On Hemingway’s Papers

A few weeks ago, during our weekly Friday production meeting at work, our marketing director announced, “We’re not writing Hemingway here.”

This was in reference to something I had written for the company’s website, on something I had some knowledge of and interest in — Tolkien, the Volsung Saga, and the new Tolkien book coming out this spring. I won’t say that what I wrote was pretentious, but it was literate, knowledgeable, and stylistically different than virtually anything else we put on the website.

Of course, I don’t think I write like Hemingway at all. I could write short sentences. I could muse on drinking. I can remember bullfights in the spring. I could write like that, but I don’t like to write like that.

I think I take after Fitzgerald. 😉

That said, I saw this on the BBC’s website today and found it fascinating — in spite of the American trade embargo on Cuba, groups in Cuba and the United States have been working together since 2002 to save Hemingway’s papers that were stored in his Havana home.

For decades they had been gathering dust in hot, humid conditions.

The Cubans were working hard to preserve the house and its contents but did not have the resources to protect the documents.

In a rare exception to the trade embargo, the Bush administration agreed to allow a joint rescue mission.

In 2002 the Cuban National Cultural Heritage Council signed a co-operation agreement with the New York based Social Science Research Council.

US conservation and digitalisation specialists made regular trips to Havana while two Cuban restoration experts went to the US for additional training.

I think that’s very cool.

I’m no fan of the trade embargo on Cuba. I think it’s pointless and has done nothing to promote any American interests on the island. I’m certain that Hemingway would be no fan of it, either.

At least, for literature’s sake, the trade embargo could be circumvented to save Hemingway’s papers.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *