"In the Year of the Maji Maji": Settler Colonialism, the Nandi Resistance, and Race in The Garden of Eden.
Before he begins the elephant story embedded in The Garden of Eden, Hemingway's writer-protagonist, David Bourne, writes a different African story that his wife, Catherine, finds so "horrible," so "bestial," that she calls him "a monster" and rips the story almost in two, bursting into tears and telling David that she now "hates" him (157-58). While David's story of the elephant hunt, begun the next morning in the action of the novel, has received much critical scrutiny, this earlier, enigmatic, and fragmentary African story embedded within the novel has largely escaped attention. When critics have mentioned it at all, they have generally assumed that it is a story of the 1905 Maji Maji Rebellion: after all, David tells Catherine, "It's a story about Africa... in the time of the Maji Maji war" (157). But careful attention to the details of the story--scattered and seemingly inscrutable as they may be--problematizes this critical assumption; and the details, like a trail of bread crumbs, lead us deep into the unconscious terrain of the novel where settler colonialism, race, and sexuality tangle in an intricate knot that may help us to better understand Catherine's response to David's story, and what is at stake in it--for David, for Catherine, and for us.
We know from the outset that the story is about David's father, and it is "the hardest" story to write that David knows. It's a story he "had always put off writing since he had known what a story was" (108), and to write it, David must attack "each thing that for years he had put off facing" (123). Yet we get only hints about what David has been so slow to face: David's father and his "Kamba servant and brother" share a guilty knowledge about an undescribed delay that precedes their journey, and there is a dark hint about what David's father and the line of porters will find when they reach "the escarpment" (129)--but in the Eden manuscript, it is only fourteen chapters after Catherine reads and first tries to destroy the story that we learn, then only in passing, that the story involves a "massacre" in a crater and what Catherine calls the "heartlessness" of David's father (223). Even then we're given nothing more.
On first encounter, the story seems to be largely about landscape--or about traversing that landscape. In fact, when Catherine first begins reading the story, before her sudden and violent response, she admires its portrayal of the countryside--"the paysage. What Marita mis-called the pastorale part" (KL/EH 422.1 f20, c26, pl9). (1) And this is a hint that the landscape in this story matters. David's father and his servant lead a line of Kamba porters through a night crossing of a "broken volcanic desert" (128), and the morning sun catches them with the "bitter dry grey lakes ahead," the blue line of the escarpment shimmering through the heat in the distance (KL/EH 422.1, fl7, c23, p2). By the time the sun rises outside of David's writing room on his second day at work, it had already been up for hours in the story he inhabits as he writes, and he is "well into the crossing of the gray, dried bitter lakes[,] his boots now white with crusted alkalis" (138). David's father and the porters make it to a "tongue of land that reach[es] out from the escarpment" and then stop by a "stream that spread thin turning the grey to pink before it spread thinning to grey and then to only moistness" (KL/EH 422.4, fl, p2). There they rest in a grove of wild fig trees amid air foul with the smell of baboon droppings and rotting figs.
The details of this as yet only half-completed journey are neither imaginary nor haphazard. Whereas even a writer as fine as Fitzgerald has no problem with Dick Diver gazing through his telescope from Cap d'Antibes, across the Golfe Juan, "east toward Cannes"... even though Cannes is in the west (27; 275), and doesn't blush at placing the Diver's villa on a seven-hundred-foot cliff above the sea (26)--a cliff twice as tall as the White Cliffs of Dover--when the highest point on Cap d'Antibes isn't 200 feet above sea level, Hemingway is remarkably precise about setting in The Garden of Eden. (2) David and Catherine Bourne don't just stay in la Napoule: Hemingway is careful to tell us that they're staying "near la Napoule," and the manuscript reveals that they're staying four kilometers outside of town (KL/EH 422.1 f34, c43, p10), which would place them in what was then the unincorporated village of Theoule, above la Pointe de l'Aguille, where people really do dive off the rocks into the sea. (3) Similarly, the view from the Bournes' window in le Grau du Roi tells us that they stay at the Hotel Belle Vue d'Angleterre. Where the Scribners edition says that the Bournes' room in Hendaye is "high up in the big hotel" (36), the manuscript makes it clear that they are "on the sixth floor" (KL/EH 422.1 f4, c2, pi)--revealing that they are staying at the Grand Hotel Eskualduna, then "center of Hendaye's elegant social life" and the only hotel in town with six floors ("La Saison" 35). (4) Traveling in Provence with Ernest in 1959, while Hemingway was still working on Eden, Valerie Hemingway watched him scouting out locations for a fictional car crash to kill off his characters, physically pacing out the distance and calculating the speed necessary to provide the deadly impact (110). Such details matter in Hemingways fictional universe.
The landscape details of the trek David's father makes across the "broken volcanic desert" and dry grey lakes, to the crusted slime along an alkali lake, and on to where a stream dissipates into a thinning greyish-pinkish fan in the desert beneath a tongue of land reaching out from the escarpment are precise, and they sketch an almost straight line across southern Kenya from near Machakos, (5) southwest to the southern tip of Lake Magadi, and on to the Ewaso Ngiro River and what today is the Shompole Conservancy beneath the Nguruman escarpment. (I encourage readers to take the journey on Google Earth.) This line mirrors the route described by Edgar Beecher Bronson in his account of his 1908 safari, In Closed Territory. Bronson, a West Texas rancher and big game hunter, describes a trek through
a horrid arid country hot as Death Valley, isolated black volcanic uplifts rearing here and there high into the sky their rugged, grassless slopes, the plains everywhere strewn so thick with sharp fragments of volcanic rock the traveler rarely has a chance to set foot upon soil, while the thin growth of grass and thorny scrub on the levels and lower hill slopes is for nine months of the year burned gray as ashes and brittle as straw by the fierce equatorial sun blazing twelve hours a day out of a cloudless sky, and making the volcanic rubble so hot one can hardly hold a hand on it for a second. (5)
Writing in 1910, Bronson, whom Hemingway (inveterate reader of Africana) surely read, claims that "most of the country [he] traversed"--this "lavastrewn plain... absolutely molten with heat"--"still remain[ed] unmapped." With a very few exceptions, "it had never before been entered by white men save by the Anglo-German Boundary Commission, whose work of locating and marking the boundary line between British and German East Africa had been finished roughly four years earlier..." (x; 6). In fact, whites were forbidden to enter this "Closed Territory" except by rare special permit (ix). So David's father, traveling in 1905, would have been among the very first whites to cross this hellscape Edenically untouched by Western hands.
Of course Hemingway, who hunted near Kenya's alkali Lake Magadi, would have been relying far less on Bronson than on his own intimate knowledge of the land. In September and October 1953, Ernest and Mary Hemingway stayed at Dennis Zaphiro's "Fig Tree camp beyond Magadi" (UK 206), high on a bank above where the clear Oleibortoto stream joins the muddy Ewaso Ngiro River, and this is where David Bournes father in The Garden of Eden rests beneath the fig trees. (6) The novel describes air foul with the smell of baboon feces and rotting figs, and Hemingway recalls having observed near the camp "the tops of the fig trees along the creek loaded as though these trees bore fruit of baboons rather than figs" ("Christmas Gift" 466). Mary Hemingway found the spot lovely and described it as "heaven on earth." (7) On January 21, 1954, two days before the first of their two famous African plane crashes, Ernest and Mary Hemingway flew at low altitude in a Cesna over much of the route taken in the novel by David Bourne's father. (8) This would have given Hemingway a God's eye view of the story's terrain.
