My mother loves Dickens’s works, and loves to read about his life. This morning on twitter among a conversational back-and-forth on Dickens, there was a link to an article about Dickens and his children.
From the London Review of Books How Does he Come to Be Mine? by Tim Parks, which is a review of Great Expectations: The Sons and Daughters of Charles Dickens by Robert Gottlieb. Gottlieb features in one of The Paris Review interviews, find it here. From memory it’s the only Art of Editing one. I’m guessing it’s the same Gottlieb but the interview is worth a look as are all the Paris Review interviews.
While I’m interested in reading about authors generally, one of my specific obsessions, or possibly the main one, is with Ernest Hemingway. I love reading biographies on Hemingway more than reading him. I own all his novels and five bios and while you might think it would get boring reading about all that hunting, all that fishing, all that bullfighting and all that machismo, for me it’s not so. I’m kind of insatiable when it comes to Hemingway.
This morning too brought me the following article via one of the technologies: Photos of Ernest Hemingway’s ‘Dangerous Summer’. It’s about the last summer of his life which was spent with his last wife and friends (more acquaintances I suggest, not sure how many proper friends he had left) and a bunch of matadors in Spain, where they drove around and trailed the fights, ate and drank al fresco probably all the time, the bastards. Ernest seems to be centre-front in the pics but because of his age and probably his failing health seems somewhat frail and slightly tentative. This is a man used to centre spot, with chest and chin out, but your eye goes to the handsome black-haired slim-hipped bullfighter who lounges on a seat, or to the expression on the face of an attractive young girl seated below Hemingway in the arena. You ask is she annoyed? She looks annoyed. I bet he would have been really annoying to be around, especially by then.
Sometimes I think Hemingway on the page and in photos is possibly the only Hemingway you’d want to really get to know but nevertheless, for some mad reason, whether it’s the evocative photos, the mad stories, his prose, his obsessions or the sense that behind the deliberately constructed larger than life über-masculine persona, still I love him.