HEMINGWAY, Ernest. Autograph letter signed ("Wemedge") to his very good friend William B. Smith ("Boid") in Provincetown, Mass.; written during a three-month skiing holiday at Schruns, Austria, 30 January . 2 pages, 4to, dark ink on both sides ...
Estimate: US$4,000 - US$6,000
Price realised: US$4,935
HEMINGWAY, Ernest. Autograph letter signed ("Wemedge") to his very good friend William B. Smith ("Boid") in Provincetown, Mass.; written during a three-month skiing holiday at Schruns, Austria, 30 January . 2 pages, 4to, dark ink on both sides of a sheet of typing paper, continued in the margins of page two, a trifle wrinkled, two tiny edge tears . "REQUEST FOR A 'BANAL STORY' FOR COMING BANAL NUMBER OF 'LITTLE REVIEW'" A fine (mostly literary) and early letter. Bill Smith was a close friend of Hemingway's since boyhood; his sister Katherine would marry John Dos Passos; "Wemedge" and "Boid" were old names they had for each other. "Today in de mail [Hemingway begins page two] gets a request for a 'Banal Story' for coming Banal Number of the Little Review . Have done it [Hemingway wrote the brief, sarcastic "Banal Story" that very day] and it's ready to mail [it would appear in the Spring-Summer number]. Dey wrote they had been told they would be jailed for pooblishing a story of the screeders in current number. Have played it down in display and hope to get by. Number now in the Press. Watch for story entitled "Mr. and Mrs. Elliot" [in the Autumn-Winter 1924-25 number of The Little Review ]. Should [get?] a laugh even from a graham cracker addict. Borrow Little Review from them or read it in a radical book shop...Also check for 1,000 francs in mail off new magazine called This Quarter which wrote for story ["The Undefeated"]. Also letter from guy in Berlin wanting to translate the enditers woiks into Deutch. Such a mail makes a male feel besser..." Hemingway concludes with comments on the professional writing market which Bill's sister Katherine was trying to enter (Michael Reynolds quotes a phrase from this portion in Hemingway: The Paris Years , 1999, p. 268): "...Glad she pestled them. They aint no seeds in writing that way Boid I'm afraid. On acct. she's gotta compete with the Peter B. Kyne, de Frank Crane [popular writers of the day] and all them guys that are geniuses at turning out the crap and it's their artistic fulfillment. Shut, after the first kick of selling aint going to get any joy out of writing crap. She aint got a genius for it like Balmer. She's too good. If she wrote good stuff in the end she'd click. Would take a hell of a lot of time maybe. But crap gets male nor female nowhere unless crap's there filled. Bulstein's aint. She's too damn good and she's passing up the temporal when she ought to be learning to write..." Not in Letters , ed. C. Baker, and presumably unpublished. Provenance : "The Property of a Lady" (sale, Sotheby Parke Bernet, 26 January 1977, lot 241).
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