"A trick men learn in Paris": Hemingway, Esquire, and mass tourism.
From his early family trips to Walloon Lake to his final trips to the bull fights of Spain, Ernest Hemingway spent a significant portion of his life in motion, seeking the authentic both off the beaten path and in vibrant cultural centers. As Russ Pottle observes in his entry on "Travel" for the volume Ernest Hemingway in Context, travel was so "vital to supporting Hemingway's self- fashioned writer's lifestyle" it is easy to forget that modes of transportation we now take for granted were rapidly advancing and developing all around him. As ships, trains, automobiles, and, eventually, airplanes all became more efficient and affordable during the first half of the 20th century, new ways of conceptualizing travel were born as well. I want to focus here on Hemingway's relationship to the cultural politics of travel in the 1930s. At a critical moment for the development of modern notions of tourism, Hemingway actively entered the debate over how one ought to travel. In the pages of Esquire magazine, the self-proclaimed "Magazine for Men" founded in 1933, Hemingway actively entered the debate over how one ought to travel at a critical moment for the development of modern notions of tourism.
As Pottle observes, during Hemingway's lifetime travel for leisure went from being a luxury only the very wealthy could afford to something accessible to the masses. Scholars of tourism often note that the 1930s were foundational for this shift. As a standard textbook of tourism studies puts it, "the inter- war years were almost a rehearsal for tourism take-off after the Second World War" (Lickorish and Jenkins 22), as the economic unrest of the Great Depression slowly gave way to post-war affluence enabling rapid technological improvements to transportation. The growth of large integrated tour companies and the development of resorts also made it easier for the masses to enjoy vacation travel. Hemingway was intimately aware of these cultural shifts,
and his work engages these changing realities of travel.
While today we might think of Hemingway as the consummate, trend-setting traveler, in the 1930s, in the heart of the Great Depression and on the eve of the coming boom in leisure travel, Hemingway was just beginning to cultivate a traveler's identity in the pages of Esquire. Travel was integral both to his project and to Esquire's. Travel was not only the predominant subject of Hemingway's "Letters," Esquire's central attraction, but the nascent travel industry also provided a key source of advertising revenue for the glossy, large-format magazine. As men increasingly turned to Esquire in order to answer questions of style, Hemingway shaped American ideas about the meaning of travel and the appropriate ways to encounter other places and cultures, while reflecting key tensions and problems inherent in these new cultural exchanges. By examining Hemingway's "Letters" in the context of Esquire's editorial policies, cartoons, and advertisements, I hope to show that his efforts to cultivate a traveler's identity both elucidate and amplify the persistent central conflicts of mass tourism.
Chief among these conflicts was an emergent distinction between traveler and tourist. As travel became more accessible and travel guides directed ever- larger groups of people to the same popular sites, Hemingway sought to differentiate his mode of travel from tourism. Hemingway and Esquire were not the only ones engaged in this cultural work. As Helen Cart notes in "Modernism and Travel (1880-1940)," her chapter in The Cambridge Companion to Travel Writing, by the early part of the 20th century a "remarkable number of novelists and poets" had adopted what Ford Madox Ford dubbed "the habit of flux'" (73-74). Citing a laundry list of contributors to Ford's aptly named journal, the Transatlantic Review, Carr notes that modernists including "Hemingway, Pound, Jean Rhys, H.D., Djuna Barnes, Stein, Eliot and Joyce" not only found inspiration by traveling, but also wrote about the "meeting of other cultures" routinely going to great lengths to differentiate their own cultural engagements from the scripted encounters the tourists they met were paying to experience (74). Although we now use the terms travel and tourism interchangeably, in the first half of the 20th century they were considered dialectical opposites largely because of these modernists' efforts. The distinction between travel and tourism they helped develop hinges on what counts as an authentic experience and on how much work is required to achieve it. (1)
Hemingway's Esquire "Letters" both perpetuate and illuminate the distinction between traveler and tourist, highlighting some of the problems inherent in a tourism industry that attempts to cash in on a traveler's ethos. In an era when it was increasingly difficult to be a traveler, Hemingway nevertheless presents himself as such, but unlike his fellow modernists he is also invested in exploring comfortably, dedicating substantial attention to finding and enjoying luxuries. The tensions between authentic travel and commercial tourism that Hemingway exposes remain key problems in our own age. Like the modern tourism industry, Hemingway seems to want to have his cake and eat it too--but unlike the tourism industry, he is all too aware that this is not always possible.
