The American magazine The New Republic is celebrating its 100th birthday. To honour its century of reporting, stories, essays, reviews and other pieces from their archives are being republished online, one a day for 100 days with a different focus each week.
We’re going to share a few of our favourites with you over the next few weeks, but you can read all of them here.
The review that drove Hemingway to slap a critic in the face with a book
New York, 1937. Ernest Hemingway walks into Scriber’s publishers and into one of the editor’s offices where the writer Max Eastman is discussing his new book. According to an account written in The New York Times, Hemingway bares his chest and asks Eastman to comment on its hairiness then asks Eastman to do the same commenting on its hairlessness.
When Eastman refuses Hemingway’s request to read parts of Eastman’s essay “Bull in the Afternoon”, written for The New Republic four years earlier and suggesting Hemingway’s writing style is the same as “wearing false hair on the chest”, Hemingway slaps Eastman across the face with a book knocking him down. Eastman then throws Hemingway over a desk and puts him in a corner on his head (although Hemingway denies this happening).
Hemingway later challenges Eastman to read his essay to him in a locked room, waiving all medical rights and legal claims to damages, and offering $1,000 to a charity of Eastman’s choice.
You can read Eastman’s entire slap-provoking piece here.