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Hemingway Adventure

Introduction

Michael Palin - Hemingway AdventureI don’t think Ernest Hemingway and I would ever have got along. I don’t have the requisite amount of competitive energy. I don’t really care about catching more fish or shooting more ducks or having more wives than anyone else. He didn’t have much time for the British and he called London, where I live, ‘too noisy and too normal’. And comedy was never his strong point.

Our common ground, other than a fondness for cafés and bars and writing about the weather, would, I like to think, have been a love of adventure. Hemingway was the sort of man who made things happen. He was always making plans and going off to places and coming back and making more plans, and not just for himself but for everyone around him. It was a great ride and very few people managed to hang on all the way. And when it ceased to be an adventure, when he could no longer play the Pied Piper, when other people started to make the plans, he lost interest and quit, in the way he wanted to.

When we started our filming we couldn’t believe our luck. An entire collection of Hemingway memorabilia, 275 items from the man’s life, including unpublished letters and poems, signed wine-bottles, his Remington typewriter, even one of Ava Gardner’s brassières, was to be auctioned in England in the first-ever sale of its kind in the world.

The night before we were to film, we received word that the sale was off. The entire collection had been deemed a forgery.

The sale itself was testimony enough to the enduring interest in all things Hemingway but that it should have been worth someone’s time to forge the entire contents is surely confirmation of god-like status.

Michael Palin
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: Hemingway Adventure
  • Chapter: Introduction
  • Country/sea: England
  • Place: London
  • Book page no: 11

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