Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Hemingway symposium focuses on his women

Express Staff Writer

Around here, it seems as though every month includes a nod to writer Ernest Hemingway, but around the globe it's definitely been his year with a book written about his guns and another parodying his trademark swagger and persona. His visage in France hovers as enlightenment for Owen Wilson's character in Woody Allen's film "Midnight in Paris."

No doubt men and manly things surrounded the larger-than-life author, who killed himself in Ketchum and is buried in the town cemetery. But there were women too, always women. As writer Bernice Kart noted in her book on the subject, their roles and their actual emotional reactions to his life were overshadowed and often misinterpreted.

In an effort to stir that pot of conversation, the Community Library in Ketchum is holding a free three-day symposium this week with eight speakers, each of them with a unique perspective and approach, be it analytical, devoted fan or unwavering critic.

First up on Thursday, Oct. 20, at 4 p.m. is a screening of "The Spanish Earth," a propaganda film co-written and narrated by Hemingway made during the Spanish Civil War in favor of the democratically elected Republicans.

An opening reception will follow from 5-6 p.m. and visitors can enjoy wine and wander through an exhibition of commemorative prints by 12 Idaho artists.

Thanks to the foresight of program director Colleen Daly to dedicate the once inglorious hall space between the main library and childrens' library as an art space, the exhibition will remain until Nov. 11.

Keynote speaker is Frederic Hunter, who will discuss his process in writing "The Hemingway Play," which explores Hemingway's life in four stages and the women in them, and why he chose to portray his female characters more akin to the archetypes of Hemingway's women: the aging Madonna, the whore, the caretaker. After, at 7 p.m., there will be a film screening of Hunter's play.

Of the film, The New York Times said, "Mr. Hunter gives us four Hemingways, each representing the Great Man at different stages of his life: the young, idealistic Wemedge, a war correspondent still limping from a battle wound; the 30-ish Hem, on the edge of fame, divorce, and perpetual bravado; the middle-aged Ernest, the Nobel Prize winner and drunk, deserted by most of his friends, and the elderly Papa, bitter, paranoid, and obsessed with death. They confront one another in a Spanish restaurant, a hangout for bullfighters that still offers the best views of Madrid."

The events continue through Saturday and are as follows.

Friday, Oct. 21

9:00--10:30 a.m. Screening of the 1957 film version of "A Farewell to Arms," based on Hemingway's semi-autobiographical novel concerning events during the Italian campaigns during World War I. Coffee and pastries will be provided.

11--11:45 a.m. "Hemingway With(out) Women." A conversation with Hemingway scholars from Boise State University and Brady Udall and Clay Morgan, moderated by Clyde Moneyhun with Allie Baker, an independent scholar and blogger of the "Hemingway Project."

1:30--3 p.m. Screening of the film "For Whom the Bell Tolls." Based on Hemingway's novel, this film tells the story about a young American in the International Brigades attached to a Republican guerrilla unit during the Spanish Civil War. The novel is regarded as one of Hemingway's best works.

3 p.m. Tour Hemingway's Haunts around the valley. Conducted by longtime Ketchum local Jim Jaquet. Seating is limited. Sign up at the symposium. Bus departs from the front of the library, on Spruce Street.


4 p.m. Stacy Guill, Ph. D. in literature and criticism will draw elements of "The Spanish Earth," which provides an excellent "microcosm" of both the internal and external issues of the war. And at the same time, she will provide an argument against the popular assumption that Hemingway did not create strong or well-developed female characters in this talk entitled "Pilar and Maria: Hemingway's Feminist Homage to the 'new woman' of Spain in "For Whom the Bell Tolls."

 Saturday, Oct. 22

10 a.m. Guided tour of Silver Creek Preserve, an informal nature/bird walk at The Nature Conservancy's grounds south of Bellevue. Sign up at the symposium if you would like to walk with the group. Carpooling is encouraged. Meet at the LDS parking lot in Hailey.


10-10:45 a.m. "West of Paris: Conversations about Ernest Hemingway" with Allie Baker, who will share her research about the first of Ernest Hemingway's wives using audio clips from the interviews of Hadley Richardson, Hemingway's wife of five years.


11 a.m. to noon. BSU scholar Jacky O'Connor will lead a discussion of the feature films that were screened during the symposium: "For Whom the Bell Tolls," and the 1957 version of "A Farewell to Arms."


The Community Library's Hemingway Symposium

Thursday, Oct. 20, through Saturday, Oct. 22.

At the Community Library, 415 Spruce Ave., Ketchum.

All events are free.

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