miércoles, 16 de agosto de 2017

Ernest Hemingway

Ernest Hemingway


Short Stories


Ernest Hemingway
(1899 -  1961)

One of the most famous American novelist, short-story writer and essayist, whose deceptively simple prose style have influenced wide range of writers. Hemingway was awarded the 1954 Nobel Prize for Literature. He was unable to attend the award ceremony in Stockholm, because he was recuperating from injuries sustained in an airplane crash while hunting in Uganda.

Ernest Hemingway
Milan, 1918

"Certainly there is no hunting like the hunting of man and those who have hunted armed men long enough and liked it, never really care for anything else thereafter. You will meet them doing various things with resolve, but their interest rarely holds because after the other thing ordinary life is as flat as the taste of wine when the taste buds have been burned off your tongue." 
('On the Blue Water' in Esquire, April 1936)

Ernest Hemingway was born inn Oak Park, Illinois. His mother Grace Hall, whom he never forgave for dressing him as a little girl in his youth, had an operatic career before marrying Dr. Clarence Edmonds Hemingway; he taught his son to love out-door life. Hemingway's father took his own life in 1928 after losing his healt to diabetes and his money in the Florida real-estate bubble. Hemingway attended the public schools in Oak Park and published his earliest stories and poems in his high school newspaper. Upon his graduation in 1917, Hemingway worked six months as a reporter for The Kansas City Star. He then joined a volunteer ambulance unit in Italy during World War I. In 1918 he suffered a severe leg wound. For his service, Hemingway was twice decorated by the Italian government.
Hemingway's affair with an American nurse, Agnes von Kurowsky, during his hospital recuperation gave basis for the novel A Farewell to Arms (1929). The tragic love story was filmed first time in 1932, starring Gary Cooper, Helen Hayes, and Adolphe Menjou. In the second version from 1957, written by Ben Hecht and directed by Charles Vidor, Rock Hudson and Jennifer Jones were in the leading roles. Its failure caused David O. Selznick to produce no more films.
After the war Hemingway worked for a short time as a journalist in Chicago. He moved in 1921 to Paris, where wrote articles for theToronto Star. "If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then whenever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast." (A Moveable Feast, 1964) While traveling to Switzerland in 1922, Hemingway's first wife Hadley lost a piece of luggage, which contained everything he had written to date. 
In Europe, the center of modernist movement, Hemingway associated with such writers as Gertrude Stein and F. Scott Fitzgerald, who edited some of his texts and acted as his agent. Later Hemingway portrayed Fitzgerald in A Moveable Feast (1964), but less sympathetically. Fitzgerald, however, regretted their lost friendship. Of Gertrude Stein Hemingway wrote to Maxwell Perkins, his editor: "She lost all sense of taste when she had the menopause. Was really an extraordinary business. Suddenly she couldn't tell a good picture from a bad one, a good writer from a bad one, it all went phtt." (in The Only Thing That Counts, 1996) 
When he was not writing for the newspaper or for himself, Hemingway toured with his wife, the former Elisabeth Hadley Richardson, France, Switzerland, and Italy. Before moving on rue du Cardinal-Lemoine, he spent some time with Hadley at the Hôtel Jacob, a former British Embassy, which served after the war as temporary headuarters for many newly arrived Americans, including Djuna Barnes, Sherwood and Tennessee Anderson, and Harold Loeb. They had no running water in their tiny, fourth-floor apartment, a toilet was on each landing, but Hemingway boasted that it was in "the best part of the Latin Quarter." 
