Yale University, was preparing his dissertation on Hemingway—titled "The Literary Apprenticeship of Ernest Hemingway"—for publication. Hemingway took a copy, apparently provided to him by Fenton, with him on his 1953 hunting safari in Kenya, and in these two letters he discusses hunting, apprenticeships, the Nobel Prize and his writing career. The following year Fenton published an expanded version of his dissertation under the same title with Farrar, Straus & Young.

In the first of these two letters that Hemingway wrote on the same day, he discusses being an honorary game warden in Kenya, the Masai, the Nobel Prize (which he would win a year later, in 1954), and writing and criticism. "It is perfectly ok to use the quotes you request permission for in yours of November 26… Am sorry penmanship not better but have a bad right hand since night before last. Everythign else fine and we have had a very instructive and happy time and will not be returning until into March… Am an honorary Game Warden for Kenya and am doing predator control with the dept. again. Have been learning to use a spear properly with the Masai ad we have some fairly good ops in prospect. Maybe it is kidding yourself that you can play in the Big Leagues but you get some sort of idea in batting practice. If it would mean anything to you to have a spear that has been used I could bring you one from the fucking never-ending apprentice-ship. This fall, winter and now spring, for here, is the best apprenticeship I've ever served… The published works you will have read. The unpublished are in the same place all unpublisheds are. It isn't the Newberry Library. I remember some character asking me once what was the place of Modern Poetry and I said, 'In your pocket.' This probably sounds pompous and preposterous, but I haven't time nor any wish to dispute facts or questions of taste with you in a Preface… I trust you to be straight and if you aren't I hope you will hang and rattle… Would like to check on anything that could get me into trouble on items not covered by the statute of limitations. You checked a couple or else my good friends are as good as I thought they were… I'm sorry I ran out of the money in the big dynamite prize [the Nobel]. But anyway am probably the only writer who ever placed in the event [the Nobel] who ever handled dynamite and was checked out on same. This is enough bull shit now. Best always, your friend Ernest Hemingway."

In the second letter, Hemingway writes: "Dear Charlie: For Christ sake forgive any pomposity… in my other note. Have just read your letter [of November 26] over and it is superior. While I was writing the other one, a character was dictating a monthly report to Miss Mary. I was discussing ball room bananas and ops with another character. Both fine characters. Another character was checking rounds. Another character was fitting spear casings. We have been trying to get the Masai who hang around chewing bubble gum and drinking golden jeep sherry to kill lions on foot again. They all own from 250 to 300 head of cattle worth 200-250 bob apiece and they expect to chew bubble gum and ask the department to kill their cattle killers. I am prepared to kill three if they will kill one and will go in with a spear on theirs… But want them to attack on time and no one who is hopped up gets any points. Am checking on what they hop up with and will bring you some if you like… I feel the need of it sometimes myself but do not use it… it… comes from the bark of a tree. Afterwards they are worthless for 3 days. We have been doing the same work cold on water and gin afterwards. Yrs. E.H."

Fine condition. An excellent and revealing set of Hemingway autograph letters.

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