Newly discovered Hemingway story can be sold but not published

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

ROME -- A bullfight, an act of bravado, a brush with death. A newly discovered story by a young Ernest Hemingway has all the elements to delight fans and scholars -- but it can't be published.

The writer's estate hasn't approved publication of the 1924 piece, a gory parody about a bullfight in Spain, the manuscript's owner, Donald Stewart, said Monday.

People who have seen the story say it's no masterpiece. But it could give clues about Hemingway's first attempts at different literary styles -- especially because most of his early work disappeared when his suitcase was stolen in the early 1920s.

The short story also foreshadows Hemingway's fascination with blood, spectacle and bullfights. Two years later, he published the classic "The Sun Also Rises," about expatriates hanging out in Paris and the bull-running city of Pamplona.

The tone of the tale, written when Hemingway was in his mid-20s, is satirical. Its main character is a comic personification of "what later became the Hemingway myth," Stewart said. "A heroic man with a lot of hair on his chest."

Stewart, 72, had the documents for years without realizing it. He recently discovered the manuscript and letter from Hemingway in an envelope left by his father, who died in 1980.

To publish a new Hemingway find, permission must be granted by both the Ernest Hemingway Foundation and the Hemingway estate. The foundation wanted to publish it, but the family didn't.

Though the documents cannot be printed, they can be sold as artifacts, a legal quirk of the literary world.

Christie's in New York plans a Dec. 16 auction of the carbon-copy manuscript and a letter from Hemingway. They are expected to sell for up to $18,000.

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