and his conspirators : , and the making of American Lanham, Md. ; Oxford : Rowman & Littlefield, c 1997 Leonard J. Leff History 20th century; Authorship Marketing Hardcover. xviii, 255 p., 8 p. of plates : ill., ports.; 24cm. Includes bibliographical references (p.233-239) and index. Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text. VG/VG
Leonard Leff has done something new on Hemingway he has fixed shown how the working author became the professional celebrity and less an artist than a mere cog of the publishing enterprise. By concentrating on the business history of Papa he has done the unexpected — which is to help us recognize anew the uneasy mix of truth and posturing in his work itself. In this account of the complex relationships between a major author and the institution of publishing Leff’s Hemingway is a tragic – if not wholly sympathetic – figure torn between a niggling sense of artistic responsibility and a virtual obsession to reach the broadest audience possible – and get rich quick.
Hemingway and His Conspirators adds significantly to our understanding of both the profession of authorship and the literary marketplace at a crucial stage in their development in the United States and although it does not fully develop the irony of the left seeking both fame and fortune for themselves – and whatever crumbs of social justice might be left for the little people – it is still useful as anecdotal history because it goes behind the scenes to the various rivalries and editorial sagas, as it gives the inside skinny on reviews, film rights and royalties.
We certainly hope that scholars will develop the mine of information so uncovered by Leff in this volume and show the poseur who was a competent reporter but gave that up for literary pretensions and fame – but mostly for money. Who made a fortune in America while secretly consulting with the Kremlin. Who parlayed a noncombatant injury into having the Navy support his drunken fishing trips before posing in a studio to burnish his reputation as a heroic war reporter. Finally, the man who supported Castro in his war against property while living in a villa that is still used as a fishing resort before coming home and probably, failing to find a reflection in his mirror, sought oblivion at his own hand.