Other scholars have identified the tensions between travel and tourism in Hemingway's work. In "Configuring There as Here: Hemingway's Travels and the 'See America First' Movement," Miriam Mandel convincingly argues that Hemingway inherited a travel ideology from the early 20th century "See America First" campaign. A coordinated effort to encourage Americans to stay home (and keep tourist dollars from going abroad), the campaign advocated a tourism based on vigorous interaction with distinctive American landscapes as an important alternative to checking off the sights of the Continental Grand Tour. As Mandel suggests, by connecting the American idea of rugged individualism with a travel industry promising luxury, the "See America First" campaign paradoxically promised both adventure and luxury, self- realization and national interest, as well as unique experiences for the masses in "untouched" landscapes. Mandel suggests that Hemingway's translates this particularly American travel ideology for his globetrotting ways, keeping its paradoxes intact as he does so.
Hemingway also complicates the paradoxes of American travel ideology by mapping an expatriate modernist's travel ethos over his already contradictory American travel ideals. As Allyson Nadia Field establishes in "Expatriate Lifestyle as Tourist Destination: The Sun Also Rises and Experiential Travelogues of the Twenties," Hemingway's ideas of travel were also informed by early 20th century guidebooks to the Parisian expatriate lifestyle. Field suggests that the 1920s travelogues she surveys, like Hemingway's famous first novel, are pitched to the in-the-know traveler, offering an insider's perspective on the "authentic" activities of artists and writers living abroad. Hemingway's Esquire "Letters" also project a mythologized artist's lifestyle for the masses to emulate, using what Field refers to as "clubby" rhetoric to imply that readers can partake of an exclusive lifestyle themselves by going to the right places, drinking the proper cocktails, and adopting the appropriate attitudes (37).
While Hemingway's Esquire readers must have intuitively known that you cannot simultaneously have both rugged adventure and luxurious comfort, and that by definition not everyone can be a part of an exclusive club, they were not deterred from imagining it was possible. As both Mandel and Field suggest, not only was Hemingway's approach to travel in the 1930s deeply influenced by his historical moment, but his representations of travel self- consciously magnified these paradoxes as the tourism industry developed and expanded across the globe. However, while Mandel and Field focus primarily on Hemingway's fiction, I would like to focus on some of his most formative nonfiction, as the Esquire "Letters" not only reveal the paradoxes at the heart of the "See America First" movement, but also amplify the contradictions inherent in a tourism industry promising an "authentic" experience or lifestyle.
The Esquire "Letters" provided one of the central mechanisms by which Hemingway gained international celebrity in the 1930s. In large part because of Hemingway's name on the cover, Esquire's circulation skyrocketed from a modest 100,000 copies in 1933 to over 555,000 by 1936. Noting that magazines are usually read by several people, John Raeburn estimates Hemingway's Esquire contributions reached over a million readers every month, concluding that "no major American novelist before Hemingway had ever had so large an audience for such a sustained period" (46). As Raeburn also notes in his excellent monograph Fame Became of Him: Hemingway as Public Writer, in the twenty-five Esquire "Letters" Hemingway published between 1933 and 1936, he notably began writing about himself--as he had done in Death in the Afternoon (1932) and as he would do even more directly in Green Hills of Africa (1935).
During this period, Hemingway transformed his persona from expatriate artist into Papa, a figure who first emerges in Esquire. While a cosmopolitan ethos is central to both figures, Papa's cosmopolitanism, unlike the exiled artist's, is more closely linked to commercialism and travel. (2) Hemingway's 1930s approach to travel blends the rugged tradition of exploration, adventure, and sport that flourished in the 1910s under "See America First" with the 1920s ideal of expatriate intellectualism that privileges facility with language, cuisine, history, and local customs. Moreover, it was also informed by the safari traditions combination of luxury and adventure. In short, a newer, more worldly, and more masculine image is mapped over an expatriate artist identity that never fully fades from view. Both become integral components of the Hemingway Text--the totality of his biography and his published works as well as the mythos surrounding the famous author.
A key turn in Hemingway studies negotiates this larger text in increasingly sophisticated ways. David M. Earle shows in All Man! Hemingway, 1950s Men's Magazines, and the Masculine Persona that popular magazines did much to shape our understanding of Hemingway. By the 1950s, Hemingway lost control of this myth-making, as Earle documents, but in the 1930s, Hemingway was quite actively cultivating an identity, making the Esquire essays particularly important. Earle also suggests that to understand the significance of Hemingway's image in popular culture venues such as magazines we need to see it in its full rhetorical context--with the surrounding photographs, cartoons, advertisements, and other cultural contexts intact.
