A Matter of Measurements


In the new restored version of Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast: The Restored Edition which brilliantly evokes the exuberant mood of Paris after World War I and the unbridled creativity and unquenchable enthusiasm that Hemingway himself epitomized, an exchange between two rivals, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway, when the former invites the latter  to lunch at Michaud’s restaurant and proceeds to tell him:


“Zelda said that the way I was built

I could never make any woman happy

and that was what upset her originally.

She said it was a matter of measurements.

I have never felt the same

since she said that

and I have to know truly.”


By his own account, Hemingway thereupon leads the author of The Diamond As Big As the Ritz out to the men’s room, conducts a brief inspection, and reassures (or, to be more exact, fails to reassure) his pal that all is well, and that he’s looking down on his penis, literally and figuratively, rather than taking the sidelong perspective. I have never trusted this story, if only because—as Hemingway himself later admits—“it is not basically a question of the size in repose. It is the size that it becomes.” So, unless the viewing in the Michaud pissoir was of an engorged and distended “Scottie”—which it plainly was not—then Papa was offering Fitzgerald a surrogate form of consolation. And was then planning to write about it!


The Atlantic




~ by eaesthete on 06/14/09.

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