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An assemblage of reflections on the nature of writing and the writer from one the greatest American writers of the twentieth century. Throughout Hemingway’s career as a writer, he maintained that it was bad luck to talk about writing—that it takes off “whatever butterflies have on their wings and the arrangement of hawk’s feathers if you show it or talk about it.” Despite th An assemblage of reflections on the nature of writing and the writer from one the greatest American writers of the twentieth century. Throughout Hemingway’s career as a writer, he maintained that it was bad luck to talk about writing—that it takes off “whatever butterflies have on their wings and the arrangement of hawk’s feathers if you show it or talk about it.” Despite this belief, by the end of his life he had done just what he intended not to do. In his novels and stories, in letters to editors, friends, fellow artists, and critics, in interviews and in commissioned articles on the subject, Hemingway wrote often about writing. And he wrote as well and as incisively about the subject as any writer who ever lived… This book contains Hemingway’s reflections on the nature of the writer and on elements of the writer’s life, including specific and helpful advice to writers on the craft of writing, work habits, and discipline. The Hemingway personality comes through in general wisdom, wit, humor, and insight, and in his insistence on the integrity of the writer and of the profession itself. —From the Preface by Larry W. Phillips


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An assemblage of reflections on the nature of writing and the writer from one the greatest American writers of the twentieth century. Throughout Hemingway’s career as a writer, he maintained that it was bad luck to talk about writing—that it takes off “whatever butterflies have on their wings and the arrangement of hawk’s feathers if you show it or talk about it.” Despite th An assemblage of reflections on the nature of writing and the writer from one the greatest American writers of the twentieth century. Throughout Hemingway’s career as a writer, he maintained that it was bad luck to talk about writing—that it takes off “whatever butterflies have on their wings and the arrangement of hawk’s feathers if you show it or talk about it.” Despite this belief, by the end of his life he had done just what he intended not to do. In his novels and stories, in letters to editors, friends, fellow artists, and critics, in interviews and in commissioned articles on the subject, Hemingway wrote often about writing. And he wrote as well and as incisively about the subject as any writer who ever lived… This book contains Hemingway’s reflections on the nature of the writer and on elements of the writer’s life, including specific and helpful advice to writers on the craft of writing, work habits, and discipline. The Hemingway personality comes through in general wisdom, wit, humor, and insight, and in his insistence on the integrity of the writer and of the profession itself. —From the Preface by Larry W. Phillips

30 review for On Writing

  1. 5 out of 5

    David Lentz

    Everyone who writes would do well to read this short volume and understand the methods by which Hemingway achieves power, clarity and the trademark rough lyrical beauty of his work. He projected his entire being into his work by seeking simply to write one true sentence after another. If the writing didn't click, then he would re-read and edit after the sentence at which the writing ceased to be true. He was the master of monosyllabic words opting always for clarity and superior realism based up Everyone who writes would do well to read this short volume and understand the methods by which Hemingway achieves power, clarity and the trademark rough lyrical beauty of his work. He projected his entire being into his work by seeking simply to write one true sentence after another. If the writing didn't click, then he would re-read and edit after the sentence at which the writing ceased to be true. He was the master of monosyllabic words opting always for clarity and superior realism based upon first-hand experience. He totally immersed himself in living and was highly critical of authors of his day who were academic rather than more existential in their approach. That is, he believed in living life fully and then reporting on the direct experience of his total, passionate immersion in life. He engaged in active, physical pursuits and travelled worldwide in search of vibrant experience that he could translate into compelling narratives. It's intriguing to read his evolution as a writer in his letters like this one in 1927 to Maxwell Perkins: "My own experience with the literary life has not as yet included receiving royalties – but I hope by keeping down advances to some day have this take place.” He is always pithy and scant of syntax and believed in ruthless editing sometimes by tossing out tens of thousands of words at a time. "The secret is that it is poetry written into prose and it is the hardest of all things to do." I especially like his letters to F. Scott Fitzgerald: "The good parts of a book may be only something the writer is lucky enough to overhear or it may the wreck of his whole damn life -- and one is as good as the other." He has great respect for Fitzgerald, James Joyce, Ezra Pound, Tolstoy, Flaubert, Faulkner, e.e. cummings, Mann, Fielding, Twain, Turgenev and Dostoyevsky and of the last he wrote: "Dostoyevsky was was made by being sent to Siberia. Writers are forged in injustice as a sword is forged." His best advice is to write about what you know. He advises always to finish writing when it is going well, to leave writing for the day at a high point and refresh the well so you'll be eager to pick up the writing tomorrow. He claimed that all American writing comes from "Huckleberry Finn." If you love to write, then I encourage you to read this profound and pithy little book by Hemingway on writing.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Ammar

