The Letters of Ernest Hemingway: Volume 1, 1907-1922


The Leatherbound Edition (right); The Standard Edition (Left)

“Everything lovely, we go to the front tomorrow, we’ve been treated like kings.” The following sentence was written ‘on a postcard from a son to his father towards the end of the First World War, are at first glance striking mainly for their youthful insouciance amid what was then the bloodiest war in history’, said a 2008 article in The Independent. The son in question was Ernest Hemingway.

A month after the post card was written, on 9 June 1918, Ernest Hemingway (or Ernie as he used to sign), a young Red Cross ambulance driver, would be badly wounded on the Italian front. His personal experience during First World War, were what inspired him to write A Farewell to Arms (1929)—a semi-autobiographical novel.

A letter typed and signed by Ernest Hemingway to his father on 24 July 24, 1926 from Valencia, Spain. The reference to "Nunbones" is a nickname Hemingway used for his sister Madelaine

This postcard is part of a collection of 100 letters, cards and telegrams, and other correspondence from Hemingway acquired by the Penn State University Libraries from the author’s nephew, Ernest Hemingway Mainland; they are now part of a six-year-old effort to produce a single scholarly edition of the author’s correspondence: The Hemingway Letters Project.

The Hemingway Letters Project began in 2002. It will consist of 16 volumes grouping the 7,000 or more letters and cards he sent, most never published before. The Letters of Ernest Hemingway, will be released during the next 20 years. The Mainland collection is believed to be one of the last of any consequence that was still in private hands.

The Independent newspaper have commented that these letter show “a softer side of macho Hemingway.” He drank, smoked and hunted so it will definitely be an interesting read.

1937: American writer Ernest Hemingway (1899 - 1961) kneels while holding a pair of antelope horns during a safari, Africa. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Below is an excerpt from the official book description.

Cambridge University Press—With the first publication, in this edition, of all the surviving letters of Ernest Hemingway (1899–1961), readers will for the first time be able to follow the thoughts, ideas and actions of one of the great literary figures of the twentieth century in his own words. This first volume encompasses his youth, his experience in World War I and his arrival in Paris. The letters reveal a more complex person than Hemingway’s tough guy public persona would suggest: devoted son, affectionate brother, infatuated lover, adoring husband, spirited friend and disciplined writer. Unguarded and never intended for publication, the letters record experiences that inspired his art, afford insight into his creative process and express his candid assessments of his own work and that of his contemporaries. The letters present immediate accounts of events and relationships that profoundly shaped his life and work. A detailed introduction, notes, chronology, illustrations and index are included.

* * *

It is worth mentioning that this is a a scholarly collection aimed at an academic rather than to a general reader. If you are a general reader interested in Hemingway, you might do better with an edited collection of these letters. If you are a Hemingway scholar then this is a meticulous source and worth getting. The text is available in two editions: Standard Hardback and Leatherbound Edition and is Volume 1 covering the years 1907-1922, available from the CUP website. Volume 2, 1923-1925, is scheduled to appear the next year 2012. See below for more detail on each edition.

Standard Edition, Vol.1 1907-1922: 516 pages; 32 b/w illus. 5 maps.

  • The authorised edition of Hemingway’s complete letters.
  • This volume covers his youth, his experiences in the First World War and his arrival in Paris.
  • The letters are accompanied by notes, a detailed introduction, chronologies, illustrations, maps and indexes.

Available from October 2011 here. £30

Leatherbound Edition, Vol.1 1907-1922: 520 pages; 52 b/w illus. 5 maps.

  • A numbered, leatherbound special edition of the first volume in the authorised edition of Hemingway’s complete letters.
  • This volume covers his youth, his experiences in the First World War and his arrival in Paris.
  • The letters are accompanied by notes, a detailed introduction, chronologies, illustrations, maps and indexes.

Available from November 2011 here. £75

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About Faisel K

Lost faith, went to law school, then to Japan, became a Buddhist, blah, blah, blah. Read More?
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One Response to The Letters of Ernest Hemingway: Volume 1, 1907-1922

  1. Pingback: The Letters of Ernest Hemingway: Volume 2, 1923-1925 | Faisel K's Journal

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