In 1936, at the height of his creative powers and popularity, Ernest Hemingway wrote the following to his friend, the poet Archibald MacLeish: "Me I like life very much. So much it will be a big disgust when have to shoot myself." Twenty-five years later, the innovative author, legendary big-game hunter, and disappointed father and husband did exactly that, ending his life with a shotgun blast to the head at the age of 61. It was a messy, ignominious end to a messy, often tragic, and occasionally glorious life - one that has been so extensively examined that readers can be forgiven for rolling their eyes at the prospect of yet another addition to the Hemingway biographical canon. Yet Hemingway's Boat
, for all its frustrating idiosyncrasies, clearly deserves a place at that heavily loaded banquet table.
Rather than simply penning a straightforward chronological...
Beyond the Book
On the surface, few early- to mid-twentieth century writers could be more different than Ernest Hemingway and Aldous Huxley. Hemingway (1899-1961), a rugged American with an appetite for alcohol, women, and outdoor sports, fine-tuned the art of the terse, elliptical sentence. Huxley (1894-1963), on the other hand, was born into a prominent English family, wrote elegant satirical and dystopian novels like Crome Yellow
and Brave New World
, and embraced the new frontier of hallucinogenic drugs, most explicitly in his extended essay on mescaline usage, The Doors of Perception
. Hemingway eagerly participated in World War I as an ambulance driver, sustaining a serious wound that kept him hospitalized for months and that stoked his public image as a man's man. Huxley...