Yet given Hemingway's great care to place David Bourne's father in 1905 precisely in south-central Kenya, then British East Africa, it might come as a surprise to learn that he has placed him at least 300 miles from the nearest action of the Maji Maji Rebellion in southern Tanzania, then German East Africa. Perhaps Hemingway, unfamiliar with the terrain of southern Tanzania, simply drew instead on his own deep knowledge of Kenya--gambling with fair odds that few if any of his readers would ever notice or care about the discrepancy. But if so, why not fictionalize the landscape entirely? Why the obsessive accuracy? And why make landscape the focus of the story? Instead of dismissing the significance of the landscape, I want to suggest that it makes sense for us to look at what was happening in Kenya in 1905. After all, David carefully explains that his story takes place "in the time of the Maji Maji war," the "native rebellion... in Tanganyika." A moment later he adds, "It's a story that happens in Africa when I was about eight years old" (157; my emphasis)-emphasizing time, not place. Again--eleven chapters later--when David sits down to rewrite the story after Catherine burns it, he begins to "write the story of his father and the raid in the year of the Maji Maji rebellion that had started with the trek across the bitter lake" (246; my emphasis). These passages suggest that it's not a story of the Maji Maji Rebellion at all, but rather a story set during the time of the Maji Maji. Admittedly, there are two troublesome passages in the manuscript that seem to point the other way: first when Catherine accuses David of being "a monster" for writing such a story, David replies, "It was a very odd rebellion" (158). And when David tries to console himself about Catherines burning of his manuscripts, he thinks, "She really only hated the one about my father and the Maji Maji Rebellion. If shed only taken that. I could have re-written that, I think, because I never knew if it was really right"; yet in the Eden manuscript, he immediately adds the following: "It had plenty of faults too even though the trek across the Magadi Desert and the travel in the forest on the escarpment was very good" (KL/EH 422.1 f33, c42, p7; my emphasis). This mention of the Magadi Desert definitively places the story in Kenya, not Tanzania. (9) So unless Hemingway is being sloppy--and that seems highly unlikely when he is being so precise about the setting--the story can't really be about the Maji Maji Rebellion at all.
But, then, what is it about? What was happening in Kenya in 1905? And why confuse or conflate it with the Maji Maji Rebellion? If we follow David's father from Fig Tree camp nearly 4,000 feet up the Nguruman Escarpment to the "high wooded and parklike country" above the Magadi Desert (GOE 147), we get another clue: having reached the top of the escarpment and traveled for a second day above it, they still need to travel "another day and another night" (147)--which would be just about right to bring them to the Nandi Hills--traditional home of the Nandi people and site in 1905 of the last significant native revolt and "the largest punitive [action] ever employed in British East Africa before the Mau Mau operations" of the 1950s (Matson 158). (10)
What's come to be known as the Nandi Resistance had several causes and had been brewing for well over a decade, but it came to a head in 1905. It was, most obviously, a response to the growing British presence in East Africa. As a 1905 article in The Southern Reporter explains, "Two years ago there were not more than six European farmers in East Africa, whereas now there are as many hundreds, and... lands granted to settlers in 1903 amounted to about 445,000 acres, and in 1904 to 638,000 acres" ("Prospects"). As Europeans usurped land and built a road and railway through Nandi territory, the Nandi harassed and killed policemen and workers and ran off with copper from the telegraph wires; meanwhile, their supreme religious leader, the Orkoiyot, Koitalel Arap Samoei (generally referred to by the British by a Maasai term as the Laibon) preached a version of what has come to be known as the Yakan or Allah Water Cult, whereby warriors sprinkled with sacred water would be impervious to European bullets, or the bullets themselves would turn to water. As Captain Richard Meinertzhagen of the King's African Rifles (KAR) wrote in his diary, "the Laibon or chief medicine man was preaching war against the Government and teaching his people all sorts of nonsense, persuading them that our bullets [would] turn to water..." (208). This was a version of this same widespread Ghost-Dance-like cult, popular throughout East Africa, that gave the Maji Maji Rebellion its name (Maji Maji meaning water water)--in some measure explaining David's conflation of the Maji Maji Rebellion and the Nandi Resistance as "a very odd rebellion." (11) As part of what the British considered "a necessary education in submission"--and in Meinertzhagen's estimation to seize more land and glory for the KAR--the British mounted what they called a "punitive expedition" to punish the Nandi (Lonsdale 851; Meinertzhagen 223). The results were predictably lopsided, with the British reporting one officer wounded, and 42 fatalities among their native fighters and porters, and with the British press reporting anywhere from 636 to well over a 1,000 Nandi killed and the foreign press reporting more than 4,000 Nandi dead--not to mention villages left decimated by the confiscation of over 28,000 cattle, goats, and sheep sold to European settlers to pay for expense of the expedition. (12) One colonial wag predicted the outcome in The African Standard months in advance in a "Nursery Rhyme, Revised to Date":
Who'll kill the Nandi? I said the Volunteer. I'm not afraid If I'm well paid I'll kill the Nandi. Who'll have his goods? I said the raider Because I'm a raider I'll have his goods. Who'll buy his stock? I said the Collector I'm his protector I'll have his stock. Who'll have his land? I said the Gov I'll do it in love But I'll have his land. Who'll pay the cost? I said John Bull Because I'm a fool I'll pay the cost.
Given the details of its geography, what David calls "the story of his father and the raid in the year of the Maji Maji" seems to have been part of this punitive expedition.
With the Mau Mau Uprising that would ultimately lead to Kenyan independence ongoing throughout the 1950s--and casting a shadow over his own 1953-54 safari, where he found himself representing the British colonial state as an Honorary Game Warden and ostensible agent against the Mau Mau--the legacy of settler colonialism and native African resistance to it was much on Hemingway's mind as he worked on The Garden of Eden. No doubt Hemingway was attracted to the reduplicative similarity of the names Maji Maji and Mau Mau, and the two rebellions were frequently compared in the press. (13) But the true antecedent of the Mau Mau and the burden of David's story was Kenyan, not Tanzanian, and the scandalous publication of Colonel Richard Meinertzhagen's Kenya Diary 1902-1906 in 1957, when Hemingway was working on The Garden of Eden, was perfectly timed to get Hemingway thinking about the Nandi Resistance.
Soldier, spy, big game hunter, and noted ornithologist--scion of a British banking dynasty, minor character in T. E. Lawrence's Seven Pillars of Wisdom, one of Ian Fleming's models for James Bond, and mass murderer--Richard Meinertzhagen played a crucial role in the Nandi Punitive Expedition and one that may have inspired "the massacre in the crater" in David's story. (I should note that in recent years Meinertzhagen has also been exposed as, in the words of his biographer Brian Garfield, a "colossal fraud"--a man of many accomplishments who nonetheless fabricated innumerable others in every area of his life. But few in Meinertzhagen's and Hemingway's time knew this. (14)) It was Meinertzhagen who, on secret orders from his superiors, planned and carried out what has come to be known as the Nandi Massacre. (15) In spite of three later Courts of Inquiry, all of which exonerated Meinertzhagen, the details of the massacre remain to this day contested and uncertain--perhaps one reason why in the Eden manuscript David isn't sure if he got his story right (KL/EH 422.1 f33, c42, p7)--but the best reconstruction of events suggests that Meinertzhagen invited the Nandi leader and Orkoiyot, Koitalel Arap Samoei, to a peace meeting at Ket Parak Hill. In a hollow on the hill (admittedly not a crater), Meinertzhagen advanced with five bodyguards to meet Samoei, being careful to leave seventy-five men in hiding with a Maxim machine gun. As Samoei, a sheaf of grass symbolizing peace in his hand, advanced with his body guard, armed with spears, to meet Meinertzhagen, one of Meinertzhagen's men opened fire with the machine gun, mowing down Samoei and all twenty-four of his men. The version in Meinertzhagen's diary--possibly written years after the event (several of Meinertzhagen's diaries have been shown to have been thus fabricated)--suggests that Samoei had planned to ambush Meinertzhagen, that an arrow had pierced Meinertzhagen's sleeve as he shook the Orkoiyot's hand, and that he and his five men had shot the Orkoiyot and killed his twenty-four followers in close combat. Yet the bald-faced absurdity of this--twenty-four Nandi dead and zero British casualties in close combat-led to an international scandal, the three Courts of Inquiry, the recall of Meinertzhagen by the Colonial Office, and the resignation of at least one fellow KAR officer in disgust.
