Redefining remate: Hemingway's professed approach to writing A Moveable Feast.For nearly fifty years, Hemingway scholars have used the term remate to describe Hemingway's approach to writing A Moveable Feast Noun 1. moveable feast - a religious holiday that falls on different dates in different years
feast day, fete day - a day designated for feasting . This essay traces the critical consensus that remate is a jai alai jai alai (hī`lī'), handball-like game of Spanish Basque origin. It is also called pelota. Jai alai is played on a three-walled court with a hard rubber ball that must be hurled against the front wall with the cesta, term that means a two-wall shot or a shot "by reflection" to a probable mistranslation mis·trans·late
tr.v. mis·trans·lat·ed, mis·trans·lat·ing, mis·trans·lates
To translate incorrectly.
mis of the word by Mary Hemingway and invites critics to consider how the correct definition of remate, which literally means to "re-kill"--it also has specialized meaning as a "kill shot" in jai alai and a "finishing pass" in bullfighting-might change the way we study, teach, and write about A Moveable Feast.
FOR NEARLY FIFTY YEARS, Hemingway scholars have used the term remate to describe Hemingway's unique approach to autobiography and memoir. Their use of this term is traceable toga 10 May 1964 article by Mary Hemingway in The 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 Times Book Review, where she discusses the "conception" and "construction" of her husband's posthumously published memoir, A Moveable Feast. Mary recounts a conversation with Ernest about the genre of Feast, prompted by her complaint as she was preparing the typescript that: "It's not much about you.... I thought it was going to be autobiography?' She recalls Hemingway's response: "It's biography by remate" and goes on to gloss his meaning, "Remate idiomatically id·i·o·mat·ic
a. Peculiar to or characteristic of a given language.
b. Characterized by proficient use of idiomatic expressions: a foreigner who speaks idiomatic English. is used to mean a two-wall shot in jai alai. By reflection" This exchange is noteworthy for two reasons: first, according to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.
2. In keeping with: according to instructions.
3. Mary, Ernest changed her designation of Feast's genre from "autobiography" to "biography" in his response to her, and second, her translation of remate as a jai alai term that means "by reflection" is not accurate or complete.
It is impossible to know what exactly Hemingway said, although clearly "biography by remate" would mean something different from "autobiography by remate?' In Hemingway: The Writer as Artist (1972), 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. identified this subtle shift in genre in Mary's statement but chalks it up as a mistake and tries to settle the issue when he writes in a footnote: "[Hemingway] was doing autobiography rather than biography [in Feast]" (375). Since that time, most critics have followed Baker's lead and referred to Feast almost exclusively as "autobiography" and Hemingway's method of writing as "autobiography by remate." (1) Although there is probably more to say on this topic, the focus of my discussion will be Mary's use of the term remate.
Since Mary made this claim, the notion that Hemingway was working "by remate" in Feast has informed numerous critical efforts, but it appears that either Mary's memory, her Spanish, or her knowledge of jai alai was not quite accurate. In this note, I want to track a potential misunderstanding of Hemingway's notion of (auto)biography and memoir (and of A Moveable Feast in particular) that has extended from Mary's statement that remate means "by reflection."
Remate is a rich and unusual word. It comes from the Spanish verb, rematar, which literally means "to re-kill" with the suggestion of "to kill" coming from matar. Remate is frequently translated into English as "to finish" or "to complete." Mary is right to identify the word as a jai alai term, but traditionally remate is used to refer to any type of "kill shot," a shot so forceful or perfectly placed that it cannot be returned. (2) Although a remate shot can be a "two-wall shot" as Mary defined it in her 1964 New York Times article, it need not be; the purpose in identifying a shot as a remate in jai alai is to make the point that it is un-returnable. In addition, given Hemingway's lifelong love of bullfighting bullfighting, national sport and spectacle of Spain. Called the corrida de toros in Spanish, the bullfight takes place in a large outdoor arena known as the plaza de toros. , it is also worth noting that remate has roots in that art as well. According to Barnaby Conrad's Encyclopedia of Bullfighting, remate means "[l]iterally conclusion. A finishing pass, such as the rebolera, [a flourish to the passes in which the cape is swirled around the bullfighter's waist like a dancer's dress]" (Conrad 205). The same encyclopedia defines rematar as "to complete. To finish a series of passes" (205). James A. Michener also lists remate among the bullfighting definitions in his introduction to The Dangerous Summer. His definition is "end, conclusion," a "master pass" that leaves the bull "motionless" (27). Mary's interpretation of the word thus appears suspect, because it misses the essence of the word, which is "to finish" conclusively and "to end" absolutely.
