You are browsing the archive for hemingway.

Happy Key West Friday! Why Don't You Have A Drink?

November 4, 2011 in American literature, Classic Writers, Cocktails Inspired by Literature, Hemingway in Key West, Key West Travel, Recipes, Travel Writers

Hemingway drinks in the Plaza Del Gastillo, July 1959.

Today’s edition of Key West Friday is going to focus on something very near and dear to my own heart: literary cocktails. More specifically, I want to talk about one of the greatest mixologists of the 20th century—I’m speaking of Ernest Hemingway, of course—and his personal creations.

Though some may think of Hemingway as just another author you had to read in high school, overlooking Hemingway’s massive influence on American culture, masculinity, and writing would be a sorry mistake. Even if we leave aside his incredible literary talents, Hemingway was far more than simply a writer. He was a celebrity before we truly had celebrities; he single-handedly defined a generation in a way that few authors have since. While his perpetually disillusioned anti-heroes certainly played a role in capturing and symbolically creating the post-war American, (Hemingway’s case is, I happen to believe, one of those chicken-or-the-egg issues. Did he simply record what he saw, and capture the disenchanted drifting of many young men, or did his novels contribute to a certain image of the American identity that was beginning to coalesce? I imagine it was a bit of both) his actual person was just as instrumental in the process. He was, according to those that knew him, a force of nature.

He let loose his forceful personality during his time in Key West, where he lived for several years before relocating to Cuba. During this time, Hemingway did little to reel in his natural vivaciousness, and found himself what PBS’s Michael Palin describes as “Hemingway’s wild adventures:”

In a rain-splattered Key West street, he duked it out with Wallace Stevens after the poet had insulted him. In his beloved boat, Pilar, he battled man-sized fish (managing to shoot himself in both legs while trying to gaff one shark). Hemingway belted back drinks at Sloppy Joe’s, a speakeasy that went legal after Prohibition ended. While at his favorite watering hole, he befriended a young journalist named Martha Gellhorn, who traveled with him to Spain to cover the civil war there. Eventually, she would become his third wife.

As Palin makes clear, these episodes were often fueled by alcohol. But what kind of alcohol?

Here we have to turn to another source. According to the wonderful site Codex 99, in 1937, Hemingway created a drink that Charles Barker later included in his book The Gentleman’s Companion. Hemingway called it a “picker-upper” but it went down in history as “Death in the Gulf Stream.” Despite the morose name, the actual mix sounds rather delicious. For those of you interested in celebrating Key West Friday at home, here’s the recipe for Hemingway’s scary little cocktail:

2 oz. Lucas Bols Oude Genever
4 dashes Angostura
1 lime
Add crushed ice to a thin tumbler. Lace the ice with 4 dashes of Angostura and add the juice and crushed peel of 1 lime. Nearly fill the tumbler with Genever.

Of course, you can always go the traditional route and make yourself a mojito, but we think this Death sounds much more impressive. Happy drinking.

Sigmund Freud, Renowned Psychologist or Literary Giant?

May 6, 2011 in European Writers, LIterary Traveler Birthdays, Psychology

Sigmund Freud, LIFE Photo Archive

Sigmund Freud is primarily recognized as an influential psychologist who developed the theory of psychoanalysis and famously authored The Interpretation of Dreams.  Then why have I received lectures on the Id, Ego, and Superego in multiple English Literature classes over the years and studied little to nothing about Freud’s works in Psych 100?

It seems that the field of psychology has changed drastically since Freud graduated from medical school in 1880. His subjective interpretations of patient sessions and his sweeping conclusions are no longer considered valid in a discipline where objective experiments employing scientific method, statistical surveys, and qualitative data are the norm. However, it is impossible to deny that Freud has had a significant influence on popular conceptions of psychology, as the common conception of the “therapist’s couch” is attributed to him and his use of talk therapy.

I believe W.H. Auden summarized Freud’s influence best in his poem, “In Memory of Sigmund Freud”:

If often he was wrong and, at times, absurd, /to us he is no more a person /now but a whole climate of opinion

In the public eye, Freud has become so influential that he is seen less as a man and more as a collection of concepts and arguments; though these ideas vary from the commonly accepted (repression) to the outrageous (penis envy) it is impossible to ignore their presence and influence in a variety of disciplines, including that of literary criticism.

For instance, I have always loved the writing of Ernest Hemingway, but whenever I read his work I can’t help but imagine the typical, high-school-English-class diagram of an iceberg. Though Freud never described human consciousness as “just the tip of the iceberg,” the analogy has become strongly associated with Freudian ideology as well as Hemingway’s minimalist style. When reading the short story “Hills Like White Elephants,” the tension and constraint present in Hemingway’s simple language suggests that the depth of the characters’ unconscious reaches far below the water’s surface.

Thus, perhaps it is not so surprising to find Freud’s theories of psychoanalysis present in critiques of even the most contemporary literature, since many would argue that good literature struggles to depict humankind in all its repression, oedipal impulses, and oral fixations. After all, Freud’s writings, as farfetched as they may seem, are like many great works of literature in that they strive to understand and make sense of the incredibly complex human condition.

Happy Birthday, Sigmund Freud! (b. May 6, 1856)


Edith Wharton's Morocco: A Literary Trip Through Fez

May 10, 2010 in Uncategorized

Photograph from FreeDigitalPhotos.netIn high school, my favorite teacher, Miss Reynolds, once told our class that F. Scott Fitzgerald was famous for writing “the perfect sentence.”  I knew immediately what she meant.  While some authors are masters of the paragraph, and others shine most strongly with a single phrase, Fitzgerald’s majesty lay between two periods.  He has the rare ability to capture an image – or a feeling – completely within these bounds of punctuation.  Unlike Hemingway, Fitzgerald’s writing tends more towards prolix than terse, yet it is possible to get a real feel for his writing by reading just one of his immaculately-crafted sentences.

I have always felt that Edith Wharton came from the F. Scott Fitzgerald school of writing.  Like Fitzgerald, Wharton uses words to the utmost advantage; she does not let the reader guess at her meaning, but rather paints with phrases, colors and tints our view with her writing.  She has the ability to transport a reader back in time, to the Age of Innocence, or move us through place, to the winding streets of Morocco.

In our newest feature article, writer Inka Piegsa-Quischotte travels through Fez, searching not only for the Morocco of Wharton’s description, but also for a house. She is looking to purchase a mini-palace; a burrow of tiny bedrooms and storage spaces that she can call home.  Like me, Piegsa-Quischotte has been seduced by Wharton’s perfect sentences and her ability to conjure up an entire world through a single phrase.  Clip-clopping on the back of a mule through the covered alleys and tented streets, Piegsa-Quischotte can’t help but remember the poetry of Wharton’s language, and the aptness of her descriptions.

This week, join us in Morocco, where we ride on colorful saddles and smell the many scents of Fez in Pink Saddles & Djellabas, Edith Wharton’s Fez In Morocco. Allow yourself to be guided by Piegsa-Quischotte and her new-found friends as they work their way through a foreign land, searching for beauty and something far more lasting: a room of one’s own.

Skip to toolbar