    A glimpse into the psyche and mental preparation of a writer, and not any writer, but Hemingway himself. Beautiful segments and quotations that make you think about writing, the process, why writers read, etc

  3. 4 out of 5

    Roxana Saberi

    After reading "A Sun Also Rises," "A Moveable Feast," "The Paris Wife," and "For Whom the Bell Tolls," I have become so enthralled with Ernest Hemingway's writing that I had to get this book. So far, so great. It offers many useful tips for writers. Here's a good one: "Remember to get the weather into your god damned book--weather is very important." (1932, Hemingway) I need to work on that one. Here's another one: "You see I'm trying in all my stories to get the feeling of the actual life across- After reading "A Sun Also Rises," "A Moveable Feast," "The Paris Wife," and "For Whom the Bell Tolls," I have become so enthralled with Ernest Hemingway's writing that I had to get this book. So far, so great. It offers many useful tips for writers. Here's a good one: "Remember to get the weather into your god damned book--weather is very important." (1932, Hemingway) I need to work on that one. Here's another one: "You see I'm trying in all my stories to get the feeling of the actual life across-not to just depict life-or criticize it- but to actually make it alive. So that when you have read something by me you actually experience the thing. You can't do this without putting in the bad and the ugly as well as what is beautiful. Because if it is all beautiful you can't believe in it. Things aren't that way. It is only by showing both sides-3 dimensions and if possible 4 that you can write the way I want to. (1925, Hemingway) (Try to explain that to hardliners in Iran - seems the only dimension they usually want to show is their own.)

  4. 4 out of 5

    J.C.

    I have read quite a few books about the art of writing, and what I've observed overtime is that, really, it's best to get advice from those that have done it their whole lives, instead of college professors and other pseudo-intellectuals. Hemingway, or Papa, as some call him, has a lot of opinions and thoughts on writing in here, but not a whole lot of advice. Which is fine, cause after a while you begin to agree with him: that talking about writing ruins the magic of it, ruins the drive. It's b I have read quite a few books about the art of writing, and what I've observed overtime is that, really, it's best to get advice from those that have done it their whole lives, instead of college professors and other pseudo-intellectuals. Hemingway, or Papa, as some call him, has a lot of opinions and thoughts on writing in here, but not a whole lot of advice. Which is fine, cause after a while you begin to agree with him: that talking about writing ruins the magic of it, ruins the drive. It's best to just do it and live by it and then you will know when you're doing good work or bad.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jason

    This was a neat glimpse into the mind of a legendary author. You really get a sense of his inner musings as well as his character. There are tidbits of fascinating information in here regarding his novels and other work. What I liked most about this was that you get a sense of the humanness of Hemingway. You see the flaws in his writing (literally - in many of his letters there are grammatical and spelling errors) which can provide a sort of comfort to anyone (myself included) who dreams of writ This was a neat glimpse into the mind of a legendary author. You really get a sense of his inner musings as well as his character. There are tidbits of fascinating information in here regarding his novels and other work. What I liked most about this was that you get a sense of the humanness of Hemingway. You see the flaws in his writing (literally - in many of his letters there are grammatical and spelling errors) which can provide a sort of comfort to anyone (myself included) who dreams of writing novels. He was a regular guy behind the famous author facade. I will say, though, that was an eccentric. A lot of what he says sounds borderline crazy (as in mental); I'm not sure if that is the genius talking, or if he was intentionally pretentious to fool people into thinking he was genius. Regardless, I think it's well worth the read for anyone who cherishes the art of writing.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    I felt like a voyeur reading this book. Hemingway expressly stated that he did not want anyone to publish his letters, yet here we have a collection of Hemingways' thoughts on writing as collected in his novels and correspondences. There was even a section where the letters were to his publisher, stating that he did not want his letters published; so the editor of this book is highly aware of the wishes, yet for some reason we have this book. I'm glad I got to know Hemingway a bit better, but I I felt like a voyeur reading this book. Hemingway expressly stated that he did not want anyone to publish his letters, yet here we have a collection of Hemingways' thoughts on writing as collected in his novels and correspondences. There was even a section where the letters were to his publisher, stating that he did not want his letters published; so the editor of this book is highly aware of the wishes, yet for some reason we have this book. I'm glad I got to know Hemingway a bit better, but I still felt bad for reading it. I remember thinking, "Okay, should I stop reading this? Hemingway wouldn't want me to read this. Or would he, since it's already been published?" Anyway. Hemingway was a very opinionated man, and those opinions come across strongly in this collection. He seems a bit grumpy about certain things, yet always maintains a good sense of humor. He holds no quarter for other writers and calls shots as he sees them. The way many people refer to him (an egocentric man's-man, big game hunter, etc.) comes across in his treatment of other writers and naive youngsters, yet I don't think Hemingway was mean or overly cross. He simply had no qualms with stating his opinion, and sometimes it was a negative one. Either way, Hemingway has a lot of good advice and some bad advice. Anyone reading what another writer thinks about writing should take into consideration that that's what worked for HIM/HER, and won't necessarily work for everyone. If you know yourself well enough to filter through the things that won't work for you, there are definitely some good tidbits of information and theories in this book. I'm just afraid people would read this book and think, "Okay I'll try that, since Hemingway said it and, well, look at him now." No. Do your own thing and take other ideas with a measure of salt, using them if they make sense and can impact your writing in a positive way. Just as Hemingway would have wanted.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Sidharth Vardhan