To begin this explication of context, we might ask why Hemingway was writing for Esquire in the first place. Michael Reynolds reminds us that Arnold Gingrich, Esquire's founding editor, offered Hemingway a sizeable cash advance that would enable him to purchase his beloved fishing boat, Pilar (169). Reynolds also speculates that Hemingway wanted to counter the disparaging remarks Gertrude Stein made about him in her 1933 memoir The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas (123). Cash and revenge aside, Hemingway apparently also wanted to use the essays to cultivate his public persona--a persona deeply intertwined with his frequent travels.
While Hemingway never clearly articulated why he began writing for Esquire, Gingrich had a distinct purpose in mind when he invited Hemingway to contribute to the magazine. Gingrich needed a way to reach a male audience with fashion advice that would sell this year's styles. Aware that most men did not attend to style when they purchased new clothing because they considered an interest in fashion effeminate, Gingrich saw Hemingway as a solution to this marketing problem. Gingrich hoped that Hemingway's travel essays about hunting, fishing, and bullfighting would "deodorize the lavender whiff coming from the mere presence of fashion pages" (81). According to Hugh Merrill's history of the magazine, Esky: The Early Years at Esquire, Gingrich countered the problem of fashion's effeminate associations by including airbrushed pinups of bikini-clad women alongside the work of male literary heavyweights such as Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Pound, Dos Passos, Dreiser, and Langston Hughes. (3)
Gingrich's genius was not limited to linking fashion with sex and literature. He also wanted to reach a mass audience with his fashion advice, formerly the exclusive purview of the upper crust. As the masthead from the inaugural issue proclaims, "Esquire aims to become the common denominator of masculine interests--to be all things to all men:' To do this, Gingrich edited the magazine with a keen eye toward blending high and low cultural values. He needed to appeal to men with enough money to buy the new clothing his advertisers wanted to sell; at the same time, he needed a "manly" emphasis to get an audience at all. As Merrill puts it, "Esquire could give an uneducated man curvaceous cuties to ogle and expose them to Hemingway on the next page" (12). In fact, Merrill argues that this bridging of high and low cultural values was a particularly revolutionary move not only for American magazines but for American culture writ large; along with Hollywood, he suggests, Gingrich's Esquire helped usher in the dissolution of this boundary between "culture" and "frivolity for the masses" in the second half of the 20th century (12). Gingrich's layouts routinely set low-brow cartoons about adultery next to cutting-edge fiction or essays offering political commentary, and all of this was set against a backdrop of advertisements for exotic luxury travel destinations, expensive suits, and fine Scotch.
While Merrill suggests that we think of Hemingway as a cultural figure associated with highbrow taste, I would argue that like the magazine as a whole, his essays perform a type of bridge work that attempts to span both high and low culture. Insofar as Hemingway was facing the particularly modernist dilemma of balancing the high and low in his own art and life, he used Gingrich and Esquire much as they used him. While instructing readers about how to hunt, fish, and, importantly for our purposes, travel, Hemingway's "Letters" marketed a particular image of masculinity that blended the ideals of the worldly man of action and the worldly man of letters. (4)
Just glancing at the subtitles of the "Letters" suggests Hemingway's worldliness--the datelines read Cuba, Spain, Paris, Africa, Key West, and Bimini. In all of his Esquire essays, Hemingway presents a careful balance between high and low cultural values. He is at once the expatriate writer and the American man of leisure, a man of action and a man of luxury, a significant artist and a significant icon of mass culture. In the Esquire "Letters," Hemingway not only inherits the paradoxes of the "See America First" movement and modernist ideas of authentic travel, he amplifies the tensions between luxury and ruggedness, between an easily repeated and a totally novel experience, by linking these tensions directly to his celebrity identity and to notions of proper activities for men.
