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viernes, 23 de febrero de 2018

Entrevistas Eróticas: Hembra es la Libertad

Entrevistas Eróticas: Hembra es la Libertad: detalle de f oto de Petter Hegre

A 1959 Interview with Marcel Duchamp: The Fallacy of Art History and the Death of Art



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In 1973, a new sound archive was born: Audio Arts, a magazine in the form of a cassette tape, devoted to art and artists. (A podcast before podcasts?) "With the invention in the early 1960s of the Phillips cassette tape recorder, it was an idea whose time had come," writes Mel Gooding in Phaidon's Speaking of Art, the most extensive collection of transcriptions from Audio Arts to be published, itself a valuable addition to the archive. 
Here we've excerpted from an Audio Arts interview with Marcel Duchamp, which was featured in a 1974 issue of the audio magazine, and was originally recorded in 1959. In it, Duchamp speaks about whether or not a ready-made can be considered art—a startling discussion considering that we now regard Duchamp's urinal to be literally one of the most important artworks of all time. George Heard Hamilton, Richard Hamilton, and Charles Mitchell take turns interviewing Duchamp, whose insightful, philosophical ruminations seem just as relevant now as they were almost 60 years ago.

Irony, contradiction and wit permeate the life and work of Marcel Duchamp (1887 – 1968), an artist associated with Cubism, Dada, and Surrealism who dedicated the last two decades of his life to chess while secretly working on his final masterpiece, the installation Étant Donnés (1946-66). In 1913 he mounted a found bicycle wheel on a stool (Bicycle Wheel), thus inventing the readymade and, with it, one of the great artistic revolutions of the twentieth century. Throughout his long career Duchamp argued for an art of ideas rather than images or objects. This interview, begun in New York and continued in London, reveals Duchamp’s own thoughts on his work and his motivations as an artist, articulating the often complex issues surrounding his practice with great clarity, simplicity, and humor.

Marcel Duchamp: The first one of the readymades was done in 1913. It was a bicycle wheel.
George Heard Hamilton: Just an ordinary wheel?
An ordinary wheel. A bicycle wheel on a stand. I would turn it as I passed by. The movement of it was like a fire in a fireplace. It had that attraction of something moving in the room while you think about something else. The second one was a bottle dryer—you know, they have them in French cellars to put the bottles on. The third one was a snow shovel, which I did here in New York when I first came in 1915. That was just a plain snow shovel bought in a hardware shop and it’s now, or a replica of it is, in the Yale University Art Gallery. Another one, from 1921, was called Why Not Sneeze, Rrose Sélavy? Of course, the title is not a descriptive title because that readymade was made of a small bird cage in which, instead of a bird, there were cubes that looked like sugar cubes. 
The cubes were of white marble.
That was the pun, the visual pun—that when you picked it up you understood it was marble and not sugar. I also added a thermometer to it. Another one was the phial. I was in Paris in 1919, and I was thinking of bringing back a present for Walter Arensberg in California. So I went to a drug store and said, "Will you give me a phial that you will empty of whatever serum is in it and seal it again? And what will be in it will be air of Paris.” The druggist did it, and I brought my present to Arensberg, to California, and it was called Phail with 50 cc of Air of Paris or Air de Paris.
Was that the last of the actual readymades to be manufactured? 
Yes, but in my notes in the Green Box from 1934 I mentioned some that could be made. One I called a “reciprocal readymade.” You take a painting by Rembrandt and instead of looking at it you use it plainly as an ironing board. You iron your clothes on it, so it becomes a readymade reciprocal.
It’s rather hard on the Rembrandt.
It is, but we had to be iconoclastic then.
There are, then, two kinds of readymades—those that already existed, so to speak, before you came upon them, and those that you have assisted. Do you put any priority on one kind rather than the other? 
No, no. It was to add a little diversity to the idea. It was not a very active part of my life—when you make one or two readymades a year, you have plenty of time for something else.
Do you think anybody else could make one?
Yes, everybody can. I don’t attach any value—I mean commercial value, or even artistic value—to it.
Is there any way in which we can think of a readymade as a work of art? 
That is a very difficult point, because art first has to be defined. Can we try to define art? We have tried. Everybody has tried. In every century there is a new definition of art, meaning that there is no one essential that is good for all centuries. So if we accept the idea of trying not to define art, which is a very legitimate conception, then the readymade comes in as a sort of irony, because it says, “Here is a thing that I call art, but I didn’t even make it myself.” As we know, "art," etymologically speaking, means “to hand make.” And there it is ready-made. So it was a form of denying the possibility of defining art, because you don’t define electricity. You see the results of electricity, but you don’t define it.
But with the readymades it seems to me that they carry with them out of the world of everyday life—out of the hardware shop, as in the case of the snow shovel—something of your own sense of irony and wit. Can’t we believe, therefore, that they have some sort of…
Message?
Not message, no, but artistic value. Even though you haven’t made them, your intention in getting them derives from everything else in the world. Does that not give them, possibly, some kind of intellectual value.
It has a conceptual value, if you want to say conceptual. I don’t know what it means exactly, but it takes away all the technical jargon of painting. Painting should be made with colors, with pencil, with brushes. When you take something that is not made by those technical instruments, you don’t know whether you should take it as a work of art. And that’s where the irony comes in.
The irony, of course, is very much part of the Dada spirit, ins't it?
Yes, that was a very important form of introducing humor in a very serious world at the time, during the First World War.
You said once to me some years ago that the Dada spirit had been operating, so to speak, in New York with you, for instance, and with Man Ray, before Dada was named as a movement.
Oh yes, yes, it was in the air, as many of these things are. And we certainly had the same spirit as in Zurich when Tristan Tzara and Hans Arp and Richard Huelsenbeck started under the name of Dada. They found the name. Of course, the name was a good flag around which all these ideas…
A slogan?
Yes, a slogan. That helped the movement a lot. And, of course, the Dada spirit has always existed, and it exists today. Someone like Rabelais certainly was a Dada in essence.
Would you consider Dada more than just a criticism of art? Is it also a criticism of society?
It is much more. It’s been the nonconformist spirit that has existed in every century, every period, since man is man.
The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even (The Large Glass), 1915-1923, reconstruction by Richard Hamilton 1965-6. Photo via Tate.org

