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Hemingway and the High Cost of Fame

March 20, 2012

There’s an interesting piece on Ernest Hemingway on Slate, worthy reading for anyone who wants a glimpse at the development of arguably the 20th century’s most famous novelist (you could almost title it “Portrait of the Artist as a Neurotic Young Man”). Nathan Heller does a fine job of peeling back the layers of Papa’s projected machismo to reveal the vulnerability within.

Time inevitably strips intellectual giants to their public essence: a few memorable books, perhaps, or merely a handful of unforgettable lines. The longer the years between them and us, the easier to forget that their great works came only at the expense of titanic struggle and, often, messy heartbreak. But they were human, once, with their own share of mistakes and regret.

Of course, you could also disregard all that and simply choose to embrace the legend, as HBO’s new film seems to do in Hemingway’s case:

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