Hemingway PBS Ken Burns

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bluesjay
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Hemingway PBS Ken Burns

#1

Post by bluesjay »

Hi Guys, Ya cain't miss the PBS/ken Burns 'Hemingway, can ya?

https://www.theatlantic.com/culture/arc ... ic%20Daily

Michael Fitzsimmons : Gilfond's okay, except that he thinks Hemingway is great literature.

Peggy Sue : And you don't?

Michael Fitzsimmons : He's a fisherman. The most overrated writer of the century. I mean, man he is the perfect American Author - fat, violent, drunk.

Peggy Sue : Maybe you're confusing his life with his work.

Michael Fitzsimmons : A writer's life is his work. Jack Kerouac doesn't have to kill a bull to have something to write about. I mean, man, he's out there burning, feeling, grooving on life!

Jay Edwards

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Greg Reynolds
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Re: Hemingway PBS Ken Burns

#2

Post by Greg Reynolds »

I watched last night and I'm looking forward to parts 2 & 3. He's my favorite author and I especially like the Nick Adams stories. I was hooked after reading Big Two-Hearted River in my 6th grade reading book... :)

GerardH
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Re: Hemingway PBS Ken Burns

#3

Post by GerardH »

Had to give up 3 hours of my life that I'll never get back watching Baylor steamroll Gonzaga last night...Episode #1 is on DVR, I'll be binging later this week.

driftless angler
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Re: Hemingway PBS Ken Burns

#4

Post by driftless angler »

Certainly a unique writing style and lived life to the fullest, but I am in the Fitzsimmons camp - meh. Documentary is great though!

RAZINGKANE
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Re: Hemingway PBS Ken Burns

#5

Post by RAZINGKANE »

The documentary is definitely interesting, although a little long and overly detailed IMHO. As for Hemingway the man, I have never had much patience with overtly narcissistic individuals, and in spite of his love of the wild world, would not have wanted to call him friend... or enemy for that matter. As for his writing, outside of a few small gems, I keep a copy of Hemmingway's whatever on the nightstand for when I have a hard time falling asleep. Works every time. Not a literary critic, just what works for me.

John

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Brooks
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Re: Hemingway PBS Ken Burns

#6

Post by Brooks »

I look forward to seeing the documentary—was forced to enjoy several of his works in my youth. But I suspect I’ll want to re-read Vonnegut’s “Happy Birthday Wanda June” to cleanse my palate.

I think Vonnegut had Hemingway pretty well pegged.

cutthroatkid
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Re: Hemingway PBS Ken Burns

#7

Post by cutthroatkid »

I suspect stories like The Old Man and the Sea will be read long after all Hemingway's critics are dead.

I haven't seen the Burns special, and probably would not have liked Hemingway personally very much, but some of his stories I like a lot. I read The Big Two Hearted River first at too young an age and did not understand it much at all, but finally got the story much later in life when I re-read it. In fact, a friend of mine related the following tale. His class was assigned to read the story and critique it in college. Afterwards the professor stated that my friend was the only person in the class who understood the story. My friend had been a medic in Vietnam, and understood that the tale is largely about Nick Adam's attempts to deal with the PTSD he suffered as a result of his experiences in WW1 (Hemingway was an ambulance driver in WW1 and the story is autobiographical). Just look at the description of the camp as being a safe place away from humanity where "nothing could touch him". But even in the wilderness the swamp looms. Hemingway needs to be taken in the context of his time. As far as his writing style, it's certainly unique.

bluesjay
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Re: Hemingway PBS Ken Burns

#8

Post by bluesjay »

Hi Guys, Well, we've certainly come to where I have an opinion. I always tell anyone to whom I recommend 'In Our Time', that it must be read from page one to the end to have the impact Hemmingway would have intended. The 'Big Two Hearted River' alone would be a lonely story without any real context, in my view. Hemingway was almost never anthologized. I like all the detail in the series 'cause it's relevant history. I LOVE Martha Gellhorn!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martha_Gellhorn

Jay Edwards

Edit: I did find a piece of Vonnegut, though not from 'Happy Birthday....'

When the last living thing
has died on account of us,
how poetical it would be
if Earth could say,
in a voice floating up
perhaps
from the floor
of the Grand Canyon,
“It is done.”
People did not like it here.

Edit: Gosh #3 was tough. Here's this:

https://www.medicaldaily.com/ongoing-my ... der-247323
Last edited by bluesjay on 04/07/21 23:50, edited 1 time in total.