In 1922 Hemingway went to Greece and Turkey to report on the war between those countries. Hemingway made two trips to Spain in 1923, on the second to see bullfights at Pamplona's annual festival. The Hemingways' second flat in Paris was on rue Notre-Dame-des-Champs; it was small and dark. They kept this residence until their separation in the autumn of 1926. After divorce, Hadley and her son, John (called as "Bumby"), moved to a sixth-floor flat on Boulevard Auguste-Blanqui. John grew up to be called Jack. At preschool age, he played with Julie Bowen, the daughter of Stella Bowen and Ford Madox Ford 
Hemingway's first books, Three Stories and Ten Poems (1923), of which he received no advance at all, and In Our Time (1924), were published in Paris. The Torrents of Spring  (1926) was a parody of Sherwood Anderson's style. Hemingway's first serious novel was The Sun Also Rises (1926). The story, narrated by an American journalist, deals with a group of expatriates in France and Spain, members of the disillusioned post-World War I Lost Generation. Main characters are Lady Brett Ashley and Jake Barnes. Lady Brett loves Jake, who has been wounded in war and can't answer her needs. Although Hemingway never explicitly detailed Jake's injury, is seem that he has lost his testicles but not his penis. Jake and Brett and their odd group of friends have various adventures around Europe, in Madrid, Paris, and Pampalona. In attempt to cope with their despair they turn to alcohol, violence, and sex. As Jake, Hemingway was wounded in WW I; they share also interest in bullfighting. The story ends bitter-sweet: "Oh, Jake, Brett said, "we could have had such a damned good time together." Hemingway wrote and rewrote the novel in various parts of Spain and France between 1924 and 1926. It became his first great success. Although the Hemingway's language is simple, he used understatement and omission which make the text multilayered and rich in allusions.
After the publication of Men Without Women(1927), Hemingway returned to the United States, settling in Key West, Florida. Hemingway and Hadley divorced in 1927. On the same year Hemingway married Pauline Pfeiffer, a wealthy fashion editor, but at their first meeting, he had been more impressed by her sister Jinny. Hadley worked part-time for the Paris edition of Vogue magazine. 
The newlyweds resided in an apartment on Rue Ferou. Since Hemingway had abandoned journalism and he had no regular income, Pauline's uncle covered their initial rent. The house had a garden courtyard, and the apartments included a large master bedroom, dining room with a kitchen, two bathrooms, a small study, a salon, and a spare room. In Florida Hemingway wrote A Farewell to Arms, which was published in 1929. Its scene is the Italian front in World War I, where two lovers find a brief happiness. The novel gained enormous critical and commercial success.
In 1930s Hemingway wrote such major works as Death in the Afternoon  (1932), a nonfiction account of Spanish bullfighting, and The Green Hills of Africa (1935), a story of a hunting safari in East Africa. "All modern American literature comes from one book by Mark Twain called Huckleberry Finn," is perhaps the most quoted line from the story. To  Have and Have Not (1937) was made into a film by the director Howard Hawks. They had became friends in the late 1930s. Hawks also liked to hunt, fish, and drink, and the author got along with Hawk's wife Slim, who later said: "There was an immediate and instant attraction between us, unstated but very, very strong." According to a story, Hawks had told Hemingway that he can make "a movie out of the worst thing you ever wrote." The author has asked, "What's the worst thing I ever wrote?" and Haws said, "That piece of junk called To Have and Have Not." "I needed the money," Hemingway said. The screenplay of the film was written by Jules Furthman and William Faulkner.

