The Sea Is the Sea. The Old Man Is an Old Man

Ernest Hemingway? Bernard Berenson? Apocryphal?

Dear Quote Investigator: Ernest Hemingway’s classic novella “The Old Man and the Sea” has been exhaustively analyzed by critics and commentators. Beleaguered high school students have been coerced into composing essays about the tale. Unsurprisingly, the story has been transformed into a cornucopia for symbol generation.

Yet, Hemingway himself apparently believed that there were no symbols in his fable. He stated that “the old man is an old man”. Would you please help me to find a citation?

Quote Investigator: In September 1952 Ernest Hemingway sent a letter to Renaissance art specialist Bernard Berenson. Hemingway commented on the lack of intentional symbolism in “The Old Man and the Sea”. The letter was reprinted in the collection “Ernest Hemingway Selected Letters 1917-1961”. The collection editor noted that the famous author used an irregular spelling for “symbolism”. Boldface added to excerpts by QI:[1]1981, Ernest Hemingway Selected Letters 1917-1961, Edited by Carlos Baker, Letter To: Bernard Berenson, Letter Date: September 13, 1952, Start Page 780, Quote Page 780, Charles Scribners’ Sons, New … Continue reading

Then there is the other secret. There isn’t any symbolysm (mis-spelled). The sea is the sea. The old man is an old man. The boy is a boy and the fish is a fish. The shark are all sharks no better and no worse. All the symbolism that people say is shit. What goes beyond is what you see beyond when you know. A writer should know too much.

Below are additional selected citations in chronological order.

Continue reading The Sea Is the Sea. The Old Man Is an Old Man

References

References
1 1981, Ernest Hemingway Selected Letters 1917-1961, Edited by Carlos Baker, Letter To: Bernard Berenson, Letter Date: September 13, 1952, Start Page 780, Quote Page 780, Charles Scribners’ Sons, New York. (Verified with scans)

Always Do Sober What You Said You’d Do Drunk. That Will Teach You To Keep Your Mouth Shut

Ernest Hemingway? Charles Scribner IV? Malcolm Forbes? Apocryphal?

Dear Quote Investigator: The prominent U.S. writer Ernest Hemingway once described a strategy to reduce drunken boasting. The inebriated person should wait until soberness returns and then perform the foolish boastful actions. Thus, one will quickly learn to keep one’s mouth shut. Is this genuine advice from Hemingway? Would you please help me to find a citation?

Quote Investigator: The earliest match for this tale located by QI appeared in “Forbes” magazine in September 1961. The editor Malcolm S. Forbes wrote the following. Boldface added to excerpts by QI:[1]1961 September 1, Forbes, Volume 88, Issue 5, Fact and Comment by Malcolm S. Forbes, Sub-section: One of Hemingway’s “Rules for Living”, Start Page 7, Quote Page 8, Forbes Inc., New York. … Continue reading

When Charles Scribner (IV) succeeded his late father as head of the country’s most venerable publishing firm in 1952, Ernest Hemingway, an old friend, wrote him a long personal letter, which concluded with a list of his “rules for life.” Among them, this one which we pass on to our readers without further comment:

“Always do sober what you said you’d do drunk: That will teach you to keep your mouth shut.”

Forbes did not explain how he learned about the content of Hemingway’s letter. Perhaps Scribner recounted the story to Forbes.

Additional strong evidence supporting the authenticity of the remark appeared in a book Scribner authored in 1990. He presented the same tale and a longer version of the quotation with the phrase “do when you were drunk”. Details are given further below.

Here are additional selected citations in chronological order.

Continue reading Always Do Sober What You Said You’d Do Drunk. That Will Teach You To Keep Your Mouth Shut

References

References
1 1961 September 1, Forbes, Volume 88, Issue 5, Fact and Comment by Malcolm S. Forbes, Sub-section: One of Hemingway’s “Rules for Living”, Start Page 7, Quote Page 8, Forbes Inc., New York. (Verified with scans)

The Rain Will Stop; The Night Will End; The Hurt Will Fade. Hope Is Never So Lost That It Can’t Be Found

Ernest Hemingway? Mandy Hale? The Single Woman? Apocryphal?