    "Mice: What is the best early training for a writer? Y.C.: An unhappy childhood." Darn! I will never become a good writer. "Mice: What is the best early training for a writer? Y.C.: An unhappy childhood." Darn! I will never become a good writer.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Katie Marquette

    For Hemingway fans - this is a must own. For aspiring writers - also, a must have. Full of Hemingway's personal letters, sections from his books... My two favorite letters speak for themselves : --- In a letter to Malcolm Cowley in 1945 he wrote: Been working every day and going good. Makes a hell of a dull life too. But it is more fun than anything else. Do you remember how old Ford was always writing how Conrad suffered when he wrote? How it was un metier du chien [a dog's trade:] etc. Do you su For Hemingway fans - this is a must own. For aspiring writers - also, a must have. Full of Hemingway's personal letters, sections from his books... My two favorite letters speak for themselves : --- In a letter to Malcolm Cowley in 1945 he wrote: Been working every day and going good. Makes a hell of a dull life too. But it is more fun than anything else. Do you remember how old Ford was always writing how Conrad suffered when he wrote? How it was un metier du chien [a dog's trade:] etc. Do you suffer when you write? I don't at all. Suffer like a bastard when I don't write, or just before, and feel empty and fucked afterwards. But never as good while writing. In another letter, this time to Charles Scribner in 1940 he wrote: Charlie there is no future in anything. I hope you agree. That is why I like it at a war. Every day and every night there is a strong possibility that you will get killed and not have to write. I have to write to be happy whether I get paid for it or not. But it is a hell of a disease to be born with. I like to do it. Which is even worse. That makes it from a disease into a vice. Then I want to do it better than anybody has ever done it which makes in into an obsession. An obsession is terrible. Hope you haven't gotten any. That's the only one I got left. ---- It's beautiful and passionate, and any writer can relate : the power of language, the obsession in writing, the timelessness of words.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Gary

    Reading this collection of Hemingway's comments about writing is rewarding, whether you agree with him or not. He's such a character. Reading this collection of Hemingway's comments about writing is rewarding, whether you agree with him or not. He's such a character.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Milda Stasaitytė

    The most essential gift for a good writer is a built-in, shock proof shit detector. This is the writer’s radar and all great writers have had it. from GEORGE PLIMPTON, “An Interview with Ernest Hemingway” The Paris Review 18, 1958 In the world of tutorials and How-to literature and overall discourse, this is as close as I can get to it and still enjoy it. Simply put, all this book offers is excerpts from Hemingway’s letters to fellow writers, critics and friends as well as interviews, structured th The most essential gift for a good writer is a built-in, shock proof shit detector. This is the writer’s radar and all great writers have had it. from GEORGE PLIMPTON, “An Interview with Ernest Hemingway” The Paris Review 18, 1958 In the world of tutorials and How-to literature and overall discourse, this is as close as I can get to it and still enjoy it. Simply put, all this book offers is excerpts from Hemingway’s letters to fellow writers, critics and friends as well as interviews, structured thematically: what writing is and does, qualities of a writer, the pain and pleasure of writing, what to write about, advice to writers, working habits, characters, what to leave out, obscenity, titles, other writers, politics and the writer’s life. So it’s a kind of a manual for an aspiring writer, but pre-processed - one still needs to chew and digest it, and make out what’s needed by themselves - with no bullet points or summaries at the end of the chapter. And I love this idea, for writing (in fact, just like many other things commonly written about in the how-to genre) cannot be put into formulae and should not be spoon-fed. It read like poetry - I had to read some of the excerpts several times and gaze into the distance to think for a moment; sometimes like a dialogue where I started to question or disagree with him; and yet sometimes it simply made me snort with laughter. Most certainly, it’s a book to always have at hand’s reach, to keep re- and re-reading it until the pages start falling off.

