Hemingway House Preservationists See the Writing on the Wall—Literally

by Staff

Preservationists in Havana, Cuba, recently announced that they have discovered unpublished notes by Ernest Hemingway on the wall of a bathroom in the house where he lived for more than twenty years. Hemingway fans and scholars probably shouldn't get too excited, however. They didn't uncover Papa's character sketch for an unfinished novel or the alternative ending of A Sun Also Rises. The notes date from 1942 to 1953 and contain information about the author's weight, health care, and other statistics. They were discovered under four layers of paint, which also allowed preservationists to determine the original color of the house.

The Cuban government, with the help of specialists from the United States, began restoring the house two years ago. In the summer of 2005, the U.S. National Trust for Historic Preservation placed the home, where Hemingway wrote For Whom the Bell Tolls, The Old Man and the Sea, and other novels, on its annual list of endangered historic sites.

The author of more than twenty-five books of fiction and nonfiction, Hemingway was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1954. Seven years later he committed suicide at the age of sixty-one.