Posts Tagged ‘Hemingway’

Comment on Timothy Christian’s biography of Mary Welsh Hemingway

Posted on: August 11th, 2022 by Wayne Fraser No Comments

I appreciated Timothy Christian’s biography of Mary Welsh Hemingway, Hemingway’s Widow. It paints a balanced portrait of her and of her marriage with Ernest Hemingway, the joys and sorrows thereof.

In his book Christian comments on Mary’s “frustration with traditional scholars” (p. 407), and in the recent Hemingway Newsletter interview, hopes “that my book will lead to further investigation into Mary’s role in Ernest’s literature.”

Christian mentions Mary’s presentation to a symposium at the University of Alabama in 1976, but misses Mary’s key contribution to Hemingway scholarship which began at that conference. After she lamented that scholars did not explore Hemingway as reader, Dr. James D. Brasch and Dr. Joseph Sigman of McMaster University, received her blessings and co-operation for the cataloguing of the books at the Finca, outside Havana, personally writing to Castro for his permission for them to do so. The results of their efforts produced the invaluable compilation of Hemingway’s books which highlights to academics the influence of Hemingway’s reading on his writing.

In the preface to their book, Hemingway’s Library, Brasch and Sigman pay tribute to Mary’s “inspiration from the inception of this project. In fact, her comments set the wheels in motion. She submitted to hours and hours of interviews and telephone conversations, provided contacts, supplied letters of introduction, corresponded with us and generally supported and promoted our project.”

Further description of Brasch and Sigman’s crucial meeting with Mary during the 1976 Alabama conference and their work on the bibliography can be found in my article on this webpage:


Posted on: May 8th, 2013 by Wayne Fraser No Comments

Wow! With the help of colleague and friend John Newton I have successfully connected our blog to our twitter and facebook pages. So now one entry goes to three places. So much more economical use of time and space. Cheers, everyone. wf

I am a rock. I am an island.

Posted on: January 25th, 2013 by Eleanor Johnston No Comments

What would Hemingway think of Simon and Garfunkel’s song? The English words, “isolate” and “insular,” have the same root as “isola,” the Italian word for “island.”

Never be daunted, in public.

Posted on: January 25th, 2013 by Eleanor Johnston No Comments

What would the Stoics have thought of Hemingway’s motto? I imagine that they would use only the first three words. Hemingway’s is more attainable, more a matter of pride than philosophy.

Reviews, anyone?

Posted on: January 2nd, 2013 by Eleanor Johnston No Comments

If you have read and enjoyed our book, Hemingway’s Island, please consider posting a review in, and We need to sell lots more copies in order to pay off the expenses of setting up this website and the bill for printing all kinds of copies that we ordered in a fit of enthusiasm.

About this Blog

Posted on: January 2nd, 2013 by Eleanor Johnston No Comments

At first we found it exhilarating, but then the posted responses were mostly repetitive spam while the verbal comments were appreciative and encouraging. The main problem with the posts is that most of them are either trying to sell something or seem to have been automatically generated by an automaton. So, we’d like to take another run at blogging, and hope to hear from readers of Hemingway’s Island. Perhaps we can get a conversation about Hemingway going.
We want to make sure this is clear. We will delete as spam any post that is generalized and any post that tries to sell something. One more pet peeve: if a post is so badly written that we have to struggle to understand its meaning, we will treat it as spam also.

Cover Comments

Posted on: November 25th, 2012 by Wayne Fraser 1 Comment

Recently, at Ridley College, St. Catharines, Bruce Croxon of CBC’s Dragon’s Den was photographed with Hilary Caters.
Caters Design Group created our book cover.
It all started with the Cuban flag colours that Hilary didn’t really like so she morphed them into sepia tones.
The front cover text includes:
The opening lines of Mary’s story: “If leaving the original manuscript in Cuba was Ernest’s rejection of me, keeping the carbon copy was my revenge.”
Mary’s last words in the book are from “Exile’s Letter” of Ernest’s mentor, Ezra Pound:
And if you ask how I regret that parting?
It is like the flowers falling at Spring’s end,
confused, whirled in a tangle.
What is the use of talking! And there is no end of talking —
There is no end of things in the heart.