Another work is The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even (The Large Glass), in the English translation, which is now in the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
It was started in 1912, 1913, 1914. I worked on it before the War, and even though I tried in that big Glass to find a completely personal and new expression, the final product was to be a wedding of mental and visual reactions. The ideas in The Glass are more important than the actual visual realization. 
But this sounds almsot contradictory, because a work of art is primarily a visual experience. 
Yes, but this welding of two different sources of inspiration gave me a satisfactory answer in my research for something that had not been previously attempted. My research was in that direction—to find some way of expressing myself without being a writer, without taking one of these labels, and yet producing something that would be an inner product of myself. The two things—mixing up the ideas and their visual representation—attracted me as a technique, if it has to be considered a technique. This hybrid form explains why I didn’t have anyone to agree with me.
You had to invent everything for the first time. 
Yes, because, as you know, the revolution of Courbet was mainly a visual revolution, what you might call a retinal revolution. He insisted, without even mentioning it, that painting is to be looked at and only looked at, and the reactions should be visual or retinal—plain physical reaction in front of a painting. This has been going on since Courbet and still is in vogue. If you speak to a painter today, he will never think of an anecdote. It’s all about the line, the form, and the more abstract the better.
And all that has nothing to do with The Glass.
I thought The Glass was a reaction against the retinal conception of painting, and I think it still is, because of the introduction of the conceptual. This is literary painting. It’s using words. But everything that uses words is not necessarily literary, as you know.
The interview continues in London...
Richard Hamilton: One thing you say in the Green Box's general notes is, "Always, or nearly always, give a reason for the choice between two or more solutions by ironical causality." Ironical causality is one of the techniques by which you make decisions. But it is always a very prim, conceptual decision.
Charles Mitchell: Yes, but this can be a joke at the same time.
Duchamp: Yes, this can be a joke all right, but it's based on the fact that I have my doubts about real causality. There's no real reason for using causality. Why not use it ironically by inventing a world in which things come out differently from the usual one?
But do you see a distinction between your own activity, which is a world invented by you, and the activity of a Surrealist proper, someone like Salvador Dalí, who tried to work without any conscious effort? One might suppose that your juxtaposition of something that you call a "chocolate machine" combined in the same picture with something that you call a "symmetry of uniforms and liveries" is a surrealist activity, but these ideas of your are always closely related into a system.
The subconscious never interested me very much as a basis for an art expression of any kind. It's true that I really was very much of a—if you could use the word—défroqué, or unfrocked, Cartesian, because I was very pleased by the so-called pleasure of using Cartesianism as a form of logic and very close mathematical thinking, but I was also very pleased by the idea of getting away from it. It happened also in several places in the works of Raymond Roussel, a writer who wrote these completely fantastic descriptions of the same order, where everything can be done, especially when you describe it in words, and anything can be invented—in Locus Solus and in Impressions d'Afrique. That's where, really, I found the source of my new activity in 1911 or 1912.
In spite of the fact that one thinks of you as sitting right on top of Cubism, you felt a need, after just one or two years' experience of Cubism, to find a new path for yourself. I take it that this is the way in which you found it—by an exploration of intellectual and conceptual terms juxtaposed to the physical configurations that you made?
Yes, very soon I felt impatience, so to speak, with Cubism—at least, impatience in that I couldn't see any future for me in it. In fact, I touched Cubism rather a little, The Nude Descending a Staircase from 1912 is in a style like Cubism, naturally, but the addition of movement in it, which seems to be Futuristic, is so only because the Futurists were speaking of movement at the time. That doesn't make it a new idea of theirs—movement was in the air. There was something more important that the Futurists for me in that case, which was the publication of photos of men fencing or of horses galloping and so forth...
All through The Glass, you use fairly clear-cut symbology of a very direct kind—man and woman are identified, and the operations, the functions, of the machinery are all explainable in terms of sexual relationships, which is the work's basic preoccupation.
Yes, eroticism is a very dear subject to my life, and I certainly applied that love to my Glass. In fact, I thought the only excuse for doing anything was to give it the life of eroticism, which is completely close to life in general, and more so than philosophy or anything like that. It is an animal thing, which has so many facets that it is pleasing to use it as a tube of paint, so to speak, to inject in your production. It's there. It's in the form of fantasy. Stripped Bare had even a naughty Connotation with Christ. You know, Christ was stripped bare. It introduces eroticism and religion... I am ashamed of what I am saying.
There has often been an element of the sacrilegious in your work. The gesture of painting a mustache and a beard on the Mona Lisa, in L.H.O.O.Q., is all the more blasphemous for not being executed by a philistine. How do you feel about the works of art of the past and their deification in museums?
I have a very definite theory—let's call it theory, so that I can be wrong—that a work of art exists only when the spectator has looked at it. Until then, it is only something that has been done that might disappear and nobody would know about it. The spectator consecrates it by saying, "This is good. We will keep it." The spectator, in that case, becomes posterity, and posterity keeps museums full of paintings today. My impression is that these museums—call it the Prado, call it the National Gallery, call it the Louvre—are only receptacles of things that have survived, things that were probably mediocre. Because they happen to have survived is no reason to make them so important and big and beautiful, and there is no justification for that label of "beautiful." Why have they survived? It is not because they are beautiful. It is because they have survived by the law of chance. We probably have lost works by many, many other artists of those same periods that are as beautiful, or even more beautiful.
And how do you feel about the consecration of your own works in museums?
The same way. I am not concerned because I do not consider myself any different from the others. My real feeling is that a work of art is only a work of art for a very short period. There is a life in a work of art that is very short—even shorter than a man's lifetime. I call it twenty years. After twenty years, an Impressionist painting has ceased to be an Impressionist painting, because the material, the color, the paint has darkened so much that it is no more what the man did when he painted it. That is one way of looking at it. So I applied this rule to all artworks, and after twenty years they are finished. Their life is over. They survive all right, because they are part of art history, but art history is not art. I don't believe in preserving. I think, as I said, that a work of art dies. It's a thing of contemporary life. In your life you might see something because it's contemporary with your life, it's being made at the same time as you are alive, and it has all the requisites of a work of art, and your contemporaries are making works of art. They are works of art at the same time you live, but once you are dead, they die too.
You are interested in the writings of Roussel and of Rabelais, so you can accept the perpetuation of ideas through a text. But you are less inclined to accept it through a painting.
The reason is that ideas can survive more without distortion. Death is longer for ideas, because the language stays on for at least a few centuries—as in the case of Rabelais. But I am sure we don't understand a word of Artistophanes or of Homer, even. Our interpretation of Homer is very, very twentieth-century. The distortion that, every fifty years, the new generation gives to old works of art, and to new ones too, is not justifiable. In other words, fifty years ago we liked this, but a hundred years ago we liked that, which shows the doubtful judgement of humanity of works of art. That's why I like it to be only twenty years. Art should have a short life.
It is sometimes said of you that when you received notice that your Large Glass—a work on which you had spent an enormous amount of time, energy and thought over twelve years—was smashed, you responded in a very indifferent way. You didn't care. How did you feel?
I didn't care. When I learned it, I was lunching with a friend of mine who knew it, but she couldn't, she just couldn't announce it to me. She was so moved by the assignment to announce it to me that my reaction was really a cold reaction to help her. I accept any malheur as it comes. I don't fight back.
I wanted to know how you react to the title that has been given to this radio series, "Art, Anti-Art." What is the concept of "anti-art" for you?
I am against the word "anti" because it is like atheist as compared to believer. An atheist is just as much a religious man as a believer is. And an anti-artist is just as much of an artist as the other artist. 'An-artist' would be much better. I don't mind being an 'an-artist.'

