Boston (AP)-A new documentary about Ernest Hemingway, provided by the extensive but little-known archives of the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston. The acclaimed novelist provides a new perspective.
Long-term collaborators Ken Burns and Lynn Novick’s “Hemingway” premiered on PBS for three consecutive nights starting on April 5th. It is a testament to the author and his long history as an alcoholic, adventurer, outdoor sportsman, and bullfighting aversionist. Reputation underwent a subtle examination. The internal turmoil eventually led to his suicide at the age of 61
Novik said that many people think that the truth of America’s greatest novelist of the 20th century is much more complicated. His concise writing style has made him a pivotal celebrity and a symbol of American masculinity.
Novik said: “We hope this film will provide the opportunity to watch Hemingway in a different way.” Novik has co-created other documentaries with Burns, including “Vietnam War” and “Forbidden.” “There is complexity below the surface.”
Due to the legacy of Hemingway and Kennedy, this complexity is almost impossible to achieve without the world’s largest Hemingway collection that was eventually hidden in the Kennedy Library.
Although the two have never met, they admired each other and talked briefly. Hilary Justice, a Hemingway scholar living in the library, said that Hemingway was even invited to attend Kennedy’s inauguration, but was unable to attend due to illness.
When Hemingway’s fourth wife, Mary Hemingway, figured out a way to deal with the condition of her late husband, she asked Jackie Kennedy if they could be placed in the Kennedy Library.
The archive contains Hemingway’s manuscripts, including personal letters such as “The Sun Also Rises” and “For Whom the Bells Die” and about 11,000 photos.
Novik said that many of the materials used in this documentary were not widely circulated in public.
Burns has traveled to the JFK Library several times to hold various positions, but he didn’t know the size of the Hemingway Archives until they started working on the film that had been devoted to it for many years.
Burns said: “Hemingway’s collection is at the core of the whole process.” “It helps us understand that he is a disciplined writer.”
Most of the documentary involved Hemingway’s complicated relationship with women during his life, from his mother and sisters to his beloved nurse, he recovered from the injuries suffered in the First World War to his four wives.
Burns said: “Many things he did in his life were related to love: chasing love, fleeing love and destroying love.”
The filmmakers discovered that although they are considered to be the archetypes of American masculinity, the truth about Hemingway’s masculinity is more complicated.
When he was young, Hemingway’s mother treated him and one of his sisters as twins, often wearing the same clothes, sometimes like a boy, sometimes like a girl. He has explored the fluidity of gender in both books and life, and when his wife grows his hair, his hair grows too.
Novik said: “We want to overthrow Hemingway’s notion that women don’t like women.”
Novik’s favorite collection is Hemingway’s manuscripts, many of which were handwritten in notebooks purchased in the store. They wrote, rewritten, modified and edited his thinking process in his works through epoch-making text, graffiti and notes, thus showing his thinking process in great detail.
For example, Hemingway wrote dozens of endings for “Farewell to Arms” (Farewell to Arms). According to one statistics, there are as many as 47 endings.
She said: “You can track the development of each work from the first draft to the final draft.”
For Burns, the most striking thing in the series is the fragments that Hemingway dug out from the body after the teenager who drove a Red Cross ambulance nearly died in World War I. Burns can’t help thinking that such a profound-death experience had a major impact on Hemingway’s rest of his life and contributed to his death.
Novick said that whether you are a fan of Hemingway or someone who knows almost nothing about him, there is something for you in this series.
She said: “Here is a lot to learn, and there are new explanations for his work and life.”