Harry Burns and Professor MacWalsey in Ernest Hemingway's To Have and Have Not.
In 1936, Professor Harry Burns Harry V. Burns (November 11, 1922-2000) was a civil rights leader from San Antonio, Texas.
Born November 11, 1922, Harry Victory Burns was named by his mother for the pre-Veterans Day, which was Victory Day.
During the 1940s and 1950s, Mr. of the University of Washington, met and befriended Ernest Hemingway Noun 1. Ernest Hemingway - an American writer of fiction who won the Nobel prize for literature in 1954 (1899-1961)
Hemingway in Key West, Florida “Key West” redirects here. For other uses, see Key West (disambiguation).
Key West is a city and an island of the same name near the southernmost tip of the Florida Keys in Monroe County, Florida, United States. . Hemingway later wrote to Burns, telling him that he had based a minor character in his new novel (To Have and Have Not To Have and Have Not is a 1937 novel by Ernest Hemingway about Harry Morgan, a fishing boat captain who runs contraband between Cuba and Florida. The novel depicts Harry as an essentially good man who is forced into blackmarket activity by economic forces beyond his control. ) on Burns and had named that character Professor MacWalsey. Burns renewed the friendship in 1951, when he visited the Hemingways in Cuba and read Hemingway's manuscript of The Old Man and the Sea. This article explores the Hemingway-Burns relationship through an examination of Burns's correspondence with Hemingway and with biographer Carlos Baker Carlos Baker (May 5, 1909 – April 18, 1987) was the Woodrow Wilson Professor of Literature at Princeton University. He earned his B.A. , M.A. and Ph.D at Dartmouth, Harvard, and Princeton respectively. .
For Professor Burns (1905-1979) and Professor Mac Walsey (1937-)
IN THE FALL OF 1964 I was a beginning English major The English Major (alternatively English concentration, B.A. in English) is a term for an undergraduate university degree in the United States and a few other countries which focuses on the study of literature in the English language (the term may also be used to describe a student in a second go at college and had never heard of Hemingway's novel To Have and Have Not (1937), much less that novel's minor character Professor MacWalsey. I sat waiting with other students beneath the high ceilings and tall windows of our classroom in the University of Washington's Parrington Hall. The bell had rung but there was no one at the front of the room. People began to chat or double-check their class schedules but after a few minutes the room grew quiet when the professor finally arrived. He was a medium-sized man in his early 60s with a round reddish face and a neatly trimmed mustache. He walked a little stiffly to the front table, put down a sheaf of papers, then looked up and glanced around to appraise appraise v. to professionally evaluate the value of property including real estate, jewelry, antique furniture, securities, or in certain cases the loss of value (or cost of replacement) due to damage. us. Without saying anything he turned toward the board, brushed something off one shoulder of his gray-brown suit, took a piece of chalk from the tray, and wrote in a clear but deliberate hand, "Harry Burns." He carefully placed the chalk back into the tray, turned slowly back toward us, glanced at his wristwatch, and then cleared his throat. He cleared his throat again, growing redder as he strained to bring out his first syllable. Only twenty years TWENTY YEARS. The lapse of twenty years raises a presumption of certain facts, and after such a time, the party against whom the presumption has been raised, will be required to prove a negative to establish his rights.
2. later did I learn that Burns and Hemingway had been friends and that Hemingway had based his minor character Professor MacWalsey on Burns.
"Eh, uh, em, ... eh-ehm," Burns cleared his throat, "eh, eh ... as I'm sure you know, this is the first class in our survey of American literature. We begin in the Colonial period Colonial Period may generally refer to any period in a country's history when it was subject to administration by a colonial power.
It is raised by the Levator labii superioris. in a kind of wide grimace, as though the search for words pained him, and then went on, with a still redder face, "eh ... that is, to, eh-ehm, to distribute the syllabus. So, eh ... eh-ehm, I'll do that now and ask that before our next meeting you'll buy the texts and be prepared to discuss the readings assigned for that day." Once he got out the first words
First Words is a Canadian hip hop group, consisting of Halifax beatmaker Jorun, DJ STV and emcees Sean One & Above. , the rest flowed smoothly enough, but the strain created a slight tension in the air, and when the class met again, I noticed several empty seats.
Harry's class was my introduction to American literature, a somewhat stammering one due to my own inexperience in literary study and to the difficulty Burns had in moving our survey along. We all understood that we would have to work our way through some important but unexciting writing from the earlier periods before we could take up the material that interested us most, a few major works from the 1850s, the period known then as the American Renaissance. But Harry never took us all the way. The closest we got was on what I thought was Harry's best day, when he read and commented on Poe's short poem, "To Helen "To Helen" is the first of two poems to carry that name written by Edgar Allan Poe. The 15-line poem was written in honor of Jane Stanard, the mother of a childhood friend. It was first published in 1831 collection Poems of Edgar A. ." The class assented to Harry's suggestion that we'd probably already had enough of Poe's more sonorous sonorous
resonant; sounding. and rhythmic compositions such as "The Raven" or "Annabel Lee" in junior high school. But Harry admired the clarity and simplicity with which Helen's "classic face" and "Naiad Naiad, in astronomy
Naiad, in astronomy, one of the natural satellites, or moons, of Neptune.
naiad, in zoology: see insect. airs" took Poe's speaker home "To the glory that was Greece, / And the grandeur that was Rome." My appreciation stemmed in part from what I brought to the poem from a recent visit to Greece. And I now know that Harry, too, had just returned from a sabbatical leave Noun 1. sabbatical leave - a leave usually taken every seventh year
leave, leave of absence - the period of time during which you are absent from work or duty; "a ten day's leave to visit his mother" that had included his first visit to Greece. As he wrote to Carlos Baker that year, he had been stunned by his experience there and left feeling that he'd have "ruins and remains running out of [his] ears" (9 April 1964).