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Greg Reynolds
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Re: Hemingway PBS Ken Burns

#9

Post by Greg Reynolds »

Photos from our visit to the Hemingway House in Key West:
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A descendent of his polydactyl cats:
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The view from his office:
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www.hemingwayhome.com

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Re: Hemingway PBS Ken Burns

#10

Post by billems »

I was in my early thirties when I finally read "Two-Big-Hearted River," and it changed my life. I came away from that story--of Nick Adams fishing trout in the "burned over" land surrounding the town of Seney--wanting to accomplish two things: First, I wanted a fly rod. Nick fished using live grasshoppers, but he did so with a fly rod. I was fascinated with the description of the rod and the tapered line. Second: Reading TBR kindled my desire to not only write, but to become a writer, professionally. I bought a fly rod and began learning to fish. I was published as a winner in a Minneapolis fiction contest. I wrote fishing articles for a Midwest fishing magazine. Published a story on the Brule for Fly Rod&Reel. Soon after, I took full time employment as an associate editor at St.Croix Valley Press, and freelanced on the side. Then I put in 15 years with the Villager newspaper, writing profiles of Twin City artists. Oh, and I did take a trip to the Fox River (the real river in the story), near Seney, MI, and walked down the tracks to the same bridge from which Hemingway gazed down at the river. Thank you Mr. Hemingway. Your work continues to inspire me. Mr. Fitzsimmons uncharitable comments on Ernest Hemingway are juvenile. "He was a fisherman and a drunk." is reductive ignorance. Overrated? Who is Mr. Fitzsimmons?

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Re: Hemingway PBS Ken Burns

#11

Post by Mike N »

I’m enjoying the PBS series. Greg’s photos above are great. Here are a few I took at Hemingway’s Key West house in 2018...

(Click on photo to enlarge)


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Mike N.
Founder, Old Reel Collectors Association (ORCA)
Member, NFLCC & FATC
Vintage Orvis collector


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bluesjay
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Re: Hemingway PBS Ken Burns

#12

Post by bluesjay »

Hi Guys, Mr. Fitzimmons was/is a fictional 'beatnik' in the movie 'Peggy Sue Gets Married.' I shoulda identified it.
I had a thought about the 'Big Two Hearted River' and reading it as a short story rather than the end of an odd novel, or whatever the complete book would be. My thought is that having a kid read ' Indian Camp' would be cruel. But reading BTR as a short story as a kid might lead to a life long search for it's meaning, and perhaps for big 'M' meaning as well.' And then, onto 'In Our Time' and other stuff.
I've been to the house. I bought a copy of 'To Have and Have Not' stamped with 'The Hemingway House and Museum/Key West Florida.' The book ain't like Hoagy and the movie at all! We went into the writing house.
Mike N, the reel in your picture is a Pflueger Templar 1419 3/4 or 1419 1/2. Maybe there are other sizes, but I don't think so.

Jay Edwards
Last edited by bluesjay on 04/08/21 11:40, edited 2 times in total.

Bee
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Re: Hemingway PBS Ken Burns

#13

Post by Bee »

I used to grouse and woodcock hunt near Seney and was under the impression that the "river" Hemingway used as focal point was actually the Fox River , but renamed for dramatic effect.

I have jockeyed for "holes" with one of his sons on tiny spring cricks in Montana fifty years ago or so. Delightful fellow.

I thought the series was almost too in depth in some places. He lived a narcissistic life , as presented in the series. His ending was tragic even if his past life arguably did not "deserve better" . His end actually may have fit his life style.

SalmoNewf
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Re: Hemingway PBS Ken Burns

#14

Post by SalmoNewf »

I agree with Bluesjay. To read BTR without having read all the earlier Nick Adams stories is to entirely miss the context.

jeffkn1
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Re: Hemingway PBS Ken Burns

#15

Post by jeffkn1 »

I liked it, but I'll have to admit to never turning thumbs down on anything Burns had a hand in.
Two aspects of Hemingway's life were mildly disturbing to me, his love for blood sport, and the suicide shackles he dragged around most of his life. I grew up in a hunting and fishing family and still kill a few fish to eat every year but I am old enough to appreciate how hard life is for most mammals, and I no longer care to shorten their lives by killing them. Sure, they all die anyway but at least not through my direct actions. I arrived at this point when I was in my 50's, just as my mentor had. Hemingway seemingly never tired of killing, and I don't care what the good people of Spain feel about bullfight rituals I think it's time to leave them where they belong, in the past. Hemingway was a blood sport devotee right to his sad end.
In my life there have been three suicides by people I knew. In all cases, their existence was one of unimaginable torture. Of the three, two had problems with alcohol which probably amplified their problems relating to women. Of the two, one was considerably brighter than average and was always highly regarded for that until he began crumbling. From that point on, his life was similar to Hemingway's and he ended it the same way. For me there was a lot of head-shaking while watching the third segment, especially since I knew how it was to end. It was classic deja vu . Hemingway was born too early, which still happens today when an individual is handicapped by something for which we haven't yet developed effective treatment. I'll leave critiquing his writing to people better schooled in it than I. His works were certainly well-received enough that for at least half his life he had no money issues. Didn't save him.
Overall, it was a good three evenings for me. I'll watch it again.