Dear Quote Investigator: I recently encountered a quotation using evocative language about the rain stopping and the night ending. The quotation emphasized that one should feel hopeful. Oddly, the famous author Ernest Hemingway received credit for the remark, but I do not think it sounds anything like him. Would you please explore this topic?

Quote Investigator: QI has found no substantive evidence supporting the ascription to Ernest Hemingway.

The earliest close match located by QI appeared in a tweet dated February 18, 2013 from @TheSingleWoman which is the handle used by author Mandy Hale. Boldface added to excerpts by QI:[1]Tweet, From: The Single Woman @TheSingleWoman, Time: 1:00 AM, Date: Feb 18, 2013, Text: The rain WILL stop, the night WILL end, the hurt WILL fade … (Accessed on twitter.com on October 8, 2021) … Continue reading

The rain WILL stop, the night WILL end, the hurt WILL fade. Hope is never so lost that it can’t be found. #TheSW

The hash tag within the tweet signaled that “TheSW”, i.e., Mandy Hale, was taking credit for the statement.

Below are additional selected citations in chronological order.

Continue reading The Rain Will Stop; The Night Will End; The Hurt Will Fade. Hope Is Never So Lost That It Can’t Be Found

References

References
1 Tweet, From: The Single Woman @TheSingleWoman, Time: 1:00 AM, Date: Feb 18, 2013, Text: The rain WILL stop, the night WILL end, the hurt WILL fade … (Accessed on twitter.com on October 8, 2021) link

It Is Good To Have an End To Journey Towards; But It Is the Journey That Matters, in the End

Ernest Hemingway? Ursula K. Le Guin? Lynn H. Hough?

Dear Quote Investigator: It is natural to assign meaning or purpose to the terminus of a long journey, but the value truly lies within the journey itself. This notion has been expressed as follows:

It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.

The famous author Ernest Hemingway and the award-winning speculative fiction writer Ursula K. Le Guin have both received credit for this statement. Would you please determine the correct authorship?

Quote Investigator: There is no substantive evidence that Ernest Hemingway said or wrote this. He died in 1961, and was given credit by 2010, a very late date.

In 1969 Ursula K. Le Guin published “The Left Hand of Darkness” which explored gender roles and relationships on an alien planet. The popular work won the Hugo and Nebula awards. During a long trek in a frigid region two characters encountered a remarkable scene of pinnacles, cliffs, smoke, fire, and rubble near a massive glacier:[1] 1977 (1969 Copyright), The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin, Chapter 15, Quote Page 219, Ace Books: Grosset & Dunlap Company, New York. (Verified with scans)

Across those valleys a great wall stood, a wall of ice, and raising our eyes up and still up to the rim of the wall we saw the Ice itself, the Gobrin Glacier, blinding and horizonless to the utmost north, a white, a white the eyes could not look on.

The travelers placed a high value on their experiences during the journey. Boldface added to excerpts by QI:[2] 1977 (1969 Copyright), The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin, Chapter 15, Quote Page 220, Ace Books: Grosset & Dunlap Company, New York. (Verified with scans)

Estraven stood there in harness beside me looking at that magnificent and unspeakable desolation. “I’m glad I have lived to see this,” he said.

I felt as he did. It is good to have an end to journey towards; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.

Below are additional selected citations in chronological order.

Continue reading It Is Good To Have an End To Journey Towards; But It Is the Journey That Matters, in the End

References

References
1 1977 (1969 Copyright), The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin, Chapter 15, Quote Page 219, Ace Books: Grosset & Dunlap Company, New York. (Verified with scans)
2 1977 (1969 Copyright), The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin, Chapter 15, Quote Page 220, Ace Books: Grosset & Dunlap Company, New York. (Verified with scans)

A Baby Learns To Speak in Two Years, But It Takes a Lifetime To Learn To Keep Quiet

Ernest Hemingway? Mark Twain? Luke McLuke? Lydia DeVilbiss? Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr.? Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.? Frederick B. Wilcox? Abigail Van Buren? Anonymous?

Dear Quote Investigator: While searching the twitter database I encountered the following two similar jokes:

(1) Humans need two years to learn to speak and sixty years to learn to shut up.

(2) It takes two years to learn to talk, and the rest of your life to control your mouth.

Ernest Hemingway received credit for the first, and Mark Twain received credit for the second. I am skeptical of both of these ascriptions. Would you please explore this topic?

