In the middle of the celebratory feel of this week, as we head into Independence Day Weekend, I would be remiss if we did not take a moment to remember this week (yesterday, in fact) as the anniversary of the death of Ernest Hemingway.
Hemingway was born this month in 1899 in our very own Oak Park,
attended Oak Park and River Forest High Schools until his graduation in
1917. After working as a reporter for the Kansas City Star and serving
in the Red Cross Ambulance
Corps in WWI, Hemingway returned to Oak Park briefly before moving to
Toronto. Then, Hemingway moved back to Chicago, where he continued to
do work for The Toronto Star. He married his first wife and the
two lived initially on a top floor apartment on the 1300 block of N.
Clark Street, then at 1239 N. Dearborn, which bears a plaque today
reading, "The Hemingway Apartment". In the early 1930s, Hemingway lived in Key West,
and rumor has it (okay, okay, I was told first-hand) that a certain
current Chicago author made a point of making out with his wife in the
Florida Hemingway residence, to mark the occasion. But, I digress.
After Hemingway's suicide in 1961, there was a fair amount of
discussion about his posthumous work, too. Hemingway, you see, was a
very prolific letter-correspondent and made quite clear the fact that
he never wanted any of his letters published. In 1981, several letters
were, in fact, published in Ernest Hemingway Selected Letters, and so was met with some degree of controversy. Other letters between Hemingway and his editor were published later in The Only Thing That Counts in 1996.
(Coincidentally, we visited the topic of posthumous publication rights on Chicago Subtext just days ago.)