Hemingway In My Life: The Day Ernest Hemingway Died Crucified
Questions: Allie Baker, from hemingwayproject.blogspot.com
1) Do many people in Brazil know who Hemingway is? Do they read him in school?
Yes, I think many people know him here. There is either a text that we usually receive by the internet that says: “Why the chicken passed away the highway? So, it point a lot of answers: Nietzsche answer: “the chicken passed to be an superchicken”. There are Socrates, Darwin and so. On. But it´s interesting that there are a Hemingway answer too: “To die. Alone. In the rain”. Although this joke is very popular, I guess Hemingway´s style is very popular here and all around the world. But they don´t usually read him in school here in Brazil.
2) It is interesting that even though Hemingway writes about America in the Nick Adams stories, it makes you think of Brazil. Is it because of the landscape or the characters?
It´s rather because of the landscapes than the caractheres. Also there´s the taste of go fishing with my father. I love to see themes like this in short stories like “A Way You´ll Never be” and “Now I Lay Me”.
3) What is your very favorite Hemingway book? Why?
The Sun also Rises. I don´t how exactly how to explain, how it seduces me, but I guess it´s because Spain has a clear identification with Brazil. My brother travelled to Europe and told me this too. I even wrote a little essay about it: “The Sex also Rises”, about sexuality in this novel. This book seems to be superficial but it isn´t. I wish to do a conference about him, drinking a small drink that he was drinking on every passage. I guess it will be somewhat synestesic.
4) What part of Hemingway's life is the m interesting to you? Why?
His early years on Paris, because I love that “bildungsroman” kind of novel.
5) If you could ask Hemingway anything, what would you ask him?
Do you ever heard of “Os Sertões”, de Euclides da Cunha? Est-ce que vous pensez que Jake Barnes est impossibilité d´avoir des rapports sexuelles à causes psicologiques ou physiques?
6) How do Brazilian readers regard the very masculine persona that Hemingway developed over the years?
Till nowadays, the majority of brazilian readers used to take his macho image not a persona, but a reality. Also, there was, among brazilian writers, a disseminate image of Hemingway as a macho winner: a man who won, literally, Tolstói and Turgeniev, and after them, won his rivality with Fitzgerald and others from his generation and so on. Take a look at the quotes of Hemingway at the text "Mulher de trinta e oito" at my blog. He really loves the macho image of Hemingway. It´s a sex simbol for him (and a lot of readers), a symbol of masculinity! He´s also and obsessed with Hemingway and Marilyn. Ernest fiction and image is used by him in this tale (That can be translated as a joke with Balzac, something like“Thirty-Eight Years Woman”) as a poster child for Viagra.
7) How does Hemingway influence you as a writer?
There’s something in it for everyone, his descriptive style, his crisp dialog, the carnival atmosphere of the Fiesta itself and, as always in his works, his fascination with androgyny, or as the protagonist of The Garden of Eden put it, finding “a more African sexuality, one that goes beyond all tribal law.” I consider him an extraordinarily complex and modern writer.
Hemingway influencied me as a writer, especially with Nick Adam´s stories. I love his short sentences, and his dry stile in this book, it´s specially clear. I´ve lived in a city called Uberaba here in Minas Gerais. It was a quartier near to the countryside and I found it similar as the narratives told in Nick Adam´s stories.
My adventures at that time was a little similar like Nick Adam´s ones: go fishing some crawfishes on the Uberaba River, wandering thru woods and streams full of mossy rocks and playing with red and black or thorny seeds. I particularly remember a day when I saw a snake in the square in front of our house, and after we found a snake inside our house. I was always wondering lonely, mostly of the time.
First, I´ve read Mark Twain and then, Hemingway. For me, there was a clear continuity between then. When I was an adolescent and wanted to be a writer, for me, the biography of a writer was: a man on the desk, writing. But Hemingway biography did revolutionize this concept.
So, I think of my childhood maybe was something similar as the Hemingway in Idaho. But my adolescence and youth the writer´s technique did change: I used a electric typewriter for some time but no longer the word for windows arrived. I think it´s the great difference between Hemingway era and ours: the work of the writer is totally different today.
8) What books have you read about Hemingway's life?
Life and Works John L. Brown
Hemingway Interview with George Plimpton, Paris Review
9) Is there anything else you would like to say?
Allie, have you ever heard of Roberto Drummond, a writer from Brazil? It was published in 1978. But I think he´s about a leftist jornalist prosecuted by brazilian dictadorship. He wrote a book called The Day Ernest Hemingway Died Crucified. It´s a very pop influencied, interesting and experimental novel.