Letters & Essays: G-I

Letters & Essays of the Day

Postwar Paris: Chronicles of Literary Life

By Alice Adams

Two of the most distinguished American literary artists of their generation—their names as frequently invoked by critics and historians as they are seldom linked—appear here in a conversation that is mostly about being in Pans after the Second World War. The occasion giving rise to this conversation was a late September, 1996, University of Pennsylvania weekend observation of my retirement from the English faculty there. When friends Norman Malier and Richard Wilbur accepted invitations to attend, I suggested talking about this experience that both had often said was personally important, that neither had ever overtly visited in his works, and that happened to have a particular relevance to the Penn audience in that season.


By Anthony Hecht

Dear Reynolds,

That day in New York, when you asked me whether I could recite any limericks of my own, I was momentarily at a total loss, and couldn't recall a single one; though in the course of years I've composed quite a few. So I thought I would send you some. I record them in a pretty good book called The Lure of the Limerick, by W.S. Baring-Gould. But before I offer any works of my own, I should mention one reputedly by Kingsley Amis.

The fellow who screwed Brigid Brophy
Was awarded the Kraft-Ebbing trophy;
            He was paid eighty quid
            For the thing that he did.
Which many declared was a low fee.
And now, some modest efforts of my own.


The Art of the Short Story

By Ernest Hemingway

In March, 1959, Ernest Hemingway’s publisher Charles Scribner, Jr. suggested putting together a student’s edition of Hemingway short stories. He listed the twelve stories which were most in demand for anthologies, but thought that the collection could include Hemingway’s favorites, and that Hemingway could write a preface for classroom use. Hemingway responded favorably. He would write the preface in the form of a lecture on the art of the short story.

Titres Manques

By Ernest Hemingway

  When asked in his 1958 Paris Review interview with George Plimpton about choosing titles, Hemingway said, “I make a list of titles after I’ve finished the story or the book — sometimes as many as one hundred. Then I start eliminating them, sometimes all of them.” Three years later he struggled with the list you see below—possible titles for a book about his early Paris days, a book which he said probably should not be published because of potential libel suits.