A new version of A Moveable Feast

June 28, 2009

Posted by Nick Sarno

Via The New York Times:

Besides its tart portraits of F. Scott Fitzgerald and Gertrude Stein,Ernest Hemingway’s posthumous memoir of his early days in Paris, “A Moveable Feast,” provides a heart-wrenching depiction of marital betrayal.

The final chapter, “There Is Never Any End to Paris,” is a wistful paean to Hadley Richardson, Hemingway’s first wife, whom the writer left for her best friend. The friend, Pauline Pfeiffer, the wealthy woman who became Hemingway’s second wife, is portrayed as something of a wily predator, and it is Hemingway’s “bad luck” that he falls for her.

It turns out that the story behind the editing of the book is nearly as juicy as the tales within it, and has become something of a multigenerational custody battle over how to cast the larger-than-life author’s stormy romantic history.

Mary Hemingway, the writer’s fourth and final wife, was the one who edited the first edition of “A Moveable Feast,” published by Scribner in 1964, cobbling it together from shards of the unfinished manuscript he left behind. She created a final chapter that dealt with the dissolution of Hemingway’s first marriage and the beginning of his relationship with Pauline, building some of it from parts of the book he had indicated he did not want included.

Early next month, Scribner, now an imprint of Simon & Schuster, is publishing a new edition of the book, what it is calling “the restored edition,” and this time it is edited by Seán Hemingway, a grandson of Hemingway and Pauline. Among the changes he has made is removing part of that final chapter from the main body of the book and placing it in an appendix, adding back passages from Hemingway’s manuscript that Seán believes paint his grandmother in a more sympathetic light.

Read the rest here.

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