Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Hemingway in Hogtown

I can vaguely remember an ad in the Toronto Star from the 1980s. “Write sports for the Star. Ernest Hemingway did.” I’m not sure if it was seeking sportswriters or merely a bit of self-promotion, informing readers that if the past was any indication, today’s chroniclers of yet another Leafs’ collapse, or the salad days of the new baseball team, just might go on to join the ranks of the world’s greatest novelists.

It turns out that Hemingway wrote 191 columns for the paper in the 1920s, filing dispatches from Toronto, Chicago and across Europe. Today, via the Browser I came across his column from 1923, “Bullfighting is not a sport—It’s a Tragedy:

It is a good deal like Grand Opera for the really great matadors except they run the chance of being killed every time they cannot hit high C.
This is of particular interest, given the many times Hemingway would go on to write about bullfighting, most notably in Death in theAfternoon. In a 1932 review of the book, the New York Times asserted that Hemingway saw over 1,500 bulls killed before the book was published.

A good thing, I suppose, that his editor didn’t assign him to cover the Leafs, although at the time, then known as the St. Patricks, they were the defending Stanley Cup champions.

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