"And then it just occurred to him that he was going to die. It came with a rush, not as a rush of water nor of wind; but of a sudden evil-smelling emptiness, and the odd thing was that the hyena slipped lightly along the edge of it." 
(in 'The Snows of Kilimanjaro')

Wallace Stevens once termed Hemingway "the most significant of living poets, so far as the subject of extraordinary reality is concerned." By "poet" Stevens referred to the author's stylistic achievements in his short fiction. Like Gertrude Stein, Hemingway applied techniques from modernist poetry to his writing, such as the artful use of repetition, although in lesser extent than Stein. Hemingway's much quoted "ice-berg theory" was that "If a writer of prose knows enough about what he is writing about, he may omit things that he knows and the reader . . . will have a feeling of those things as though the writer had stated them."
One of Hemingway's most frequently anthologized short stories is 'The Snows of Kilimanjaro,' first published in Esquire in August 1936. It begins with an epitaph telling that the western summit of the mountain is called the House of God, and close to it was found the carcass of a leopard. Down on the savanna the failed writer Harry is dying of gangrene in an hunting camp. "He had loved too much, demanded too much, and he wrote it all out." Just before the end, Harry has a vision, that he is taken up the see the top of Kilimanjaro on a rescue plane-"great, high, and unbelievably white in the sun." In the film version of the story, directed by Henry King, Harry does not die. Nick Adams, Hemingway's autobiographical pre-World War II character, featured in three collections, In Our TimeMen Without Women, and Winner Take Nothing (1933).
While sailing across the Atlantic on the Ile de France in 1934, Hemingway met the actress Marlene Dietrich, whom he came to call "My little Kraut." They became lifelong friends.  Dietrich stored his letters, written between 1949 and 1953, in a fireproof box. In 1937 Hemingway observed the Spanish Civil war firsthand. As many writers, he supported the cause of the Loyalist. In Madrid he met Martha Gellhorn, a writer and war correspondent, who became his third wife in 1940. The first years of his marriage were happy, but he soon realized that Gellhorn was not a housewife, but an ambitious journalist. Gellhorn called Hemingway her "Unwilling Companion". She was eager to travel and "take the pulse of the nation" or the world.
With To Whom the Bells Toll (1940) Hemingway returned again in Spain. He dedicated to book to Gellhorn-Maria in the story was partly modelled after her. "Her hair was the golden brow of a grain field," Hemingway wrote of his heroine. The story covered only a few days and concerned the blowing up of a bridge by a small group of partisans. When the heroine in A Farewell to Arms dies at the end of the story, after giving birth to a stillborn child, now it is time for the hero, Robert Jordan, to sacricife his life. The theme of the coming of death also was central in the novel Across the River and into the Trees (1950).
In addition to hunting expeditions in Africa and Wyoming, Hemingway developed a passion for deep-sea fishing in the waters off Key West, the Bahamas, and Cuba. He also armed his fishing boat, the Pilar, and monitored with his crew Nazi activities and their submarines in that area during World War II. In 1940 Hemingway bought Finca Vigia, a house outside Havana, Cuba. Its surroundings were a paradise for his undisciplined bunch of cats.
In early 1941 Gellhorn made with Hemingway a long, 30,000 mile journey to China. Just before the Invasion of Normandy in 1944, Hemingway managed to get to London, where he settled at the Dorchester Hotel. Before it, he had taken Gellhorn's position as Collier'sleading correspondent. She arrived two weeks later, and settled in a separate room. Hemingway observed the D-Day landing below the Normandy cliffs; Gellhorn went ashore with the troops. Back in Paris after many years, Hemingway spent much time at the Ritz Hotel. Hemingways's divorce from Gellhorn in 1945 was bitter. Later Gellhorn said that having "lived with a mythomaniac, I know they believe everything they say, they are not conscious liars, they invent to increase everything about themselves and their lives and believe it." In 1946 Hemingway returned to Cuba. After Gellhorn had left him, he married Mary Welsh, a correspondent for Time magazine, whom he had met in a London restaurant in 1944.
Hemingway's drinking had started already when he was a reporter, and could tolerate large amounts of alcohol. For a long time, drinking did not affect the quality of his writing. In the late 1940s he started to hear voices in his head, he was overweight, the blood pressure was high, and he had clear signs of cirrhosis of the liver. His ignorance of the dangers of liquor Hemingway revealed when he taught his 12-year-oldson Patrick to drink. The same happened with his brothers. Patrick had later in life problems with alcohol. Gregory, who was a transvestite, used drugs-he died at the age of 69 in a women's prison in Florida.
Across the River and Into the Trees, Hemingway's first novel in a decade, was poorly received, but the allegorical 27,000 word story The Old Man and the Sea, published first in Life magazine in 1952, restored again his fame. The proragonist is an old Cuban fisherman named Santiago, who finally catches a giant marlin after weeks of disappointments. As he returns to the harbor, the sharks eat the fish, lashed to his boat. The model for Santiago was a Cuban fisherman, Gregorio Fuentes, who died in January 2002, at the age of 104. Fuentes had served as the captain of Hemingway's boat Pilar in the late 1930s and was occasionally his tapster. Hemingway also made a fishing trip to Peru in part to shoot footage for a film version of the Old Man and the Sea.
In 1959 Hemingway visited Spain, where her met the famous bullfighter Luis Miguel Dominquín at a hospital. Abull had caught Dominquín in the groin. "Why the hell do the good and brave have to die before everyone else?" he said. However, Dominquín did not die. Hemingway planned to wrote another book of bullfighting but published instead A Moveable Feast, a memoir of the 1920s in Paris.
Much of his time Hemingway spent in Cuba until Fidel Castro's 1959 revolution. He supported Castro but when the living became too difficult, he moved to the United States. While visiting Africa in 1954, Hemingway was in two flying accidents and was taken to a hospital. In the same year he started to write True at First Light, which was his last full-length book. Part of it appeared in Sports Illustrated in 1972 under the title African Journal.
In 1960 Hemingway was hospitalized at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, for treatment of depression, and released in 1961. During this time he was given electric shock therapy for two months. He believed that FBI agents were following him, which was true: they had compiled a large file on him. On July 2 Hemingway committed suicide with his favorite shotgun at his home in Ketchum, Idaho. Several of Hemingway's novels have been published posthumously. True at First Light, depiction of a safari in Kenya, appeared in July 1999. It is one of the worst books written by a Nobel writer.