The reader does not fully realize the importance of this poem, of Mary’s keeping a copy of her manuscript, and of the elements of hatred and love in her marriage with Hemingway, until the end of the book. The handwritten story (manu-script) is one of the highlighted words, as if written in a darker ink.
The three words beginning with “re” are “rejected,” “revenge” and “regret,” words that summarize Mary’s feelings as well as the mood and the central actions of the novel.
Now for the back cover:
Elizabeth and Hilary deserve credit for capturing the tone of the book and laying out the text. Larry Williamson took the picture that so vividly captures our relationship. It was our daughter, Alexa Fraser, who explained the magic of the picture. Can you see the heart in it?
Now for the spine:
What’s the title supposed to mean? Well, we played with many ideas for the book’s title and chose this one because it evokes the sea that Hemingway loved as well as Donne’s “Meditation XVII” that begins, “No man is an island.” The Italian word for island is “isolo” which suggests the isolation he experienced in his final years as he was tormented by mental and physical pains as well as by FBI harassment that compounded his sense of rejection and loneliness.
What’s Hearth Publications? When you self-publish a number of books, as I have, it’s good to have a collective name. This one comes from a blessing I received from a native woman who was also a nun: “May your love for Wayne be the hearth at which others can warm themselves.”
Cheers and Blessings, Eleanor

Public Reading for Hemingway’s Island

Posted on: November 13th, 2012 by Wayne Fraser No Comments

Wed, November 21, 7pm – 8pm
Centennial Branch, Fort Erie Public LIbrary

Meet Dr. Wayne Fraser and his wife Dr. Eleanor Johnston, and learn about Hemingway’s Island. Wayne and Eleanor have written and published a novel that explores Ernest Hemingway’s last days in Cuba. Researched by Wayne and written by Eleanor, “Hemingway’s Island is a novel packed with Hemingway lore for both aficionados and general readers.” Join Wayne and Eleanor for a reading and discussion of their novel.

$2 admission; copies of Hemingway’s Island will be available for sale and signing.


Posted on: September 12th, 2012 by Eleanor Johnston No Comments

Contest Time

Who will be the first person to correctly identify the title of the Hemingway short story that Mary quotes in each chapter she narrates in Hemingway’s Island? Reply to this posting by sending only the story title and your name. The first person to identify this story will receive the honors and accolades of his/her peers, and the chance to enter in the next Contest (along with everyone else).

Hemingway sighting

Posted on: September 11th, 2012 by Wayne Fraser No Comments

At a presentation about our novel, Hemingway’s Island, we met a most interesting man, Dr. David Goicoechea, of Ketchum, Idaho (Professor Emeritus, Department of Philosophy, Brock University, St. Catharine’s, Ontario, Canada)
During the Q&A, David explained that Hemingway came to Ketchum, to the Sun Valley Lodge, the same year that David was born, 1938. He saw Hemingway lots of times over the years, for Ketchum is a small place and Hemingway was often around. David recalled meeting Hemingway in the Christiana Restaurant in the fall of 1960, and he made the observation that Hemingway in his last year was affable and sociable.
Along with these personal encounters was David’s claim that his brother was one of the two acolytes at Hemingway’s funeral. It was a Roman Catholic funeral Mass and the young lad had therefore eaten no breakfast; consequently, he fainted into the flower bed. If you google the image of Hemingway’s funeral, you can see that one of the acolytes was supported by the man beside him.
Finally, David claimed that his father, one of the town garbage men, was asked by Mary Hemingway to come to the Topping House to help clean up the blood and mess from Hemingway’s suicide.
What I find most fascinating about all these details is that I do not recall reading about the Goicoechea family in the Hemingway biographies. David is a most engaging man, a bit of a raconteur who writes his own stories and memoirs. We found David’s story intriguing and want to share his family’s Hemingway connection here on our blog.