My particular problem that quarter was that for my first term paper as an English major, I had decided to write on Moby-Dick, and I had counted on getting some help from a lecture or two on Melville. When Burns passed back our papers during the week before final exams, I didn't know what to make of the grade and the brief comment I'd received and thus tried to work up my courage to pay a visit to Professor Burns during his office hours office hours,
n.pl See business hours. . He responded to my timid knock, invited me to step in, and then left me standing there with such a dry mouth that I could hardly bring out what it was that brought me there. "Um, uh, em ... eh, are you holding office hours today, Professor Burns?" I asked. He smiled gently, assured me that he was, and asked me to sit down. He had a light and spacious office, quite clean and tidy, I thought, but there was nevertheless an air of the general dustiness that seemed to pervade per·vade
tr.v. per·vad·ed, per·vad·ing, per·vades
To be present throughout; permeate. See Synonyms at charge.
[Latin perv the whole of Parrington Hall. I told him why I was there and he quickly let me know that he had not read the paper; his teaching assistant did that work, but he was happy to take a look at it and listen to what I had to say. I handed him my paper and he turned through its pages while I explained what I had set out to do and why I felt that the reader hadn't given me sufficient credit. He listened politely, asked a few questions, seemed to focus on my introductory and closing paragraphs and then said, "Well, I think I can see what you're after here. Looks to me like the reader might have missed your point. He has a lot of papers to read, you know. And I know he won't mind if I change the grade." He reached for a pencil, crossed out the original grade and gave me a slightly higher one.
Throughout this exchange, and in our following conversation, he spoke with ease and with no reddening of his face. After the grading business he seemed as relieved 'as I was to move on to something else. Somehow we got to talking about the building itself, Parrington Hall, and then he told me about his association with Vernon Louis Parrington Vernon Louis Parrington (1871–1929) was an American historian and football coach. He graduated from Harvard University in 1893 and in 1897 was hired as instructor of English and modern languages at the University of Oklahoma. . Harry seemed proud to have earned his PhD there at Washington, under Parrington. Like every English major at Washington in those years, I knew enough about Parrington to buy and at least dip into dip into
1. to draw upon: he dipped into his savings
2. to read passages at random from (a book or journal)
Verb 1. his famous Main Currents in American Thought. I didn't know then that Parrington had won the Pulitzer Prize Pulitzer Prize
Any of a series of annual prizes awarded by Columbia University for outstanding public service and achievement in American journalism, letters, and music. Fellowships are also awarded. in history for that work in 1928 (in the excellent company of Eugene O'Neill, for drama; Thornton Wilder, for fiction; and Edward Arlington Robinson, for poetry). Nor did I know that Washington's English department Noun 1. English department - the academic department responsible for teaching English and American literature
department of English
academic department - a division of a school that is responsible for a given subject was slightly embarrassed that one or two of its current professors had earned their own degrees there--nor that Parrington's work, like the aging building, itself, had begun to crumble under the pressure of time, his liberal views on literary history having given way to the so-called "New Criticism."
Our visit lasted no more than half an hour, but I was charmed by Harry's wit and conversational ease. We might have been talking over a beer. He told me how Parrington had died on his long-awaited first trip to England, in 1929, dropping dead from a heart attack at age 58 the moment he stepped off the ship. And he delighted in telling me about Parrington's well-known interest in architecture and his many disparaging remarks about a number of buildings on the campus, such as the neo-gothic library, and especially what he considered the architectural abomination that housed the English Department. Harry relished the irony of the university's having honored its brilliant scholar by renaming that building Vernon Louis Parrington Hall.
I left Washington the following year and thought little about Harry Burns until the mid 1980s. By then I had begun a study of American sea fiction and came naturally to Hemingway's To Have and Have Not, where, having consulted Carlos Baker's biography, I was astonished to meet Harry again. There he is a tourist in Freddy's bar, a man with "a rather swollen reddish face, a rusty colored mustache, a white cloth hat with a green celluloid visor, and a trick of talking with a rather extraordinary movement of his lips as though he were eating something too hot for comfort" (THHN THHN Thermoplastic High Heat Resistant Nylon Coated (type of wire) 129).
Although Professor MacWalsey appears briefly in only three chapters, he is one of the few admirable characters in the novel. Hemingway portrays most of the Key West tourists as neurotics or impotent yachtsmen, grouping them with the pathetic writer, Richard Gordon. These tourists' artificial lives exemplify the Wasteland sterility of many characters from that era and place them in stark contrast with the novel's primitive hero, Harry Morgan
For German porn star and director, see .
