Holograph revisions to the typescript short story "A High Wind-less Night in Jamaica" by his lover Jane Mason.Perhaps Havana: n.p. mid-1930s Stock Code: 109126
"He came to think of Jane Mason as his very own Zelda"A remarkable survival that memorialises Hemingway's infatuation with the young and glamorous socialite Jane Mason, who was to become the model for the character of Helene Bradley in To Have and Have Not (1937), his last experimental work from the Key West years.
The couple first met in the autumn of 1931, when Hemingway and his wife Pauline were returning to New York from Paris on the Ile de France. Mason "was the twenty-two-year-old wife of G. Grant Mason, the head of Pan American Airways in Cuba and the owner of a beautifully situated estate in Jaimanitas, west of Havana. With her slender but curvy body and her strawberry blond hair, which she parted in the middle and pulled away from her oval face, she was the most beautiful woman whom Hemingway had ever gone after. A native of Tuxedo Park, New York, and a graduate of Briarcliff, she had made her debut in Washington, D.C., just before her impulsive marriage to Mason. Dancing, drinking, and deep-sea fishing were among her current enthusiasms, and so was pigeon shooting at the Club de Cazadores, a sport in which few other women engaged... Conceivably, Hemingway came to think of Jane Mason as his very own Zelda, except that he proposed to make her well by giving her lessons in marlin fishing and by telling her over and over that she wasn't crazy Mason suffered with manic depression" (Kenneth S. Lynn, Hemingway, 1987, p. 404).
With Hemingway's encouragement Jane began writing fiction. In "A High Wind-less Night in Jamaica" (the title echoes Richard Hughes's A High Wind in Jamaica, 1929) she draws upon Hemingway's dictum of "write what you know" and tells the story, from the point of view of an American woman, of a thoroughly unpleasant group of colonial Jamaicans drinking and dancing on a hotel veranda. Hemingway has corrected punctuation, changed verbs, tightened-up phrases, and in general polished the story.
His longest revision occurs near the end where Jane has written about her lead character: "I felt strangely sorry for her, despite the fact that in England she was the type who always terrified me, and to whom I am generally rather rude." Hemingway has revised the part in italics to read: "... one would not have felt sorry for her but simply classed her as a bitch without implying any condemnation." The story was submitted to The New Yorker but turned down; it appears to remain unpublished.
7 pages quarto, triple-spaced on seven sheets of white paper. Housed in a custom-made dark brown morocco solander box.
Pale brown staining (mostly at left margin of each sheet), rust marks from paper clips, with some pencilled revisions by Jane Mason (one on verso of page 6). On the verso of the first leaf, alongside a sketch of a bare foot, is a pencil sketch of a bearded figure wearing a cap of the type favoured by Hemingway, the face of which is scribbled over.
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