For further reading: Ernest Hemingway: A Life Story by C. Baker (1969); My Brother, Ernest Hemingway by L. Hemingway (1962); Papa: Hemingway in Key West by J. McLendon (1972, rev. ed. 1990); Hemingway, Life and Works by G.B. Nelson and G. Jones (1985); Hemingway by Kenneth Lynn (1987); The Hemingway Women by B. Kert (1983); Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises by F.J. Svoboda (1983); Ernest Hemingwayby K. Ferrell (1984); Ernest Hemingway's A Farewell to Arms, ed. by H. Bloom (1987); Ernest Hemingway Rediscovered by N. Fuentes (1988); A Reader's Guide to the Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway, ed. by P. Smith (1989); Ernest Hemingway: A Study of the Short Fiction by J.M. Flora (1989); Ernest Hemingway by P.L. Hays (1990); Hemingway and Spain by E.F. Stanton (1990); Hemingway's Art of Nonfiction by R. Weber (1990); Ernest Hemingway by R.B. Lyttle (1992); Hemingway: A Life Without Consequences by James R. Mellow (1993); Hemingway: The 1930s by Michael Reynolds (1997); Hemingway vs. Fitzgerald: The Rise and Fall of a Literary Friendship by Scott Donaldson (1999);Hemingway’s Boat: Everything He Loved in Life, and Lost, 1934–1961 by Paul Hendrickson (2011)  - Films (see also below): Among Hemingway's several film adaptations are also The Macomber Affair (dir. by Zoltan Korda, 1946), The Breaking Point (dir. Michael Curtiz, 1950),The Snows of Kilimanjaro (dir. Henry King, 1952), Ernest Hemingway's Adventures of a Young Man (dir. by Martin Ritt, 1962), The Killers (dir. Don Siegel, 1964). Ava Gardner played in three Hemingway films: The KillersThe Snows of Kilimanjaro, and The Sun Also Rises. She became friend of the writer and aficionada of bullfighting. 