  11. 4 out of 5

    C.G. Fewston

    Some of my favorite quotes taken from Ernest Hemingway on Writing, edited by Larry W. Phillips. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do. - - - QUOTES by HEMINGWAY In truly good writing no matter how many times you read it you do not know how it is done. That is because there is a mystery in all great writing and that mystery does not dis-sect out. It continues and it is always valid. Each time you re-read you see or learn something new. To Harvey Breit, 1952 (page 5) All my life I've looked at words a Some of my favorite quotes taken from Ernest Hemingway on Writing, edited by Larry W. Phillips. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do. - - - QUOTES by HEMINGWAY In truly good writing no matter how many times you read it you do not know how it is done. That is because there is a mystery in all great writing and that mystery does not dis-sect out. It continues and it is always valid. Each time you re-read you see or learn something new. To Harvey Breit, 1952 (page 5) All my life I've looked at words as though I were seeing them for the first time... To Mary Welsh, 1945 (page 7) ...writing is something that you can never do as well as it can be done. It is a perpetual challenge and it is more difficult than anything else that I have ever done--so I do it. And it makes me happy when I do it well. To Ivan Kashkin, 1935 (page 15) I love to write. But it has never gotten any easier to do and you can't expect it to if you keep trying for something better than you can do. To L.H. Brague, Jr., 1959 (page 18) Dostoevsky was made by being sent to Siberia. Writers are forged in injustice as a sword is forged. Green Hills of Africa, pg. 71 (page 20) Look how it is at the start--all juice and kick to the writer and cant convey anything to the reader--you use up the juice and the kick goes but you learn how to do it and the stuff when you are no longer young is better than the young stuff-- To F. Scott Fitzgerald, 1929 (page 27) Since I had started to break down all my writing and get rid of all facility and try to make instead of describe, writing had been wonderful to do. But it was very difficult, and I did not know how I would ever write anything as long as a novel. It often took me a full morning of work to write a paragraph. A Moveable Feast, pg. 156 (page 33) "...Your first seeing of a country is a very valuable one. Probably more valuable to yourself than to any one else, is the hell of it. But you ought to always write it to try to get it stated. No matter what you do with it." Green Hills of Africa, pg. 193 (page 35) After a book I am emotionally exhausted. If you are not you have not transferred the emotion completely to the reader. Anyway that is the way it works with me. To Charles Scribner, Jr., 1952 (page 39) I even read aloud the part of the novel that I had rewritten, which is about as low as a writer can get and much more dangerous for him as a writer than glacier skiing unroped before the full winter snowfall has set over the crevices. A Moveable Feast, p. 209 (page 49) Writing it first in pencil gives you one-third more chance to improve it. By-Line: Ernest Hemingway, p. 216 (page 51) The more I'm let alone and not worried the better I can function. To Grace Hall Hemingway, 1929 (page 56) Do not let them deceive you about what a book should be because of what is in the fashion now. By-Line: Ernest Hemingway, p. 216 (page 111) He [the wolf] is hunted by everyone. Everyone is against him and he is on his own as an artist is. To Harvey Breit, 1952 (page 113) Only two things you can do for an artist. Give him money and show his stuff. These are the only two impersonal needs. To Ernest Walsh, 1926 (page 119) The minute I stop writing for a month or two months and am on a trip I feel absolutely animally happy. But when you are writing and get something the way you want it to be you get a great happiness too--but it is very different; although one is as important as the other to you yourself when you have a feeling of how short your life is. To Ivan Kashkin, 1936 (page 121) You must be prepared to work always without applause. By-Line: Ernest Hemingway, p. 185 (page 139)

