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What kind of man was he?
I liked him. He had no reason then to be disagreeable.
We had been very successful with his books, and it was just
a friendly visit. After that I would meet him once in a
Our interest in Hemingway was really sharpened last
year when Hotchner wrote Papa Hemingway. I think in the
last years of his life, Hemingway was a rather ridiculous
figure. This “papa Hemingway” stuff was pretty childish.
Some of the friends that he had were very third-rate. That
story in the New Yorker by Lillian Ross I think showed him
up for what he had become. Of course his end was tragic.
He was gradually losing his mind obviously. But when
Hotchner came in to tell us that he was going to do this
book about him, it was intended to be just a trip that he
took with Hemingway from the Italian Riviera to Spain. It
seemed legitimate to us to have him do this--I heard some
of the stories that he told--since Hemingway had done the
same thing to Scott Fitzgerald in his book A Moveable Feast.
Since he had been very cruel to Fitzgerald and
Gertrude Stein and friends of his, I thought that it was
legitimate to do a similar book about him. But then, the
book expanded; and, when Hotchner brought it in, it was a
full-length book instead of a small book and rather sensational.
I'm not sure it was in the best of taste, but it
was a pretty fascinating book and it was taken by the Book-
of-the-Month Club and became a huge success.
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