IN the prologue to his novel Green hills of Africa, Ernest Hemingway states, “The author has attempted to write an absolutely true book.” 80 years after its first publication, the International Colloquium bearing his name is once again attempting to generate a greater and more profound understanding of this important author of U.S. and global literature.
No less than 15 editions of the Colloquium have taken place in Havana, always with the participation of academics from various countries - obviously noteworthy among which are those from the U.S. - who discuss topics related to the life and work of Hemingway and the perseveration of his legacy.
According to comments made by Ada Rosa Alfonso, president of the organizing committee and director the Finca Vigía museum, in a recently held press conference; this encounter, which will take place from June 18-21, will be no exception.
Alfonso noted that the site of the Colloquium will be the Palacio O’Farrill (a typical example of 19th century neo-classical Havana architecture, located on the streets Cuba and Chacón in the city’s colonial center, (reportedly the former residence of one of the most affluent families of the period), and highlighted some of the important presentations taking place.
For example, Alfonso herself and Mary Jo Adams, executive director of the Finca Vigía Foundation, from the U.S., have been working on the theme A joint effort to preserve Hemingway’s legacy in Cuba; and Professor Hideo Yanagisawa, from the University of Meijo, Japan, will discuss the Digital Archives Project on notes in the collection of Ernest Hemingway books at the Finca Vigia, Cuba.
Among other topics to be addressed in the Colloquium will be Jace Gatzemeyer from the Pennsylvania State University’s dissertation, In search of “the real thing”: A reassessment of “Hemingway’s style;” while Russell Reising, professor of American Literature and Culture from the University of Toledo, Ohio, will present The ethics of sporting life in the novel The sun also risesby Ernest Hemingway.
The Colloquium will also be the perfect moment to launch two new books; El último león by Professor Ricardo Koon and Hemingway: ese desconocido by Enrique Cirules.
Furthermore, commemorated during the event will be the 80th anniversary of the publication of Green hills of Africa - a text noteworthy for the richness of its descriptions - and the 90 years since the publication of his first book, a volume of short stories entitled In our time.
Both texts will be discussed by Jorge Santos (The sweet enchantment of the Green hills of Africa) and Krista Quesenberry, from Pennsylvania State University (In Our Time), respectively.
As part of the Colloquium program, participants will of course tour the Finca Vigía; other sites around Havana linked to author’s stay on the island, among them the Floridita bar and restaurant, which boasts a famous life-size bronze statue of Hemingway by sculptor José Villa Soberón; and the fishing village of Cojimar, where he docked his yacht El Pilar, and in whose main square stands a bust of the author by sculptor Fernando Boada, made of pieces of bronze collected by local fishermen.
Havana was a special place for Ernest Hemingway. He wrote one of his most famous novels - The old man and the sea - winner of the 1953 Pulitzer Prize and 1954 Nobel Prize for Literature - at the Finca Vigía located in the capital’s San Francisco de Paula neighborhood. He also wrote a large part of For whom the bell tolls in the Ambos Mundos hotel in the Havana’s historic center.
The 15th International Colloquium is another step toward discovering an “absolutely true” Ernest Hemingway.