Hemingway seamlessly links the democratization of travel with a particularly rugged notion of cultured masculinity, but his essays are marked by a sense of anxiety about the linkage, and even more specifically about marketing travel to the masses. As he enters the arena of mass culture with travel advice, Hemingway is clearly uneasy about the tensions between luxury and ruggedness, as well as about the promotion of novel experiences to an audience of nearly a million readers. These anxieties are analogous to modernist concerns about the appropriate relationship between art and the market. In the common critical conception of literary modernism, mechanical reproduction and mass circulation challenged artists to push boundaries and claim a space for capital- A Art. Exile provided one of the main ways to enter this space. As the narrative goes, the artist leaves his or her home territory for a cosmopolitan city and the displacement enables new cultural insights. Formal experiments logically follow the new perspectives created by such a displacement. The modernist artist needs to transcend the mass market in the same way that the traveler needs to transcend commercial tourist attractions. For both the artist and the traveler, authenticity becomes a key metric of value. And to achieve this authenticity, both artist and traveler must work hard. (5)
Thus labor becomes an important means of distinguishing between the parallel dialectics of artist and market on the one hand, and traveler and tourist on the other. Not surprisingly, Hemingway's Esquire "Letters" often include digressions about how difficult it is to write well. For example, in "Notes on Dangerous Game: The Third Tanganyika Letter," Hemingway offers a series of parenthetical comments on his "journalism" and asks his readers to revise his quickly written Esquire essays: "re-write them yourselves lads and see how easy it is to do better than Papa" (BL 167-168). In "Monologue to the Maestro: A High Seas Letter," he outlines the more difficult labor of writing fiction and describes his work ethic for the benefit of a young man who visits him in Key West. A good writer, Hemingway advises him, "should have read everything so he knows what he has to beat" (BL 217). In other words, writing and traveling well both require labor because they must transcend the commercial, while writing commercially ("journalism") or embracing mass tourism is relatively easy and labor free. The great irony in Hemingway's Esquire essays is that they make claims for the artist and the traveler in a venue belonging to mass culture. What is interesting in these essays, I think, is that Hemingway is quite aware of--and quite anxious about--the contradictions inherent in this irony.
As biographers remind us, Hemingway faced his own demons as he began to travel more extensively in the 1930s. With his bank account bolstered by the financial success of A Farewell to Arms and his second wife Pauline's not insignificant trust fund, Hemingway traveled more than most Americans of the era. Meanwhile, the economic unrest of the Depression inspired left- leaning critics to demand that Hemingway's fiction focus on the cause of the proletariat. Essays about traveling to fish for marlin in the Gulf Stream, shoot dangerous game in Africa, or watch bull-fighting in Spain did not sit well with the critical establishment. The essays reveal this tension, occasionally taking a swing at the critics, (6) while also adopting a tone suggesting that anyone with enough muscle and a proper sense of sportsmanship might be able to replicate his exploits. Hemingway is traveling when others cannot, yet writes about it as if anyone could follow in his footsteps. In other words, he brings luxury and adventure travel to the masses while belying the social and economic structures that enable his activities. This attempt to resolve a contradiction in his travel ethos is strikingly analogous to Hemingway's careful negotiation of the tension between art and the marketplace that worried modernist writers. It also parallels the tension between labor and masculinity that worried Esquire and American culture in general.
In his first Esquire installment, Hemingway sets a decidedly democratic tone, establishing the key tensions that will mark most of the travel-oriented "Letters:' Appearing in the magazine's inaugural issue (Autumn 1933), "Marlin off the Morro: A Cuban Letter" describes a trip that few of Hemingway's readers could actually afford yet maintains a democratic tone. The second-person narration with which the essay opens creates a sense of intimacy, placing the reader on the scene. Hemingway drops the reader in the proper hotel in Havana--the Ambos Mundos--and addresses us directly to insure that we know what to do: after waking up with "your feet toward the east" "you look out the north window past the Morro," "you take a shower, pull on an old pair of khaki pants and a shirt," you "get a paper at the desk, walk across the corner to the caf4 and have breakfast" (BL 137). While the use of second person helps everyone feel involved, even the fashion suggestions seem democratic. In this historical moment, who did not own a pair of khakis? Hemingway proceeds in this instructive manner, telling us precisely how we ought to fish for marlin and what we ought to take along: "the best bait for big marlin is fresh cero mackerel or kingfish of a pound to three pounds weight. The best beer is Hatuey, the best fruits, in season, are Filipino mangoes, iced pineapple and alligator pears" (140). Fishing is physically demanding work, as the adjacent pictures and subsequent text suggest, but we are reminded not to forget creature comforts like fruit and beer. The choice of beer seems significant, too; while popular perception emphasizes Hemingway's penchant for daiquiris and hard liquor, beer signals another democratic and masculine "luxury" Hemingway proceeds to describe "two opposing schools about breakfast" recommending a light meal in case we hook fish early in the day, because it is bad to exercise in the heat on a full stomach. His instructions expose the tension between luxury and ruggedness as he tries to balance them.
