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Ernest Hemingway FAQ: Legend

Question What do you know about Ernest Hemingway's lost manuscripts?

Answer Ernest Hemingway was on assignment covering the Lausanne Peace Conference in 1922. His first wife Hadley came to visit him via train and had packed with her all of his manuscripts including the carbons in a small valise, which ended up being stolen. The material was never recovered.

As far as the content of these manuscripts, I cannot definitively say. I would assume they were mostly short stories and poems that Hemingway was working on at the time. Any of the major biographies will have a more detailed account of this notorious incident. Some may comment specifically on the content of the lost material.

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Question For some time now, I have heard rumors that Ernest Hemingway was either bisexual or homosexual. Is there any validity to these rumors?

Answer The rumors are many when it comes to Ernest Hemingway and his sexual orientation. What is this recurring fascination with hair and this intense interest in androgyny? Isn't it interesting that it is almost always the woman who initiates the desire to be sexually one with the man? Did Hemingway perhaps feel guilt regarding his own androgynous feelings? Did displacing these feelings on his female characters produce in him some cathartic effect?

Then we have the issue of homosexuality. How could such a "man's man," the hunter, fighter, drinker, womanizer be a homosexual? Would you be surprised that the same man who once brawled with Max Eastman, a critic who wrote an unflattering review of Death in the Afternoon, in it condemning Hemingway's masculine image and literary style, characterizing it as one "of wearing false hair on his chest," also joked about homosexuality, at times even making himself out to be a homosexual? At least, "rumor" has it that Hemingway joked about being a homosexual.

I have found no evidence to support the claim that Ernest Hemingway was bisexual or homosexual. I see it more as sexual curiosity on Hemingway's part. Perhaps he felt a person could not be wholly a person until he or she took on the qualities of the opposite sex and experienced what it was like to be the other.

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Question What is the history behind the "lost generation"? Where and how did this phrasing originate?

Answer Gertrude Stein had gone to have her Ford fixed. Very impressed by the young and efficient mechanic, she inquired about him to the garage owner. The owner said that he trained all his mechanics himself and that they learned well and fast. Only those aged 22 to 30 could not be taught. "C'est une génération perdue," the owner said in describing this group. There is another variation of this story which has Gertrude Stein being extremely disappointed by the mechanic's lax work ethnic, complaining to the garage owner, who then says "C'est une génération perdue," to describe the mechanic's generation. This is the version Hemingway confirms in A Moveable Feast.

It's important to note that Hemingway himself did not entirely subscribe to the "lost generation" philosophy. See his November 1926 letter to his editor, Maxwell Perkins, reprinted in Ernest Hemingway: Selected Letters 1917-1961 edited by Carlos Baker, page 229.

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Question Did Ernest Hemingway invent a daiquiri drink?

Answer A "Papa Doble" is the name of the Hemingway daiquiri drink. Legend has it that Hemingway invented the drink at Sloppy Joe's Bar in Key West, Florida, though some believe the daiquiri was in existence as early as 1898-1900 in the province of Oriente, Cuba, supposedly invented by an American mining engineer named Jennings Cox.

The drink's ingredients include "two ounces of white or light rum, the juice from two limes, the juice from half a grapefruit, Maraschino liqueur floating on the top, served over crushed ice." The recipe cited here comes from Charles Oliver's Ernest Hemingway A to Z: The Essential Reference to the Life and Work.

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Question Where can I find information about Ernest Hemingway's cats?

Answer The following link will provide you with information on Ernest Hemingway's cats: Hemingway Home Cats.

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Question What was the name of Ernest Hemingway's fishing boat?

Answer The Pilar is the name of Ernest Hemingway's fishing boat. In 1926, Hemingway had gone to the bullfights in Zaragoza, Spain. It was there that he witnessed the Pilar shrine (in honor of the patron saint of Zaragoza). This was partly his inspiration for naming the boat. His other inspiration might have come from second wife Pauline, who had given herself the nickname, "Pilar" when first courting Ernest. Hemingway purchased the boat in 1934 for $7500.

Hemingway had specified that the boat be left to his long time fishing companion/mentor (and first mate of the Pilar), Gregorio Fuentes. Fuentes felt that the best place for the boat would be at Hemingway's Finca Vigía property in San Francisco de Paula, Cuba. The Pilar now resides there, a popular attraction for travelling Hemingway aficionados.

View a photo of Hemingway's Pilar.

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Question Where can I read reviews of Ernest Hemingway haunts?

Answer TripAdvisor has an enormous collection of reviews on numerous destinations. Their inventory of reviews is updated daily. Below are a few links to Hemingway related attractions on TripAdvisor:

Hemingway Museum (Oak Park, Illinois)
Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum (Key West, Florida)
Sloppy Joe's (Key West, Florida)
Harry's Bar (Venice, Italy)
Museo Hemingway Finca Vigía (San Francisco de Paula, Cuba)

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