HEMINGWAY, Ernest. Two autograph letters signed ("Ernest Hemingway") to Edward W, Titus, proprietor of the Black Manikin Press, n.p., [L-T Ranch, , Painter, Wyoming?] , 20 March 1931 and Key West, n.d. Together 2½ pages, 4to and small 4to. Quarter morocco gilt slipcase.
"KIKI OF MONTPARNASSE" AND "DEATH IN THE AFTERNOON"
In November 1930, while driving from the L-T Ranch to Billings, Wyoming with John Dos Passos, the car, with Hemingway at the wheel (and a bottle of bourbon in the back), skidded off a new gravel road and overturned. Hemingway suffered an "oblique spiral fracture" of his right arm. After a short hospitalization, he returned to Key West to begin a slow recuperation. The effect of the injury on his handwriting is very evident in the scrawl of the first letter: "Thanks for the pamphlets [copies of the separate pamphlet edition of Hemingway's introduction to Kiki's Memoirs, published by Titus in Paris]. I wrote about it to [Samuel] Putnam [translator of Kiki's Memoirs] because I'd no answer to two letter I wrote you, one from Key West asking about the Review and one from Montana." He apologized for the unusually scrawl: "This handwriting is caused by compound fracture my right humerus with paralysis...arm is getting along and will be as good as ever. But process has been damned slow. Am not writing a history of B[ull] F[ighting]. Much more complicated, will tell you when I see you. [Hemingway's book on bull-fighting, Death in the Afternoon, was published in 1932 by Scribner's]. Will be in Paris in the Spring." Then, he raises a question of copyright: "Look. Since the pamphlet is by me and the agreement was it was not to be published in U.S....wouldn't it be better if it were copyrighted in my name & if it were to remain my property?" At the end he adds "have missed seeing your Review - last number I saw was Spring of 1930"
20 March 1931: Hemingway explains why recent letters may not have reached Titus: "perhaps the reason that a letter from me might miscarry is that my were sent out in the pockets or rolled slickers of people leaving the ranch for Red Lodge, Montana, Cooke City, Montana, and Cody, Wyoming and that all other mail was sent to a cabin at Painter, Wyo. Where it was all left in an open box to be picked up once a week and taken 63 miles to Cody." Then, turning to Titus's recently published Kiki's Memoirs, to which he had contributed an introduction, he writes: "I'm sorry you lost money on your Kiki (thanks very much for sending me the copy), and for all the reviews which I look forward to reading) We've all lost money in 1929-30 - and may lose more in 31 - But hang onto a pamphlet or two and you'll get some of it back. My arm is coming along well and I'll be hard at work in another two weeks."
Hemingway was hard at work on Death in the Afternoon, which, as Hemingway here contends, was far more than a simple history of the blood-sport. It was, Michael Reynolds writes "a book like no other he knew, a book without models or comparisons, a book in several voices, many tenses, and doubling points of view. About many things-the rearing, fighting and demise of bulls, a history of bull-fighting, an explanation of their art, a guidebook to Spain, a discussion of writers and their craft, of critics and their shortcomings, a book of landscapes with and without figures, a philosophy of life in the lap of death...a discursive book of huge risks which no publisher would have encouraged had the author not been Ernest Hemingway" Hemingway the 1930s, p.41).