But if, by itself, the Nandi Massacre were insufficient to inspire Catherines response to David's story, the rest of Meinertzhagen's diary might have inspired similar feelings in Hemingway. As one early reviewer of the diary wrote,
It would be possible to dismiss the book as mainly a chronicle of slaughter, the successful killing of Africans and of game animals being described at equal length and with equal zest.... This is emphatically not a book for the squeamish [we might remember that David advises Catherine not to read his story before lunch], and includes some grim and revolting details: it is perhaps a salutary reminder that, whatever the subsequent benefits conferred, the early contacts of black and white were rarely creditable to both, and that the actual establishment of colonial rule can seldom, in retrospect, be viewed with a wholly easy mind. (F. A. M. 6)
Even the preface to the Diary by Lieut.-General Sir Gerald Lathbury notes, "some readers will recoil at the extent of the bloodshed described, and the author himself comments on this aspect; but life, human and animal, was held cheap in those days" (vii). How cheap? As one of his biographers, Brian Garfield, notes, "According to Meinertzhagen, he and his KAR soldiers brought order and punishment to rebellious East African tribes time after time by shooting and clubbing Africans to death in large numbers. In Kenya Diary he writes of one such incident: 'I gave orders that every living thing except children should be killed without mercy.' He describes how, with bullet and bayonet, he and his askari annihilated entire villages. From a reading of his diaries one can estimate his body count at 1,500 Africans. No prisoners. No survivors" (59). If this is what Hemingway had in mind when he was writing this story, no wonder Catherine tears it in two. (16)
Hemingway would have known something of the Nandi Massacre without even reading Meinertzhagen's diary. A version much like Meinterzhagen's is recounted in Elspeth Huxley's White Man's Country: Lord Delamere and The Making of Kenya (1935), a book Hemingway owned. (17) But Hemingway also had access to other, probably less favorable, versions of the story. In his diary, Meinertzhagen claimed to be great friends with Blayney Percival, Kenya's first game ranger and older brother of Philip Percival, Ernest's revered white hunter. The Nandi Massacre scandal occurred in the year when Philip Percival first arrived in Kenya, and it would have been the talk of the colonial community. What's more, during WWI, when Meinertzhagen was back in Kenya as chief of British Military Intelligence in East Africa, he was Philip Percival's superior officer. If talking of the Mau Mau, Hemingway and Percival drifted into a fireside chat about "the old days," as we see them do in Under Kilimanjaro (114), Hemingway could hardly have missed hearing some version of this story. (18)
Implicitly contrasting the Mau Mau Uprising of the 1950s with the Maji Maji Rebellion and Nandi Resistance of 1905 (and the treatment of Native Americans in the United States), Hemingway writes in Under Kilimanjaro: "The old days were supposed to have been simpler but they were not; they were only rougher.... Maybe not. I did not really know but I did know that the white people always took the other peoples lands away from them and put them on a reservation where they could go to hell and be destroyed as though they were in a concentration camp" (260). The Nandi Resistance, of course, ended with the Nandi being confined to just such a reserve--and Hemingways choice of the words, "concentration camp," draws a direct line from such earlier founding violence to what was being done to the Kikuyu during his 1953-54 stay in Kenya. Hemingway arrived in the colony during what he called "a time of corruption, hatreds, sadism, and considerable hysteria" inspired by a colonial propaganda machine committed to preserving white power (UK 198). The governor had declared a state of emergency in October 1952, and newspaper stories, even when they acknowledged legitimate Kikuyu grievances, appealed to and inflamed white anxieties, overstating the threat to Europeans and grossly underestimating native African casualties and detentions. Stories under lurid headlines like "Murder by the Mau Maus: Kenya Natives Use Violence and Voodooism to Terrorize the British" featured savage terrorists who hacked their victims to death with pangas and drank their blood. Never mind that on "the dreadful balance sheet of atrocities committed during Mau Mau, the murders perpetrated by Mau Mau adherents were quite small in number when compared to those committed by the forces of British colonial rule" (Elkins, Imperial xvi). By the end of the emergency, official British reports listed fewer than one hundred Europeans and settlers and roughly eighteen hundred native African loyalists killed by the Mau Mau. In contrast, the British reported more than eleven thousand Mau Mau killed--although as Caroline Elkins has demonstrated in her Pulitzer Prize-winning book Imperial Reckoning (2005), the actual numbers were far higher. The empirical and demographic evidence Elkins unearthed from interviews and previously classified colonial documents suggests that "in late colonial Kenya a murderous campaign to eliminate Kikuyu people... left tens of thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands, dead" (xvi). As Elkins writes elsewhere, settler claims of "Kikuyu savagery justified a dirty forest war and the detention of nearly [the] entire [Kikuyu] population. By 1956, several hundred thousand men were confined in a labyrinth of camps known as the Pipeline, while the vast majority of the women, children, and elderly were forcibly removed from their scattered homesteads and held in some eight hundred barbed-wired villages scattered throughout Kikuyuland. In the camps, the liberal rhetoric of 'rehabilitation' was used to disguise the routine use of torture" ("Race" 215). (19) During their safari, Ernest and Mary Hemingway traveled to the south of the areas most affected by the Mau Mau and before Operation Anvil and the most egregious detentions of the Kikuyu, but they saw enough in Nairobi, the southern limit of large-scale Mau Mau action, for Mary Hemingway to note in her journal Nairobi's "long Kikuyu compounds looking silent and moody" (26 Aug. 1953, 24).
The trail forged by David Bourne's father across the Magadi Desert and up the Nguruman escarpment points, however obliquely, to the Nandi Massacre as both a real atrocity and a crystalizing symbolic founding act of violence for Kenya's settler colonialism. Borrowing a term from Freud, Ayse Deniz Temiz has termed such symbolic founding acts of violence "primal scenes" for their respective settler colonial societies. By pointing to this massacre during the midst of the Mau Mau emergency, Hemingway exposes the tensions and injustices at the root of Mau Mau and the hypocrisy in a white Kenyan settler narrative that paints European settlers as innocents unjustly besieged by native African "savages."
But if David Bourne's story points to the Nandi Massacre as the primal scene of Kenyan settler colonialism, and if this was a significant and subversive political gesture when Hemingway was writing the novel, why does Hemingway make this so difficult to discover? Why does he obscure the massacre by conflating it with the Maji Maji Rebellion? And why do we need to read each detail of the landscape like seasoned trackers to hunt this down? What sort of a political gesture can this be if it is subject to the rigors of Hemingway's iceberg principle? I'd like to suggest that Hemingway's response to the massacre is structured by divisions and ambivalences inherent in settler colonialism; and these divisions and ambivalences, like so much in The Garden of Eden, are inextricably woven into the novel's other divisions and ambivalences. This is why recent theoretical approaches to settler colonialism can bring a fresh perspective to this and to several other dimensions of the text.