  12. 5 out of 5

    Tariq Said

    I have learned a decent amount from this novel. The letters that Hemingway wrote to his colleagues and friends cleared the invisible fog surrounding the definition of the difference between good and bad writing. I enjoyed reading this book and found myself surprised at the sincerity Hemingway has in his letters, a very genuine author. He wanted to be the best author and competed against those whose legacies were secured (the dead) and avoided competing with the living. His writing was as true as I have learned a decent amount from this novel. The letters that Hemingway wrote to his colleagues and friends cleared the invisible fog surrounding the definition of the difference between good and bad writing. I enjoyed reading this book and found myself surprised at the sincerity Hemingway has in his letters, a very genuine author. He wanted to be the best author and competed against those whose legacies were secured (the dead) and avoided competing with the living. His writing was as true as he believed and his advice was wise. A very useful book for better understanding how to write and what an author may expect from the reader. Some of the quotes I loved are below: "You have to take what is not palpable and make it completely palpable and also have it seem normal and so that it can become a part of the experience of the person who reads it." p. 16 "'Do not worry. You have always written before and you will write now. All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence you know.' So finally I would write on true sentence, and then go on from there. It was easy then because there was always one true sentence that I knew or had seen or had heard someone say. If I started to write elaborately, or like someone introducing or presenting something, I found that I could cut that scrollwork or ornament out and throw it away and start with the first true simple declarative sentence I had written." p. 28 "get rid of all facility and try to make instead of describe...it was very difficult, and I did not know how I would ever write anything as long as a novel. It often took me a full morning of work to write a paragraph" p. 33 "My attitude toward punctuation is that it ought to be as conventional as possible. The game of golf would lose a good deal if croquet mallets and billiard cues were allowed on the putting green. You ought to be able to show that you can do it a good deal better than anyone else with regular tools before you have a license to bring in your improvements." p. 38 "similies (bring me my dictionary) are like defective ammunition (the lowest thing I can think of at this time)." p. 38 "I had learned already never to empty the well of my writing, but to always stop when there was still something there in the deep part of the well, and let it refill at night from the springs that fed it." p. 43 "Prose is architecture, not interior decoration, and the Baroque is over...People in a novel, not skillfully constructed character, must be projected from the writer's assimilated experience, from his knowledge from his head, from his heart and all there is from him." p. 72 "the knowledge is what makes the underwater part of the iceberg." p. 75 "My temptation is always to write too much. I keep it under control so as not to have to cut out crap and re-write." p. 77 "It is better to produce half as much, get plenty of exercise and not go crazy than to speed up so that your head is hardly normal." p. 120 Thanks for reading!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Shuhan Rizwan

    "...Every novel which is truly written contributes to the total knowledge which is there at the disposal of the next writer who comes, but the next writer must pay, always, a certain nominal percentage in experience to be able to understand and assimilate what is available as his birthright and what he must, in turn, take his departure from." "...Every novel which is truly written contributes to the total knowledge which is there at the disposal of the next writer who comes, but the next writer must pay, always, a certain nominal percentage in experience to be able to understand and assimilate what is available as his birthright and what he must, in turn, take his departure from."

  14. 4 out of 5

    Janet

    I love this little book. You really see the man here--astonishing warts and all--but I love his pugilistic take on writing fiction. Laughs galore, both with and at, and lots of useful insights in how to BE a writer and keep ego up.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Tom C.

    This was fun and inspiring in its way. The guy was really committed to realism. There are many variations on this: "...the greatest difficulty, aside from knowing truly what you really felt, rather than what you were supposed to feel, and had been taught to feel, was to put down what really happened in action; what the actual things were which produced the emotion that you experienced." I like the parts where he discusses the importance of weather in books, how he says that sometimes he just put This was fun and inspiring in its way. The guy was really committed to realism. There are many variations on this: "...the greatest difficulty, aside from knowing truly what you really felt, rather than what you were supposed to feel, and had been taught to feel, was to put down what really happened in action; what the actual things were which produced the emotion that you experienced." I like the parts where he discusses the importance of weather in books, how he says that sometimes he just put in whatever weather he was actually living through at the time. He was clearly committed to his craft. "Actually if a writer needs a dictionary he should not write. He should have read the dictionary at least three times from beginning to end and then have loaned it to someone who needs it." I did try to read a dictionary once, but I lost the plot around "F" or "G". It was also interesting to read his assessments of other writers, his admiration of Turgenieff, Pound, Cummings, Stephen Crane, etc., and his desire to take Henry James and "hit him once where he had no balls and ask the referee to stop it."