Quote Investigator: QI has found no substantive evidence that either of these famous quotation magnets employed this quip. The expression is highly variable which makes this large family of quips difficult to trace, and this article will only present a snapshot of current research.

The earliest match located by QI appeared in a 1909 editorial published in a Wenatchee, Washington newspaper. The context indicated that the quip was already in circulation; hence, the ascription was anonymous. The word “exuberance” was misspelled as “exhuberance”:[1] 1909 October 13, The Wenatchee Daily World, A Diplomat Must Be Discreet, Quote Page 4, Column 1, Wenatchee, Washington. (Newspapers_com)

It is unfortunate that Charles R. Crane, who was recently designated as minister to China should have been led by an exhuberance of enthusiasm and interest in Oriental affairs to make remarks which might prove embarrassing to the administration. His indiscretion gives emphasis to the remark that it takes a person two years to learn how to talk and all the rest of his life to learn to keep from talking too much.

Below are additional selected citations in chronological order.

Continue reading A Baby Learns To Speak in Two Years, But It Takes a Lifetime To Learn To Keep Quiet

References

References
1 1909 October 13, The Wenatchee Daily World, A Diplomat Must Be Discreet, Quote Page 4, Column 1, Wenatchee, Washington. (Newspapers_com)

I Work From About Seven Until About Noon. Then I Go Fishing or Swimming, or Whatever I Want

Ernest Hemingway? Apocryphal?

Dear Quote Investigator: Did Ernest Hemingway drink heavily while he was writing? How many hours did he spend working each day? Can you find an interview containing quotations that illuminate his drinking and writing habits?

Quote Investigator: Shortly before Hemingway died in 1961, he participated in an interview conducted by Edward Stafford and his wife. The result appeared in the “Writer’s Digest” in 1964. Emphasis added to excerpts:[1] 1964 December, Writer’s Digest, An Afternoon With Hemingway by Edward Stafford, Start Page 18, Quote Page 21, Writer’s Digest, Cincinnati, Ohio. (Verified with microfilm)

My wife needled him. “Is it true,” she asked, “that you take a pitcher of martinis up into the tower every morning when you go up to write?”

“Jeezus Christ!” Papa was incredulous. “Have you ever heard of anyone who drank while he worked? You’re thinking of Faulkner. He does sometimes—and I can tell right in the middle of a page when he’s had his first one. Besides,” he added, “who in hell would mix more than one martini at a time, anyway?”

Thus, Hemingway denied that alcohol was his muse. A separate QI article explored a germane saying which has often been attributed to Hemingway: “Write drunk, edit sober”. QI found no substantive support for ascribing this remark to the famous author.

Continue reading I Work From About Seven Until About Noon. Then I Go Fishing or Swimming, or Whatever I Want

References

References
1 1964 December, Writer’s Digest, An Afternoon With Hemingway by Edward Stafford, Start Page 18, Quote Page 21, Writer’s Digest, Cincinnati, Ohio. (Verified with microfilm)

“How Did You Go Bankrupt?” “Two Ways. Gradually and Then Suddenly.”

Creator: Ernest Hemingway, U.S. author, winner of Nobel Prize in Literature

Context: The character Mike Campbell in the 1926 novel “The Sun Also Rises” was asked about his money troubles and responded with a vivid description embracing self-contradiction:[1] 1954 (1926 Copyright), The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway, Book II, Chapter 13, Quote Page 136, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York. (Verified with scans)

“How did you go bankrupt?” Bill asked.

“Two ways,” Mike said. “Gradually and then suddenly.”

“What brought it on?”

“Friends,” said Mike. “I had a lot of friends. False friends. Then I had creditors, too. Probably had more creditors than anybody in England.”

Related Article: I Fell In Love the Way You Fall Asleep: Slowly, and Then All At Once

Acknowledgement: Thanks to David Orlo who asked about this quotation.

References

References
1 1954 (1926 Copyright), The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway, Book II, Chapter 13, Quote Page 136, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York. (Verified with scans)

Do Not Wait To Strike Till the Iron Is Hot; But Make It Hot By Striking

William Butler Yeats? William B. Sprague? Benjamin Franklin? Richard Sharp? Charles Lamb? Charles Caleb Colton? Oliver Cromwell? Peleg Sprague? Ernest Hemingway? Anonymous?