I should first be clear about why I write not simply of colonialism but, instead, of settler colonialism. In the past few decades theorists have increasingly distinguished between various types of colonialism and their important motivational, structural, and ideological differences. Nancy Shoemaker, for instance, has distinguished between such differing forms of foreign intrusion or domination as settler colonialism, planter colonialism, trade colonialism, missionary colonialism, romantic colonialism, not-in-my-backyard colonialism, transport colonialism, and extractive colonialism. Needless to say, such forms (and there are several others) can and do overlap. In The Garden of Eden manuscript, for instance, when Marita imagines cutting her hair to be like a Tahitian girl in Gauguin's Femmes de Tahiti and David, thinking of Gauguin's Riders on the Beach, feels like a "half-assed Tahitian," Hemingway plays with fantasies of an Edenic escape from the strictures of Western culture that have traditionally driven romantic colonialism (GOE 154). (20) On the other hand, again in the manuscript, when the Colonel, in Madrid, offers David a job flying for the French in the Riff War against the Moroccan leader of the Riffian resistance, Abd-el-Krim, David repudiates what Shoemaker calls extractive colonialism. When David asks what the fighting is about, the Colonel thinks the iron alone should be sufficient. "Do you want a list of all the other minerals?" he asks. "What do you think people fight for?" (KL/EH 422.1 f8, cl3, p23). David won't fight, but if push came to shove, he would rather fly for Abdel-Krim. (21) Whereas extractive colonialism is driven by the desire for natural resources, romantic colonialism by fantasies of escape, missionary colonialism by a desire for souls, and plantation colonialism by a desire for cheap labor, settler colonialism is motivated primarily by a desire for "the land itself rather than the surplus value to be derived from mixing native labour with it" (Wolfe 163). Settler colonials, like the European settlers in the United States, Australia, South Africa, and Kenya's White Highlands, come for the land, and they intend to stay. In Kenya, for instance, settlers "pushed for and won an extension of their land leases in the highlands--from 99 to 999 years" (Elkins, Imperial 11). One wonders what the word "lease" can even mean when the term of the lease is a millennium. "Though, in practice, indigenous labor was indispensable to Europeans," theorist Patrick Wolfe explains, "settler-colonization is at base a winner-take-all project whose dominant feature is not exploitation but replacement" (163). Of course, Europeans never replaced the indigenous population in Kenya, but the settlers' bald assertion that the highlands were a "white man's country" and their far-reaching policies designed to make this a reality lay bare their intentions. (22)
David's father in Eden's African stories is no tourist on safari; he is a settler colonial (although practicing a form of ivory-based extractive colonialism)--and so by extension is David, at least until he moves to Europe. In fact, father and son were settler colonials before they came to Africa. They came, we discover, from Oklahoma (GOE 111), David's father presumably drawn to Indian Territory by the land runs of the 1890s, and father and son leave for Africa before Oklahoma achieves statehood in 1907. As he worked on The Garden of Eden, Hemingway may not only have thought of settler colonials, but in some measure he may have both identified and dis-identified with them; after all, in January 1953 his middle son, Patrick, had bought land and moved to Tanganyika to farm and become a white hunter, and in 1955 his youngest son, Gregory, did the same. To say that Hemingway both identified and dis-identified with settler colonials may sound like a too-convenient catchall--but it is much more meaningful than this. We only identify or dis-identify with anyone when what is at stake is our own identity, our own ego. And as we know from studies of Hemingway's fetishism, Hemingways ego was clearly and importantly riven. (23)
Ambivalence and self-division are baked into settler colonialism. As Anna Johnston and Alan Lawson explain, settler colonials uneasily occupy "a place caught between two First Worlds, two origins of authority and authenticity. One of these is the originating world of Europe, the Imperium--the source of ... principle cultural authority. Its 'other' First World is that of the First Nations whose authority they not only replaced and effaced but also desired" (370). We see this, for instance, in The Garden of Eden's twin appeals to a Europe of Bugattis, caviar, and fine art and an Africa of elephant hunts and bitter desert crossings. What settlers particularly desire, Lorenzo Veracini suggests, is the indigene's prior and symbolically more authentic relation to the land. Because the settler collective sees itself as simultaneously indigenous and exogenous, they adopt "ambivalent emotional strategies relating to location and origin":
Settler colonial nationalisms, for example, focus on at least two spaces of origin. On the one hand, the 'Outback,' the 'brousse,' the 'frontier,'... provide a mythical reference for 'indigenization' processes, allowing for crucial settler investment in place and landscape. On the other, settlers also routinely articulate diasporic identities via a focus on ancestral 'roots' that are located elsewhere. The settler has a filiative and an affiliative connection with 'home,' but 'home' is alternatively (or simultaneously) both the old' and the 'new' place. (20-21)
This recalls the dual and divided point of origin in Hemingway's personal narrative, with the rift between his native, suburban Oak Park (often appearing in his fiction as Ok-la-home-a) and his summers spent in the "wilds" of Michigan--a riven point of origin much like David Bourne's in Eden. (24) To establish an authentic relation to the land, settler colonial narratives abound in indigenizing heroes--backwoodsmen, cowboys, gauchos,... and elephant hunters--who cultivate "native attributes and skills" (Johnston and Lawson 363). Meanwhile, they portray the native population as "dying races," making way for the Europeans; they are shadows in a landscape that is imagined as "empty" or "unsettled"--for to acknowledge otherwise would be to admit the morally repugnant fact that "settlement" is invasion. (25) Thus, "settlers construe their very movement forward as a 'return' to something that was irretrievable lost: a return to the land, but also an Edenic condition,... a Golden Age of unsurrendered freedoms..." (Veracini 99). Needless to say, this is all suggestive for a reading of the African stories in The Garden of Eden--and for a good deal else in Hemingway's fiction.
