"The Law of an Ancient God" and the Editing of Hemingway's Garden of Eden: The Final Corrected Typescript and Galleys

By Nesmith, Chris L. | The Hemingway Review, Spring 2001 | Go to article overview

"The Law of an Ancient God" and the Editing of Hemingway's Garden of Eden: The Final Corrected Typescript and Galleys


Nesmith, Chris L., The Hemingway Review


Introduction

EDITED BY TOM JENKS and published by Charles Scribner's Sons in 1986, The Garden of Eden is the most controversial and radically altered of all Hemingway's posthumously printed works, with only about a third of the original manuscript and typescript material surviving the editor's cut (Burwell 95-9). The Garden of Eden is the longest and most ambitious fictional project Hemingway worked on in the latter stages of his career, yet surprisingly little scholarship has been done on the text, despite the fact that the last of The Garden of Eden material was released by the family in 1990 to the Hemingway Collection at the John F. Kennedy Library. What textual scholarship there is has focused, understandably, on what was left out of the Scribner's edition.(1) The editorial process that transformed Hemingway's original typescripts and manuscripts into the book that bears his name remains obscure. What guided the editor Tom Jenks in making his decisions? What rationale did he follow in determining which words would be cut and which would stand? An examination of the final edited typescript, along with two sets of galley proofs and the master galleys, all acquired by the Thomas Cooper Library at the University of South Carolina, begins to shed light on that process.

The Cooper Library's collection of Garden of Eden materials consists of a 496-page typescript, three sets of galleys, one set of uncorrected proofs, and one set of folded and gathered sheets of the first edition. The galleys consist of one clean set, another edited by Jenks and a copy editor, and a third marked "Master Galleys," incorporating Jenks's emendations and other final changes and notations by the copy editor and typographer. My examination of the typescript and the galley proofs against the published book shows that the galley proofs were set from the edited typescript and edited in their own turn, with the Master Galleys set from them. The novel was then set directly from the Master Galleys. Most emendations were made directly to the typescript itself, but this typescript was created, presumably by Jenks, from the original Hemingway materials and is not an original Hemingway documents.

An Overview of the Composition and Editing of The Garden of Eden When Hemingway returned from covering World War II in Europe as a correspondent for Collier's magazine, he began writing what eventually became a long, sprawling text he sometimes referred to in his letters as the "Land, Air and Sea Book" or "The Big Book" (Burwell 51). From this master text Hemingway would eventually develop several works, including Across the River and into the Trees (1950), and The Old Man and the Sea (1952), the last works published in his lifetime. However, the other works that grew out of his post-war writing remained unfinished at the time of his death in 1961, including The Garden of Eden, which he first began to work on as a piece separate from the master text in the spring of 1948 (Burwell 97).

Several Hemingway scholars have published their analyses of the original Garden of Eden material at the Kennedy library, and their descriptions tell us much about the book Hemingway envisioned but never completed. Presently, 2,409 pages of typescript and manuscript for The Garden of Eden are on file at the Hemingway Collection at the Kennedy library. Much of the material is repetitive -- revised versions of earlier drafts, accumulated versions, and so forth. However, the longest version with evidence of Hemingway's editorial hand consists of over 1,500 typescript pages (Peters 17), substantially longer than 496-page typescript at the University of South Carolina from which the book was set.

The back cover of the paperback edition of The Garden of Eden proclaims that the novel is "the story of a young American writer, David Bourne, his glamorous wife, Catherine, and the dangerous, erotic game they play when they fall in love with the same woman. …

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