Harry Morgan (born Harry Bratsburg on April 10, 1915 in Detroit, Michigan) is an American television actor of Norwegian extraction. . Morgan's chief virtue is that he is alive ("'He's alive; said the doctor. 'That's all you can say'" [THHN 247]), and his vigor in that Freudian era consists largely in his freedom from sexual repression. His wife Marie testifies to his sexual vitality by comparing his lovemaking love·mak·ing
1. Sexual activity, especially sexual intercourse.
2. Courtship; wooing.
1. to that of a loggerhead loggerhead: see sea turtle. turtle, known for its ability to "coot for three days" (113). Compared with Morgan, Professor MacWalsey is certainly no loggerhead, but his sexual appeal draws him into an affair with the writer Richard Gordon's wife. Moreover, he displays the essential virtue of many Hemingway heroes who are strong enough to look "straight ahead" into the darkness of life without flinching, only realizing that it's better to use the "anaesthetic an·aes·thet·ic
adv. & n.
Variant of anesthetic.
anaesthetic or US anesthetic
a substance that causes anaesthesia
causing anaesthesia " of drink rather than to "think about that" (212, 222).
I wanted to know more about Burns's relationship with Hemingway and finally pieced together this story, based mainly on a copy of what appears to be the single surviving letter from Ernest to Harry (in the Princeton University Library Princeton University Library is the library of Princeton University. It is housed in the Harvey S. Firestone Memorial Library building, named after the man who founded the Firestone Tire and Rubber Company. ), three letters from Harry to Ernest (in the Kennedy Library), a later exchange of letters between Carlos Baker and Harry (in the Princeton University Library), and a letter to me from the late Robert Heilman, former chair of Washington's English Department. On 27 February 1963, when Baker was at work on his seminal biography of Hemingway, he wrote to Burns for his help, explaining that a number of people, including the poet John Berryman
John Allyn Berryman (originally John Allyn Smith) (October 25, 1914 – January 7, 1972) was an American poet, born in McAlester, Oklahoma. , had referred to Burns "as an indispensable eyewitness on Hemingway's life in and around Key West in the 1930s." Baker especially hoped that Harry might let him read any letters that Hemingway had sent him. Two months later Harry responded, expressing his doubt that he could be of much help but also providing a concise description of the relationship. It had begun in mid July of 1936, when he met Ernest "by accident" in Key West, where Harry was spending the first part of his summer break before going on to Mexico. Harry accepted Ernest's invitation to stay with the Hemingways for the next two weeks, and then rode with them in their car from Key West to New Orleans New Orleans (ôr`lēənz –lənz, ôrlēnz`), city (2006 pop. 187,525), coextensive with Orleans parish, SE La., between the Mississippi River and Lake Pontchartrain, 107 mi (172 km) by water from the river mouth; founded . Along the way they encountered a hurricane and holed up for a short time in Miami. They parted in New Orleans, Harry going on to Mexico and the Hemingways driving on to Wyoming. Thus, Harry wrote to Baker on 29 April 1963, "for a three and a half week period I was in constant close association with him. He was very expansive, very generous, very agreeable. We had marathon conversations"; but Harry regretted that he had taken no notes.
After that visit Harry and Ernest exchanged a few letters between 1936 and 1942 (when Harry began three years of wartime service in the U.S. Army). Burns wrote Baker that the letters had consisted mainly "of fairly brief notes from the ranch near Cooke City (some joint letters from him and Pauline there), Cuba, Spain" (29 April 1963). Following the 1936 meeting, Harry saw Pauline on three occasions, but Harry and Ernest saw nothing of each other until July 1951, when Harry stayed with Ernest and Mary at the Finca Vigia vi·gi·a
A warning on a navigational chart indicating a possible rock, shoal, or other hazard, the exact position of which is unknown.
[Spanish vigía, from Portuguese vigia, from for a week and a half. Burns explained that the 1951 visit "was not quite as revealing or intimate" as the earlier one, but that Ernest had been "warmly friendly." Harry found Hemingway to be "more reserved" than he had been earlier and guessed that "he was still smarting from the reviews of Across the River." Ernest worked steadily every morning and went to bed at around eight, but the two "would talk in the afternoons, often by his swimming pool, and in the early evening." Most important, Ernest allowed Harry to read two manuscripts from the "series of four novelettes" he'd been working on for years: the projected fourth part, The Old Man and the Sea, and the less-finished third part; "he also proudly submitted a sheaf (about forty, I think) of poems which he said he was going to publish before long" (Burns to Baker, 29 April 1963).
In this first and longest of five such letters to Baker, Harry emphasized that "the whole of my personal acquaintance with Hemingway" consisted of only those "five weeks at the beginning and end of a fifteen year period," and he noted that, though he was confident that Hemingway's "attitude toward me remained friendly up to the time of his death," the two "had scarcely any communication during these last years." Harry then explained "the sad circumstances" of his few letters from Hemingway. There were none to share with Baker because, before leaving for the Army in 1942, Burns had stored them "in an old trunk in a summer house I own across the Sound from Seattle." When he returned in late 1945 he discovered that the trunk had disintegrated from the damp, leaving the papers within "so badly mildewed and rotted as to be completely illegible il·leg·i·ble
Not legible or decipherable.
il·legi·bil ." Harry closed his letter by hoping that he might be able to answer some of Baker's questions, and by noting that, "as you may have suspected, I have had a book in mind for some years now in which Hemingway is a central figure," but the projected book would be "more critical than biographical."