martes, 20 de febrero de 2018

Entrevistas Eróticas: Luba Shumeyko

Entrevistas Eróticas: Luba Shumeyko: pic.twitter.com/35b6XZfnzO — Luba Shumeyko (@LubaShumeyko) February 20, 2018

Entrevistas Eróticas: Marcela y El Representante

Entrevistas Eróticas: Marcela y El Representante: Después de que me divorcié pasé una etapa que estaba perdida. Estuve 2 años sin hacer el amor , una loca estaba hecha. Se me dio un par de...

sábado, 16 de diciembre de 2017

forbidden Words in Trump Regime vulnerable,entitlement, diversity,transgender,fetus,evidence-based science-based





jueves, 14 de diciembre de 2017

Ernest Hemingway, The Art of Fiction No. 21

HEMINGWAY
You go to the races?

INTERVIEWER
Yes, occasionally.

HEMINGWAY
Then you read the Racing Form ... There you have the true art of fiction.
  
                                              Conversation in a Madrid café, May 1954

https://www.theparisreview.org/interviews/4825/ernest-hemingway-the-art-of-fiction-no-21-ernest-hemingway



Ernest Hemingway writes in the bedroom of his house in the Havana suburb of San Francisco de Paula. He has a special workroom prepared for him in a square tower at the southwest corner of the house, but prefers to work in his bedroom, climbing to the tower room only when “characters” drive him up there.
The bedroom is on the ground floor and connects with the main room of the house. The door between the two is kept ajar by a heavy volume listing and describing The World’s Aircraft Engines. The bedroom is large, sunny, the windows facing east and south letting in the day’s light on white walls and a yellow-tinged tile floor.
The room is divided into two alcoves by a pair of chest-high bookcases that stand out into the room at right angles from opposite walls. A large and low double bed dominates one section, oversized slippers and loafers neatly arranged at the foot, the two bedside tables at the head piled seven-high with books. In the other alcove stands a massive flat-top desk with a chair at either side, its surface an ordered clutter of papers and mementos. Beyond it, at the far end of the room, is an armoire with a leopard skin draped across the top. The other walls are lined with white-painted bookcases from which books overflow to the floor, and are piled on top among old newspapers, bullfight journals, and stacks of letters bound together by rubber bands.
It is on the top of one of these cluttered bookcases—the one against the wall by the east window and three feet or so from his bed—that Hemingway has his “work desk”—a square foot of cramped area hemmed in by books on one side and on the other by a newspaper-covered heap of papers, manuscripts, and pamphlets. There is just enough space left on top of the bookcase for a typewriter, surmounted by a wooden reading board, five or six pencils, and a chunk of copper ore to weight down papers when the wind blows in from the east window.
A working habit he has had from the beginning, Hemingway stands when he writes. He stands in a pair of his oversized loafers on the worn skin of a lesser kudu—the typewriter and the reading board chest-high opposite him.
When Hemingway starts on a project he always begins with a pencil, using the reading board to write on onionskin typewriter paper. He keeps a sheaf of the blank paper on a clipboard to the left of the typewriter, extracting the paper a sheet at a time from under a metal clip that reads “These Must Be Paid.” He places the paper slantwise on the reading board, leans against the board with his left arm, steadying the paper with his hand, and fills the paper with handwriting which through the years has become larger, more boyish, with a paucity of punctuation, very few capitals, and often the period marked with an X. The page completed, he clips it facedown on another clipboard that he places off to the right of the typewriter.
Hemingway shifts to the typewriter, lifting off the reading board, only when the writing is going fast and well, or when the writing is, for him at least, simple: dialogue, for instance.
He keeps track of his daily progress—“so as not to kid myself”—on a large chart made out of the side of a cardboard packing case and set up against the wall under the nose of a mounted gazelle head. The numbers on the chart showing the daily output of words differ from 450, 575, 462, 1250, back to 512, the higher figures on days Hemingway puts in extra work so he won’t feel guilty spending the following day fishing on the Gulf Stream.
A man of habit, Hemingway does not use the perfectly suitable desk in the other alcove. Though it allows more space for writing, it too has its miscellany: stacks of letters; a stuffed toy lion of the type sold in Broadway nighteries; a small burlap bag full of carnivore teeth; shotgun shells; a shoehorn; wood carvings of lion, rhino, two zebras, and a wart-hog—these last set in a neat row across the surface of the desk—and, of course, books: piled on the desk, beside tables, jamming the shelves in indiscriminate order—novels, histories, collections of poetry, drama, essays. A look at their titles shows their variety. On the shelf opposite Hemingway’s knee as he stands up to his “work desk” are Virginia Woolf’s The Common Reader, Ben Ames Williams’s House DividedThe Partisan Reader, Charles A. Beard’s The Republic, Tarle’s Napoleon’s Invasion of RussiaHow Young You Lookby Peggy Wood, Alden Brooks’s Shakespeare and the Dyer’s Hand, Baldwin’s African Hunting, T. S. Eliot’s Collected Poems, and two books on General Custer’s fall at the battle of the Little Big Horn.
The room, however, for all the disorder sensed at first sight, indicates on inspection an owner who is basically neat but cannot bear to throw anything away—especially if sentimental value is attached. One bookcase top has an odd assortment of mementos: a giraffe made of wood beads; a little cast-iron turtle; tiny models of a locomotive; two jeeps and a Venetian gondola; a toy bear with a key in its back; a monkey carrying a pair of cymbals; a miniature guitar; and a little tin model of a U.S. Navy biplane (one wheel missing) resting awry on a circular straw place mat—the quality of the collection that of the odds-and-ends which turn up in a shoebox at the back of a small boy’s closet. It is evident, though, that these tokens have their value, just as three buffalo horns Hemingway keeps in his bedroom have a value dependent not on size but because during the acquiring of them things went badly in the bush, yet ultimately turned out well. “It cheers me up to look at them,” he says.
Hemingway may admit superstitions of this sort, but he prefers not to talk about them, feeling that whatever value they may have can be talked away. He has much the same attitude about writing. Many times during the making of this interview he stressed that the craft of writing should not be tampered with by an excess of scrutiny—“that though there is one part of writing that is solid and you do it no harm by talking about it, the other is fragile, and if you talk about it, the structure cracks and you have nothing.”
As a result, though a wonderful raconteur, a man of rich humor, and possessed of an amazing fund of knowledge on subjects which interest him, Hemingway finds it difficult to talk about writing—not because he has few ideas on the subject, but rather because he feels so strongly that such ideas should remain unexpressed, that to be asked questions on them “spooks” him (to use one of his favorite expressions) to the point where he is almost inarticulate. Many of the replies in this interview he preferred to work out on his reading board. The occasional waspish tone of the answers is also part of this strong feeling that writing is a private, lonely occupation with no need for witnesses until the final work is done.
This dedication to his art may suggest a personality at odds with the rambunctious, carefree, world-wheeling Hemingway-at-play of popular conception. The fact is that Hemingway, while obviously enjoying life, brings an equivalent dedication to everything he does—an outlook that is essentially serious, with a horror of the inaccurate, the fraudulent, the deceptive, the half-baked.
Nowhere is the dedication he gives his art more evident than in the yellow-tiled bedroom—where early in the morning Hemingway gets up to stand in absolute concentration in front of his reading board, moving only to shift weight from one foot to another, perspiring heavily when the work is going well, excited as a boy, fretful, miserable when the artistic touch momentarily vanishes—slave of a self-imposed discipline which lasts until about noon when he takes a knotted walking stick and leaves the house for the swimming pool where he takes his daily half-mile swim.

