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wonders never cease Thursday, July 22, 2010

WEDNESDAY, JULY 21st, 2010ten songs for papa.

hemingway On this day in 1899, in Oak Park, Illinois, Ernest Hemingway's entry into this world was heralded by his physician father's cornet blasts from the front porch of his house in the affluent Chicago suburb. He changed American literature and helmed a writing movement that carries on to this day. On the 111th anniversary of his birth, here are ten songs, one for each of the novels he has published:

1. You Can Never Hold Back Spring - Tom Waits
The Torrents Of Spring (1927)
Written in ten days, this novella was a satirical treatment of pretentious writers, and was specifically designed to be rejected by the publishing house that Hemingway first signed with, since his contract contained an escape clause that kicked in if any manuscript was rejected. He then switched publishers to Scribner's who published this as his first novel and his work from that time on.

2. Sunrise - Norah Jones
The Sun Also Rises (1927)
With a title taken from Ecclesiastes, this novel made Hemingway famous and is generally considered Hemingway's best work. "We all ought to make sacrifices for literature. Look at me. I'm going to England without a protest. All for literature."

3. A Fond Farewell - Elliott Smith
A Farewell To Arms (1929)
Inspired by his stint as an ambulance driver helping the Italian Army during World War One, this novel cemented Hemingway's stature in American Literature. "All thinking men are atheists."

4. To Have and To Have Not - Billy Bragg
To Have and To Have Not (1937)
The Great Depression forces depravity and hunger on the poor residents of Key West in Hemingway's only novel set in the United States. Hemingway once said this was his worst book, "a bunch of junk"."Don't be so tough so early in the morning. I'm sure you've cut plenty of people's throats. I haven't even had my coffee yet."

5. For Whom The Bell Tolls - Metallica
For Whom The Bell Tolls (1940)
The title of the book quotes John Donne's Meditation 18 from Devotions upon Emergent Occasions (1624): "No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend's or of thine own were: any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee."

6. Ride Across The River - Dire Straits
Across the River and into the Trees (1950)
The title is derived from the last words of General Stonewall Jackson, and death and how one faces death are important themes. It was the first of Hemingway's novels to receive consistently bad reviews, perhaps because of passages like "You are my one and last and true love, and I love you truly."

7. Sea Funk - The Mighty Boosh
The Old Man And The Sea (1952)
Written in just eight weeks, Hemingway considered this Pulitzer winning novel "the best I can write ever for all of my life"."A man can be destroyed but not defeated."

8. Islands In The Stream - Constantines & Feist
Islands In The Stream (1970)
The first of the published posthumous work, intended to revive Hemingway’s reputation after the negative reviews of Across the River and Into the Trees. "All wood that burned affected him in this way. But burning driftwood did something to him that he could not define. He thought that is was probably wrong to burn it when he was so fond of it; but he felt no guilt about it."

9. In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida - Iron Butterfly
The Garden of Eden (1986)
Papa tries to reveal the secret of his craft, with a protagonist who tells himself, "be careful is all very well for you to write simply and the simpler the better. But do not start to think so damned simply. Know how complicated it is and then state it simply."

10. True Stories - Datarock
True At First Light (1999)
Released posthumously in 1999 during the author's centennial year, this work was left unfinished at the time of Hemingway's suicide in July 1961. "In Africa a thing is true at first light and a lie by noon and you have no more respect for it than for the lovely, perfect weed-fringed lake you see across the sun-baked plain. You have walked across that plain in the morning and you know that no such lake is there. But now it is there, absolutely true, beautiful and believable."

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