MAXWELL PERKINS'S PLAN FOR THE FIRST 48.
IN HIS ACCOUNT of the chronology of stories in The Fifth Column and the First Forty-nine Stories, Paul Smith refers to "a dummy volume Scribner's had made up and advertised in early June as The First 48 collected stories" (3). Working largely from Hemingway's letters to his Scribner's editor, Maxwell Perkins, as presented in Carlos Baker's Selected Letters, Smith does a good job of laying out Hemingway's objections to the chronological scheme suggested by Perkins and illustrated in the dummy, even though Smith apparently had not seen either the dummy or Perkins' letter accompanying it. Smith's account is supported by the Perkins--Hemingway letters collected by Matthew J. Bruccoli and published in The Only Thing That Counts in 1996. But an important piece of the story is missing both in Smith's article and Bruccoli's book: Perkins's letter to Hemingway of 2 June 1938, accompanying Scribner's dummy for The First Forty-Eight, Hemingway's collected stories.
That letter, along with Hemingway's copy of the dummy, are in the Lee Samuels Collection of Hemingway materials at the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center at the University of Texas in Austin. Hemingway inscribed the dummy to Samuels with the additional information that he thought (but might be wrong) that his copy of the dummy was the only one in existence.
Given the final selection and ordering of stories in the volume published as The Fifth Column and the First Forty-nine Stories, it may be useful to reproduce both the pertinent contents of Perkins's letter, and the table of contents as they appear on pages v-vii of the dummy. Perkins writes:
I am sending herewith a dummy of "The First Forty-Eight", in a temporary jacket. I want you to see the type page and also to look carefully at the pages of contents so that you can consider the really very impressive qualities of this book in connection with your idea of putting the play and the new stories together in one volume. As to that, I think the play ought to stand alone, and can, and that it will do well alone even if it is published and not produced for it should be, and should make a great deal of money.--Even if it should not be successful for some reason on the stage, it would sell much better to the movies for having been there--and also it would do good to the Loyalists' cause. "The Fifth Column" published by itself would make a much stronger impression than if it were in any collection. As to the stories.--I think now is the time to show what has been done and is being done by putting the new and the old stories together. I think I have them in absolutely right chronological order--though I cannot feel sure that we ought not to put the hitherto unpublished ones first. Captain Cohn furnished me with "Up in Michigan" and also with the chronology of all. I put the original "in our time" as one unit.--I always hoped to see it published in that way because it seemed to me that it was a unit in its nature, and that something was lost when its chapters were scattered through a volume, and so separated. And I think that the fact of chronology in this volume is one of very considerable interest. Of course we can easily do any rearranging that seems desirable after the text is all in proof. We had begun to set up before I got your letter suggesting the new stories and the play as a book. Then I had the typesetting stopped. But I think we are going to have a very good looking book.--You can see what the page is like from the dummy.
The contents page in Hemingway's copy of Scribner's dummy for The First 48 lists the stories:
1. Up in Michigan 2. Out of Season 3. My Old Man 4. In Our Time 5. Indian Camp 6. The Doctor and the Doctor's Wife 7. The End of Something 8. The Three-Day Blow 9. The Battler 10. A Very Short Story 11. Soldier's Home 12. The Revolutionist 13. Mr. and Mrs. Eliot 14. Cat in the Rain 15. Cross-Country Snow 16. Big Two-Hearted River 17. To-Day is Friday 18. The Undefeated 19. An Alpine Idyll 20. In Another Country 21. Hills Like White Elephants 22. The Killers 23. Che Ti Dice La Patria? 24. Fifty Grand 25. A Simple Enquiry 26. Ten Indians 27. A Canary for One 28. A Pursuit Race 29. Banal Story 30. Now I Lay Me 31. Introduction by the Author 32. A Natural History of the Dead 33. God Rest You Merry, Gentlemen 34. After the Storm 35. A Clean, Well-Lighted Place 36. The Light of the World 37. The Sea Change 38. A Way You'll Never Be 39. The Mother of a Queen 40. One Reader Writes 41. Homage to Switzerland 42. A Day's Wait 43. Wine of Wyoming 44. The Gambler, the Nun, and the Radio 45. Fathers and Sons 46. The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber 47. The Capitol [sic] of the World(1) 48. The Snows of Kilimanjaro
