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Cuba Opens Up Access to Hemingway Papers

by Miranda Trimmier 

Tags: literary news, Ernest Hemingway, Social Science Research Council, Cuba, Cuba’s Heritage Council, archives,

Cuba’s Heritage Council, in partnership with the U.S. Social Science Research Council (SSRC), recently opened up access to thousands of documents that belonged to Ernest Hemingway, reports the BBC. Hemingway scholars and enthusiasts know little about his 21 years on the island, and those connected with the project believe the archive will help fill in the blanks.

According to the Guardian, the collection includes some obvious points of interest: an unpublished epilogue to For Whom the Bell Tolls, a screenplay for The Old Man and the Sea, and letters from Ezra Pound and Ingrid Bergman. But many are also excited about the insights to be gained from the more mundane pieces. Sandra Spanier gushes in an article on SSRC’s website:

You don't always think of Hemingway as the guy who has to change the oil in his car and fix his roof, but he was very much in touch with the texture and rhythms of his daily routine in Cuba, and there are many domestic notes in there. There's a recommendation letter he wrote for a carpenter. There are meticulous notes he wrote, in Spanish, to the cook . . . explaining extremely involved recipes, how to do the carrots, and which days of the week he wanted avocados in the salad instead of tomatoes.

Digital copies of the papers have also been sent to the John F. Kennedy Library in Boston, and will hopefully be made available to the public in the future.