In a subsequent letter dated 3 August 1963, Harry agreed with Baker's earlier suggestion that the two might meet in a few months, when Harry would be passing through the East on his way to Europe. But he again cautioned Baker that his knowledge about the background of To Have and Have Not was "not too precise." He went on, however, to refer to a letter he'd received from Hemingway in November 1936 in which Ernest had told him of his progress on the novel, including the news that he had introduced a character named "Prof McW" who had soon "got out of hand." Harry explained that MacWalsey was one of "the whimsical names" by which Hemingway had addressed him, and that on their-stop in New Orleans, Ernest had paged him by that name when they were drinking at a bar in the Monteleone Hotel. Burns also Wrote that he didn't see much of himself "in the character as presented," and recalled that when he had visited the Hemingways at the Finca Vigia Ernest had expressed his hope that Harry hadn't been "sore" about the portrait. Harry had answered that 'Td been 'used' so little I could hardly regard the picture as a comment on myself."
Over the next year and a half the Baker-Burns correspondence was troubled with lost letters and other miscommunications, frustrating Baker in his attempts to understand not only Harry's relationship with Ernest but also what Harry knew about the making of To Have and Have Not. Harry did stop off to see Baker that October, but the. meeting misfired because Harry was under the weather with the flu and Baker was preoccupied with family problems. In a later exchange of letters, Harry apologized for having offered only "trivia" at their meeting, and Baker admitted that he been "much put off by the news that you had on the fire a book of your own" (Burns to Baker, 2 December 1963; Baker to Burns, 6 December 1963). But, trying again, Baker sent Harry a list of seventeen multi-part questions, asking for information on the "accidental" circumstances of his meeting Ernest, a description of Harry's quarters in the Hemingway house at Key West and at the Finca Vigia, details about the hurricane Harry and the Hemingways had encountered in Miami, any details Harry could recall about "prototypes of characters in To Have and Have Not," his impressions of the poems Hemingway showed him, his impressions of both Pauline and Mary, and so forth (Baker to Burns, 6 December 1963).
When Harry wrote Baker again, from Seattle in late October 1964, he explained that he had received the list of questions and, while in Tel Aviv Tel Aviv (tĕl əvēv`), city (1994 pop. 355,200), W central Israel, on the Mediterranean Sea. Oficially named Tel Aviv–Jaffa, it is Israel's commercial, financial, communications, and cultural center and the core of its largest , composed and posted a response to Baker's questions. However, he later learned that the letter had probably been lost because of a postal strike The term postal strike or mail strike may refer to:
Harry knew that the letter was "just a dab," but he hoped that it might be "a mote (reMOTE) A wireless receiver/transmitter that is typically combined with a sensor of some type to create a remote sensor. Some motes are designed to be incredibly small so that they can be deployed by the hundreds or even thousands for various applications (see smart dust). of grist" for Baker's mill, and he explained that he had copied the letter because the original "was in a somewhat fragile state A fragile state is a state significantly susceptible to crisis in one or more of its sub-systems. (It is a state that is particularly vulnerable to internal and external shocks and domestic and international conflicts). , particularly along its folds" (Burns to Baker, 19 October 1964). Because Harry had referred to this letter in rather specific terms in his response to Baker's initial query, one wonders whether he had indeed only recently found it. At any rate, this copy is now in the Carlos Baker collection at the Princeton Library and seems to be the only surviving message from Ernest to Harry. Dated 24 October 1936 from the ranch near Cooke City, Montana, it is one of the joint letters from Pauline and Ernest. The first and longest part is by Pauline, who writes affectionately of their recent drive to New Orleans, when they had holed up in Miami to dodge a hurricane and drank even more than usual. She refers to Harry as MacWalsey and remarks on how impressed she was recently to have learned more about the University of Washington's academic excellence; and she fills Harry in on some details of their stay at the ranch--they had caught a pack rat pack rat, rodent of the genus Neotoma, of North and Central America, noted for its habit of collecting bright, shiny objects and leaving other objects, such as nuts or pebbles, in their place; also called trade rat or wood rat. in the cabin, they were in a rush to get things ready for their trip back to Florida, and Ernest had just appeared with his beard half-trimmed, and so forth.
The last third of the letter, one hundred and ten words, is by Hemingway and also addresses Harry with affection. He regrets not having written earlier, but he had been hard at work on the novel. Bragging that he had also killed two grizzly bears, he seems to compare that kind of adventure with the excitement of writing a novel--although it's hell starting a novel, there's nothing like it once you get going. Then Hemingway divulges that, because they'd all missed Harry so much after the trip to New Orleans, he'd written a character into the novel and named him Professor MacWalsey, his nickname for Burns. Although the character MacWalsey had gotten out of his control, Hemingway still takes pleasure in writing the name, and he tells Harry that when he gets back to the bar where they had drunk together in New Orleans, he would again page Harry by that name, for old times' sake. He ends by telling Harry that he is planning a trip to Spain, asking that Harry write them at either Piggott, Arkansas Piggott is a city in Clay County, Arkansas, one of that county's two seats (Corning is the other), and the northern terminus of the Arkansas segment of Crowley's Ridge Parkway. As of the 2000 census, Piggott's population was 3,894. or Key West, wondering when they would see him again, and signing his name, Ernest.
