Monday, June 04, 2007

June 4, 1937

Seventy years ago today, Ernest Hemingway addressed the American Writers' Congress to talk about fascism and the problem of writing about war.

A writer's problem does not change. He himself changes, but his problem remains the same. It is always how to write truly and, having found what is true, to project it in such a way that it becomes a part of the experience of the person who reads it.


Really good writers are always rewarded under almost any existing form of government that they can tolerate. There is only one form of government that cannot produce good writers, and that system is fascism. For fascism is a lie told by bullies. A writer who will not lie cannot live or work under fascism.

Because fascism is a lie, it is condemned to literary sterility. And when it is past, it will have no history except the bloody history of murder that is well known ...

(Source: Bruccoli, Matthew J., ed. Conversations with Ernest Hemingway. University Press of Mississippi, 1986, pp. 193-195.)

1 comment:

Kirby Olson said...

Fascism and communism: same thing.

As soon as you get a one-party system, with penalties for outliers, no honest writing can occur.