08 March 2007

The Sun Also Rises. Ernest Hemingway, 1926

Hemingway's terse, lean style seemed to come out of nowhere. Evelyn Waugh reckons he got it from the effete Ronald Firbank. Certainly Firbank , possibly accidentally, was the first (1915) to make the break with past novels in the way that he showed rather than told what was going on, something key to the modernist style - little description, much dialogue and never a word too many - often with the readers having to supply background themselves.

Waugh's 'Vile Bodies' shows the influence, as well as the slightly earlier 'The Sun Also Rises.' It could be a case of what Rupert Sheldrake calls 'morphic resonance' (something in the air) -- it is hard to imagine Hem ploughing through 'The Flower Beneath the Foot.'

Ernest Hemingway. The Sun Also Rises. THE SUN ALSO RISES. Scribner's, NY 1926.

Current Selling Prices
$25000-$70000 /£12000-£36000

Hemingway's first novel, the defining book of the Lost Generation and one of the key books of the Modern Movement. He came to represent that generation that had survived WWI, in the way that Kerouac did the Beats. The fruit of Hemingway's sojourn in Paris where he associated with Gertrude Stein, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ezra Pound, Ford Madox Ford, Robert McAlmon, James Joyce and Kiki of Montparnasse. The book's plot follows a group of world weary expats who aimlessly journey from Paris to Pamplona for the annual "running of the bulls."

Filmed in colour in 1957 with Tyrone Power as Jake Barnes and Ava Gardner as Lady Brett Ashley. Errol Flynn as the dissipated drunk Mike Campbell is especially memorable in a flawed but fine film. Lady Duff Twysden is said to be the original for Brett Ashley, a young Brit aristo whom Hem loved although she had an inebriate lover - Pat Guthrie (Mike Campbell.) Pictures show a tall, thin boyish woman with hair cropped close to her skull, wearing rakishly tilted hats. Hemingway, who was always attracted to boyish women especially with the 'Eton Crop' style was enthralled by Twysden, who was fond of referring to herself as a 'chap.'

A wonderful scene in the book describes Brett on the dark streets of Pamplona crowded with riau-riau dancers, who form a circle round Brett as if she were a revered witch...

The most wanted of all his books and nearly the most valuable. There are points on the book - the first issue, in the first issue dust jacket, has the title of his earlier story collection incorrectly identified as In Our Times on the front of the jacket and 'Stoppped' (3 p's) for "Stopped" on p.181, line 26 of the text. The entire first printing -- first, second, third and later issues -- consisted of only 5090 copies so the first state ones have become uncommon and very expensive especially if handsome.

VALUE? The book has risen considerably in value in the last 30 years It has twice made over $45K this century. There are copies sitting on the web at $60K +. These are first states in jackets that have survived well. 1926 is getting fairly early for jackets. An ordinary simple 1926 jacketless first can be had for a little over $1000 a bit more if smart and bit more again if first state. It is not unknown in fancy bindings.

The British first was published by Cape in 1927 under the title 'Fiesta' - it is now scarce and makes £500+ if clean and bright , and dizzying amounts if wearing a decent jacket. 'Lame Duck' had a copy a few years ago at a price that would pay for a kid to go through college. The most remarkable copy to have shown so far is one described thus:
With a long inscription by Hemingway about the novel to Dr. Don Carlos Guffey, (a book collector) and obstetrician who delivered Hemingway’s two sons by his second marriage, the inscription running to 20 lines and filling the front free endpaper: “To Dr. Don Carlos Guffey — Dear Dr. Guffey: —Since you are a collector, marks, mis-spelled words and other evidences of seniority in a volume are probably more important that how it was written but if it is of any interest to you the first draft of this book was commenced on my birthday, July 21 [1925], in Madrid and it was finished September 6 of the same year — in Paris [these last two words added by Hemingway in pencil] — It was written at Madrid, Valencia, Madrid, San Sebastian, Hendaye and Paris — after it was finished I wrote The Torrents of Spring in the week preceding Thanksgiving of that year. — In November we went to Schruns in the Voralberg in Austria and there I re-wrote the 1st part of this book — went to N.Y. and came back and re-wrote the rest — the portrait on the jacket [the back of the jacket carries a reproduction of a drawing of Hemingway by John Bloomshield, dated Paris 1925] was by a twirp who said he was making drawings for Vanity Fair and then sold this, which he got me to sign [Hemingway’s facsimile signature appears below the drawing], to Scribners — Ernest Hemingway.” In addition, Hemingway has annotated the dedication page, which is printed: “This book is for Hadley and for John Hadley Nicanor.” Beside his first son’s name Hemingway has pencilled: “only child of any sort of E. H. not born through Caesarian section.”. An exceptional copy: in fine condition (now very rare) and with a marvellous inscription.

It made $366,400 in 2004 at Sotheby's, at the Goodwin sale in 1977 (where it popped up for the second time since it's disposal at Parke - Bernet in 1958) it made $7000. [Want level -50 - 75 High]


Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

I have a 1926 Ernest Hemingway the sun also rises published by p.f. collier and sons I suppose its not worth anything it was copyright by Charles Scribner's and sons if u have any info call me kullin at 13076220491

Unknown said...

I have this book the same in description, but there is no dust jacket, is still have a typo error like "stoppped" and Down-staris,. still complete in pages, not in very good condition.. there is a value?