Baker immediately wrote to Harry, assuring him that the copy of Hemingway's letter helped "fill in some of the gaps" and that he was "much in debt." Baker made one last effort to learn something more about the paging incident at the Monteleone Hotel (Baker to Burns, 29 October 1964). However, there would be no further correspondence between the two about the Professor MacWalsey years. Baker went on to use some of what he had gleaned from Harry, and formally acknowledged his help, but he concluded in the biography that Professor MacWalsey "was based on a rough approximation of Professor Harry Burns and Arnold Gingrich;' Hemingway's friend and editor at Esquire (Life 295). Baker had only the one letter from Pauline and Ernest to Harry, and it isn't clear whether he saw the three surviving letters from Harry to the Hemingways, or, indeed, whether they would have interested them. But the few pages of these letters help fill in our sense of what it was about Burns that might have endeared him to Hemingway and led to the creation of Professor MacWalsey.
The first letter is dated 17 August 1936, about two weeks after Burns had parted with the Hemingways in New Orleans, and is handwritten hand·write
tr.v. hand·wrote , hand·writ·ten , hand·writ·ing, hand·writes
To write by hand.
[Back-formation from handwritten.]
Adj. 1. on stationery from Hotel El Mirador, in Acapulco. The letter begins "Dear Hemingways" and ends, "Yours professionally, Harry Burns." The second letter, from Seattle, is dated 8 December 1936, a few months after he had received the Hemingways' letter from the ranch. Typewritten type·write
intr. & tr.v. type·wrote , type·writ·ten , type·writ·ing, type·writes
To engage in writing or to write (matter) with a typewriter. on letterhead from the Department of English Noun 1. department of English - the academic department responsible for teaching English and American literature
academic department - a division of a school that is responsible for a given subject at the University of Washington, it begins "Dear Hemingways' and ends "Love, Harry." The third letter is from Rome and is dated 4 and 11 January 1952, some five months after his visit to the Finca Vigia; handwritten, it begins "Dear Mary and Ernest" and ends, "Your devoted friend, Harry Burns (professor)." Judging from the different ways Harry signed himself in these letters, he seems to have wondered all along just what his role in this relationship was. Six years younger than Ernest (Harry was thirty-one when they met), he was far out of his league as a person of note, and the letters convey a degree of unease as he tried to develop his part in the relationship beyond that of a drinking buddy with literary taste and academic credentials.
It's hard to believe Harry's remark that the two had met "by accident." With his plans to take up where his mentor, Parrington, had left off, by writing a book on the 1920s, he had good reason to head directly to Key West, the well-known hangout for any number of writers, from Dos Passos and Wallace Stevens to the man who had laid claim to the 1920s in his remarkable In Our Time. And Burns would have naturally made his way to Sloppy Joe's bar. He and Hemingway certainly struck it off in that first meeting and were probably drawn together in their bouts of "spectacular drinking" (Harry's phrase) by the mutual literary interests that undoubtedly fed their marathon conversations. Whether or not Harry displayed his credential as a former student of Parrington, he would have certainly caught Hemingway's attention with his interest in the literary 1920s. It also seems likely that the friendship, limited as it was, probably got off the ground and lasted as long as it did in part because Harry wasn't likely to arouse the kind of animosity Hemingway often displayed by picking fights with writer-friends whom he saw as competitors, such as Anderson, Fitzgerald, or Dos Passos. Harry had an endearing capacity to smile at himself, suggested in the several self-effacing remarks in his letters. He begins his first letter to Hemingway, "you must think me seven kinds of ingrate," and he wrote at the top of his second page, "Note, in glancing over this that I've been strangely garrulous--not drunk either." In his second letter he added a hand-written note in parentheses, "Forgive the lengthy Personal History--didn't realize the extent of the flaw"; and in the letter from Rome he apologizes for perhaps having "appeared a rather limp and unimpressive guest" at the Finca Vigia.
The "lengthy Personal History" in Harry's second letter, the one signed, "Love, Harry," seems to have emerged from the increased confidence he must have felt in the relationship, having received at least two letters from the famous couple, one with the news about Professor MacWalsey. "Am looking forward like hell to the appearance of the new Hemingway novel," he wrote, and he closed with the sentence, "Believe me I appreciated your letters." Whatever brought it forth, one bit of his personal history takes us into the classroom to give us a glimpse of Harry in his professorial role. Just back from his adventures in Key West and Mexico, Harry wrote that his life at the university was pleasant enough, though without "much electricity," and he went on to explain that he Was again "settled into sedate se·date
To administer a sedative to; calm or relieve by means of a sedative drug. academic ways, leading the young of the Northwest along their appointed paths, devising ways of keeping them awake in the afternoon." Noting that as a junior faculty member he'd been given the less desirable assignment of afternoon classes, he went on, "You can imagine, however, the spark of mind meeting mind at three in the afternoon in the classroom. The co-ed crop this fall I note the best in a number of years: the front row in a couple of my classes agreeably suggests the line-up in a musical show. Then old Pop Burns," as he puts it, at age thirty-one, "talks on poetry and the chorus industriously scribbles, smearing its notebooks and pretty fingers with ink, to return later on in 'bluebook' exams the speaker's remarks in embarrassingly correct or distorted form." I don't doubt that the Pop Burns I saw in the classroom nearly thirty years later still appreciated the line-up of attentive "co-eds," even if there was a sputter in his own electric spark.