  16. 5 out of 5

    JDR

    The problem here does not really have anything to do with Ernest Hemingway, but more of a referendum on what you expect to get out of this novel. Now, having seen that ironically Hemingway doesn't like to talk about writing, I was wondering how this book ended up being created and it was to my catastrophic disappointment that it was a collection of quotes from previous published works of his. In other words, why did I spend $7 on a book that just took out pieces from Hemingway's actual books? Ye The problem here does not really have anything to do with Ernest Hemingway, but more of a referendum on what you expect to get out of this novel. Now, having seen that ironically Hemingway doesn't like to talk about writing, I was wondering how this book ended up being created and it was to my catastrophic disappointment that it was a collection of quotes from previous published works of his. In other words, why did I spend $7 on a book that just took out pieces from Hemingway's actual books? Yeah, I don't know either.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jay

    Hemingway lived to write. His eventual failing as a writer—his inability to actually write—is one of the several reasons that led to his suicide in 1961. What he did write for the most part and for much of his life was superior and often innovative seen even from the perspective of the twenty-first century. It was not merely that Hemingway was a gifted writer but he also had a profound impact on a generation of writers who cut their teeth in imitation of or in reaction to his works. In spite of t Hemingway lived to write. His eventual failing as a writer—his inability to actually write—is one of the several reasons that led to his suicide in 1961. What he did write for the most part and for much of his life was superior and often innovative seen even from the perspective of the twenty-first century. It was not merely that Hemingway was a gifted writer but he also had a profound impact on a generation of writers who cut their teeth in imitation of or in reaction to his works. In spite of that impact, Hemingway was not often open to discussing the mechanics of his art. In an effort to correct that apparent deficiency, Larry Phillips, the editor of On Writing, collected from Hemingway’s writings—from his novels, letters, and interviews—fragments where, over the years, Hemingway did broach what might be viewed as his theories of art in general and his own ideas about writing in particular. There are chapters that collect Hemmingway’s thoughts and counsels about a variety of topics related to his wiring and to the creative process. Among them: What Writing Is and Does The Qualities of a Writer The Pain and Pleasures of Writing What to Write About Advice to Writers Working Habits Knowing What to Leave Out Obscenity Titles Politics The Writer’s Life The thin volume, given its objective, does have some value. Although the fragments reveal little about the Hemingway style that is not spelled out in his major novels, published letters and secondary studies, it does collect in one place some of what is scattered. Phillips includes for example, his 1949 note to Charles Scribner: “A writer, of course, has to make up stories for them to be rounded and not flat like photographs. But he makes them up put of what he knows.” [p.21] And he also includes the section in “Death in the Afternoon” where he talks about the “Iceberg Theory”: If a writer of prose knows enough about what he is writing about he may omit things that he knows and the reader, if the writer is writing truly enough, will have a feeling of those things as strongly as though the writer had stated them. The dignity of movement of an ice-berg is due to only one-eighth of it being above water. A writer who omits things because he does not know them only makes hollow places in his writing. [p.177] But is seems to me that the greatest utility of the volume is that it continues to milk the Hemingway name, raising additional money for Hemingway’s heirs, publisher and managers.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Răzvan Molea

    Puțin cam dezamăgit. Speram la mai multe ”lămuriri” (asupra stilului). Editorul a făcut ceva eforturi ca să treacă de pragul de 100 de pagini. Sunt totuși câteva reflecții (fiindcă în asta constă cartea) de care nu auzisem: “Nobody really knows or understands and nobody has ever said the secret. The secret is that it is poetry written into prose and it is the hardest of all things to do…” - am citit destul de atent să aflu că așa e - către Mary Hemingway (scrisori) ”Look how it is at the start—all Puțin cam dezamăgit. Speram la mai multe ”lămuriri” (asupra stilului). Editorul a făcut ceva eforturi ca să treacă de pragul de 100 de pagini. Sunt totuși câteva reflecții (fiindcă în asta constă cartea) de care nu auzisem: “Nobody really knows or understands and nobody has ever said the secret. The secret is that it is poetry written into prose and it is the hardest of all things to do…” - am citit destul de atent să aflu că așa e - către Mary Hemingway (scrisori) ”Look how it is at the start—all juice and kick to the writer and cant convey anything to the reader—you use up the juice and the kick goes but you learn how to do it and the stuff when you are no longer young is better than the young stuff.” Către Scott Fitzgerald (1925) ”Remember to get the weather in your god damned book—weather is very important.” către John Dos Passos, 1932 ”Remember Charlie in the first war all I did mostly was hear guys talk; especially in hospital and convalescing. Their experiences get to be more vivid than your own. You invent from your own and from all of theirs. The country you know, also the weather. Then you invent from other people’s experience and knowledge and what you know yourself.” - un fel de ”listen before you speak” Și un fun fact: ”I invented every word and every incident of A Farewell to Arms except possibly 3 or 4 incidents. All the best part is invented. 95 per cent of The Sun Also was pure imagination. I took real people in that one and I controlled what they did. I made it all up.” către Maxwell Perkins (1953) ”I can write it like Tolstoi and make the book seem larger, wiser, and all the rest of it. But then I remember that was what I always skipped in Tolstoi… I don’t like to write like God. It is only because you never do it, though, that the critics think you can’t do it.” către Maxwell Perkins, 1940