INTERVIEWER
Are these hours during the actual process of writing pleasurable?
ERNEST HEMINGWAY
Very.
INTERVIEWER
Could you say something of this process? When do you work? Do you keep to a strict schedule?
HEMINGWAY
When I am working on a book or a story I write every morning as soon after first light as possible. There is no one to disturb you and it is cool or cold and you come to your work and warm as you write. You read what you have written and, as you always stop when you know what is going to happen next, you go on from there. You write until you come to a place where you still have your juice and know what will happen next and you stop and try to live through until the next day when you hit it again. You have started at six in the morning, say, and may go on until noon or be through before that. When you stop you are as empty, and at the same time never empty but filling, as when you have made love to someone you love. Nothing can hurt you, nothing can happen, nothing means anything until the next day when you do it again. It is the wait until the next day that is hard to get through.
INTERVIEWER
Can you dismiss from your mind whatever project you’re on when you’re away from the typewriter?
HEMINGWAY
Of course. But it takes discipline to do it and this discipline is acquired. It has to be.
INTERVIEWER
Do you do any rewriting as you read up to the place you left off the day before? Or does that come later, when the whole is finished?
HEMINGWAY
I always rewrite each day up to the point where I stopped. When it is all finished, naturally you go over it. You get another chance to correct and rewrite when someone else types it, and you see it clean in type. The last chance is in the proofs. You’re grateful for these different chances.
INTERVIEWER
How much rewriting do you do?
HEMINGWAY
It depends. I rewrote the ending to Farewell to Arms, the last page of it, thirty-nine times before I was satisfied.
INTERVIEWER
Was there some technical problem there? What was it that had stumped you?
HEMINGWAY
Getting the words right.
INTERVIEWER
Is it the rereading that gets the “juice” up?
HEMINGWAY
Rereading places you at the point where it has to go on, knowing it is as good as you can get it up to there. There is always juice somewhere.
INTERVIEWER
But are there times when the inspiration isn’t there at all?
HEMINGWAY
Naturally. But if you stopped when you knew what would happen next, you can go on. As long as you can start, you are all right. The juice will come.
INTERVIEWER
Thornton Wilder speaks of mnemonic devices that get the writer going on his day’s work. He says you once told him you sharpened twenty pencils.
HEMINGWAY
I don’t think I ever owned twenty pencils at one time. Wearing down seven number-two pencils is a good day’s work.
INTERVIEWER
Where are some of the places you have found most advantageous to work? The Ambos Mundos hotel must have been one, judging from the number of books you did there. Or do surroundings have little effect on the work?
HEMINGWAY
The Ambos Mundos in Havana was a very good place to work in. This Finca is a splendid place, or was. But I have worked well everywhere. I mean I have been able to work as well as I can under varied circumstances. The telephone and visitors are the work destroyers.
INTERVIEWER
Is emotional stability necessary to write well? You told me once that you could only write well when you were in love. Could you expound on that a bit more?
HEMINGWAY
What a question. But full marks for trying. You can write any time people will leave you alone and not interrupt you. Or rather you can if you will be ruthless enough about it. But the best writing is certainly when you are in love. If it is all the same to you I would rather not expound on that.
INTERVIEWER
How about financial security? Can that be a detriment to good writing?
HEMINGWAY
If it came early enough and you loved life as much as you loved your work it would take much character to resist the temptations. Once writing has become your major vice and greatest pleasure only death can stop it. Financial security then is a great help as it keeps you from worrying. Worry destroys the ability to write. Ill health is bad in the ratio that it produces worry which attacks your subconscious and destroys your reserves.
INTERVIEWER
Can you recall an exact moment when you decided to become a writer?
HEMINGWAY
No, I always wanted to be a writer.
INTERVIEWER
Philip Young in his book on you suggests that the traumatic shock of your severe 1918 mortar wound had a great influence on you as a writer. I remember in Madrid you talked briefly about his thesis, finding little in it, and going on to say that you thought the artist’s equipment was not an acquired characteristic, but inherited, in the Mendelian sense.
HEMINGWAY
Evidently in Madrid that year my mind could not be called very sound. The only thing to recommend it would be that I spoke only briefly about Mr. Young’s book and his trauma theory of literature. Perhaps the two concussions and a skull fracture of that year had made me irresponsible in my statements. I do remember telling you that I believed imagination could be the result of inherited racial experience. It sounds all right in good jolly post-concussion talk, but I think that is more or less where it belongs. So until the next liberation trauma, let’s leave it there. Do you agree? But thanks for leaving out the names of any relatives I might have implicated. The fun of talk is to explore, but much of it and all that is irresponsible should not be written. Once written you have to stand by it. You may have said it to see whether you believed it or not. On the question you raised, the effects of wounds vary greatly. Simple wounds which do not break bone are of little account. They sometimes give confidence. Wounds which do extensive bone and nerve damage are not good for writers, nor anybody else.
INTERVIEWER
What would you consider the best intellectual training for the would-be writer?
HEMINGWAY
Let’s say that he should go out and hang himself because he finds that writing well is impossibly difficult. Then he should be cut down without mercy and forced by his own self to write as well as he can for the rest of his life. At least he will have the story of the hanging to commence with.
INTERVIEWER
How about people who’ve gone into the academic career? Do you think the large numbers of writers who hold teaching positions have compromised their literary careers?
HEMINGWAY
It depends on what you call compromise. Is the usage that of a woman who has been compromised? Or is it the compromise of the statesman? Or the compromise made with your grocer or your tailor that you will pay a little more but will pay it later? A writer who can both write and teach should be able to do both. Many competent writers have proved it could be done. I could not do it, I know, and I admire those who have been able to. I would think though that the academic life could put a period to outside experience which might possibly limit growth of knowledge of the world. Knowledge, however, demands more responsibility of a writer and makes writing more difficult. Trying to write something of permanent value is a full-time job even though only a few hours a day are spent on the actual writing. A writer can be compared to a well. There are as many kinds of wells as there are writers. The important thing is to have good water in the well, and it is better to take a regular amount out than to pump the well dry and wait for it to refill. I see I am getting away from the question, but the question was not very interesting.
