11 October 2002
HEMINGWAY, Ernest (1899-1961). Three Stories and Ten Poems. Paris: Contact Publishing Co., 1923.
12o. Original printed grey-blue wrappers, uncut; WITH THE RARE ORIGINAL GLASSINE OUTER WRAPPER STILL PRESENT. Provenance: Joan Whitney (bookplate; her sale, William Doyle Galleries, 17 May 1984, lot 193).
AN EXTREMELY FINE COPY OF HEMINGWAY'S FIRST BOOK
FIRST EDITION, limited to 300 copies. Printed for Contact Press by Maurice Darantière of Dijon, who printed Joyce's Ulysses for Sylvia Beach the previous year. Though Three Stories and Ten Poems sold miserably, Hemingway's efforts did yeld one award-winning short story: "My Old Man," which was included in The Best Short Stories of 1923, edited by Edward J. O'Brien.
Hemingway had originally showed O'Brien his "soulful" tale of a boy's disillusionment with his crooked jockey-father "as a curiosity, as you might...pick up your booted foot and make some joke about it if it had been amputated after a crash." O'Brien's reaction was quite the opposite of what Hemingway had anticipated; he found the work exceptional enough to include it among the best of the year. In addition, O'Brien also asked permission to dedicate the upcoming anthology to his young discovery. Hemingway agreed, adding: "And to show you how much I appreciate it I will make a very solemn vow to you and God never to think about any readers but you and God when writing stories all the rest of my life" (Selected Letters, ed. Carlos Baker, p. 103). Hanneman A1a.
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