Although Hemingway does not always employ the second person, his tone is personal and breezy in all his Esquire essays--they read like chummy letters from an old friend. Additionally, a tone of expertise on matters of style marks nearly every installment. He tells us how to act, and in the process presents himself not only as a knowledgeable expert, but as a man who performs masculinity-proving activities as if they were routine. Blue-water fishing, big-game hunting, understanding bullfights with an aficionado's eye: this is etiquette by example. Nearly every essay is marked by an adventuring ethos. These are rugged experiences--unique, difficult, and powerful--but Hemingway's tone suggests that we could have the same experiences. So long as we follow his advice, we can be like Papa. Moreover, despite the emphasis on rugged pursuits, we always get a sense that we ought to eat and drink well. The consumption of luxury items, usually linked to the feminine pursuit of shopping, is balanced with masculine pursuits. Hemingway does not draw us maps, but he certainly name drops, making sure we get to the right small car4 that isn't yet overrun by tourists, that we stay at the right hotels at the proper times, and that we order the right local cuisine when we get there. Like modernist art, Hemingway's travel advice makes claims in favor of the authentic, not the mass marketed--but ironically, both his advice and his art are nevertheless going out to a mass audience.
By naming names, Hemingway not only seems to be giving away hard-earned secrets, but also seems quite ambivalent about giving them away. Throughout his Esquire contributions, readers get a sense that Hemingway knows he might be compromising his experience by writing about it for a mass audience. To assuage his guilt, he draws sharp distinctions between the bumbling tourist and the in-the-know traveler. For example, in "The Friend of Spain: A Spanish Letter," Hemingway chides the tourists in San Sebastian, saying "they did not seem to know whether they were having any fun or not" (BL 147); in his first "Paris Letter" he dismisses Parisian sites that have been "discovered by the French respectable bourgeoisies" (BL 155), while also declaring of his beloved hunting grounds in Montana that "we felt the country was getting a little crowded" (BL 153). In his second "Africa Letter," "Shootism versus Sport," he draws clear distinctions between the tourists, whom he belittles by calling them "shootists to distinguish them from sportsmen" (BL 162). In "The Sights of Whitehead Street: A Key West Letter" meanwhile, Hemingway offers a sustained rant against tourists directed to his house by a Federal Emergency Relief Agency tourist pamphlet published in a Depression-era effort to transform Key West into a vacation destination (BL 192-197). Tourist-bashing becomes something of a trope in the Esquire "Letters," but Hemingway nevertheless promotes tourism simply by writing about his travels for such a large audience. In other words, he is clearly anxious about promoting these destinations and activities, but endeavors to give his readers the True Gen.
This anxiety comes into even sharper focus when we see the essays in their original context. In this regard, I am again influenced by Earle's claims in favor of reading Hemingway's magazine work in light of an emergent American visual culture. At this point, then, I want to turn to an advertisement--and the "trick men learn in Paris"--alluded to in my title. [Fig. 1]
As this image from the inaugural issue of Esquire suggests, notions of travel and masculinity are closely aligned--and, importantly, come together here to promote a luxury item that a traveler can pick up on a trip abroad. Next to the image of a well-shaven traveler, the text reads:
For years, tired Americans have sailed to France and returned fresh-faced and smiling because of Fougere Royal After Shaving Lotion. For it's a cocktail for the face--a semi-miraculous pick-me-up after the shave ... cooling the skin, soothing the spirit, and healing to the nicks and scratches of impetuous shavers. Best of all, Houbigant has given it a He-Man fragrance, the woodsy fragrance of the Royal Fern. You'll get so you just can't do without it.
As the advertisement for aftershave suggests, Hemingway could be a rugged traveler by day and a luxury-seeking gourmand by night. Although aftershave is a fashion accessory linked to the feminine (it is perfume after all), this one guarantees the user a "He-Man" aura. In so far as they promote luxury items, Hemingway's "Letters" set the advertiser's claims up perfectly. My own claim is that this mixing of high and low, of rugged and luxurious, of outdoorsy and cultured, helped frame the way mass tourism was marketed following World War II. It is a trick Hemingway learned as an expatriate in Paris in the 1920s, but honed as he transformed himself into an icon of mass culture in the 1930s.
[FIGURE 1 OMITTED]
As countless Americans turned to Esquire to follow Hemingway's exploits, the American travel industry employed the trick of linking luxury items to rugged activities as well, making fashion accessories as well as luxury travel acceptable and appropriate for men. The way to sell luxury to men was to link luxury with masculinity, or even better, to masculinity-proving rugged experiences.
Consider this advertisement for Sun Valley Lodge [Fig. 2]. Under an image of a shirtless and well-tanned skier, the text begins with a proclamation about the area--"What a glorious region it is!"--and then proceeds to guarantee a pristine experience for the masses: "Timber-free slopes are covered with 'powder' snow" It is not just powder, it is powder in the sunshine: "protection from wintry gales by the Sawtooth Mountains makes possible skiing stripped to the waist." This is not only comfortable and pleasant skiing, but everyone is guaranteed a unique run in the "powder:' In addition to the skiing, there is "skating, dog sledging, tobogganing and sleighing in brilliant sunshine--outdoor bathing in a warm-water pool--'ice tanning' in sun-room igloos. A Ski Shop, by Saks-Fifth Ave." In addition to physically demanding skiing in fresh powder, creature comforts abound at "SUN VALLEY LODGE, luxuriously modern with accommodations for 250 guests" Notably, despite luxuries like a ski shop put together by New York City's finest department store, "moderate rates prevail" so anyone can access this luxury--so long as you make reservations. Like the luxury items advertised in the magazine--not just aftershave, but fancy suits, modern cigarette lighters, and appropriate neckties--luxurious travel destinations are not only masculine, but readily available to average men.
[FIGURE 2 OMITTED]
In the end, however, the trick is just a trick: you cannot always have both the rugged and luxurious at once. Thus Hemingway and the countless travelers who follow his advice are left with a sense of anxiety about these paradoxes. Esquire's full-page cartoons very effectively exploit these anxieties, directly poking fun at a style of travel premised on mixing luxury and ruggedness. For example, a cartoon by John Groth in the January 1934 issue shows three roped mountain-climbers dangling precariously from a cliff, in imminent danger of falling. A man standing on a road peers over the edge at them and says "Didn't you gentlemen know there's a nice paved road to the top?" The humor depends on the reader understanding that the appropriately masculine approach is to take the difficult route to the top, but that when rugged recreational pursuits become pure leisure (i.e., entirely unnecessary and divorced from any important labor), they are laughable. The joke, then, is on the magazine's approach to travel, but the cartoon nevertheless invites the reader to make fun of the wasted labor of the dangling climbers. Readers of Esquire--travelers not tourists--would presumably know when it is appropriate to climb and when it is appropriate to drive. The cartoon expects the magazine's educated readers to see instantly that this climbing is divorced from the act of discovery and exploration.
In fact, the bumbling tourist or what we might now call the Ugly American is a key trope in Esquire cartoons. In two cartoons from the magazine's Hemingway era, the joke is on Americans traveling abroad who expect creature comforts to be readily available. A February 1934 cartoon pictures a smartly dressed man addressing an incredulous turban-wearing local while a line of tourists sprawls into the background. The caption reads: "You mean to say a million people come to Mecca each year and there's no hotdog concession?" Another cartoon from the August 1935 issue shows a long line of African safari servants carrying trunks and gear out of the frame, while a well-armed hunter leads them across a desert landscape. The punch line? "We got to go back to the village again--he's forgotten his wrist watch" In both cartoons, the joke is on the traveler who expects too much luxury in rugged landscapes.
The safari wristwatch cartoon clearly plays on the tensions inherent in the travel ethos that the magazine and, especially, Hemingway's "Letters" aim to promote. Advertisers as well as cartoonists also attempt to cash in on the safari's reputation as a masculine endeavor. For example, a Canadian Club Whiskey advertisement features a photograph of a beaming white hunter, clad in the usual safari garb replete with pith helmet, pouring himself a high-ball in front of an African village scene busy with traditionally clothed Africans holding spears and shields and displaying exotic piercings. Under the heading "Africa Speaks ... " the advertisement proclaims: "L.T. Jenkins writes from Rhino Camp, Africa: 'When we trek through the jungle, we travel extra-light. But one thing I always take along--and this goes for most Europeans here--is a stock of the Canadian Club." On these rugged adventures, one must travel light, but like Hemingway bring plenty of good liquor.
Just as Hemingway's anxieties come into sharper focus as he attempts to balance the tensions between rugged and luxurious, Esquire's cartoons and advertisements also expose and negotiate these problems. The marketing of luxury items and luxury travel destinations to those who cannot really afford them--especially in the darkest depths of the Depression--requires an effort to obscure class markers. The democratization of travel that Hemingway and Esquire perpetuate attempts to negate class distinctions by replacing them with gender distinctions. Hemingway helps transform travel and consumption into appropriate activities not for rich men, but for "real" men. In this way, travel and consumption become masculine ideals.
As Esquire attempted "to be all things to all men" in a time of economic scarcity, the magazine's advertisers seemed to be aware that expensive consumer behavior might be out of reach for the average reader. A humorous advertisement for Bradley Sweaters in the May 1936 issue (set just under an advertisement for Graceline's steamship route between New York and South America), features a sculpted clay character with a doubled-over fishing rod.7 ]-he text reads, "At least look the part" adding the declarative "WEAR A BRADLEY SWEATER" in all capital letters. The implication is that if you cannot afford the expensive fishing trip, at least you can afford the clothing. Just like the trick with the aftershave, you can signal your allegiance to a rugged, outdoorsy lifestyle even without engaging in the expensive activities marking membership in this elite group. Hemingway and advertisements such as this one teach men fashion tricks on nearly every page of the magazine.
In addition to advertisements and articles, each issue of Esquire featured fifteen to twenty fashion plates, the magazine's raison d'etre and the source of Gingrich's aforementioned anxiety about masculinity, necessitating inclusion of Hemingway's essays as a kind of antidote. Despite this worry, the fashion plates, like the Bradley Sweater advertisement, make claims in favor of "looking the part" in order to assert an appropriately masculine identity. They also pitch masculine pursuits as a means to make fashion advice palatable for men. The clothing, even for rugged pursuits, is carefully chosen to highlight an allegiance to a cultural tradition.
[FIGURE 3 OMITTED]
For example, a fashion plate for angling outfits [Fig. 3] shows the fishermen having just disembarked from an automobile, suggesting that travel has enabled access to the authentic experiences the clothing enhances. The text begins with practical fishing fashion advice: "Brown, by the way, is a new color for trout-fishing boots, the notion being that they are much less readily discernable by the fish" and concludes with the democratic suggestion that "any old dark shirt" will be sufficient, presumably for the same practical reason. But within this frame of practicality, the fashion advice is decidedly aristocratic: cashmere and tweed are the recommended fabrics and the design is English. As in Hemingway's "Letters," the rugged meets the luxurious and the democratic connects with the elite in the fashion plates. Throughout the magazine, Esquire performs a careful balancing act in order to bridge these dialectics-the same at the heart of the mass tourism industry. Taken together, the magazine's fashion plates, advertisements, cartoons, and ultimately Hemingway's "Letters" suggest an emergent American travel ideal perched on the knife-edge between these disparate ideas.
What I hope I have sketched here are the broad contours of an argument in favor of considering the modernist tensions between art and commerce--between originality and marketability, between the unique and the universal, between masculine and feminine, between authentic and democratized experiences--as parallel to the tensions in modern tourism. When we travel, we are all modernists. Like Hemingway, we travel with anxiety about selling out, about authenticity, about simultaneously wanting to be unique and to fit in. We travel to seek an authentic experience divorced from a commercialism we can never truly escape, and this realization becomes a central anxiety not only for tourists but for the tourism industry. To cite just a single example from today: it may seem ludicrous when Holland America Cruises claims that the thousands of people it shuttles to the Caribbean or to Alaska each season aboard luxurious cruise ships will encounter a unique cultural and aesthetic experience, but the admixture of luxury and adventure remains a key trope in their advertising rhetoric. In my backyard of Juneau, Alaska, this sense of having an authentic experience by undertaking rugged pursuits--fishing, climbing mountains, standing atop glaciers--continues to be a large draw for thousands of tourists. Hemingway and Esquire not only helped usher in this type of travel during the 1930s dress rehearsal for the modern tourism boom, they also helped to insure that when we travel--especially when those of us who are men travel--we can comfortably embrace the luxurious along with the rugged.
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Churchwell, Sarah. "'4000 a Screw': The Prostituted Art of F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway." European Journal of American Culture 24.2 (2005): 105-130.
Earle, David M. All Man! Hemingway, 1950s Men's Magazines, and the Masculine Persona. Kent, OH: Kent State UP, 2009.
Field, Allyson Nadia. "Expatriate Lifestyle as Tourist Destination: The Sun Also Rises and Experiential Travelogues of the Twenties" The Hemingway Review 25.2 (Spring 2006): 29-43.
Fussell, Paul. Abroad: British Literary Traveling between the Wars. Oxford, UK: Oxford UP, 1980.
Gingrich, Arnold. Nothing but People: The Early Days at Esquire, a Personal History, 1928-1958. New York: Crown, 1971.
Del Gizzo, Suzanne. "Glow-in-the-Dark Authors': Hemingway's Celebrity and Legacy in Under Kilimanjaro." The Hemingway Review 29.2 (Spring 2010): 7-27.
Hemingway, Ernest. By-Line: Ernest Hemingway: Selected Articles and Dispatches of Four Decades. Ed. William White. New York: Scribner's, 1967.
--. Death in the Afternoon. New York: Scribner's, 1932.
--. A Farewell to Arms. New York: Scribner's, 1929.
--. "The Friend of Spain: A Spanish Letter?' Esquire (January 1934). Rpt. in By- Line 144-152.
--. Green Hills of Africa. New York: Scribner's, 1935.
--. "Marlin off the Morro: A Cuban Letter." Esquire (Autumn 1933). Rpt. in By- Line. 137-143.