Before continuing this exploration of remate's genealogy genealogy (jē'nēŏl`əjē, –ăl`–, jĕ–), the study of family lineage. Genealogies have existed since ancient times. in Hemingway scholarship, I want to be clear that this note is in no way meant to diminish the excellent work done by Hemingway scholars and critics who took Mary Hemingway at her word and used remate to mean "by reflection." There are three reasons why this note should not be used to question their efforts. First, regardless of the term used as the entry point, the study of Hemingway's writing as "reflective" has been illuminating; it has significantly deepened readers' appreciation of his writing technique as well as his themes. In this regard, the confusion around the translation of remate has been a happy accident for Hemingway scholars. Second, although the emphasis in jai alai is on its status as a "kill shot," remate can be a two-wall shot, and therefore is in a sense "reflective." Third, Mary's gloss of remate is only one term that has encouraged scholars to look for rebounding and reflective properties in Hemingway's work. If one requires his permission to read his writing in this way, there are still several other metaphors available. For instance, in a 1950 interview with Harvey Breit, Hemingway compared aspects of his writing to "calculus" and to the "three-cushion shot" in billiards. This note is simply an effort to trace an apparent misunderstanding or misinterpretation of something Ernest Hemingway Noun 1. Ernest Hemingway - an American writer of fiction who won the Nobel prize for literature in 1954 (1899-1961)
Hemingway may have said to Mary Hemingway about his method in A Moveable Feast.
Mary's definition of remate as meaning "by reflection" was first picked up by Philip Young in his Ernest Hemingway: A Reconsideration (1966). In the afterword af·ter·word
See epilogue. , Young rehearses the exchange between Mary and Ernest as presented in her 1964 article and offers the first, brief demonstration of how remate might serve as a basis for reading and interpreting A Moveable Feast. The concept of reflection, Young maintains, allows the reader to see how "even when the focus, as so often, is on someone else there is an unflagging sense of presence, of himself [Hemingway]" (284). In 1969, Carlos Baker repeated Mary Hemingway's story in Ernest Hemingway: A Life Story and offered a somewhat more technical definition of remate as "the jai-alai term for a double-wall rebound" (540). Apparently inspired by Mary's observations that remate refers to a two-wall shot "by reflection," Baker's definition is technically incorrect.
In his 1972 book, Hemingway: The Writer as Artist, Baker did raise a muffled warning about the way remate had been translated and used in Hemingway scholarship. In a footnote embedded on page 375 (the same footnote where he insists that Hemingway must have meant autobiography and not biography in the original exchange with Mary), Baker expresses a reservation about Mary's interpretation of remate and makes an effort to correct his 1969 misunderstanding of the word. At first he attempts to salvage the emphasis on "reflection" which had already proved a valuable way of reading A Moveable Feast, by suggesting that Mary might have misremembered the word. He suggests that Hemingway might have said rebote instead. Rebote, which is Spanish for "ricochet A wireless Internet service from Ricochet Networks, Inc., Denver, CO (www.ricochet.net). Originally developed by Los Gatos, CA-based Metricom, Inc., Ricochet was the first high-speed, wireless Internet service for commuters. or rebound," is a back wall, rebound shot in jai alai, allowing Baker to preserve the idea that Hemingway "was writing autobiography by showing himself rebounding from the personalities of others" (375). But Baker also admits that perhaps Hemingway did say remate, in which case A Moveable Feast might be read as a way of "treating some of his former enemies to kill shots" (375). Although he does not take a definitive position on rebote versus remate in Feast, Baker does point out that Hemingway at least knew the proper meaning of rematar because in Islands in the Stream he correctly used a variation of the word, rematado, to mean "finished," "complete" or "dead." In the passage Baker has in mind, rematado refers to a lethal shot striking a German "at the base of the spine and in the back of the neck" (IITS IITS Information, Instruction, Training and Supervision (UK)
IITS International Intradiscal Therapy Society
IITS It's in the Script (TV/movie plot slang)
IITS Internet-Intranet Transport Service 328). Yet despite Baker's footnoted observation about the confusion around Mary's translation of remate as "by reflection;' this meaning of remate has persisted in Hemingway scholarship since 1972 with few qualifications. (3)
In recent years, as scholars and critics have begun to explore the full scope of Hemingway's posthumously published work, the word remate is again being invoked with some degree of frequency. Rose Marie This article is about the actress. For other persons of the same name, see Rose Marie (disambiguation).