Hemingway's divisions and ambivalences about Kenyan settler colonialism, and his divided and seemingly contradictory identifications, are most clearly on display in his posthumously-published semi-fictional account of his 1953-54 safari, Under Kilimanjaro. Here he first tried to grapple with these themes before abandoning that text and working them instead into the African stories in The Garden of Eden. Always one to flirt with the idea of "going native" wherever he traveled--though he always managed to construct an identity simultaneously "insider" and "outsider"--Hemingway on safari took what Veracini calls the process of "indigenization" to surprising lengths. (26) He playfully invents a new "frightfully old" religion, one of whose "basic points of the faith" is that neither he nor his wife are white: "We tolerate the whites and wish to live in harmony with them," Mary explains. "But on our own terms" (UK 89). Hemingway dyes his clothes rusty Maasai ochre, shaves his head like a Maasai girl, takes to hunting at night with a spear, fantasizes about having "black skin like any other Kamba," and engages in an elaborate flirtation with his Kamba "fiancee," Debba (320). (27) "For a long time," he writes, "I had identified myself with the Wakamba and now had passed over the last important barrier so that the identification was complete" (130). In her memoir, How It Was, Mary Hemingway remembers the safari, "For days he had been talking about becoming 'blood brothers' with his Wakamba friends among our servants. That night I noted cryptically: 'We got home before six. Papa had started ceremonies for face-cutting and ear-piercing'" (451-52). As he worked on what would become the text of Under Kilimanjaro in October 1955, more than a year after his return from Africa, Hemingway's urge to identify with the Kamba remained so strong that Mary had to dissuade him from piercing his ears with a note so remarkable that it bears quoting in full:
Honey Papa-- For the well-being of both of us, I ask you please to reconsider having your ears pierced. The only good that can come from it would be the momentary sensation you get at the time of the pricking, a sensation you've already had from the taking of blood for tests. But it could cause a variety of trouble, primarily because it would be flouting the mores of western civilization. I do not defend the modern idea that men, except for a few sailors, rakish fellows, do not wear earrings--but I think we should recognize that it exists. Everything you do sooner or later gets into print, and I feel truly that your wearing earrings or having your ears pierced will have a deleterious effect on your reputation both as a writer and as a man. If you were a chorus boy, it wouldn't make any difference. But you are an important man with a reputation for seeing reality and the truth more clearly than any other writer of your time. The fiction that having your ears pierced will make you a Kamba is an evasion of the reality, which is that you are not and never can be anything but an honorary Kamba, and it is out of harmony with your best character which is that of a wise, thoughtful, realistic adult white American male. I know that you are impassioned about Africa and the Africans, writing about them, and allured by the mystery and excitement of becoming one of them. And you know that I love the fun of make-believe as much as you do. But the attempt to convert fantasy into actuality can only result, I think, in distortion and failure. There are other ways of proving brotherhood between you and the Kamba. I do hope you will find them, my Big Sweetheart-- Mary (qtd. in Eby, Hemingway's Fetishism 178-79)
Yet Hemingway was not merely an "honorary Kamba," he was also under Kenya's Wild Animal Protection Ordinance an Honorary Game Warden. This position of the Imperium enjoined him to shoot animals that threatened human life and property and to police what the colonial government called "poaching" by a hunting culture--Hemingway's own tribe, the Kamba--whose "game had been killed off by the white men and by themselves on their reserve" (UK 76). And as much as the colonial government did its best to exploit Hemingways visit to bolster a tourism industry flagging under the Mau Mau Emergency, Hemingway's position was hardly a one-off gimmick. Such honorary game wardens, generally sportsmen, had been appointed since 1922 to assist Kenya's mere "skeleton staff" of primary game wardens, and their appointments were regularly reported in The Kenya Gazette. "By 1937, when the Game Department had only six white officers and some 70 African scouts, the number of honorary game wardens in the country had risen to 100," and these wardens, generally appointed for five-year terms, "were of immeasurable assistance to the overworked department" (Matheka 243). (28) In the Kenya of 1953-54, Hemingway's position meant he had an obligation to monitor any Mau Mau activity in his area. Thus in Under Kilimanjaro, we see him regularly meeting with the comic Informer, checking out rumors of Mau Mau sympathizers in Loitokitok, and preparing for a possible raid by Mau Mau escapees. What Hemingway doesn't mention in Under Kilimanjaro is that he also received a "Top Secret" directive for "Operation Long Stop," a December 23-25, 1953, operation to round up Mau Mau on the Tanganyikan slopes of Kilimanjaro and Meru and to intercept those fleeing the round-up across the border into Kenya. (29) Game Wardens were an official part of the plan, and Loitokitok was considered a likely point of entry. Thus, while Hemingway identifies as Kamba, critiquing "the white men [who] stole their country" and playfully dismissing Mary's favorite African game scout, Chungo, as "a company man... sold out to the white man," he admits that he himself still has "the miserable traits of a bwana," and his position in the war-time colonial dynamic is complex, divided, and fraught (UK 129; 283; 316). In opposition to the settlers and their 999-year leases, Hemingway recognizes that the whites are only "temporarily occupying the country," and he tells Ngui they should pray for "Africa for Africans" and "Kwisha Mau Mau"--an end to Mau Mau (358; 395). Yet the end to Mau Mau that he envisions does not involve a Mau Mau victory: "When I would lie awake in the night when there were no tactical things to think about I would wonder who it was who stood to profit the most if the white people were driven out of East Africa. Certainly it would not be the Africans. They were not yet ready to administer nor to govern. But other people were; or thought they were" (59).
Hemingway's tribal affiliation might seem to reconcile the tensions bound up in his relation to Mau Mau, but instead it merely encapsulates them. By identifying with the Kamba instead of the Kikuyu, Hemingway identifies with a tribe that he claims is "completely loyal to the British." He insists that "even the young men and the bad boys [are] loyal." However, he makes these claims only in the act of admitting that "the young men were upset and things were not simple at all.... There had been some infiltration. There was nothing about this in the Wild Animal Protection Ordinance" (130). Although Hemingway may not have known this, his insistence upon absolute Kamba loyalty, in spite of oppositional facts, echoed a crucial point of British colonial propaganda meant to "psychologically alienate the Kamba from the Kikuyu.... by playing on notions of Kamba identity" (Osborne 76). Divide and conquer. Hemingway tells us that the Kamba "liked to fight, really fight" (130). Many had fought in WWII, and the Kamba were, indeed, disproportionately represented in the KAR, Kenya Police, and Home Guard. With the Kamba comprising "40 percent of the armed forces" and traditionally having close ties and much intermarriage with the Kikuyu, the British government was terrified lest the Mau Mau spread to them (Osborne 76). When Hemingway arrived in Kenya in August 1953, Mau Mau oathing ceremonies had just spread from Kamba in Nairobi to the Machakos district in western Ukambani, rural home of the Kamba. Until then the movement had been relatively contained among the Kamba, largely because "on the eve of the Emergency" the colonial government had shut down easy travel between Kikuyu lands and Ukambani (Osborne 67). By the end of 1953, though, "officials were concerned about the increasing penetration of Mau Mau among the Kamba. "The cancer is spreading,'" warned one colonial official (Osborne 70). (30)
Whatever his protestations about Kamba loyalty, Hemingway felt the threat clearly enough to make the escape of fourteen Kamba Mau Mau adherents a major subplot of Under Kilimanjaro, in spite of the fact that incorporating this subplot demanded fictionalizing his timeline. According to Mary Hemingway's East African Journal for 9 January 1954, "Fifteen Mau Mau have escaped from Machakos jail and may be around here tonight. It would be too bad, especially this year, to be carved up in bed by a race fanatic; but Keiti doesn't think they'll come this way" (236). To work this into Under Kilimanjaro, Hemingway, who had been reading "many books about people who had escaped from prison camps" (UK 53), moves the escape to well before Christmas; he changes the fifteen escapees to "fourteen of the most desperate type" armed "to the teeth" (53); and, most importantly, he changes their one-day journey into a "three day" desert crossing (52). He is told, and believes, that the escapees will probably not come his way, but with perhaps an imaginative nod to T. E. Lawrence, he suggests that those who give him assurances "rely a little too much on the desert as being impassable" (397). (31) The route he imagines for the escapees from Machakos would mirror the route taken by David's father in The Garden of Eden's story of the massacre in the crater except that it would take the escapees through his Kimana Swamp hunting camp instead of the Fig Tree Camp near Lake Magadi. In other words, the route he imagines for the Kamba Mau Mau rebels seems to be an embryonic version of the route taken by David's father in The Garden of Eden. Yet in Eden Hemingway replaces the possible massacre of whites by native rebels with the originary massacre of native rebels by whites that would seem to retroactively code the potential action by the Mau Mau in Under Kilimanjaro as a sort of retribution.
Such an origin for David Bourne's retelling of Kenyan settler colonialism's violent "primal scene" speaks to the divisions and ambivalences that underlie and structure it. Freud, of course, used the term "primal scene" to describe the child's traumatic observation or fantasy of parental intercourse, often interpreted as an act of violence by the father; so it is interesting that Hemingway writes, "I would have preferred for Pop"--settler colonial and white hunter, Philip Percival--"to be my father and my mother either a Somali or a Wakamba.... It always seemed stupid to be white in Africa and.... I was burned dark enough to pass as a half-caste" (UK 251). It would be hard to imagine a pedigree that would more perfectly embody the split in Hemingway's ego as it pertains to race and settler colonialism. Such splitting lays the groundwork almost too paradigmatically for the way Ayse Deniz Temiz extends Freud's concept of the primal scene to settler colonialism to describe the moment when the "virgin wilderness" of the "motherland" is raped by settlers from the "fatherland." As Temiz explains, "The primal scene is the moment of inception of the subject's memory, which coincides with the moment when the illusion of a perfect origin, as a state of plenitude without conflicts, is disturbed for the first time by the acknowledgement of the other's presence." One might even describe this as a fall from Eden. Temiz continues:
This painful acknowledgement of the other that undermines the sovereignty of the subject, however, often takes place alongside a disavowal, a split consciousness and denial of the other's presence on the blank slate of the self's memory. Thus simultaneously recognized and negated, the other becomes a fetish for the self, namely that which the self approaches as its limit, without ever acknowledging it as its corollary, a full-fledged subject.