Selected bibliography:
  • Three Stories and Ten Poems, 1923
  • In Our Time, 1924
  • The Torrents of Spring, 1926
  • The Sun Also Rises, 1926 (GB title: Fiesta) 
    - film: The Sun Also Rises, 1957, dir. Henry King , screenplay by Peter Viertel, starring Tyrone Power, Ava Gardner, Errol Flynn, Mel Ferrer
  • Men Without Women, 1927
  • A Farewell to Arms, 1929  
    - films: A Farewell to Arms, 1932, screenplay Benjamin Glazer, Oliver H.P. Garrett, dir. Frank Borgaze, starring Helen Hayes, Gary Cooper, Adolphe Menjou; A Farewell to Arms, 1957, screenplay Ben Hecht, dir. Charles Vidor, starring Rock Hudson, Jennifer Jones, Vittorio De Sica
  • Death in the Afternoon, 1932 
    Winner Take Nothing, 1933
  • Green Hills of Africa, 1935 
    To Have and Have Not, 1937 
  • - films: To Have and Have Not , 1944, dir. Hawks,  co-script William Faulkner starring Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, Walter Brennan, Dolores Moran, Hoagy Carmichael; The Breaking Point, 1950, dir. Michael Curtiz, starring John Garfield, Patricia Neal, Phyllis Thaxter; The Gun Runners, 1958, dir. Don Siegel, starring Audie Murphy, Everett Sloane, Gita Hall, Patricia Owens, Eddie Albert; Nakhoda Khorshid, 1987, prod. Pakhshiran, The Peiman Film Group, dir. Naser Taghvai, starring Dariush Arjmand, Ali Nassirian and Saeed Poursamimi
  • The Spanish War, 1938
  • The Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway, 1938
  • The Fifth Column and the First Forty-Nine Stories, 1938 
    - films: The Killers, 1946, screenplay by Anthony Veiller, dir. Robert Siodmak, starring Burt Lancaster, Ava Gardner; The Macomber Affair, 1947, adaptation by Seymour Bennett, dir.  Zoltan Korda, starring Gregory Peck, Joan Bennett; The Snows of Kilimanjaro, 1950, dir. Henry King, starringGregory Peck, Susan Hayward, Ava Gardner; The Killers, 1964,  adaptation by Gene L. Coon, dir. Don Siegel, starring Lee Marvin, Angie Dickinson, John Cassavetes, Clu Gulager; Hills Like White Elephants, 2002, dir. Paige Cameron, starring Greg Wise, Emma Griffiths Malin; A Clean, Well-Lighted Place, 2002, adaptation by M. Merriam Berger, dir. William Tyler Alspaugh; God Rest You Merry, Gentlemen, 2005, dir.  Justin Spence; Los Asesinos / The Killers, 2006, dir. Eduardo Moyano Fernández; Killarna - en far og seks syv brødre, 2006, dir.  Johannes Trägårdh Jensen; Bokser ide u raj, 2007, dir. Nikola Lezaic
  • The Spanish Earth, 1938 (film commentary)
  • For Whom the Bell Tolls 1940 
    - film: For Whom the Bell Tolls, 1943, prod. Paramount Pictures, screenplay Dudley Nichols, dir. Sam Wood, starring Ingrid Bergman, Gary Cooper, Akim Tamiroff
  • The Portable Hemingway, 1942 (edited by Malcolm Cowley)
  • The Essential Hemingway, 1947
  • Across the River and Into the Trees, 1950 
    The Old Man and the Sea, 1952 (Pulitzer Prize in 1953) 
  • - films: The Old Man and the Sea, 1958, prod. Leland Hayward Productions, Warner Bros. Pictures, screenplay Peter Viertel, dir.  John Sturges, starring Spencer Tracy, Felipe Pazos; TV movie 1990, teleplay Roger O. Hirson, dir. Jud Taylor, starring Anthony Quinn, Gary Cole and Patricia Clarkson
  • The Hemingway Reader, 1953 (selected, with a foreword and twelve brief prefaces by Charles Poore)
  • The Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway, 1953 
  • Two Christmas Tales, 1958
  • The Wild Years, 1962 (edited and introduced by Gene Z. Hanrahan)