Rose Marie (born August 15, 1923) is an actress who had a career as a child star under the name Baby Rose Marie Burwell first resurrected the term in her ground-breaking Hemingway: The Postwar Years and The Posthumous Novels (1996). She draws on Baker's incorrect 1969 definition of remate as "a jai alai term for a double-wall rebound" (Burwell 159; 203), but does not take into account his reservations about this translation in the later 1972 footnote. (1) Burwell expands upon Mary's gloss of remate as "reflection" when she ties the concept of remate as a writing technique to Hemingway's use of "twinned" characters: "Hemingway began to work by what he would eventually call remate, a technique that certainly facilitated--and may have suggested--the significant twinning, cloning and splitting of painters and writers in Islands and Eden" (54). Jacqueline Brogan, Jeffrey Meyers, and Hilary Justice are among many recent scholars giving attention to Hemingway's work in the genres of autobiography and memoir who have used remate in a similar way. Although I do not think any Hemingway reader can seriously question that value of "reflection" when considering his work (think of all those mirrors and twinned characters), I do think it is valuable to sift through the confusion around remate engendered by Mary Hemingway and consider the repercussions repercussions npl → répercussions fpl
repercussions npl → Auswirkungen pl .
Something appears to be wrong with Mary Hemingway's story regarding her exchange with Ernest about A Moveable Feast--either Hemingway said rebote and she misremembered the word, or he said remate and she got the translation wrong, not unlikely given that her Spanish was never as strong as Hemingway's (Reynolds 130). A less likely scenario is that she was thinking very specifically of the fact that remate can sometimes refer to a two-wall shot and chose not to mention that it is always a "kill shot."
Two things, however, are clear at this point. First, remate does mean a "kill shot" in jai alai, or a finishing pass in bullfighting; it 'does not mean simply "reflection" or "rebound" although clearly there is an 'element of "doubling" in the "re-" prefix. Second, there is ample evidence that Hemingway knew the proper meaning of remate. He uses the word appropriately in several places in his work. In addition to the use of rematado Baker identifies in Islands in the Stream, Hemingway includes a definition of rematar in the glossary of Death in the Afternoon: "to finish; to make the last pass of any series of passes with the cape; to perform some act that will provide an emotional or artistic climax" (443).
The idea of A Moveable Feast as a kind of "kill shot" makes intuitive sense. Without using the word remate, Michael Reynolds Michael Reynolds or Mike Reynolds is a relatively common name in the English-speaking world. Notable Michael Reynolds include:
Baker, Carlos. Ernest Hemingway: A Life Story. New York: Collier, 1968.
--. Hemingway: The Writer as Artist. Princeton, NJ: Princeton UP, 1972.
Barnaby, Conrad. Encyclopedia of Bullfighting. Cambridge, MA: Riverside, 1961.
Breit, Harvey. "Talk with Mr. Hemingway." New York Times Book Review. 17 September 1950. <http://www.nytimes.com/books/99/07/04/specials/hemingway-talk.html>
Burwell, Rose Marie. Hemingway: The Postwar Years and the Posthumous Novels. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge UP, 1996.
Hemingway, Ernest Hemingway, Ernest, 1899–1961, American novelist and short-story writer, b. Oak Park, Ill. one of the great American writers of the 20th cent. Life
The son of a country doctor, Hemingway worked as a reporter for the Kansas City Star . Death in the Afternoon. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons Charles Scribner's Sons is a publisher that was founded in 1846 at the Brick Church Chapel on New York's Park Row. The firm published Scribner's Magazine for many years. Scribner's is well known for publishing Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Kurt Vonnegut, Robert A. , 1932.
--. Islands in the Stream. New York: Scribner Paperback Fiction, 1970.
Hemingway, Mary. "The Making of the Book: A Chronicle and a Memoir." New York Times Book Review. 10 May 1964. <http://www.nytimes.com/books/99/07/04/specials/hemingway-mary.htrnl>
Lemmon, BIG Dave
Big Dave is an infamous character created and written by Mark Millar and Grant Morrison, with artwork by Steve Parkhouse, for 2000 AD. . Email interview. 4-5 March 2008.
