Wednesday, June 20, 2012

F Scott Fitzgerald Made Ernest Hemingway Look at His Naughty Bits

This is republished from my other blog, where it is my most popular blog of all time. I don't know what that says about me. Or my readers.

Seriously. I just finished reading A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway. It’s Hemingway’s account of being young and poor and writing in various Paris cafes (FYI, there are no current openings for this. I already checked, so don’t bother looking).

I began reading this book after seeing a review of A Paris Wife by Paula McLain, a fictionalized account of the same period, based on Hemingway’s book. I thought that I should read the original non-fiction version before attacking the fan fiction though, so I picked up a copy of A Moveable Feast at the library even though I had previously not read much any Hemingway.

Nothing against Hemingway, but I thought he was for boys. Bullfighting, fishing, hunting. Sounds like the adult version of Boy’s Life Magazine. I did like his style in the non-fiction book though, so I am going to pick up some of his fiction. I may start with The Snows of Kilimanjaro because I like both snow and mountains, so it’s probably a fun read.

Anywho…Hemingway’s adventures in Paris included meeting all kinds of interesting people like Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound and of course, F Scott Fitzgerald who was there with Zelda and Scotty. Hemingway devotes an entire chapter to Fitzgerald, including a bumbling roadtrip that reads like an Abbott and Costello sketch. If Ben Affleck and Matt Damon hadn’t broken up they could probably stretch it out to a movie.

One day after a drink or two, Fitzgerald reveals (foreshadowing right there) to Hemingway that his wife had told him that because of the way he was “built” he could “never make any woman happy.” Since Zelda was Scott’s first, and at that time only woman, he had no reason to doubt her word, but it nagged at him. So Scott asked Ernest over cherry tarts and wine if he would mind having a little look-see.

Hemingway’s reluctant examination determined Scott to be ”perfectly fine” and he told him the problem was, “You look at yourself from above and you look foreshortened.” Hemingway then took him for a little stroll to the Louvre (MY preferred method of settling arguments) so that Scott could see the (ahem) statutory evidence for himself.

Scott was somewhat reassured, but baffled as to why his wife would make such a damaging false claim. Hemingway’s answer:

“To put you out of business. That’s the oldest way in the book of putting people out of business.” So in other words, Scott was lucky that Zelda tolerated him in the sack, so he’d best not bother looking elsewhere.

So, my review: A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway is a good book to read if you are interested in Hemingway, Paris, writing or F Scott Fitzgerald’s penis.

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