  • Three Novels: The Sun also Rises; with an introd. by Malcolm Cowley. A Farewell to Arms; with an introd. by Robert Penn Warren. The Old Man and the Sea; with an introd. by Carlos Baker, 1962
  • A Moveable Feast, 1964 (ed. Mary Hemingway; restored edition, 2009, ed. Seán Hemingway)
  • By-Line: Ernest Hemingway: Selected Articles and Dispatches of Four Decades, 1967 (edited by William White, with commentaries by Philip Young) 
  • The Fifth Column and Four Stories of the Spanish Civil War, 1969
  • Hemingway's African Stories: The Stories, Their Sources, Their Critics, 1969 (compiled by John M. Howell)
  • Ernest Hemingway, Cub Reporter: Kansas City Star Stories, 1970 (edited by Matthew Joseph Bruccoli)
  • Islands in the Stream, 1970 
    - film: Islands in the Stream, 1976, prod. Paramount Pictures, Zeeuwse Maatschappij N.V. , screenplay Denne Bart Petitclerc, dir. by Franklin J. Schaffner, starring George C. Scott, David Hemmings
  • Ernest Hemingway's Apprenticeship: Oak Park, 1916-1917, 1971 (edited by Matthew Joseph Bruccoli)
  • The Nick Adams Stories, 1972 (pref. by Philip Young)
    - Nick Adamsin tarina (suom. Juhani Jaskari, 1979)
  • The Enduring Hemingway: An Anthology of a Lifetime in Literature, 1974 (edited with an introd. by Charles Scribner, Jr.)
  • 88 Poems, 1979 (edited with an introd. and notes by Nicholas Gerogiannis) 
  • Complete Poems, 1979 (edited, with an introduction and notes by Nicholas Gerogiannis)
  • Ernest Hemingway Selected Letters 1917–1961, 1981 (edited by Carlos Baker) 
  • Ernest Hemingway on Writing, 1984 (edited by Larry W. Phillips) 
  • Dateline: Toronto: The Complete Toronto star dispatches, 1920-1924, 1985 (edited by William White) 
  • The Dangerous Summer, 1985 (introduction by James A. Michener) 
  • Conversations with Ernest Hemingway, 1986 (edited by Matthew J. Bruccoli)
  • The Garden of Eden, 1986 
    - film: The Garden of Eden, 2008, prod. Devonshire Productions, Berwick Street Productions, Freeform Spain, screenplay James Scott Linville, dir. John Irvin, starring Jack Huston, Mena Suvari, Caterina Murino
  • The Complete Short Stories Of Ernest Hemingway, 1987
  • The Complete Poems, 1992 (rev. ed., edited with an introduction and notes by Nicholas Gerogiannis) 
  • The Only Thing That Counts: The Ernest Hemingway/Maxwell Perkins Correspondence, 1925-1947, 1996 (edited by Matthew J. Bruccoli)
  • True at First Light, 1999 (edited with an introduction by Patrick Hemingway) 
  • Hemingway on Fishing, 2000 (edited and with an introduction by Nick Lyons; foreword by Jack Hemingway)
  • Hemingway on Hunting, 2003 (edited and with an introduction by Seán Hemingway; foreword by Patrick Hemingway)
  • Hemingway on War, 2003 (edited and with an introduction by Seán Hemingway; foreword by Patrick Hemingway)
  • Under Kilimanjaro, 2005 (edited by Robert W. Lewis and Robert E. Fleming) 
  • Dear Papa, Dear Hotch: The Correspondence of Ernest Hemingway and A.E. Hotchner, 2005 (edited by Albert J. DeFazio, III; preface by A.E. Hotchner)
  • Hemingway and the Mechanism of Fame: Statements, Public Letters, Introductions, Forewords, Prefaces, Blurbs, Reviews, and Endorsements, 2006 (edited by Matthew J. Bruccoli with Judith S. Baughman)
  • Hemingway on Paris, 2008
  • The Good Life according to Hemingway, 2008 (edited by A.E. Hotchner)
  • The Letters of Ernest Hemingway, 2011- (edited by Sandra Spanier and Robert W. Trogdon) 