Harry wasn't off base in signing himself, "Yours professionally." Ernest appreciated Harry's professional status enough to share stories from his Paris days, including some about his friendships with Fitzgerald and Joyce, to loan him the proof sheets from Dos Passos's new novel (The Big Money), and, later, to give Harry the opportunity to read his unpublished poems and the manuscript of The Old Man and the Sea. The guilt Harry expressed in his first letter, as an ingrate, was for having been slow to return the Dos Passos proof sheets. (While Hemingway was sharing his friend Dos Passos's proofs, he was also preparing to libel him in the thinly-disguised portrait of the ineffectual writer Richard Gordon, the man whom Professor MacWalsey cuckolds in To Have and Have Not.) And in his letter from Acapulco Harry tells of his own modest adventures in the lifestyle of characters from The Sun Also Rises. He tells Ernest about his drinking bouts (though noting that he had "no drinks like the Hemingway drinks"), and about seeing his first bull fight. The matador matador
In bullfighting, the principal performer, who works the capes and attempts to dispatch the bull with a sword thrust between the shoulder blades. Most of the techniques used by modern matadors were established in the 1910s by Juan Belmonte (b. 1894–d. was awarded an ear, and throughout it all, Harry had "no feeling of revulsion," either in seeing the bull dispatched or the matador gored. And he confesses that "to my simple eyes" the matador had performed "with a good deal of style." Similarly, after describing a scene of fireworks fireworks: see pyrotechnics.
Explosives or combustibles used for display. Of ancient Chinese origin, fireworks evidently developed out of military rockets and explosive missiles and accompanied the spread of military explosives westward to and ritual dance like the one in The Sun Also Rises, Harry supposes that all that is "old stuff" to such "seasoned Spaniards" as the Hemingways. The other letters contain similar gestures regarding Hemingway's more impressive experience with Parisian life or with ocean liners.
The letters also give us glimpses of Harry in his dual role as professional colleague, of sorts, and devoted friend, and also of Harry the adventurer and writer in his own right. Towards the end of his letter from the English Department in Seattle, Harry slips into the clipped sentence structure that Hemingway employed in his letter from the L Bar T Ranch. Leaving out the "I" as Ernest left out the "I" in telling Harry that he was going to Spain, for example, Harry responds, "Think the idea of going to Spain a fine one." But he also edges closer, telling how, passing through San Francisco on his way back from Mexico, "Encountered Saroyan at a party there who as you may surmise quizzed me like hell about you (I maintaining what to him must have been a damned annoying reticence)." And earlier in the same letter he provides a memorable account of his bus ride on the way back from Acapulco. On the rough, steep, twisting, narrow roads, they had to dodge "hogs, goats, burros (which the drivers will bunt but rarely annihilate an·ni·hi·late
v. an·ni·hi·lat·ed, an·ni·hi·lat·ing, an·ni·hi·lates
a. To destroy completely: The naval force was annihilated during the attack. )." Telling how all sorts of objects were flying back and forth within the bus, he continues, "You go around the double reverse hairpin hairpin
a secondary structure that occurs in single-strand RNA during protein synthesis in which the strand turns back on itself. The structure is the result of base pairing and hydrogen bond formation. curves with a mountain wall on one side, a thousand foot drop on the other, glory descends on you, your ears sing, and you know nothing on heaven or earth can stop you." Once, with a broken rear axle that caused them to fishtail fish·tail
Resembling or suggestive of the tail of a fish in shape or movement.
intr.v. fish·tailed, fish·tail·ing, fish·tails
1. , "the bus lurched out to the drop-off, swung back toward the wall, again lurched out toward space (this time we thought we were gone), managed at last to crash back beautifully in the mountain side, cutting all the people on the crashed side of the bus, killing a couple in fact, and leaving us on the other side silly and scared."
Other details in the letters suggest that Harry's identity was influenced in part by his liberal mentor, V. L. Parrington. Soon after Harry arrived in Mexico City he made his way to see "the Rivera and Orozco murals"; and, back at the university, he let the Hemingways know that "Seattle has been characteristically lively: we've had some rousing good strikes: Hearst for the first time in the U.S. has really had to capitulate ca·pit·u·late
intr.v. ca·pit·u·lat·ed, ca·pit·u·lat·ing, ca·pit·u·lates
1. To surrender under specified conditions; come to terms.
2. To give up all resistance; acquiesce. See Synonyms at yield. ." These represent the kinds of aesthetic and political values in American thought that Harry had absorbed under Parrington, and that ultimately contributed to his identity at the University of Washington; perhaps he surmised that such remarks would resonate with Hemingway, whose hero, Harry Morgan, is a "working man" who "was out on strike plenty of times in the old days when we had the cigar factories in Key West" (THHN 166).
Although the Seattle Post-Intelligencer got Harry's middle initial wrong (giving it as L. instead of H.) in its 13 June 1979 obituary, it got the essential features of his public persona correct by identifying him as "a close friend of the late Vernon L. Parrington" and noting that he was "among the last group of students from the university permitted to earn graduate degrees there and continue on as teachers." It also reported that, although he was known as a popular teacher, "Burns never rose above the level of associate professor because he did not publish." And it devotes its longest paragraph to telling how "Burns became a friend of Ernest Hemingway," who "based a character in 'To Have and Have Not' on Burns"--"a rather dissipated college professor, which was a continuing source of amusement for Burns."