INTERVIEWER
Would you suggest newspaper work for the young writer? How helpful was the training you had with the Kansas City Star?
HEMINGWAY
On the Star you were forced to learn to write a simple declarative sentence. This is useful to anyone. Newspaper work will not harm a young writer and could help him if he gets out of it in time. This is one of the dustiest clichés there is and I apologize for it. But when you ask someone old, tired questions you are apt to receive old, tired answers.
INTERVIEWER
You once wrote in the Transatlantic Review that the only reason for writing journalism was to be well paid. You said: “And when you destroy the valuable things you have by writing about them, you want to get big money for it.” Do you think of writing as a type of self-destruction?
HEMINGWAY
I do not remember ever writing that. But it sounds silly and violent enough for me to have said it to avoid having to bite on the nail and make a sensible statement. I certainly do not think of writing as a type of self-destruction, though journalism, after a point has been reached, can be a daily self-destruction for a serious creative writer.
INTERVIEWER
Do you think the intellectual stimulus of the company of other writers is of any value to an author?
HEMINGWAY
Certainly.
INTERVIEWER
In the Paris of the twenties did you have any sense of “group feeling” with other writers and artists?
HEMINGWAY
No. There was no group feeling. We had respect for each other. I respected a lot of painters, some of my own age, others older—Gris, Picasso, Braque, Monet (who was still alive then)—and a few writers: Joyce, Ezra, the good of Stein ...
INTERVIEWER
When you are writing, do you ever find yourself influenced by what you’re reading at the time?
HEMINGWAY
Not since Joyce was writing Ulysses. His was not a direct influence. But in those days when words we knew were barred to us, and we had to fight for a single word, the influence of his work was what changed everything, and made it possible for us to break away from the restrictions.
INTERVIEWER
Could you learn anything about writing from the writers? You were telling me yesterday that Joyce, for example, couldn’t bear to talk about writing.
HEMINGWAY
In company with people of your own trade you ordinarily speak of other writers’ books. The better the writers the less they will speak about what they have written themselves. Joyce was a very great writer and he would only explain what he was doing to jerks. Other writers that he respected were supposed to be able to know what he was doing by reading it.
INTERVIEWER
You seem to have avoided the company of writers in late years. Why?
HEMINGWAY
That is more complicated. The further you go in writing the more alone you are. Most of your best and oldest friends die. Others move away. You do not see them except rarely, but you write and have much the same contact with them as though you were together at the café in the old days. You exchange comic, sometimes cheerfully obscene and irresponsible letters, and it is almost as good as talking. But you are more alone because that is how you must work and the time to work is shorter all the time and if you waste it you feel you have committed a sin for which there is no forgiveness.
INTERVIEWER
What about the influence of some of these people—your contemporaries—on your work? What was Gertrude Stein’s contribution, if any? Or Ezra Pound’s? Or Max Perkins’s?
HEMINGWAY
I’m sorry but I am no good at these postmortems. There are coroners literary and non-literary provided to deal with such matters. Miss Stein wrote at some length and with considerable inaccuracy about her influence on my work. It was necessary for her to do this after she had learned to write dialogue from a book called The Sun Also Rises. I was very fond of her and thought it was splendid she had learned to write conversation. It was no new thing to me to learn from everyone I could, living or dead, and I had no idea it would affect Gertrude so violently. She already wrote very well in other ways. Ezra was extremely intelligent on the subjects he really knew. Doesn’t this sort of talk bore you? This backyard literary gossip while washing out the dirty clothes of thirty-five years ago is disgusting to me. It would be different if one had tried to tell the whole truth. That would have some value. Here it is simpler and better to thank Gertrude for everything I learned from her about the abstract relationship of words, say how fond I was of her, reaffirm my loyalty to Ezra as a great poet and a loyal friend, and say that I cared so much for Max Perkins that I have never been able to accept that he is dead. He never asked me to change anything I wrote except to remove certain words which were not then publishable. Blanks were left, and anyone who knew the words would know what they were. For me he was not an editor. He was a wise friend and a wonderful companion. I liked the way he wore his hat and the strange way his lips moved.
INTERVIEWER
Who would you say are your literary forebears—those you have learned the most from?
HEMINGWAY
Mark Twain, Flaubert, Stendhal, Bach, Turgenev, Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky, Chekhov, Andrew Marvell, John Donne, Maupassant, the good Kipling, Thoreau, Captain Marryat, Shakespeare, Mozart, Quevedo, Dante, Virgil, Tintoretto, Hieronymus Bosch, Brueghel, Patinir, Goya, Giotto, Cézanne, Van Gogh, Gauguin, San Juan de la Cruz, Góngora—it would take a day to remember everyone. Then it would sound as though I were claiming an erudition I did not possess instead of trying to remember all the people who have been an influence on my life and work. This isn’t an old dull question. It is a very good but a solemn question and requires an examination of conscience. I put in painters, or started to, because I learn as much from painters about how to write as from writers. You ask how this is done? It would take another day of explaining. I should think what one learns from composers and from the study of harmony and counterpoint would be obvious.
INTERVIEWER
Did you even play a musical instrument?
HEMINGWAY
I used to play cello. My mother kept me out of school a whole year to study music and counterpoint. She thought I had ability, but I was absolutely without talent. We played chamber music—someone came in to play the violin; my sister played the viola, and mother the piano. That cello—I played it worse than anyone on earth. Of course, that year I was out doing other things too.
INTERVIEWER
Do you reread the authors of your list? Twain, for instance?
HEMINGWAY
You have to wait two or three years with Twain. You remember too well. I read some Shakespeare every year, Lear always. Cheers you up if you read that.
INTERVIEWER
Reading, then, is a constant occupation and pleasure.
HEMINGWAY
I’m always reading books—as many as there are. I ration myself on them so that I’ll always be in supply.
INTERVIEWER
Do you ever read manuscripts?
HEMINGWAY
