Friday, 29 June 2018

Hemingway and happiness

Here's a quote. Here, also, is a quote that annoys me.
'Happiness in intelligent people is the rarest thing I know', said Ernest Hemingway, according to Twitter and an assortment of quotation databases. Dear old Ernie, the Nobel Prize-winning writer who killed himself in 1961 after treatment for depression. It's almost like he was talking about himself, isn't it? A portent.

Or perhaps these are the words he gave a character in one of his novels and aren't necessarily what he believed at all. Yes, that's what's really going on here. The words are spoken by Marita in 'The Garden of Eden', a book constructed from Hemingway's unfinished notes and published after his death. And, yes, they're the words Hemingway wrote. But they're no more a definitive example of Hemingway's viewpoint or mantra than any of his other pieces of fiction.

That's what annoys me. Picking a sentence spoken by a character and stating it as though the words reflect the author's personal opinion. I might as well quote J.K.Rowling as saying "You know, I really hate children".

No comments: