Tuesday, November 7, 2023

The 100th Anniversary of Hemingway's “Three Stories and Ten Poems”

written by Magdelyn Gipe

The Clarke's copy of
Three Stories and Ten Poems
Ernest Hemingway has solidified his place in the American literary canon as a prolific author and cultural touchstone. He is most well-known because of noted books such as A Farewell To Arms (1929), The Old Man and the Sea (1952), and The Sun Also Rises (1926). Although these works are pieces that helped him rise to fame and stay there, his earlier writings set the tone for his career.

The earliest book in Hemingway's long bibliography debuted 100 years ago. Three Stories and Ten Poems was released in Paris, France, on September 1, 1923. Privately published when Ernest was just 24 years old, this first collection did not lead to Hemingway becoming exceptionally famous. However, the book was well received by critics and those who could get their hands on it. With only 300 copies made, securing one at the time was no easy feat, and it is even more of a tall task, today. In 2018, the Clarke was pleased to acquire one of these rare copies, which was made possible by the generous donors who have supported the Clarke Historical Library's Hemingway in Michigan collection over the years.

This collection of stories and poems was inspired, in part, by Hemingway’s experience during World War I and his summers spent in Michigan from his birth through his late adolescence. Indeed, the story, “Up in Michigan,” is the centerpiece of this collection of writing. The controversial story, set in fictional “Hortons” Bay, Michigan, graphically describes Jim forcing himself on Liz on a Lake Charlevoix dock after a night of drinking. It is said Hemingway’s own parents refused to have the book in their home because of the content.

List of best short stories of 1923, from the Omaha Morning Bee

100 years after the first collection of fiction by the future Nobel laureate hit the shelves, there is little doubt of Ernest Hemingway's legacy as a writer and cultural icon. For researchers examining Hemingway's life and career, his formative experiences in Michigan offer a great deal of insights. Thanks to our donors, the Clarke is proud to support such research with original sources, like Three Stories and Ten Poems, to accurately document Hemingway’s life with the works and writings he produced.