Dear Quote Investigator: A popular proverb highlights the limited duration of an opportunity:

Strike while the iron is hot.

This metaphor has been astutely extended with advice for greater challenges:

Make the iron hot by striking.

This full metaphor has been credited to the English military leader Oliver Cromwell, the Irish poet William Butler Yeats, and the American novelist Ernest Hemingway. Would you please explore this topic?

Quote Investigator: The basic proverb appeared in one of “The Canterbury Tales” called “The Tale of Melibeus” by Geoffrey Chaucer written in the latter half of the 1300s. Here is the original spelling together with a modern rendition. Emphasis added to excerpts by QI:[1] 1860, Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, Edited by Thomas Wright, The Tale of Melibeus, Start Page 150, Quote Page 152, Richard Griffin and Company, London and Glasgow. (Google Books Full View) link

…whil that iren is hoot men scholden smyte…
…while the iron is hot men should smite…

The earliest full match known to QI appeared in a 1782 letter from the famous statesman Benjamin Franklin to Reverend Richard Price about using the press to spread ideas. The letter was included in “Memoirs of the Life of The Rev. Richard Price” published in 1815:[2]1815, Memoirs of the Life of The Rev. Richard Price by William Morgan, Volume 5, (Letter within footnote), Letter from: Benjamin Franklin, Letter to: Richard Price, Letter date: June 13, 1782, Start … Continue reading

The facility with which the same truths may be repeatedly enforced by placing them daily in different lights in newspapers which are every where read, gives a great chance of establishing them. And we now find, that it is not only right to strike while the iron is hot, but that it may be very practicable to heat it by continually striking.

Below are additional selected citations in chronological order. Continue reading Do Not Wait To Strike Till the Iron Is Hot; But Make It Hot By Striking

References

References
1 1860, Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, Edited by Thomas Wright, The Tale of Melibeus, Start Page 150, Quote Page 152, Richard Griffin and Company, London and Glasgow. (Google Books Full View) link
2 1815, Memoirs of the Life of The Rev. Richard Price by William Morgan, Volume 5, (Letter within footnote), Letter from: Benjamin Franklin, Letter to: Richard Price, Letter date: June 13, 1782, Start Page 95, Quote Page 96, Printed for R. Hunter, Successor to J. Johnson, London. (Google Books Full View) link

There Is Nothing Noble in Being Superior to Some Other Man. The True Nobility Is in Being Superior to Your Previous Self

Ernest Hemingway? W. L. Sheldon? Hindu Proverb? Khryter? Seneca? Apocryphal?

Dear Quote Investigator: A quotation about “true nobility” attributed to the Nobel Prize-winning author Ernest Hemingway suggests that one should avoid comparing oneself to others. I haven’t been able to find a solid citation. Would you please trace this aphorism?

Quote Investigator: Ernest Hemingway was born in 1899, and the first strong match known to QI appeared a couple years before in 1897. A collection of “Ethical Addresses” included a piece titled “What to Believe: An Ethical Creed” by W. L. Sheldon who was a Lecturer of the Ethical Society of St. Louis. Emphasis added to excerpts by QI:[1]1897 April, Ethical Addresses, Series 4, Number 4, What To Believe: An Ethical Creed by W. L. Sheldon (Lecturer of the Ethical Society of St. Louis), Start Page 57, Quote Page 61, S. Burns Weston, … Continue reading

Remember that in the struggle of life it is always possible to turn one kind of defeat into another kind of victory. Try it and see!

Remember that if you cannot realize the ends of your being in one way, you can in another. Realize something! You will have to render an account somehow.

Remember that there is nothing noble in being superior to some other man. The true nobility is in being superior to your previous self.

Remember that you show what you are by the way you talk about people.

Remember that, as you grow older, nature’s tendencies are laying their grip upon you. Nature may be on your side when you are young, but against you later on.

In January 1963 “Playboy” magazine published a controversial posthumous article titled “A Man’s Credo” by Ernest Hemingway which included an instance of the adage. However, Hemingway expert Peter L. Hays believes that the luminary did not write the article.

Details are provided further below together with selected citations in chronological order.