The author of Harry's obituary was kind enough to suggest that Harry chose not to publish, that "Instead, he concentrated on teaching"; but the letters to both Hemingway and Baker reveal a man dogged by the thought that "I must get some work done," as he wrote to Ernest from Rome. "There's no use kidding myself," he continues, "the big capitals of Europe don't fill me with a spirit of industry. Even, or should I say particularly, Paris, which is the one place whose libraries are partially to my purpose, didn't result in any work whose quality or bulk I could boast of." Yet he relished his days there, telling Ernest that, staving near St. Germaine-des-Pres, he met his "full quota of 'characters,' as one does, from Sartre, who has put up placards in many of the caves disavowing his Existentialist ex·is·ten·tial·ism
A philosophy that emphasizes the uniqueness and isolation of the individual experience in a hostile or indifferent universe, regards human existence as unexplainable, and stresses freedom of choice and responsibility for the followers, to Camus and Erich yon Stroheim, to say nothing of the assorted ding-bats of the Quarrier" (Burns to Hemingway, 4-11 January 1952). It was as though Burns were attempting to bring back the Paris of Hemingway's youth.
A little over a decade later Burns wrote to Baker from London about his second enjoyable visit to Paris. He had "done a certain amount of work" on his projected book, but his main point was that, while he hadn't expected that this visit would bring back the kind of "excitement and genuinely romantic quality" of his previous trip there, he was gratified grat·i·fy
tr.v. grat·i·fied, grat·i·fy·ing, grat·i·fies
1. To please or satisfy: His achievement gratified his father. See Synonyms at please.
2. "just to 'be there,' to be back in the ambience' of Europe." He also told Baker that he had heard that Mary Hemingway had also been in Paris to check on the accuracy of place names and so forth "in Hemingway's book of memoirs"; and that Hemingway's "astonishingly a·ston·ish
tr.v. as·ton·ished, as·ton·ish·ing, as·ton·ish·es
To fill with sudden wonder or amazement. See Synonyms at surprise. accurate" recollection of such details "fits with your [Baker's] surmises about when this work was actually written" (Burns to Baker, 2 December 1963). By the time Burns had returned from this sabbatical and found time to write Baker again (the letter dated 19 October 1964, in which he enclosed the copy of his letter from Hemingway), he told how he had obtained a copy of A Moveable Feast. He had read it with great "anticipation and trepidation," and he thought that much of it was "authentic, the vintage Hemingway. But, oh Lord, when you think of what he could have done with his special knowledge of the twenties in Paris, of how much more he was equipped to tell us of Joyce and company, you can't help a fleeting regret." He noted also that "five or six of the statements about Scott and Zelda did not jibe with the accounts of them Hemingway gave me in the vanished past," but he thought that such discrepancies were beside the point: "I suppose that the total Feast has an abiding place in the Hemingway canon." He signed himself, "Yours sincerely,--if intermittently Harry Burns."
Of the many possible reasons why Harry never published, two seem most plausible--first, that his planned book on the American 1920s took him back to something like the kind of literary history he had learned from Parrington, but which was distinctly out of favor among the reigning New Critics of the 1950s. Second, by the time I met Harry in the early 1960s, Hemingway's reputation within the academy had fallen to its lowest point ever, to the extent that nothing by Hemingway was included in another class I took at Washington, on recent American fiction. It seems that it was Harry's fate to have formed ties with two of the most formidable literary figures of his time, and that both the shadow of Parrington and the towering presence of Hemingway helped silence him. Whatever the reasons for Harry's failure to produce his work on Hemingway and the 1920s, the self-consciously intermittent help he gave Baker resembles the characteristic difficulty he had in clearing his throat and searching for words when he stood before a class.
Late in 2000, still baffled in my own efforts to learn more about Harry, and hoping to find a letter or letters that Ernest had written him (I hadn't yet seen Harry's letter to Baker about the Hemingway correspondence lost to the damp), I wrote to Harry's former colleague and long-time department chair, Robert Heilman. Perhaps Harry's papers had been collected somewhere at the University of Washington. Heilman was ninety-four at the time, only a year younger than Harry would have been, but his own academic background was quite different from Harry's. Because of his previous work with such famous "New" critics as Robert Penn Warren Noun 1. Robert Penn Warren - United States writer and poet (1905-1989)
Warren and Cleanth Brooks, Heilman had been brought to the university in 1948 to chair and upgrade the department, and he served in that position for twenty-three years. Not knowing the state of his health at the time, I was delighted a few weeks later to receive his response, typewritten with a much-used ribbon on aged yellow paper, and with many penned corrections.
Heilman wrote that he knew nothing of any possible collection of Harry's papers but he tried "to set down [his] own complex impressions of Harry":
Though a Washingtonian from start to finish, and a good friend to the many Washingtonians in the Department, he did not, I am sure, want to be identified only as a "local boy" who had made the grade on local connections rather than the objectifiably professional standards of writings and other indicators of professional status. Hence he kept at hand a Hemingway letter that he would pull out of his pocket to show anybody, a letter that was famously all but worn out by the frequency with which it was pulled out to show people. It seemed never to dawn on Harry, sharp as he was at his best, how this constant display of the letter would impinge on people. Yet he was a sharp critical reader of works that belonged to wider strains of literature than would be found on an official list of "good" works made up by a loyal Parringtonian. That was the quality in him which was found attractive by many--the breadth of taste, and of good taste (Heilman to author, October 2000).