You can get into trouble doing that unless you know the author personally. Some years ago I was sued for plagiarism by a man who claimed that I’d lifted For Whom the Bell Tolls from an unpublished screen scenario he’d written. He’d read this scenario at some Hollywood party. I was there, he said, at least there was a fellow called “Ernie” there listening to the reading, and that was enough for him to sue for a million dollars. At the same time he sued the producers of the motion pictures Northwest Mounted Police and the Cisco Kid, claiming that these, as well, had been stolen from that same unpublished scenario. We went to court and, of course, won the case. The man turned out to be insolvent.
INTERVIEWER
Well, could we go back to that list and take one of the painters—Hieronymus Bosch, for instance? The nightmare symbolic quality of his work seems so far removed from your own.
HEMINGWAY
I have the nightmares and know about the ones other people have. But you do not have to write them down. Anything you can omit that you know you still have in the writing and its quality will show. When a writer omits things he does not know, they show like holes in his writing.
INTERVIEWER
Does that mean that a close knowledge of the works of the people on your list helps fill the “well” you were speaking of a while back? Or were they consciously a help in developing the techniques of writing?
HEMINGWAY
They were a part of learning to see, to hear, to think, to feel and not feel, and to write. The well is where your “juice” is. Nobody knows what it is made of, least of all yourself. What you know is if you have it, or you have to wait for it to come back.
INTERVIEWER
Would you admit to there being symbolism in your novels?
HEMINGWAY
I suppose there are symbols since critics keep finding them. If you do not mind I dislike talking about them and being questioned about them. It is hard enough to write books and stories without being asked to explain them as well. Also it deprives the explainers of work. If five or six or more good explainers can keep going why should I interfere with them? Read anything I write for the pleasure of reading it. Whatever else you find will be the measure of what you brought to the reading.
INTERVIEWER
Continuing with just one question on this line: One of the advisory staff editors wonders about a parallel he feels he’s found in The Sun Also Rises between the dramatis personae of the bull ring and the characters of the novel itself. He points out that the first sentence of the book tells us Robert Cohn is a boxer; later, during the desencajonada, the bull is described as using his horns like a boxer, hooking and jabbing. And just as the bull is attracted and pacified by the presence of a steer, Robert Cohn defers to Jake who is emasculated precisely as is a steer. He sees Mike as the picador, baiting Cohn repeatedly. The editor’s thesis goes on, but he wondered if it was your conscious intention to inform the novel with the tragic structure of the bullfight ritual.
HEMINGWAY
It sounds as though the advisory staff editor was a little bit screwy. Who ever said Jake was “emasculated precisely as is a steer”? Actually he had been wounded in quite a different way and his testicles were intact and not damaged. Thus he was capable of all normal feelings as a man but incapable of consummating them. The important distinction is that his wound was physical and not psychological and that he was not emasculated.
INTERVIEWER
These questions which inquire into craftsmanship really are an annoyance.
HEMINGWAY
A sensible question is neither a delight nor an annoyance. I still believe, though, that it is very bad for a writer to talk about how he writes. He writes to be read by the eye and no explanations or dissertations should be necessary. You can be sure that there is much more there than will be read at any first reading and having made this it is not the writer’s province to explain it or to run guided tours through the more difficult country of his work.
INTERVIEWER
In connection with this, I remember you have also warned that it is dangerous for a writer to talk about a work-in-progress, that he can “talk it out” so to speak. Why should this be so? I only ask because there are so many writers—Twain, Wilde, Thurber, Steffens come to mind—who would seem to have polished their material by testing it on listeners.
HEMINGWAY
I cannot believe Twain ever “tested out” Huckleberry Finn on listeners. If he did they probably had him cut out good things and put in the bad parts. Wilde was said by people who knew him to have been a better talker than a writer. Steffens talked better than he wrote. Both his writing and his talking were sometimes hard to believe, and I heard many stories change as he grew older. If Thurber can talk as well as he writes he must be one of the greatest and least boring talkers. The man I know who talks best about his own trade and has the pleasantest and most wicked tongue is Juan Belmonte, the matador.
INTERVIEWER
Could you say how much thought-out effort went into the evolvement of your distinctive style?
HEMINGWAY
That is a long-term tiring question and if you spent a couple of days answering it you would be so self-conscious that you could not write. I might say that what amateurs call a style is usually only the unavoidable awkwardnesses in first trying to make something that has not heretofore been made. Almost no new classics resemble other previous classics. At first people can see only the awkwardness. Then they are not so perceptible. When they show so very awkwardly people think these awkwardnesses are the style and many copy them. This is regrettable.
INTERVIEWER
You once wrote me that the simple circumstances under which various pieces of fiction were written could be instructive. Could you apply this to “The Killers”—you said that you had written it, “Ten Indians,” and “Today Is Friday” in one day—and perhaps to your first novel The Sun Also Rises?
HEMINGWAY
Let’s see. The Sun Also Rises I started in Valencia on my birthday, July 21. Hadley, my wife, and I had gone to Valencia early to get good tickets for the feria there which started the twenty-fourth of July. Everybody my age had written a novel and I was still having a difficult time writing a paragraph. So I started the book on my birthday, wrote all through the feria, in bed in the morning, went on to Madrid and wrote there. There was no feria there, so we had a room with a table and I wrote in great luxury on the table and around the corner from the hotel in a beer place in the Pasaje Alvarez where it was cool. It finally got too hot to write and we went to Hendaye. There was a small cheap hotel there on the big long lovely beach and I worked very well there and then went up to Paris and finished the first draft in the apartment over the sawmill at 113 rue Notre-Dame-des-Champs six weeks from the day I started it. I showed the first draft to Nathan Asch, the novelist, who then had quite a strong accent, and he said, “Hem, vaht do you mean saying you wrote a novel? A novel huh. Hem you are riding a travhel büch.” I was not too discouraged by Nathan and rewrote the book, keeping in the travel (that was the part about the fishing trip and Pamplona) at Schruns in the Vorarlberg at the Hotel Taube.
The stories you mention I wrote in one day in Madrid on May 16 when it snowed out the San Isidro bullfights. First I wrote “The Killers,” which I’d tried to write before and failed. Then after lunch I got in bed to keep warm and wrote “Today Is Friday.” I had so much juice I thought maybe I was going crazy and I had about six other stories to write. So I got dressed and walked to Fornos, the old bullfighters’ café, and drank coffee and then came back and wrote “Ten Indians.” This made me very sad and I drank some brandy and went to sleep. I’d forgotten to eat and one of the waiters brought me up some bacalao and a small steak and fried potatoes and a bottle of Valdepeñas.
