Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Hemingway on Writing and F. Scott Fitzgerald

I often encourage my students to write like Hemingway—a clear, direct writing style. Here, I offer three quotes from Hemingway concerning F. Scott Fitzgerald:

Scott took LITERATURE so solemnly. He never understood that it was just writing as well as you can and finishing what you start.

            Letter to Arthur Mizener (1950)

You have to go on when it is worst and most helpless—there is only one thing to do with a novel and that is to go straight on through to the end of the damn thing.

            Letter to F. Scott Fitzgerald (1929)

[F. Scott Fitzgerald’s] talent was as natural as the pattern that was made by the dust on a butterfly’s wings. At one time he understood it no more than the butterfly did and he did not know when it was brushed or marred. Later he became conscious of his damaged wings and of their construction and he learned to think and could not fly anymore because the love of flight was gone and he could only remember when it had been effortless.

            From “A Moveable Feast”

I am awestruck by the third passage. I found these quote in “Ernest Hemingway on Writing (Larry W. Phillips ed. Scribner 1984) (here).



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