Repression, repudiation and disavowal all offer themselves as possible defenses against the traumatic nature of the primal scene, but the divisions inherent in the settler colonial condition, and so perfectly embodied in Hemingway, make it particularly prone to disavowal. (32) "As indigenous people ostensibly enjoy a prior and meaningful relationship with the land," Lorenzo Veracini explains, "their presence painfully upsets a settler libidinal economy focusing on [the] 'unspoilt,' [or] 'untouched'" (87). The displacement and replacement of indigenous others can only be a trauma and an act of violence, but the acknowledgement of this is so inimical to the necessary settler colonial fantasy of a just society that the result is often nothing less than disavowal--"a splitting of the ego-like process, where two antithetical psychical attitudes coexist side by side without communicating, one taking reality into consideration, the other disavowing it" (Veracini 89).
Consider, for instance, the treatment of the Nandi Massacre Hemingway read in Elspeth Huxley's 1935 book White Man's Country: Lord Delamere and the Making of Kenya. Huxley relates a version of the Orkoiyot's death sympathetic to Meinertzhagen, who goes unnamed, omitting any mention whatsoever of the twenty four men killed with the Orkoiyot. Even more importantly, she tells this tale precisely to insist on the peacefulness of Kenya's settlement. She concludes her chapter,
This was the only serious military expedition ever carried out against an entire native tribe in what is now Kenya Colony. There were a number of other minor raids, but these were a much smaller scale and were only directed against certain sections of tribes who had committed serious crimes. It is possible that no country in the Empire has ever been opened up and settled with so little bloodshed and with the maintenance of such friendly relations with the native population. (157)
Never mind Meinertzhagen's "slaughter... of Africans and of game animals... described at equal length and with equal zest." Never mind his personal body count of 1,500 Africans. "No prisoners. No survivors." Never mind that life, then, was "cheap." Never mind the tensions that were building and would soon explode in the Mau Mau. Thanks to disavowal, in the settler colonial imagination violence can be acknowledged and denied in the same breath.
Through precisely this sort of disavowal, the story Hemingway and David Bourne write of the Nandi Massacre in The Garden of Eden both exposes and buries the foundational violence of Kenya's colonial settlement. While the fury of Catherine's response to it is a measure of the outrage committed, the difficulty of uncovering what outrage has been committed masks the crime. Taking advantage of the reduplicative parallelism between the names Mau Mau and Maji Maji, the novel symptomatically displaces Kenyan foundational violence onto a rebellion in German East Africa; yet through an emphasis on landscape and temporality ("in the year of," "in the time of" the Maji Maji), it simultaneously acknowledges the displacement. In displacing the primal scene of Kenyan settler colonialism onto Tanganyika, Hemingway may also unconsciously acknowledge his misgivings about his two sons' recent establishment of themselves as settler colonials in Tanganyika. As a purely political response to the violence and injustice of the Nandi Massacre and Mau Mau, this is somewhat underwhelming. In part this is due to settler colonial disavowal of founding violence, but more importantly, this is because political concerns in The Garden of Eden--while real and significant--are subordinated to the psychosexual concerns with which they are hopelessly entangled.
After all, in spite of the much-discussed cross-racial identifications of Catherine, David, and Marita in The Garden of Eden, what can be said of the racial and colonial politics of a novel where Catherine Bourne, reveling in her glorious suntan, wants to become "so dark that they won't let us into places.... So dark they'll make us sit at a separate table going out to Africa"? (KL/EH 422.1 f2, c4, p3). (33) Not out of solidarity with the oppressed, but because she is thrilled by the erotic excitement of becoming the fetishized racial Other? I don't mean to suggest that Catherine's and Marita's quests to become Kamba, Mbulu, Somali, Wanderobo, or Watusi girls--not to mention Kanakas, Tahitians, or Bizerte street urchins--to stand in for David's long lost African "fiancee" (or "the beautiful Oklahoma Oil Indian" girl he almost married) entirely negate the critique of colonialism implicit in David's African stories or in his response to the Colonel's offer to fly in the Riff War. (34) They do, however, certainly problematize it. They should force us to ask what inspires David to write the story of the massacre in the crater and what makes this "the hardest" story to write that David knows.
Why does David begin writing this story when he does? And what are the things "that for years he had put off facing"? There's little in the manuscript to suggest that David has been preoccupied with anything political; but after first enjoying his own sort of lesbian experience with Catherine, in which he becomes a "girl" in bed while Catherine doesn't "change," Marita has just entered their life, and Catherine has announced that she is about to have a lesbian experience with her. The prospect of this makes David feel "sick" (GOE 108). It is immediately after contemplating this that David decides to begin this story. Writing the story, then, seems like a defense against a perceived threat that is essentially psychosexual. When the girls return later that afternoon, they do talk about David's settler colonial past in Oklahoma and East Africa, but the point is less about colonialism than it is about the split at Davids point of origin. They talk about David's first novel, The Rift, with its pun on Kenyan geography, but Marita asks a question that suggests another operative pun: "Was that your father in it?" "Some ways," David concedes. "It made me cry," she tells him (111).
The driving force behind Davids African stories--both the story of the massacre in the crater and the story of the elephant hunt--seems to be an attempt to re-negotiate his troubled relationship with his father and his conflicting needs to identify and dis-identify with him. In the story of the massacre, Catherine finds Davids father "heartless," and she thinks David certainly "make[s] him despicable" (223; 210). She considers the honeymoon narrative "much more interesting and instructive than a lot of natives in a kraal or whatever you call it covered with flies and scabs... with your drunken father staggering around smelling of sour beer and not knowing which ones of the little horrors he had fathered" (189). Even Marita, when she reads the story of the massacre, asks, "Was this when you stopped loving him?" "No," David replies. "I always loved him. This was when I got to know him" (154). Yet David "gets to know" his father not from first-hand experience--since he was never with him on that desert crossing and was eight years old when the events took place--but rather through writing. Through the writing process, David lives in the story, thinks what his father thinks, and becomes his father. When he leaves the country of the story, "his father [is] with him still" (147). After Catherine burns his manuscripts, David gets to re-write the story, and his relationship with his father, yet again--now with more clarity: "He found he knew much more about his father than when he had first written this story and he knew he could measure his progress by the small things which made his father more tactile and to have more dimensions than he had in the story before. He was fortunate, just now, that his father was not a simple man" (247). (35) The conclusion of the Scribners edition, with the "recovery" of Davids story "returning to him intact," promises David a restored, re-imagined, re-written relationship with his father that will make David "intact," healing divisions within himself--most importantly, the bisexual rift in his ego that threatens his sense of his masculinity (247). That these lines in the manuscript don't even conclude a chapter, much less the novel, undermines the sense of closure they convey in the Scribners text, but as a statement of what David is aiming at in his African stories, the impression they create is essentially correct.
Davids story of the Nandi Massacre demonstrates that the divided sense of origin and self-identity that theorists like Lorenzo Veracini argue promotes disavowal and a tendency to fetishize the Other in settler colonials did not so much produce these effects in Hemingway as it gave him another avenue of expression for them. (36) Hemingway was all too ready to feel divided because there was already a rift in his ego; he was all too ready to disavow the primal scene of colonial violence because disavowal was his go-to defense against trauma; he was only too ready to fetishize the racial other because he was already a fetishist. These facets of the settler colonial condition fit him like a glove, but Hemingway's predispositions color the way and intensity with which they are expressed in his fiction. The trail forged by David's father across the Magadi Desert leads to a founding trauma, but one that was as personal as it was social.
