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    "There is one book by me about the sea on sale at the present..."

    Ernest Hemingway Typed Letter Signed. One page, 8.25" x 11" "Finca Vigia" letterhead, November 5, 1952, San Francisco de Paula, Cuba, to a Miss Johnson, of Reader's Digest. In full: "I am very sorry that I cannot give you permission to re-publish 'On the Blue Water,' which first appeared in the April 1936 issue of Esquire. There is one book by me about the sea on sale at present and have no wish to saturate the public. For your future information I would never be interested in re-printing anything, ever, anywhere, for the fee you name. With best wishes, Yours very truly,..." Beneath the letter, in pencil, is written, "We offered $600" and "Story Killed" likely in the hand of Miss Johnson. Also in pencil, at the top, is written, "Esquire" and "File Hemingway". Letter has original mailing folds, staple holes at top left, and is a bit crinkled, else fine condition.

    The book Hemingway mentions in this letter is, of course, The Old Man and the Sea. Its first publication had taken place in the September 1, 1952 issue of LIFE Magazine, an issue that sold over five million copies in two days. It was actually a reworking of the earlier 1936 Esquire story, a tale about a "Cuban fisherman who fought a swordfish for four days and four nights only to lose it to sharks." At this point in time, it's no wonder that he turned down $600 for a re-publication of "On the Blue Water!" The Old Man and the Sea was the last major fictional work of Hemingway's that was published in his lifetime; it contributed heavily to his winning of the 1953 Nobel Prize for Literature. This letter was obtained directly from the recipient who worked in the offices of Reader's Digest.




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    Auction Dates
    March, 2009
    6th-7th Friday-Saturday
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