When Ernest Hemingway landed a job on the Toronto Star in 1920, it was not unusual for aspiring young writers of serious fiction to spend time as ink-stained wretches in the newsrooms of big city dailies. There they learned their craft under the tutelage of experienced editors and indulged their curiosity about people and places. Not every cub reporter who eked out a living pounding the typewriter keys had Hemingway's keen ear or descriptive flair. But not even a Hemingway was exempt from the daily chore of chronicling the multitude of mundane happenings that are the bread and butter of newspaper work.
Thus the Star's announcement last week that it had unearthed a large, previously unknown cache of Hemingway's early writings for the paper is of particular interest to scholars studying how the author developed his sparse prose style. The stories range from an interview with French Premier Georges Clemenceau, written during a year-long stint in Paris in 1922, to unbylined local news articles penned after his return to Toronto.
Interestingly, the future Nobel Prize winner did not entirely please his editors. Though he was a prolific, skillful reporter whose copy bristled with narrative drive and descriptive ingenuity, the Star's editors regarded him as something of a maverick and prima donna. After his return from Paris, they repeatedly tried to show him he was getting "too big for his britches" by withholding his byline or killing his stories.