27 – Interview

Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961), author

George Plimpton (1927-2003), interviewer

The last interview that Hemingway granted was conducted in 1958 at Finca Vigía, Hemingway’s house in Havana, by George Plimpton. This conversation about the art of fiction is still considered one of the legendary Paris Review interviews. Plimpton, identified only as “Interviewer” in print, asked questions about influences, reading, and the practicalities of writing. To a question about rewriting, Hemingway replied, “You get another chance to correct and rewrite when someone else types it, and you see it in clean type.” As seen with Hemingway’s galley revisions on “God rest ye merry gentlemen” in the previous case in this exhibition, “the last chance is in the proofs. You’re grateful for these different chances.” About A Farewell to Arms, Hemingway said that he “rewrote the ending … the last page of it, thirty-nine times before I was satisfied.” Plimpton followed up, “What was it that stumped you?” Hemingway: “Getting the words right.”

All items from the Louis Henry and Marguerite Cohn Ernest Hemingway collection

  1. Transcript of George Plimpton interview with Ernest Hemingway, 1958
  2.  Typescript with autograph corrections, 17 pages
  3. “The Art of Fiction XXI. Ernest Hemingway,” page proofs (28 pages), 1958
  4. "The Art of Fiction [XXI]: Ernest Hemingway." Paris Review (no. 18, Spring 1958, pages 61-89)
  5. Paris Review. “Compliments of the Editors … on the occasion of Fifth Anniversary,” distribution card, 1958