Hemingway’s departing words

Jessica Rothschuh

University Press to print dead writer’s manuscript

Will Underwood, director of the University Press, is busy at work in his office in Lowry Hall. The University Press is excited about acquiring the printing rights of a Hemingway manuscript. The manuscript will come out this fall and be an asset to the uni

Credit: Andrew popik

Normally, the Kent State University Press doesn’t publish fiction, but one of Ernest Hemingway’s last unpublished works isn’t any old piece of fiction.

The press was recently chosen to be the sole publisher of the Hemingway manuscript that will be titled Under Kilimanjaro.

“It’s appropriate because it takes place in the shadow of Kilimanjaro,” said Joanna Craig, the press’s assistant director. Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain in Africa.

The university bid against other presses to publish the manuscript.

“We have a reputation for producing high-quality texts,” Craig said. “We are a university press that still pays attention to the text.

“It’s very exciting for us, and we’re very pleased.”

She said the press is known for its quality editing, as well as previous publications of Hemingway scholarship.

“Naturally, we were really gratified,” the press’s director Will Underwood said.

Under Kilimanjaro is a gently unfolding, reflective story of Hemingway’s daily life on safari, Craig said.

“It’s (Hemingway’s) last book-length work to be published in entirety,” said Robert Lewis, one of two Hemingway scholars chosen to edit the manuscript.

“I’ve been active in Hemingway studies for a long time — 30 years,” Lewis said.

Lewis has written several books and articles on Hemingway, and said he is happy to have “the privilege and the honor” of editing this last work.

Under Kilimanjaro details an African safari Hemingway and his wife, Mary, went on in 1953. Hunting a “marauding leopard” and meeting the native people are some of the threads of the story Lewis calls a “fictional memoir.”

“You could also refer to it as a fusion of reality and (Hemingway’s) imagination of how things were and how things could have been,” Lewis said.

Excerpts of the manuscript had been published in Sports Illustrated magazine in the ’50s, and an abridged version of the story was published under the title True at First Light: A Fictional Memoir; however, Kent State’s press is the only one with rights to publish the whole work.

The publishing rights are restricted to the United States, and all copies will be in hardcover.

“This is the complete text as Hemingway wrote it,” Underwood said. “We’re publishing it so that it is a novel that people can read.”

Under Kilimanjaro is expected in bookstores this August.

Contact student politics reporter Jessica Rothschuh at [email protected].