Reynolds, Michael. Hemingway: The Final Years. New York: W.W. Norton, 1999.
Michener, James A Michener, James A(lbert)
(born Feb. 3, 1907?, New York, N.Y., U.S.—died Oct. 16, 1997, Austin, Texas) U.S. novelist and short-story writer. Michener was a foundling discovered in Doylestown, Pa., and he was raised as a Quaker. . Introduction. The Dangerous Summer. By Ernest Hemingway. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1985.
Tyler, Lisa. Student Companion to Ernest Hemingway. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 2001.
Young, Philip. Ernest Hemingway: A Reconsideration. University Park: Penn State UP, 1966.
SUZANNE DEL GIZZO
Chestnut Hill College History
Located at the northwestern edge of Philadelphia on 45 acres overlooking the Wissahickon Creek, Chestnut Hill College opened in 1924 as a Catholic, four-year, liberal arts college for women. Founded as Mount Saint Joseph College by the Sisters of St.
I want to thank Aida Beaupied for her assistance with the Spanish translations, Phil Skipp and BIG Dave Lemmon for their help with the jai alai terminology, and Miriam Mandel for alerting me to the definitions of remate and rematar in Barnaby Conrad's Encyclopedia of Bullfighting and for her helpful feedback on a draft of this note.
(1.) The shift from "autobiography" to "biography" in Mary's version of her exchange with Hemingway is curious. In Hemingway: A Life (1969), Carlos Baker glosses over Hemingway's replacement of "autobiography" with "biography" by using paraphrase at the crucial moment. Baker quotes Mary as saying "I thought it was going to be autobiography," but then moves into paraphrase, writing: "He was working by remate, said Ernest, borrowing the jai-alai term for a double-wall rebound." (540) By inserting the word working into the paraphrase, Baker avoids the problematic shift in genre in Mary's original account. In Hemingway: The Writer As Artist (1972), Baker attempts to clarify the issue by simply dismissing the change to biography in Hemingway's response as a mistake. Rose Marie Burwell also glosses over this shift in genre in Mary's version of the exchange. Burwell uses the phrase "working by remate" (159) in the main section of Hemingway: The Postwar Years and the Posthumous Novels, but in her endnotes, she slips directly into the phrase "autobiography by remate" and cites Baker's Life as her source. Most subsequent critics have used the phrase "autobiography by remate" Of course, if Hemingway did say "biography," it would further dismantle readings of Feast that suggest the focus is meant to be Hemingway--by "reflection" or in any other way.
(2.) To clarify the nature of the remate shot, I contacted Miami lai Alai. I was put in touch with a member of their Public Relations public relations, activities and policies used to create public interest in a person, idea, product, institution, or business establishment. By its nature, public relations is devoted to serving particular interests by presenting them to the public in the most department, BIG Dave Lemmon, who shared this information about the remate shot: "at one time [remate] was a general term for all kill shots in jai-alai, but over the last two or three decades, it has been refined to identify a particular backhand carom shot. The player throws a reverse (backhand) shot--usually from shoulder height or higher--that hits the side wall, then the front wall just above the cushion, and finally hits the floor before heading off the court into the screen. It is particularly effective because of the counter-clockwise spin imparted by the cesta ces·ta
A scoop-shaped wicker basket that is worn over the hand and used to catch and throw the ball in jai alai.
[Spanish, basket, from Latin cista, chest; see chest.] [the curved basket that serves as the "racket" in jai alai] which causes the pelota pelota (pəlō`tə): see jai alai.
(Spanish: “little ball”) Any of several games in which players take turns, using a glove or implement, hitting a rubber ball either directly at one another or off a [the ball] to curve away from the oncoming opponent before he can run up the wood to catch it."
For more information on the sport of jai alai and the different "shots," visit the http://www.jaialaiextra.com/Jai-Alai_Shots.html or http://wwwfla-gaming.com/shots.htm (this site has diagrams).
Incidentally, I also learned from Phil Skipp at Miami lai Alai that Leicester Hemingway was a friend of the owner and wrote a column for their program.
(3.) Lisa Tyler mentions Baker's reservations about remate in a footnote in her Student Companion to Ernest Hemingway.