cover image The Letters of Ernest Hemingway: Volume 2: 1923–1925

The Letters of Ernest Hemingway: Volume 2: 1923–1925

Edited by Sandra Spanier, Albert J. DeFazio III, and Robert W. Trogdon. Cambridge Univ., $40 (518p) ISBN 978-0-521-89734-1

This second of 17 projected volumes of Hemingway’s correspondence collects 242 letters, telegrams, and postcards in which the globetrotting young author waxes exuberantly on such topics as bullfighting, nostalgia, the grind of writing copy for the Toronto Star, the creative process, the difficulties of making a career as a fiction writer, and the joys of writing fiction (“Have just finished a swell story of 100 pages and feel as though I would like the nurse to lift it up and tell me if it’s a boy or a girl”). Many letters are brief and inconsequential, but some of these contain gems—for instance, a 1924 letter to Vanity Fair includes “My Life in the Bull Ring with Donald Ogden Stewart,” a previously unpublished jeu d’esprit that the magazine rejected. In August 1925, he writes to Jane Heap that he’s completing “a hell of a fine novel. Written very simply and full of things happening and people and places and exciting as hell”—a reference to The Sun Also Rises, published the following year. Hemingway’s correspondents include F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, Ezra Pound, Gertrude Stein, Maxwell Perkins, Sherwood Anderson, and John Dos Passos. This expertly edited and annotated volume will be devoured by fans eager to learn how the literary titan came into his own. (Oct.)