Image Credits: Landscape images, Map data [c]2019 Google & U. Arizona; Map of Maji Maji, Maximilian Dorrbecker; Honorary Game Warden card, EHPPOM01-005-005, Hemingway Collection, John F. Kennedy Library, Boston; Operation Long Stop, EH-OM01-006, Hemingway Collection, John E Kennedy Library, Boston
(1.) This line appears almost verbatim in the Scribner's edition (157), but the word "passage" has been substituted for "paysage." Paysage means landscape, particularly as in landscape painting. Passage is not a good substitute. In citing the Eden manuscript, I cite, in this order, item, folder, chapter, and page numbers, so KL/EH 422.1 f20, c26, p 19 means Hemingway Collection, Kennedy Library, item 422.1, folder 20, chapter 26, page 19.
(2.) In Fitzgerald's defense, in Tender Is the Night it should be noted that the location of the Divers' villa, Tarmes, is a frankly fictional location. It sounds a bit like the hill town of Eze, thirty miles north-east of Antibes, but Fitzgerald clearly implies that it is on Cap d'Antibes, looking across the Golfe Juan toward Cannes (275). In a still more surprising geographical lapse, on the first page of the novel, Fitzgerald places Gausses Hotel, clearly intended to be near Juan les Pins, within earshot of traffic descending "the low range of the Maures" (3), at least twenty miles to the southwest, near Saint-Raphael.
(3.) One wonders if Hemingway knew that in 1927, when The Garden of Eden is set, Theoule was beginning the process of splitting from the commune of Mandelieu-la Napoule to become its own independent city. A January 8, 1927, article by Gaston Picard in the major French daily cultural newspaper Comoedia carried a suggestive title: "Un Eden a sauver: Plaidoyer pour Theoule" ("An Eden to Be Saved: A Plea for Theoule").
(4.) Whereas in Hendaye in the 1920s and 1930s Hemingway favored the Ondarraitz Hotel, run by the Barron family, he stayed in 1953 at the elegant Hotel Eskualduna (Reynolds 264). Similarly, during his 1927 honeymoon in le Grau du Roi, Hemingway stayed at the Grand Hotel Pommier (in spite of its imposing title, just a small pension), but he stayed at the more upscale Hotel Bellevue d'Angleterre in 1949 (Simien 28 & 35). (Hemingway did, however, use stationary from the Bellevue d'Angleterre during his 1927 stay [Letters vol. 3, 239].) Such details demonstrate how Hemingway mined and blended experience from throughout his life to create his tale of the 1920s.
(5.) In 1953 Hemingway stayed at Philip Percival's Kitanga Farm in the Machakos District, on the edge of the broken desert, and the place mattered enough in his imaginative universe for him to name one of his dogs Machakos (SL 890). The Machakos District formed the western portion of Ukambani, home of the Kamba; thus, it is natural that the "servant and brother" of David's father would be "Kamba" (GOE 129).
(6.) In "The Christmas Gift," Hemingway describes the camp as being "on a small stream of clear water which comes down out of the escarpment," close to Lake Magadi (427). Mary Hemingway, however, gives us a more precise location of the camp in her East African Journal.
(7.) See Mary Hemingway's East African Journal for September 24, 1953 (94).
(8.) See Ernest Hemingway's "The Christmas Gift" (427-28) and Mary Hemingway's East African Journal (248).
(9.) The word magadi in Swahili actually means soda or alkali (Johnson 253), so it should come as no surprise that there is also a Lake Magadi in Tanzania. This Lake Magadi, however, sits at the bottom of the famous Ngorongoro Crater, a veritable Garden of Eden, the very opposite of a desert, and still too far north to figure in a tale of the Maji Maji Rebellion. This is decidedly not the Lake Magadi and Magadi Desert of David's story. The kongoni shot by David's father near camp is still more evidence that the setting is too far north for the Maji Maji Rebellion. The word kongoni usually refers specifically to Coke's hartebeest, and its range is confined to southern Kenya and northern Tanzania.
(10.) Matson was able to write two impressive and valuable volumes of a projected three on the origins and outcome of the Nandi Resistance, but unfortunately he died before he could write the third volume that would have dealt with the events of 1905.
(11.) For the Yakan Water Cult, see Middleton; and for the persistence of the cult into contemporary times, see Jourdan. Ihe Maji Maji Rebellion took place took place "across a territory larger than the United Kingdom" and "engulfed societies which spoke more than twenty-five languages," but even the closest action was more than 300 miles south of Lake Magadi, the closest point on the trek made by David's father (Giblin and Monson 8). While the role of maji, or magical water, gave unity to various stories of the Maji Maji Rebellion and could be seen to link the Nandi Resistance to the violence in southern German East Africa, the cult was widespread across place and time, appearing also in Sudan (1889), Uganda (1918), and the Democratic Republic of Congo (1996); the geography, causes, goals, and participants of the Nandi Resistance demarcate it clearly from the Maji Maji.
(12.) See "Etranger," Le Matin, 17 Mar. 1906, p.3; "End of the Nandi Expedition," The Times, 21 Nov. 1905, p.5; and "Over 1,000 Natives Killed: The Nandi Expedition, British Officer's Narrow Escape," Yorkshire Telegraph and Star, 15 Mar. 1906, p.5.
(13.) See for instance the following: Egon Kaskeline's "Nationalism Powers Political Maneuvers in Most Africa: Transition Period," The Christian Science Monitor, 21 Jul. 1956, p.5; A. H. J. Prins's "The Meaning of'Mau-Mau," Man, vol. 54, 1954, p. 16; William Bascom's "Introduction to Africa, from Pygmies to the Reds," Chicago Daily Tribune, 22 Aug. 1954, p.B3; and James Coleman's "Current Political Movements in Africa," The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, vol. 298, 1955, p. 95-108. It is interesting that the press did not pair the Mau Mau Uprising with the Nandi Resistance, and this was probably because the British had so successfully suppressed memory of their punitive expedition against the Nandi.
(14.) T. E. Lawrence appreciated Meinertzhagen's duplicity and violence and seemed to recognize his fundamental sociopathology: "Meinertzhagen knew no half measures. He was... so possessed by his convictions that he was willing to harness evil to the chariot of good. He was a strategist... who took as blithe a pleasure in deceiving his enemy (or his friend) by some unscrupulous jest, as in spattering the brains of a cornered mob of Germans one by one with his African knob-kerri.
His instincts were abetted by an immensely powerful body and a savage brain, which chose the best way to its purpose, unhampered by doubt or habit" (384).
(15.) See Colonial Office, Correspondence [7 Apr. 1905 to 8 Jun. 1906] Related to Affairs in the East Africa Protectorate, Confidential, African No. 771, Colonial Office, 1907: "Telegram received... reporting that Captain Meinertzhagen (who had received secret instructions to make the attempt) had surprised and killed the Laibon, or head medicine man, of the Nandi, and 24 of his followers without suffering any casualty himself" (126).
(16.) Meinertzhagen's book does not appear in Brasch and Sigman's inventory of Hemingway's library, nor am I aware of any references to Meinertzhagen in Hemingway's letters, but I would be surprised if a devoted reader of Africana like Hemingway missed a book about Kenya in 1905 published in the year when he was himself writing about Kenya in 1905. It is possible that Catherine's violent reaction to David's story mirrors Hemingway's reaction to Meinertzhagen's book--hence its absence from his library.
