Review by Willard Manus
Ernest Hemingway died approximately fifty years ago, but the books about him keep on a-comin'. The latest is HENINGWAY'S ITALY--NEW PERSPECTIVES, edited by Rena Sanders. An outgrowth of the Tenth Internationasl Ernest Hemingway Festival, the book collects eighteen of the papers delivered at the conference, all by scholars specializing in the work of the late American novelist. One of them so admired Hemingway that he left instructions to be buried in the author's final resting place of Ketchum, Idaho!
"Hemingway fell under Italy's spell," Sanders comments in her introduction. "Italy was second only to Upper Michigan in stimulating his lifelong passion for geography and for local expertise...His visits to Italy fall into two clear categories. The first group of visits in 1918, 1922, 1923 and 1927 occurred in his youth when he began as a journalist and soon emerged as a promising young writer...The second cluster of visits took place in 1949-49, 1949-50 and 1954, when the prematurely aging Heningway returned to Italy after many personal changes and losses and, except for the very last visit, with his career faltering."
It was WW I that first brought Hemingway to Italy, as an ambulance driver for the American Red Cross. He was hit by shrapnel during a battle in the Dolomites and spent time in a field hospital, an experience which deeply affected him as a man and as a writer. Hemingway fell in love (at nineteen) with a beautiful nurse and, a short time later, with Italy itself. The country and its people figured in many of his articles, stories and novels, notably A Farewell To Arms.
HEMINGWAY'S ITALY takea a fresh look at Hemingway's Italian experiences and writings. You don't have to be an academic to enjoy the collection. (Louisiana State University Press).