--. "Notes on Dangerous Game: The Third Tanganyika Letter." Esquire (July 1934). Rpt. in ByLine. 167-171.
--. "Old Newsman Writes: A Letter from Cuba" Esquire (December 1934). Rpt. in By-Line. 179-185.
--. "A Paris Letter." Esquire (February 1934). Rpt. in By-Line. 153-158.
--. "Shootism Versus Sport: The Second Tanganyika Letter" Esquire (June 1934). Rpt. in By-Line. 162-166.
--. "The Sights of Whitehead Street: A Key West Letter." Esquire (April 1935). Rpt. in By-Line. 192-197.
Kaplan, Caren. Questions of Travel: Postmodern Discourses of Displacement. Durham, NC: Duke UP, 1996.
Lentricchia, Frank. Modernist Quartet: New York: Cambridge U P, 1994.
Lickorish, Leonard J. and Carson L Jenkins. An Introduction to Tourism. Oxford, UK: Butterworth-Heinemann, 1997.
Mandel, Miriam. "Configuring There as Here: Hemingway's Travels and the 'See America First' Movement.'" The Hemingway Review 19.1 (Fall 1999): 92-105.
Merrill, Hugh. Esky: The Early Years at Esquire. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers UP, 1995.
Pottle, Russ. "Travel." In Ernest Hemingway in Context. Eds. Debra Moddelmog and Suzanne Del Gizzo. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge U P. In press.
Raeburn, John. Fame Became of Him: Hemingway as Public Writer. Bloomington: Indiana U P, 1984.
Reynolds, Michael. Hemingway: The 1930s. New York: W.W. Norton, 1997.
(1.) In his seminal monograph, Abroad: British Literary Traveling Between the Wars, Paul Fussell asserts that "travel" became impossible in the era of mass tourism following World War II. In our globalized world, we are always "tourists" because there are no more truly new cultures or places to encounter. Fussell posits three categories--explorer, traveler, and tourist-- and links each to a historical moment. As he puts it, "before tourism there was travel, and before travel there was exploration.... the explorer seeks the undiscovered, the traveler that which has been discovered by the mind working in history, the tourist that which has been discovered by entrepreneurship and prepared for him by the arts of mass publicity" (38-39). Fussell suggests that exploration belongs to the Renaissance, but that the distinctions between travel and tourism were still being sorted out in the early 2ffh century. Those distinctions hinge in part on labor: travel requires work, while tourism is fundamentally about leisure.
(2.) This "Papa" image contains multitudes, contradicting itself at every turn. As Suzanne del Gizzo shows in her recent essay "Glow-in-the-Dark Authors': Hemingway's Celebrity and Legacy in Under Kilimanjaro," anxiety about these contradictions become a central occupation for Hemingway late in life.
(3.) Merrill's conclusion that serious literature could counter the effeminacy of fashion is somewhat surprising, given that modernist authors such as Ezra Pound, William Faulkner, and even Hemingway felt significant gender anxiety about pursuing careers in writing, considered a somewhat effeminate occupation at the time. Merrill's belief makes sense, however, when one takes a closer look at Gingrich's editorial policy of accepting work rejected as unsavory or unfit for other, more mainstream publications such as the Saturday Evening Post (35- 38). Frank Lentricchia's Modernist Quartet offers notable discussion of modernist gender anxieties about art and the market, while Sarah Churchwell's interesting essay "'$4000 a Screw': The Prostituted Art of F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway" directly addresses Hemingway in this regard.
(4.) This balancing act characterizes much of Hemingway's early work. As Del Gizzo puts it, "Hemingway's early career had been largely defined by his ability to straddle the high/low literary divide; his writing accessible enough for a large public, but artful enough to merit a serious literary reputation" (8).
(5.) Caren Kaplan's excellent monograph Questions of Travel: Postmodern Discourses of Displacement presents an important challenge to this traditional account of modernist aesthetics premised on expatriation.
(6.) For example, in "Old Newsman Writes: A Letter from Cuba," Hemingway calls one critic "the good grey baggy-pants of the columns" and proceeds to dismiss the entire enterprise: "all critics who could not make their reputations by discovering you are hoping to make them by predicting hopefully your approaching impotence, failure, and general drying up of natural juices" (BL 185).
(7.) The use of a sculpted clay figure echoed the use of "Esky,' the magazine's male clay mascot who appeared in various manly situations on every cover of the magazine until the 1950s.
University of Alaska Southeast
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|Title Annotation:||Ernest Hemingway|
|Publication:||The Hemingway Review|
|Date:||Mar 22, 2012|
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