In addition to the slaughter of people, one can't help wondering if Meinertzhagen's account of his big game hunting exploits further contributed to Catherine's question, "Did your father have to kill everything?" and David's reply: "I guess so" (KLEH 422.1 f21, c27, p26). "Kenya Diary contains an appendix of nine fine-print pages listing the animals Meinertzhagen killed in his four years' East African duty in 1902-1906. There is little reason to doubt his count," which included 4,006 zebra, 845 Coke's hartebeest, and 546 Thomson's gazelle (Garfield 61). This is an astounding slaughter from a man who claims to have been an early advocate for game reserves.
(17.) Huxley notes, with characteristic settler colonial understatement, that the manner of the Laibon's death "gave rise to much controversy at the time" (156).
(18.) In her East African Journal, Mary Hemingway also remembers Percival "talking wonderfully about the early days" (15 Sept. 1953, 74). Judging from Percival's response to the Mau Mau, it is not clear that he would have been particularly critical of Meinertzhagen. In a 2 October 1952 letter to Hemingway, Percival writes, "This Mau Mau business is so far pretty well confined to the Kikuyu tribe. The Kinks are a cowardly and very treacherous lot. When I came out first they were the most despised tribe. Both the Maasai and the Wakamba raided them. Unfortunately they are very politically minded and the home people listen to them.... I'm hoping there will be shooting soon. Think I may be in on it. You know we came in and stopped all tribal wars.... We feed the bastards in famine and of course the result is that the reserves are overstocked with humans and cattle which they won't sell hence I think the start of discontent." As Caroline Elkins notes, "Throughout the colonial period, ethnic groups that lived in closest proximity to the settler population received the harshest racial rebukes." Their mere presence challenged the "racist assumptions that justified settler privilege," and this made them "a constant source of anxiety" for settlers. "In Kenya, for example, the Kikuyu who lived in the interstices of the White Highlands, were cunning, deceitful, savage, or as one former settler called them, 'the blackest of the kaffirs'" ("Race" 205). In other words, Percival's understanding of the Mau Mau seems to have been a classic settler colonial response. In a letter of 1 February 1953, Percival writes that "if we can give [the Kikuyu] a good lesson the other tribes will be quiet," and in a 3 May 1954 letter, with an implicit comparison between the Mau Mau and Maji Maji, he writes to Hemingway, "Our M. M. troubles go on. I suppose we shall settle it one day. The Germans would have fixed it all in three months."
(19.) "Today Mau Mau war veterans are claiming compensation from the British government for torture carried out in detention camps in Kenya during the 1950s" (Osborne 65).
(20.) For the references to Gauguin, see KL/EH 422.1 f22, c28, p45 and f20, c26, p4.
(21.) When John Dos Passos went to Morocco in 1926 to see what was happening in the Riff War, Hemingway briefly toyed with the idea of joining him. The war had been on his mind, and in August 1925 he had written to Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas, "Charley Sweeney [sic] and collection of former Capts, Majors, Liet. Cols, off to fight the Riffs. Awfully sweet thing to do. But... what's it all about? Can understand fighting for Abd-el-Krimmy against the French altho not attractive but to deliberately go and fight for Callaux in Morocco--not for the adventure of whats [sic] in it--oh no--for high moral purposes. You have to admit it is touching. [paragraph] What imbeciles the French must think we are" (Letters vol. 2, 381-82). That same week he wrote to Ezra Pound, "Would join Abdelkrim tomorrow if chance of Riffian invasion of Sunny France. Jesus how I hate the bastards" (Letters vol. 2, 378). The war was more than a passing interest. References to it occur in The Sun Also Rises, For Whom the Bell Tolls, Across the River and Into the Trees, and The Garden of Eden.
(22.) For a helpful summary of these policies, too extensive to list here, see Elkins' Imperial Reckoning, pp.12-18.
(23.) For a discussion of this see Eby's Hemingway's Fetishism, 185-240. A passage in Eden speaks poignantly to this splitting of the ego. As David kisses Marita, the text reads, "They held each other and he could feel himself start to be whole again. He had not known just how greatly he had been divided and separated because once he started to work he wrote from an inner core which could not be split nor even marked nor scratched. He knew about this and it was his strength since ail the rest of him could be riven" (183).
(24.) See Eby, Hemingway's Fetishism 185-90. For Hemingway's quest lor authority through cross-racial identifications, see del Gizzo.
(25.) This brings to mind Robert Lewis's essay "Long Time Ago Good, Now No Good."
(26.) Hemingway's cross-racial identifications in Under Kilimanjaro have been explored at length by Eby (Hemingway's Fetishism), del Gizzo, Strong, and Dudley.
(27.) As Jeremiah Kitunda notes, Debba's name should more properly be spelled Ndemha (108). Likewise, the proper name for the people is Kamba, not Wakamba (Osborne 63).
(28.) Hemingway's son Patrick would be appointed an honorary game warden in 1966, and he was one of thirty-one honorary game wardens appointed at the time (Barrah 82). In 1956, when Patrick was a Probationary Member of the East Africa Professional Hunters' Association, Ernest was an Honorary Associate.
(29.) Hemingway's copy of this directive (copy 7 of 10) is in his papers at the JFK Library in Boston. To be strictly correct, the round-up of Mau Mau in Tanganyika by the Tanganyikan police was designated "Operation Mistletoe." "Operation Long Stop" referred specifically to the planned arrest and detention of Mau Mau fleeing "Operation Mistletoe" across the border into Kenya.
(30.) The top secret directive Hemingway received for Operation Long Stop noted that "oath taking has occurred amongst the Wakamba" along the Kenya/Tanganyika border. "In mid-1954, the governor of Kenya estimated that 8,000 Kamba had taken the Mau Mau oath. Documents declassified in 2006, including assorted daily and weekly intelligence reports from 1954 and 1955, reveal Kamba Mau Mau confessing their oaths to the tune of ten to twenty per report. Among other things, their confessions expose an extensive Kamba Mau Mau network in operation including a committee at Ngong that specialized in making home-made guns. It is frankly inconceivable that the government detained fewer than 1,000 Kamba Mau Mau given these statistics and the popularity of Mau Mau, particularly considering that camps in the Kamba Pipeline opened so late. Perhaps 3,000-4,000 Kamba spent time in detention, although in the absence of firm data, this must remain an extremely speculative estimate" (Osborne 73-74).
(31.) Hemingway had previously borrowed from Lawrence when he imagined Robert Jordan's destruction of trains in For Whom the Bell Tolls.
(32.) For a discussion of the distinction between repression, repudiation, and disavowal as they apply to Hemingway, see Eby's "He Felt the Change," 85-86.
(33.) For a discussion of fantasies of racial crossing in The Garden of Eden, see Morrison, Comley and Scholes, Eby (Hemingway's Fetishism), Moddelmog, del Gizzo, Strong, and Dudley.
(34.) To find where Catherine and Marita attempt to assume each of these identities, see the following passages in the Eden manuscript, KL/EH 422.1: Kamba f21, c27, p5; Mbulu f21, c27, p5; Wanderobo f29, c37, p27; Somali f29, c37, p41; Watusi f37, c46, p29; Kanaka f2, c2, p1; Tahitian f22, c28, p45; Bizerte street urchin f36, c45, p2; African fiancee f21, c27, p27; Oklahoma Oil Indian girl fl7, c23, p23.
(35.) For a discussion of the bisexual rift in David's ego and Hemingway's ego, see Eby, Hemingway's Fetishism, 185-240.
(36.) "Both indigenous and exogenous Others are thus a fetish for the inherently ambivalent indigenizing/Europeanizing settler self" (Veracini 87).
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Appalachian State University
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|Publication:||The Hemingway Review|
|Date:||Sep 22, 2019|
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