Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Literary forebears, paint and sound...

Hemingway Image Credit
Anyone who has been reading this blog for at least a little while will know that I am an unashamed Hemingway fan. I was delighted when I found this wonderful quote over at Bibliokept's blog. A great literary blog that features death masks regularly - they are fascinating - so maybe if you go check out the Bibliokept  blog, they won't mind so much that I pinched their quote to share with you.
Ernest Hemingway describes his influences in his 1958 interview with George Plimpton at The Paris Review
Who would you say are your literary forebears—those you have learned the most from?
Mark Twain, Flaubert, Stendhal, Bach, Turgenev, Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky, Chekhov, Andrew Marvell, John Donne, Maupassant, the good Kipling, Thoreau, Captain Marryat, Shakespeare, Mozart, Quevedo, Dante, Virgil, Tintoretto, Hieronymus Bosch, Brueghel, Patinir, Goya, Giotto, Cézanne, Van Gogh, Gauguin, San Juan de la Cruz, Góngora—it would take a day to remember everyone. Then it would sound as though I were claiming an erudition I did not possess instead of trying to remember all the people who have been an influence on my life and work. This isn’t an old dull question. It is a very good but a solemn question and requires an examination of conscience. I put in painters, or started to, because I learn as much from painters about how to write as from writers. You ask how this is done? It would take another day of explaining. I should think what one learns from composers and from the study of harmony and counterpoint would be obvious.


  1. that was such an honest and thoughtful response, he sounds like the kind of person you could sit and chat with.

  2. A lot of those writers are the same ones that my Dad says are his favourites.He is also a huge fan of Hemingway.Clare

  3. Oh, doncha just love "the good Kipling"! Interesting that he's included a lot of artists. I would never have thought, I suppose, of Giotto and Hemingway in the same breath but stranger things have happened I suppose.


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