  19. 4 out of 5

    Alexander Fitzgerald

    I could write every day for a hundred years and still never approach the talent Hemingway displayed in just his offhand notes. Absolutely stunning. I reread so many passages. He truly was a master. Essential reading for any aspiring writer.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Peter Murray

    Hemingway did not write on writing, thinking to do so siphoned off that precious, magical material from which the highest expression comes. So this book is a collection of tidbits that the great writer dropped and left behind in books and letters (most of them to F. Scott Fitzgerald). But through this collection of on-the-moment projectiles you come away with actually having known the man's mind on the craft. He's a man who tries to achieve truth through simplicity, economy. And so in these simp Hemingway did not write on writing, thinking to do so siphoned off that precious, magical material from which the highest expression comes. So this book is a collection of tidbits that the great writer dropped and left behind in books and letters (most of them to F. Scott Fitzgerald). But through this collection of on-the-moment projectiles you come away with actually having known the man's mind on the craft. He's a man who tries to achieve truth through simplicity, economy. And so in these simple, economic utterings his truth comes through. A few of the quotes are simply timeless. I think many readers may find more useful – actually useful! - treasures in this bare-bones collection than many traditional volumes of How to Write. This, I think, would have pleased the man very much.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Johnny

    Funny how many times Hemingway mentioned in this collection how he was not so fond of the idea of his letters being published, yet here they are. Definitely some great insights into writing and into the life of one of America's greatest writers. The editing wasn't great and overall it was mostly boring little excerpts from his writing with bits of gold tucked here and there. It was boring, but luckily it was also short. Funny how many times Hemingway mentioned in this collection how he was not so fond of the idea of his letters being published, yet here they are. Definitely some great insights into writing and into the life of one of America's greatest writers. The editing wasn't great and overall it was mostly boring little excerpts from his writing with bits of gold tucked here and there. It was boring, but luckily it was also short.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Carol

    This book contains Hemingway's reflections on the nature of the writer and on elements of the writer's life, including specific and helpful advice to writers on the craft of writing, work habits, and discipline. The Hemingway personality comes through in general wisdom, wit, humor, and insight, and in his insistence on the integrity of the writer and of the profession itself. This book contains Hemingway's reflections on the nature of the writer and on elements of the writer's life, including specific and helpful advice to writers on the craft of writing, work habits, and discipline. The Hemingway personality comes through in general wisdom, wit, humor, and insight, and in his insistence on the integrity of the writer and of the profession itself.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jessica Shelley

    Quick and insightful read full of lots of quotes that I have tabbed and will try to remember when writing. His overall approach to writing was very inspiring and I will be flicking through this book whenever I need some motivation/inspiration.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Kris Rafferty

    If you choose to read one book on writing, this should be the one.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Gabriele

    Loved this book so much that now I am considering reading some of his stuff. Feel free to recommend a good one to start :) Some quotes I liked: "...writing is something that you can never do as well as it can be done. It is a perpetual challenge and it is more difficult than anything else that I have ever done—so I do it. And it makes me happy when I do it well." "Interviewer: But reading all the good writers might discourage you. Hemingway: Then you ought to be discouraged." "Hunger is good disci Loved this book so much that now I am considering reading some of his stuff. Feel free to recommend a good one to start :) Some quotes I liked: "...writing is something that you can never do as well as it can be done. It is a perpetual challenge and it is more difficult than anything else that I have ever done—so I do it. And it makes me happy when I do it well." "Interviewer: But reading all the good writers might discourage you. Hemingway: Then you ought to be discouraged." "Hunger is good discipline and you learn from it." "Publicity, admiration, adulation, or simply being fashionable are all worthless..." "Interviewer: That isn't the way they teach you to write in college. Hemingway: I don't know about that. I never went to college. If any sonofabitch could write he wouldn't have to teach writing in college."