Several matters stand out. "Big Two-Hearted River" is no longer to be divided into two parts as it is in In Our Time. The in our time vignettes, restored to their uninterrupted "chapter" form of the 1924 Paris edition printed at the "three mountains press," are now to be subsumed under the rubric "In Our Time" and placed fourth--after "Up in Michigan," "Out of Season" and "My Old Man," the earliest surviving stories from Hemingway's first years in Paris. "The End of Something" "The Three-Day Blow" and "The Battler," are all placed before the post-World War I stories, "A Very Short Story" "Soldier's Home," and "The Revolutionist." The Spanish Civil War story "Old Man at the Bridge" is not yet listed. (Hemingway added it in July, according to Bruccoli .) "On the Quai at Smyrna" is still listed (apparently) as "Introduction by the Author." "A Natural History of the Dead" (ostensibly because it appeared earlier, not as a short story but as part of Death in the Afternoon ) is placed before all the other stories collected in Winner Take Nothing (1933). "God Rest You Merry, Gentlemen" appears immediately after "A Natural History of the Dead," presumably because it also achieved earlier, separate publication. "The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber," "The Capital of the World" and "The Snows of Kilimanjaro"--all published after 1933 and the publication of Winner Take Nothing--are listed as the last three stories, numbers 46-48.(2)
As Smith notes, drawing upon Hemingway's reply to Perkins, there is no doubt that the author strongly opposed the overall plan presented in The First 48. Besides objecting to the chronology provided for his stories by Hemingway collector Louis Henry Cohn because it was inaccurate, Hemingway rightly complained that reprinting the whole of in our time as a block would bring about a duplication of vignettes ten and eleven in the two stories from In Our Time published as "A Very Short Story" and "The Revolutionist." Of course, had Hemingway found the principle of printing the stories chronologically by date of composition acceptable and desirable, he could have made the effort to arrange the stories in the volume to follow the principle. But he forestalled that possibility by telling Perkins "I cannot say just when any given story was written but I can check up on enough of them to know that the Cohn order is simply nonsense" (Bruccoli 263). "But if you put me on the witness stand I could not tell exactly when each story was written. Nor do I give a good god-damn. So if they are not to be chronological let's have them in the order they were in the books which was always carefully worked out" (Bruccoli 263). And there you have it. Hemingway simply did not want to give up the integrity, not even for a "new" book, that he had worked out originally for In Our Time, Men Without Women, and Winner Take Nothing. However, he did consider working out an order for the stories that reversed the chronology of book publication but maintained the original order of the stories within their discrete volumes. "The order," he now suggested, would be:
The Fifth Column-- The Short Happy Life of Francis MacCumber Old Man at the Bridge The Snows of Kilimanjaro The Capitol of The World Followed by the stories in the order which they appear in Winner Take Nothing Men Without Women then Up In Michagan-- Then the stories in the order in which they appear in In Our Time with the chapters set in italics between them exactly as in the Liveright Edition. The story called Introduction by the Author which is now called On The Quai at Smyrna Follows Up In Michigan and proceeds the story Indian Camp in The In Our Time group. (Bruccoli 266-67)
But having set out his plan, Hemingway immediately impugned it. It was "sort of goofy to work backwards all the way like that"; in fact, "it would probably be sounder" because they were not "following chronology completely either backwards or forward to simply state in the preface that the play and the first four stories were the last things written" even though they were "put first" and "then follow with the other stories in the order of Up In Michigan[,] In Our Time, Men Without Women, and Winner Take Nothing" (Bruccoli 267). "The going backwards is maybe logical" he concluded, "but it does not make so good a book because there is a line in all the Nick stories that is continuous and running it backwards is confusing" (Bruccoli 267). To preserve the progress of the Nick Adams drama through the sequence provided in the 1925, 1927, and 1933 collections of stories was a just and sufficient reason, even though it appears to have come to Hemingway as something of an afterthought in his continuing argument with Perkins. On the arrangement of stories in The Fifth Column and the First Forty-nine Stories (1938), Hemingway appears to have had the last say.
(1.) Hemingway misspells it "Capitol" in several letters to Perkins (Bruccoli 249, 263, 267).
(2.) Some of my observations are anticipated by Hanneman, who notes that "Prior to publication of the book Scribner's printed around 30 copies of a dummy for use by their salesmen" (47). Presumably Hemingway's copy is one of those.
Bruccoli, Matthew J. Ed. The Only Thing That Counts: The Ernest Hemingway-Maxwell Perkins Correspondence, 1925-1947. New York: Scribner's, 1996.
Hanneman, Audre. Ernest Hemingway: A Comprehensive Bibliography. Princeton: Princeton UP, 1967.
Perkins, Maxwell. To Ernest Hemingway 2 June 1938. Lee Samuels Collection. Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center. University of Texas. Austin, Texas. Quoted by permission of Charles Scribner, III.
Smith, Paul. "The Chronology of The First Forty-nine Stories." The Hemingway Review 11.1 (Fall 1991), 2-7.
GEORGE MONTEIRO Brown University