Ernest Hemingway story from 1956 set to be published for first time

Published August 02, 2018

A story written by Ernest Hemingway in 1956 is being published for the first time this week in the summer edition of the Strand Magazine, a literary quarterly that has released obscure works by Raymond Chandler, John Steinbeck and others.

"A Room on the Garden Side," is a World War II-era fiction that “contains all the trademark elements readers love in Hemingway," said Kirk Curnutt, a board member of the Hemingway Society, who contributed an afterword for the Strand.

Hemingway is known to have left numerous works unpublished at the time of his suicide in Idaho at age 61 in 1961.

"A Room on the Garden Side" takes place in the Ritz hotel, and is narrated by a Hemingway stand-in called Robert who shares the author's own nickname — Papa. Robert and his entourage drink wine, quote from Baudelaire and debate "the dirty trade of war."

"Steeped in talk of Marcel Proust, Victor Hugo, and Alexandre Dumas, and featuring a long excerpt in French from Charles Baudelaire's 'Les Fleurs du Mal,' the story implicitly wonders whether the heritage of Parisian culture can recover from the dark taint of fascism," Curnutt wrote.

Hemingway has frequently drawn on war as a source of inspiration, which is evident in classic novels such as “A Farwell to Arms” and “For Whom the Bell Tolls.”

He was an ambulance driver during World War I, and served both as a soldier and a correspondent during World War II. Hemingway was present in Paris during the liberation from the Nazi occupation in August 1944, which was described by the author in reports published soon after by Collier’s magazine.  

"I did it to save the lives of people who had not hired out to fight," the narrator in Hemingway’s soon to be published "A Room on the Garden Side," explains. "There was that and the fact that I had learned to know and love an infantry division and wished to serve it in any useful way I could.

"I also loved France and Spain next to my own country. I loved other countries too but the debt was paid and I thought that the account was closed, not knowing the accounts are never closed."

Other works that came out after his death include "A Moveable Feast," his celebrated memoir on Paris in the 1920s, as well as "The Garden of Eden" and "Islands in the Stream, and "The Dangerous Summer," a nonfiction account of bullfighting.

Hemingway wrote other World War II stories over the last decade of his life. In August 1956, he told publisher Charles Scribner Jr. that he had completed five: "A Room on the Garden Side," ''The Cross Roads," ''Indian Country and the White Army," ''The Monument," and "The Bubble Reputation." Until now, only "The Cross Roads" had been widely seen.

"I suppose they (the stories) are a little shocking since they deal with irregular troops and combat and with people who actually kill people," Hemingway told Scribner. "Anyway, you can always publish them after I'm dead."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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