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Re: Hemingway PBS Ken Burns

#16

Post by billems »

jeffkn1 wrote:
04/08/21 09:40
I liked it, but I'll have to admit to never turning thumbs down on anything Burns had a hand in.
Two aspects of Hemingway's life were mildly disturbing to me, his love for blood sport, and the suicide shackles he dragged around most of his life. I grew up in a hunting and fishing family and still kill a few fish to eat every year but I am old enough to appreciate how hard life is for most mammals, and I no longer care to shorten their lives by killing them. Sure, they all die anyway but at least not through my direct actions. I arrived at this point when I was in my 50's, just as my mentor had. Hemingway seemingly never tired of killing, and I don't care what the good people of Spain feel about bullfight rituals I think it's time to leave them where they belong, in the past. Hemingway was a blood sport devotee right to his sad end.
In my life there have been three suicides by people I knew. In all cases, their existence was one of unimaginable torture. Of the three, two had problems with alcohol which probably amplified their problems relating to women. Of the two, one was considerably brighter than average and was always highly regarded for that until he began crumbling. From that point on, his life was similar to Hemingway's and he ended it the same way. For me there was a lot of head-shaking while watching the third segment, especially since I knew how it was to end. It was classic deja vu . Hemingway was born too early, which still happens today when an individual is handicapped by something for which we haven't yet developed effective treatment. I'll leave critiquing his writing to people better schooled in it than I. His works were certainly well-received enough that for at least half his life he had no money issues. Didn't save him.
Overall, it was a good three evenings for me. I'll watch it again.
Good observations, Jeffkn. The blood sport thing--especially in Africa-- got to be killing for the sake of it. I don't at all oppose hunting; but be sparing in numbers, and eat the damned animal, will ya? Be like the native Americans and thank the spirit of the deer or elk. I think his real demise was all those concussions. Seems like that's when he really went off the rail. His greatest facility in writing came from being able to recall scenes and settings so perfectly, the reader felt the experience. Sending him to the Mayo and giving him shock treatments destroyed was was left of his eidetic recall. The impotence didn't help things, either. Still he was a great writer, fought for the good sides in battles, chronicled the salient events of the 20th Century, and shaped a new style of American writing that still raises the bar for would be authors to try to reach.

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Re: Hemingway PBS Ken Burns

#17

Post by GerardH »

Regarding Hemingway's love (lust?) for blood sports, African safari and trophy hunts were a big thing for a lot of people of means back in that era. I remember right into the 1970s the Big Three hook & bullet publications -- Outdoor Life in particular -- publishing articles glamorizing trophy hunts for everything from antelope to elephant to crocodile to polar bear. It seemed nothing was off limits back then Even my college cross country/track coach had lion & antelope heads & skins on his wall from his time teaching in Africa...trophy hunting was more acceptable back then than now.

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Re: Hemingway PBS Ken Burns

#18

Post by Hellmtflies »

My wife and I are locked in to this documentary. We fell in love with Ken Burns work back when he produced "The Civil War" and then destroyed me with "Baseball". The "Lewis & Clark Expedition" too. Love it. Anyway, my wife and I were fishing over in Sun Valley, Idaho a couple of years ago and took the time to locate the grave sites of Hemingway and company. Check it out.

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jeffkn1
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Re: Hemingway PBS Ken Burns

#19

Post by jeffkn1 »

I'd agree that the batterings his poor skull took definitely altered the timetable for his death, though he'd developed suicidal thoughts early on. Those don't go away, but you can learn to remove them as viable solutions to life's problems. When it became too much for him I think he simply couldn't reason (if you want to call it that) that killing himself wasn't the best solution. He folded.
Nowadays, people on antidepressants are regularly, as far as I know, asked by their attending professional whether they have had any thoughts of suicide. Yes or no. It's essentially the system covering it's butt. If suicide is a regular companion you can't really deny the existence of the thoughts, but you can deny that they don't control you at the time without being deceptive. He irregularly admitted to feeling enough despair that he was nearer the edge. In Hemingway's time, people, including professionals, didn't know how to effectively respond to that. Today, there's an awareness campaign. It was even mentioned at the end of each segment, I think.
I haven't decided how much his depression affected his output, or whether it was a lack of output that triggered his thoughts of death. I think his writing routine left the door open for backsliding, mentally. Alcohol initially dulled his suicidal tendencies but it finally got so bad that even alcohol was no longer a refuge from thoughts of death. By then the drinking was a real bad habit. With his skull cracked often enough he had nowhere to go except down, alcohol notwithstanding.
But enough of the happy talk. I am thankful for Hemingway's recognition of Mark Twain, a favorite of mine.

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Re: Hemingway PBS Ken Burns

#20

Post by prairieschooner »

Loving it. Most great artists are egotistical, and many are troubled; some have faults far greater than his. I don't hold any of that against him, and just continue to accept the gifts he left for us without reservation.
I spent most of my money on shotguns, fly rods, guitars and banjos. The rest I just wasted. (Apologies to W.C. Fields)

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