A 'Restored' Edition of Hemingway's "A Moveable Feast" by His Grandson

What happens to a book published posthumously? It seems a life can be written, edited, rewritten and reedited long after the author's death.

This is what's transpiring with Hemingway's posthumous memoir of his early days in Paris, “A Moveable Feast." Along with portraits of other famous ex-pats (F. Scott Fitzgerald and Gertrude Stein), it provides a heart-wrenching depiction of marital betrayal.

Much married, Hemingway's fourth and final wife Mary was the one who edited the first edition of “A Moveable Feast,” published by Scribner in 1964 (she became his widow upon the authors death in July 1961). She created a final chapter that dealt with the dissolution of Hemingway’s first marriage to Hadley and the beginning of his relationship with his second wife, Pauline, building some of it from parts of the book he had indicated he did not want included.

Early next month, Scribner, now an imprint of Simon & Schuster, is publishing a new edition of the book, what it is calling “the restored edition,” and this time it is edited by Seán Hemingway, a grandson of Hemingway and Pauline. Among the changes he has made is removing part of that final chapter from the main body of the book and placing it in an appendix, adding back passages from Hemingway’s manuscript that Seán believes paint his grandmother in a more sympathetic light.

“I think this edition is right to set the record straight,” said Seán Hemingway, 42, who said Mary cut out Hemingway’s “remorse and some of the happiness he felt and his very conflicted views he had about the end of his marriage.”

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A Moveable Feast: The Restored Version

I have in hand the restored version of A Moveable Feast. What I do not understand is that Heminway declared his account of Paris in the 1920s was a work of fiction. In the 1964 edition this was stated by Hemingway and declared as "fiction" by the publisher. Yet, the "restored version" makes no such declaration though at the end of the book the many drafts declaring the book fiction are included. Ernest Hemingway was an outstanding novelist. As a memoirist he mixes fact and fiction with no way for the reader to know which is which. Simply put: "A Moveable Feadt: The Restored Version" is dishonest.

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