  26. 4 out of 5

    Teodora Todorova

    The book is collection of quotes which normally I don't enjoy reading - usually these are randomly selected and out of context. This is the case here as well. Although the editor arranged the book by themes like "Working hours", "Characters", etc it still feels random. I have found few quotes that made sense for me but overall I didn't learn much on the Mr. Hemingway's opinion on writing. It is true that he never wrote a book (like On Writing by Stephen King for example) so may be to certain ext The book is collection of quotes which normally I don't enjoy reading - usually these are randomly selected and out of context. This is the case here as well. Although the editor arranged the book by themes like "Working hours", "Characters", etc it still feels random. I have found few quotes that made sense for me but overall I didn't learn much on the Mr. Hemingway's opinion on writing. It is true that he never wrote a book (like On Writing by Stephen King for example) so may be to certain extend this collection makes sense but for me it was too much out of context.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Mark Fallon

    After touring Hemingway's house, I picked up this book at a local Key West bookstore. Straightforward, blunt writing about writing. His letters to F. Scott Fitzgerald border on being harsh. To be honest, I don't remember really liking Hemingway's novels, but that was almost 40 years ago. Perhaps I was too young to appreciate them. Will go back and try one again. After touring Hemingway's house, I picked up this book at a local Key West bookstore. Straightforward, blunt writing about writing. His letters to F. Scott Fitzgerald border on being harsh. To be honest, I don't remember really liking Hemingway's novels, but that was almost 40 years ago. Perhaps I was too young to appreciate them. Will go back and try one again.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Börkur Sigurbjörnsson

    There were some good points scattered throughout the book, but quite short of awesome.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Dario Rebernik

    An essential piece of writing for anybody interested in Hemingway's style, both in living life and writing literature. This book is not only a Hemingway companion. It is a life companion. An essential piece of writing for anybody interested in Hemingway's style, both in living life and writing literature. This book is not only a Hemingway companion. It is a life companion.

  30. 5 out of 5

    David

    One Mouse among many Mice (what Hemingway calls a young writer), asks how a writer can train himself. Hemingway responds, Listen now. When people talk listen completely. Don't be thinking what you're going to say. Even if many of these correspondences, interviews and articles contain verbiage that's difficult to understand, at first, because, if it's not being taken from his fiction, they're not an attempt at prose (I just like to pretend that Big Poppa Ernie is imitating a rounder Yoda), this h One Mouse among many Mice (what Hemingway calls a young writer), asks how a writer can train himself. Hemingway responds, Listen now. When people talk listen completely. Don't be thinking what you're going to say. Even if many of these correspondences, interviews and articles contain verbiage that's difficult to understand, at first, because, if it's not being taken from his fiction, they're not an attempt at prose (I just like to pretend that Big Poppa Ernie is imitating a rounder Yoda), this handy little book should be readily memorized if possible. Hemingway is the basis of any great writer from Tolstoy (before his time) to David Foster Wallace (after his time), and if you want to write well, listen well. Listen to as many great writers as you can. Being just one writer who writes in his own way among a sea of writers, Hemingway is undoubtedly a great writer. What advice you should actually use in your own craft is up to you. My wallet-sized compendium: 1. The most essential gift for a good writer is a built-in, shockproof, shit detector. 2. Mice: What is the best early training for a writer? Y.C: An unhappy childhood. 3. Then you write for who you love whether she can read or write or not and whether she is alive or dead. 4. . . . writing is something that you can never do as well as it can be done. It is a perpetual challenge and it is more difficult than anything else that I have ever done--so I do it. And it makes me happy when I do it well. 5. I love to write. But it has never gotten any easier to do and you can't expect it to if you keep trying for something better than you can do. 6. Dostoevsky was made by being sent to Siberia. Writers are forged in injustice as a sword is forged. 7. The hardest thing in the world to do is to write straight honest prose on human beings. First you have to know the subject; then you have to know how to write. Both take a lifetime to learn . . . 8. Writing, at its best, is a lonely life. Organizations for writers palliate the writer's loneliness but I doubt if they improve his writing. He grows in public stature as he sheds his loneliness and often his work deteriorates. For he does his work alone and if he is a good enough writer he must face eternity, or the lack of, each day. 9. If a writer of prose knows enough about what he is writing about he may omit things that he knows and the reader, if the writer is writing truly enough, will have a feeling of those things as strongly as though the writer had stated them. The dignity of movement of an ice-berg is due to only one-eighth of it being above water. A writer who omits things because he does not know them only makes hollow places in his writing. 10. "Tell me first what are the things, the actual, concrete things that harm a writer?" . . . "Politics, women drink, money, ambition. And the lack of politics, women, drink, money and ambition," I said profoundly.

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