The woman who ran the pension was always worried that I did not eat enough and she had sent the waiter. I remember sitting up in bed and eating, and drinking the Valdepeñas. The waiter said he would bring up another bottle. He said the Señora wanted to know if I was going to write all night. I said no, I thought I would lay off for a while. Why don’t you try to write just one more, the waiter asked. I’m only supposed to write one, I said. Nonsense, he said. You could write six. I’ll try tomorrow, I said. Try it tonight, he said. What do you think the old woman sent the food up for?
I’m tired, I told him. Nonsense, he said (the word was not nonsense). You tired after three miserable little stories. Translate me one.
Leave me alone, I said. How am I going to write it if you don’t leave me alone? So I sat up in bed and drank the Valdepeñas and thought what a hell of a writer I was if the first story was as good as I’d hoped.
INTERVIEWER
How complete in your own mind is the conception of a short story? Does the theme, or the plot, or a character change as you go along?
HEMINGWAY
Sometimes you know the story. Sometimes you make it up as you go along and have no idea how it will come out. Everything changes as it moves. That is what makes the movement which makes the story. Sometimes the movement is so slow it does not seem to be moving. But there is always change and always movement.
INTERVIEWER
Is it the same with the novel, or do you work out the whole plan before you start and adhere to it rigorously?
HEMINGWAY
For Whom the Bell Tolls was a problem which I carried on each day. I knew what was going to happen in principle. But I invented what happened each day I wrote.
INTERVIEWER
Were The Green Hills of AfricaTo Have and Have Not, and Across the River and Into the Trees all started as short stories and developed into novels? If so, are the two forms so similar that the writer can pass from one to the other without completely revamping his approach?
HEMINGWAY
No, that is not true. The Green Hills of Africa is not a novel but was written in an attempt to write an absolutely true book to see whether the shape of a country and the pattern of a month’s action could, if truly presented, compete with a work of the imagination. After I had written it I wrote two short stories, “The Snows of Kilimanjaro” and “The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber.” These were stories which I invented from the knowledge and experience acquired on the same long hunting trip one month of which I had tried to write a truthful account of in The Green HillsTo Have and Have Not and Across the River and Into the Trees were both started as short stories.
INTERVIEWER
Do you find it easy to shift from one literary project to another or do you continue through to finish what you start?
HEMINGWAY
The fact that I am interrupting serious work to answer these questions proves that I am so stupid that I should be penalized severely. I will be. Don’t worry.
INTERVIEWER
Do you think of yourself in competition with other writers?
HEMINGWAY
Never. I used to try to write better than certain dead writers of whose value I was certain. For a long time now I have tried simply to write the best I can. Sometimes I have good luck and write better than I can.
INTERVIEWER
Do you think a writer’s power diminishes as he grows older? In The Green Hills of Africa you mention that American writers at a certain age change into Old Mother Hubbards.
HEMINGWAY
I don’t know about that. People who know what they are doing should last as long as their heads last. In that book you mention, if you look it up, you’ll see I was sounding off about American literature with a humorless Austrian character who was forcing me to talk when I wanted to do something else. I wrote an accurate account of the conversation. Not to make deathless pronouncements. A fair percent of the pronouncements are good enough.
INTERVIEWER
We’ve not discussed character. Are the characters of your work taken without exception from real life?
HEMINGWAY
Of course they are not. Some come from real life. Mostly you invent people from a knowledge and understanding and experience of people.
INTERVIEWER
Could you say something about the process of turning a real-life character into a fictional one?
HEMINGWAY
If I explained how that is sometimes done, it would be a handbook for libel lawyers.
INTERVIEWER
Do you make a distinction—as E. M. Forster does—between “flat” and “round” characters?
HEMINGWAY
If you describe someone, it is flat, as a photograph is, and from my standpoint a failure. If you make him up from what you know, there should be all the dimensions.
INTERVIEWER
Which of your characters do you look back on with particular affection?
HEMINGWAY
That would make too long a list.
INTERVIEWER
Then you enjoy reading over your own books—without feeling there are changes you would like to make?
HEMINGWAY
I read them sometimes to cheer me up when it is hard to write and then I remember that it was always difficult and how nearly impossible it was sometimes.
INTERVIEWER
How do you name your characters?
HEMINGWAY
The best I can.
INTERVIEWER
Do the titles come to you while you’re in the process of doing the story?
HEMINGWAY
No. I make a list of titles after I’ve finished the story or the book—sometimes as many as a hundred. Then I start eliminating them, sometimes all of them.
INTERVIEWER
And you do this even with a story whose title is supplied from the text—“Hills Like White Elephants,” for example?
HEMINGWAY
Yes. The title comes afterwards. I met a girl in Prunier where I’d gone to eat oysters before lunch. I knew she’d had an abortion. I went over and we talked, not about that, but on the way home I thought of the story, skipped lunch, and spent that afternoon writing it.
INTERVIEWER
So when you’re not writing, you remain constantly the observer, looking for something which can be of use.
HEMINGWAY
Surely. If a writer stops observing he is finished. But he does not have to observe consciously nor think how it will be useful. Perhaps that would be true at the beginning. But later everything he sees goes into the great reserve of things he knows or has seen. If it is any use to know it, I always try to write on the principle of the iceberg. There is seven-eighths of it underwater for every part that shows. Anything you know you can eliminate and it only strengthens your iceberg. It is the part that doesn’t show. If a writer omits something because he does not know it then there is a hole in the story.
The Old Man and the Sea could have been over a thousand pages long and had every character in the village in it and all the processes of how they made their living, were born, educated, bore children, et cetera. That is done excellently and well by other writers. In writing you are limited by what has already been done satisfactorily. So I have tried to learn to do something else. First I have tried to eliminate everything unnecessary to conveying experience to the reader so that after he or she has read something it will become a part of his or her experience and seem actually to have happened. This is very hard to do and I’ve worked at it very hard.