Heilman also remembered attending a Catholic memorial service for Harry some twenty years before and wondering "how he would have taken such a phenomenon as the random embracing of pew neighbors," for Heilman surmised that Harry's Catholic feelings were mixed "with the disdain for the church that would be natural in a Parrington liberal."
It was only a few years after hearing this from Heilman that I could arrange to read Burns's letters to Baker and read Burns's own description of the prized Hemingway letter that was even then "in a somewhat fragile state, particularly along its folds." I am struck by the seemingly Jamesian inevitability of Harry's life, as in James's tale of "Owen Wingrave." Harry Burns. Harry watched Ernest's meteoric me·te·or·ic
1. Of, relating to, or formed by a meteoroid.
2. Of or relating to the earth's atmosphere.
3. career at Close range, and drew too near the blaze. But I would light that flame again and ask him, if I could, "What did he say about Santiago after you'd read the Old Man manuscript there at the Finca Vigia?" And, "How'd you take the blast of the news out of Ketchum that day?" As it turns out, in my several years' off-and-on search for more information about Harry's relationship with Hemingway, I've just now had a firsthand glimpse of Harry's response to the shocking news of his friend's suicide. Shortly after writing to Robert Heilman's heirs for permission to quote his father's letter here, I heard from Heilman's son Pete, who immediately gave his "enthusiastic permission," along with his own insight into the Burns-Hemingway relationship (he had not known about Professor MacWalsey): "You may be interested to know that I was with Harry Burns," Heilman wrote, "when the news of Hemingway's suicide was reported." By chance, both the younger Heilman and Burns were visiting mutual friends near Baltimore when the news came. "What struck me about [Burns's] reaction," Heilman wrote, "was his profound sadness, almost a sense of personal betrayal at the astonishing and surprising news. His demeanor reminded me of a balloon that was almost completely deflating; he seemed to shrink, his voice becoming almost whispery, his manner listless (programming) listless - In functional programming, a property of a function which allows it to be combined with other functions in a way that eliminates intermediate data structures, especially lists. " (Pete Heilman to author, 11 July 2008).
I imagine the indistinct in·dis·tinct
1. Not clearly or sharply delineated: an indistinct pattern; indistinct shapes in the gloom.
2. Faint; dim: indistinct stars.
3. figures of Harry's smiling colleagues; those who made far fainter impressions on the world of letters than Harry did. Especially a slender one with glasses and a natty bow tie, sipping his martini at a faculty cocktail party. Glancing around and nudging the one next to him, he whispers, "I saw that look on your face when Burns pulled it out again."
Long live Professor MacWalsey.
Anon. Obituary of Harry [H.] Burns. Seattle Post-Intelligencer. 13 June 1979. [photocopy, n. pag.]
Baker, Carlos. Ernest Hemingway: A Life Story. New York New York, state, United States
New York, Middle Atlantic state of the United States. It is bordered by Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and the Atlantic Ocean (E), New Jersey and Pennsylvania (S), Lakes Erie and Ontario and the Canadian province of : Scribner's, 1969.
--. Letter to Harry Burns. 27 February 1963. Carlos Baker Papers. Princeton University Library. Princeton, NJ.
--. Letter to Harry Burns. 6 December 1963. Carlos Baker Papers. Princeton University Library. Princeton, NJ.
--. Letter to Harry Burns. 29 October 1964. Carlos Baker Papers. Princeton University Library. Princeton, NJ.
Burns, Harry. Letter to Pauline and Ernest Hemingway. 17 August . The Ernest Hemingway Collection. John F. Kennedy Library The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum is the presidential library and museum of the 35th President of the United States John F. Kennedy. It is located on Dorchester's Columbia Point in Boston, Massachusetts, USA, and was designed by the architect I.M. Pei. . Boston, MA.
--. Letter to Pauline and Ernest Hemingway. 8 December . The Ernest Hemingway Collection. John F. Kennedy Library. Boston, MA.
--. Letter to Mary and Ernest Hemingway. 4-11 January 1952. The Ernest Hemingway Collection. John F. Kennedy Library. Boston, MA.
--. Letter to Carlos Baker. 29 April 1963. Carlos Baker Papers. Princeton University Library Princeton, NJ.
--. Letter to Carlos Baker. 3 August 1963. Carlos Baker Papers. Princeton University, Library. Princeton, NJ.
--. Letter to Carlos Baker. 2 December 1963. Carlos Baker Papers. Princeton University Library. Princeton, NJ.
--. Letter to Carlos Baker. 9 April 1964. Carlos Baker Papers. Princeton University Library. Princeton, NJ.
--. Letter to Carlos Baker. 19 October 1964. Carlos Baker Papers. Princeton University Library. Princeton, NJ.
Heilman, Pete. Letter to Author. July 11, 2008
Heilman, Robert B. Letter to Author. [October 2000].
Hemingway, Ernest. To Have told Have Not. 1937. New York: Scribner's, 1970.
BERT (Bit Error Rate Test) An analysis of network transmission efficiency that computes the percentage of bits received in error from the total number sent. BENDER
Arizona State University Arizona State University, at Tempe; coeducational; opened 1886 as a normal school, became 1925 Tempe State Teachers College, renamed 1945 Arizona State College at Tempe. Its present name was adopted in 1958.