UVa Library Press Releases
U.VA. LIBRARY ADDS TO HEMINGWAY COLLECTION
Contact: Michael Plunkett, director of Special Collections at (804) 924-3998 or e-mail: email@example.com
May 28, 1996
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va., May 29 -- The only known complete typescript of Ernest Hemingway's novel "Green Hills of Africa" has been acquired by the Clifton Waller Barrett Library of American Literature in the Special Collections Department of the University of Virginia Library. This important addition to the library's Hemingway collection was purchased with funds from an anonymous donor.
Hemingway wrote the novel after a 1934 African safari to the big-game region of Tanganyika. It was an attempt to create "an absolutely true book to see whether the shape of a country and the pattern of a month's action can, if truly presented, compete with a work of the imagination." Hemingway the journalist and Hemingway the novelist joined together the actual events of the safari as he recalled them, with a restructuring of characters and scenes in a fiction like manner and incorporating partially invented dialogue. He created what was essentially the first non-fiction novel.
Hemingway's editor, Max Perkins, at Charles Scribner's Sons told Hemingway it was "extraordinary how wonderful a factual account has been formed into a work of art"; he hadn't seen "anything even approaching it in that respect."
This newly acquired typescript along with Hemingway's original hand-written manuscript and various printed editions in the Clifton Waller Barrett Library form an imposing body of research material for one of the finest novels of contemporary American literature.
This addition to the U.Va. collection has significance for scholars and students alike. Stephen Railton, professor of English at U.Va., said, "I've always relied a lot on those holdings in my research, but I've come to value them more and more as resources for my teaching too. When you can show students the manuscripts of a book they're studying, they can see how authors struggle as they do to express themselves, how the great works of art begin with a blank piece of paper and someone's human desire to fill that blankness with a vision. When I take my classes to the sources in Special Collections, the idea of literature acquires an immediacy it might have lacked if the students knew only the final product, the published text."
U.Va. associate professor of English Alan Howard adds, "The typescript is a wonderful addition to what is already one of the country's finest collections of Hemingway materials, first editions, manuscripts and correspondence. It is genuinely unique, the only complete typescript we know of."
For additional information, please contact Michael Plunkett, director of special collections, at (804) 924-3025. Television reporters should contact our TV News Office at (804) 924-7550.