Anyway, to skip how it is done, I had unbelievable luck this time and could convey the experience completely and have it be one that no one had ever conveyed. The luck was that I had a good man and a good boy and lately writers have forgotten there still are such things. Then the ocean is worth writing about just as man is. So I was lucky there. I’ve seen the marlin mate and know about that. So I leave that out. I’ve seen a school (or pod) of more than fifty sperm whales in that same stretch of water and once harpooned one nearly sixty feet in length and lost him. So I left that out. All the stories I know from the fishing village I leave out. But the knowledge is what makes the underwater part of the iceberg.
INTERVIEWER
Archibald MacLeish has spoken of a method of conveying experience to a reader which he said you developed while covering baseball games back in those Kansas City Star days. It was simply that experience is communicated by small details, intimately preserved, which have the effect of indicating the whole by making the reader conscious of what he had been aware of only subconsciously ...
HEMINGWAY
The anecdote is apocryphal. I never wrote baseball for the Star. What Archie was trying to remember was how I was trying to learn in Chicago in around 1920 and was searching for the unnoticed things that made emotions, such as the way an outfielder tossed his glove without looking back to where it fell, the squeak of resin on canvas under a fighter’s flat-soled gym shoes, the gray color of Jack Blackburn’s skin when he had just come out of stir, and other things I noted as a painter sketches. You saw Blackburn’s strange color and the old razor cuts and the way he spun a man before you knew his history. These were the things which moved you before you knew the story.
INTERVIEWER
Have you ever described any type of situation of which you had no personal knowledge?
HEMINGWAY
That is a strange question. By personal knowledge do you mean carnal knowledge? In that case the answer is positive. A writer, if he is any good, does not describe. He invents or makes out of knowledge personal and impersonal and sometimes he seems to have unexplained knowledge which could come from forgotten racial or family experience. Who teaches the homing pigeon to fly as he does; where does a fighting bull get his bravery, or a hunting dog his nose? This is an elaboration or a condensation on that stuff we were talking about in Madrid that time when my head was not to be trusted.
INTERVIEWER
How detached must you be from an experience before you can write about it in fictional terms? The African air crashes you were involved in, for instance?
HEMINGWAY
It depends on the experience. One part of you sees it with complete detachment from the start. Another part is very involved. I think there is no rule about how soon one should write about it. It would depend on how well adjusted the individual was and on his or her recuperative powers. Certainly it is valuable to a trained writer to crash in an aircraft which burns. He learns several important things very quickly. Whether they will be of use to him is conditioned by survival. Survival, with honor, that outmoded and all-important word, is as difficult as ever and as all-important to a writer. Those who do not last are always more beloved since no one has to see them in their long, dull, unrelenting, no-quarter-given-and-no-quarter-received, fights that they make to do something as they believe it should be done before they die. Those who die or quit early and easy and with every good reason are preferred because they are understandable and human. Failure and well-disguised cowardice are more human and more beloved.
INTERVIEWER
Could I ask you to what extent you think the writer should concern himself with the sociopolitical problems of his times?
HEMINGWAY
Everyone has his own conscience, and there should be no rules about how a conscience should function. All you can be sure about in a political-minded writer is that if his work should last you will have to skip the politics when you read it. Many of the so-called politically enlisted writers change their politics frequently. This is very exciting to them and to their political-literary reviews. Sometimes they even have to rewrite their viewpoints ... and in a hurry. Perhaps it can be respected as a form of the pursuit of happiness.
INTERVIEWER
Has the political influence of Ezra Pound on the segregationist Kasper had any effect on your belief that the poet ought to be released from St. Elizabeth’s Hospital?
HEMINGWAY
No. None at all. I believe Ezra should be released and allowed to write poetry in Italy on an undertaking by him to abstain from any politics.* I would be happy to see Kasper jailed as soon as possible. Great poets are not necessarily girl guides nor scoutmasters nor splendid influences on youth. To name a few: Verlaine, Rimbaud, Shelley, Byron, Baudelaire, Proust, Gide should not have been confined to prevent them from being aped in their thinking, their manners or their morals, by local Kaspers. I am sure that it will take a footnote to this paragraph in ten years to explain who Kasper was.
INTERVIEWER
Would you say, ever, that there is any didactic intention in your work?
HEMINGWAY
Didactic is a word that has been misused and has spoiled. Death in the Afternoon is an instructive book.
INTERVIEWER
It has been said that a writer only deals with one or two ideas throughout his work. Would you say your work reflects one or two ideas?
HEMINGWAY
Who said that? It sounds much too simple. The man who said it possibly had only one or two ideas.
INTERVIEWER
Well, perhaps it would be better put this way: Graham Greene said that a ruling passion gives to a shelf of novels the unity of a system. You yourself have said, I believe, that great writing comes out of a sense of injustice. Do you consider it important that a novelist be dominated in this way—by some such compelling sense?
HEMINGWAY
Mr. Greene has a facility for making statements that I do not possess. It would be impossible for me to make generalizations about a shelf of novels or a wisp of snipe or a gaggle of geese. I’ll try a generalization though. A writer without a sense of justice and of injustice would be better off editing the yearbook of a school for exceptional children than writing novels. Another generalization. You see; they are not so difficult when they are sufficiently obvious. The most essential gift for a good writer is a built-in, shockproof, shit detector. This is the writer’s radar and all great writers have had it.
INTERVIEWER
Finally, a fundamental question: as a creative writer what do you think is the function of your art? Why a representation of fact, rather than fact itself?
HEMINGWAY
Why be puzzled by that? From things that have happened and from things as they exist and from all things that you know and all those you cannot know, you make something through your invention that is not a representation but a whole new thing truer than anything true and alive, and you make it alive, and if you make it well enough, you give it immortality. That is why you write and for no other reason that you know of. But what about all the reasons that no one knows?

* In 1958 a Federal court in Washington, D.C., dismissed all charges against Pound, clearing the way for his release from St. Elizabeth’s.