Continue reading There Is Nothing Noble in Being Superior to Some Other Man. The True Nobility Is in Being Superior to Your Previous Self

References

References
1 1897 April, Ethical Addresses, Series 4, Number 4, What To Believe: An Ethical Creed by W. L. Sheldon (Lecturer of the Ethical Society of St. Louis), Start Page 57, Quote Page 61, S. Burns Weston, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Google Books Full View) link

We Are All Broken. That’s How the Light Gets In

Ernest Hemingway? Leonard Cohen? Ralph Waldo Emerson? Benjamin Blood? Rumi? Apocryphal?

Dear Quote Investigator: It is impossible to avoid all pain and suffering during a lifetime, but I believe that our setbacks have a larger meaning and purpose. The famous author Ernest Hemingway reportedly said the following:

We are all broken. That’s how the light gets in.

I would like to use this statement in an article, but I have never seen a good citation. Would you please help me?

Quote Investigator: QI has found no substantive evidence that Ernest Hemingway wrote or said this precise remark.

An interesting precursor appeared in an essay about “Compensation” in an 1841 collection by Ralph Waldo Emerson. Emphasis added to excerpts by QI:[1] 1841, Essays by Ralph Waldo Emerson, Essay III: Compensation, Start Page 75, Quote Page 88, James Munroe and Company, Boston, Massachusetts. (HathiTrust Full View) link

Siegfried, in the Nibelungen, is not quite immortal, for a leaf fell on his back whilst he was bathing in the Dragon’s blood, and that spot which it covered is mortal. And so it always is. There is a crack in every thing God has made.

Another precursor appeared in an 1860 book titled “Optimism: The Lesson of Ages” by philosopher Benjamin Blood who echoed Emerson’s words and added the notion of light entering through the cracks:[2] 1860, Optimism: The Lesson of Ages by Benjamin Blood, Section 17: Compensation, Quote Page 91, Bela Marsh, Boston, Massachusetts. (Google Books Full View) link

It frequently happens that the souls of men outgrow the love of their own peculiar merits, and they long to exchange, even for merits of less worth.—“There is a crack in every thing that God has made;” but through that crevice enters the light of heaven. Every thing is blessed, but every thing is unfortunate as well.

QI conjectures that the statement under examination was constructed via an evolutionary blending of a well-known quotation from Hemingway together with a lyric from the influential singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen.

In 1929 Hemingway published a novel set during World War I titled “A Farewell to Arms”, and he discussed the universality of human pain and resilience. Emphasis added to excerpts by QI:[3] 1929, A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway, Chapter 34, Quote Page 267, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York. (archive.org Internet Archive) link

The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong at the broken places. But those that will not break it kills. It kills the very good and the very gentle and the very brave impartially. If you are none of these you can be sure that it will kill you too but there will be no special hurry.

In 1992 Leonard Cohen released the album “The Future” which included the song “Anthem” containing the following lines echoing Emerson and Blood:[4]YouTube video, Title: Leonard Cohen – Anthem, Uploaded on Jan 2, 2012, Uploaded by: Differance1’s channel, (Video for the song “Anthem” by Leonard Cohen), (Quotation starts at … Continue reading

Forget your perfect offering.
There is a crack, a crack, in everything.
That’s how the light gets in.

The words of Hemingway and Cohen appear to have been merged to yield: “We are all broken. That’s how the light gets in.” As shown further below, this quotation with an ascription to Hemingway entered circulation by 2013. Breakage typically causes cracks, and light symbolically represents spiritual strength and insight.

Below are additional selected citations in chronological order.

Continue reading We Are All Broken. That’s How the Light Gets In

References

References
1 1841, Essays by Ralph Waldo Emerson, Essay III: Compensation, Start Page 75, Quote Page 88, James Munroe and Company, Boston, Massachusetts. (HathiTrust Full View) link
2 1860, Optimism: The Lesson of Ages by Benjamin Blood, Section 17: Compensation, Quote Page 91, Bela Marsh, Boston, Massachusetts. (Google Books Full View) link
3 1929, A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway, Chapter 34, Quote Page 267, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York. (archive.org Internet Archive) link
4 YouTube video, Title: Leonard Cohen – Anthem, Uploaded on Jan 2, 2012, Uploaded by: Differance1’s channel, (Video for the song “Anthem” by Leonard Cohen), (Quotation starts at 1 minute 19 seconds of 6 minutes 10 seconds). (Accessed on youtube.com on November 15, 2016) link