Less than a treason : Hemingway in Paris

by Peter Griffin

Hardcover, 1990




New York : Oxford University Press, 1990.


When the first installment of Peter Griffin's biography of Hemingway appeared in 1985, it won widespread acclaim, especially among writers. The late Raymond Carver, in The New York Times Book Review, called it "wonderful and intimate" and said "it brings to life the young Hemingway with all his charm, vitality, good looks, passionate dedication to writing, like nothing else I've ever read about the man." Ward Just called Along With Youth "one of the most purely attractive biographies I have ever read." Tom Stoppard chose it as one of his "Books of the Year." And James Dickey declared that Griffin's "involvement with his subject is so complete and so creative that the reader cannot help murmuring with approval and enlightenment at page after page." Along With Youth brought Hemingway from childhood to his marriage in 1921 to Hadley Richardson. Now, in Less Than a Treason, Peter Griffin vividly recaptures Ernest's early Paris years, when he met Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound, tnd F. Scott Fitzgerald, and published his first important collection of stories, In Our Time, as well as his finest novel, The Sun Also Rises. As in the first volume, Griffin provides here an intimately detailed rendering of Hemingway's life. The book is replete with physical detail--the sights and sounds of working-class Paris, skiing in the Austrian Alps, the running of the bulls at Pamplona. Griffin presents Hemingway's friendships with Gertrude Stein and Ezra Pound (he thought both were "lazy," but respected them for their talent and influence), his dislike of writers John Dos Passos and Ford Maddox Ford and his less-than-favorable opinion of Maxwell Perkins (he felt Perkins was more interested in business than literature). For Hemingway's personal life, there is his infatuation with Lady Duff Twysden, his affair with Pauline Pheiffer, and the failure of his first marriage. Throughout this book, Griffin shows how Hemingway incorporated much of his life into his fiction, where the central character is Ernest himself, working out the crises that plagued him at the time. Griffin does all this with a seamless style, weaving unpublished material (including hours of Hadley's reminiscences recorded shortly before her death) into an intriguing narrative of a great writer's life.… (more)



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