Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Posthumous Droppings

The Finca Vigia Edition of Hemingway's Short stories, deemed "Complete" contains all the undisputed canonical works from the First 49 short stories in Part one, short stories published in books and magazines after the first 49 in Part two, most about the Spanish Civil War. Readers will see familiar work here. One Trip Across is the beginning of the novel To Have and Have Not, and An African Story is David Bourne's story within a story in The Garden of Eden.

Part three, previously unpublished fiction, gets on more shaky ground. There is a piece that was pulled out of Islands in the Stream, called The Strange Country and called a short story by the editors. A Train Trip and The Porter where two chapters of a novel that Hemingway abandoned to pursue more promising work. Here they are considered self contained.

Noticeably absent from this "complete" collection are the Nick Adams pieces that were previously unpublished but published in The Nick Adams Stories (with the exception of The Last Good Country). Why the editors of this collection should consider one Hemingway abandoned novel a short story, while others are not, makes no apparent sense.

This is what happens when one monkeys about with an author's posthumous droppings. Categories get questioned and readers wonder what is going on.

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