domingo, 13 de agosto de 2017

Horacio Quiroga

(1878 - 1937)

Uruguayan short story writer who has been compared to Edgar Allan Poe. Quiroga wrote over 200 short stories. Among his famous tales is the haunting 'El almohadón de plumas' (1907, The Feather Pillow), in which the life of a young bride, Alicia, fades away in a large silent house. After Alicia's death, a servant finds from her pillow a grotesque animal with hairy legs, a parasitic creature, swollen from blood it had sucked from her.

"These parasites of feathered creatures, diminutive in their habitual environment, reach enormous proportions under certain conditions. Human blood seems particularly favourable to them, and it is not rare to encounter them in feather pillows." (from 'The Feather Pillow')

Horacio Quiroga and his wife

Horacio Quiroga was born at Salto on the River Uruguay, into a middle-class family. When Horacio was an infant, his father, an Argentinian consular official, was killed accidentally in a shooting incident  The family moved to Córdoba, returned to Salto a few years later, and eventually settled in 1891 in the capital, Montevideo, where Quiroga studied for a short time at the university. From 1897 he started to publish in local magazines and was the founding editor of Revista de Salto (1899-90).After his stepfather's death – he shot himself – Quiroga visited Paris, but soon realized that the 'bohemian' life was not for him. In Paris he fell under the influence of the French symbolist movement and the works of Poe, although he also read extensively Chekhov and de Maupassant. Quiroga's diary from this period was published in 1950. Returning to Uruguay, Quiroga published a volume of Modernist poetry, prose pieces, and stories, Los arrecifes de coral (1902, Coral reefs), and became the centre of a group of young writers, El consistorio del gay saber. Having breathed some of the fin-de-siècle atmosphere in Paris, he experimented with chloroform, opium, ether, and hashish, which were relatively easy to get in Montevideo too.Quiroga accidentally shot and killed his friend in 1902 while they were inspecting a gun. After a trial, he left for Buenos Aires, where he taught Spanish at the British School. Willing to take a new turn in his life, he accepted the invitation of the poet Leopoldo Lugones to join an expedition as official photographer to Misiones in northeast Argentina. The target was the Jesuit ruins – the Jesuits had been expelled in 1767. Quiroga became enchanted by the wild region and he spent the larger part of his life in remote jungle regions, first not in Misiones, but in Chano province, where he settled in 1904. He planted cotton but the venture failed and he abandoned the project. When the Argentine began to encourage farming in Misiones, he bought some land in San Ignacio, on the river Paraná.Experiences from this period – accidents, extreme hardships, and realization that man cannot control nature – provided material for a number of his writings. Nature was for Quiroga a hostile element. A simple walk through a cane-brake could be exhausting: "The clumps, arched in a dome chest-high, were tangled in solid blocks. The task of crossing, difficult even on a cool day, was very hard at this hour. Mr Jones crossed it, nevertheless, swimming between the crackling dusty cane over the clay left by the floods, gasping with fatigue and the bitter vapour of nitrates." (from 'La insolación')From 1906 to 1911 Quiroga taught at the Escuela Normal, Buenos Aires. He married in 1909 Ana María Ciries, his pupil; they had one daughter, named Egle, and one son, named Darío after the pseudonymous surname of Félix Sarmiento. Both these children later killed themselves. With his family Quiroga moved to San Ignacio, Misiones. Besides keeping honey bees, planting yerba maté and oranges, distilling liquor, and hunting, he took jobs as justice of the peace, as civil registrar, and as Uruguayan consul in Misiones. Unable to tolerate the harsh conditions, Quiroga's wife committed suicide by poisoning herself with cyanide – she suffered a full week before she died. Alone with two children, Quiroga wrote a tender collection of children's stories.In 1916 Quiroga returned to Buenos Aires with his children, but continued to visit his property in Misiones. After failing to marry the seventeen-year-old daughter of a neighbout, he married in 1927 María Elena Bravo, a friend of his daughter. Mária, nearly thirty years his junior, found life impossible in the jungle, too, and the marriage ended in separation.Throughout his life, Quiroga was plague by his illnesses. He suffered from mental disorder, and to dispel his bouts of tension and anxiety, he began to drink. Quiroga committed suicide by cyanide on February 19, 1937, at a Buenos Aires clinic, after he was told he had cancer.Obsession with death, human weakness, and emphasis on bizarre situations marked Quiroga's work. Often in his fatalistic stories the protagonist is struck down by a fatal accident or fights against nature, but man rarely if ever wins out: the will of nature cannot be opposed. When Jack London wrote about the barren ice-covered plains of the far North, and Kipling set his stories in the jungles of India, Quiroga's stage was the wilds of the Amazon. His most famous collections are Cuentos de amor, de locura, y de muerte (1917, Stories of Love, Madness, and Death) and Los desterrados (1926, The exiled). Cuentos de selva (1918), animal fables for children, was translated into English by Arthur Livingston under the title South American Jungle Tales(1922). Anaconda (1921) was told in the style of Kipling's Jungle Book and described struggles in the world of snakes. Scorned, mistreated, and tortured, the non-poisonous snakes and the venomous vipers side together against the humans, represented by the Antivenom Institute, which collects snake poison to make serum.Quiroga also published two novels and a play, but his reputation rests on his short stories. His own technique Quiroga presented in 'Manual de cuentista perfecto' (1927), stressing the need for economy and intensity. In 'El hombre muerto' (The Dead Man) a man falls on a machete knife, he is dying, time stops, and he watches his surroundings with heightened senses. "What had changed? Nothing. And he looked. Isn't this banana plantation his plantation? Doesn't he come here every day to clear the ground? Who knows it as he does? He can see his plantation perfectly; very sparse – and the broad leaves naked from the wind. But now they are not moving. It is the midday calm; soon it will probably be twelve o'clock." In 'A la deriva' (Drifting)  the protagonist is bitten by a deadly snake and dies feeling at last better: he don't have to keep up illusions. 

For further readingVida y obra de Horacio Quiroga by J.M. Delgado and A.J. Brignole (1939); Horacio Quiroga by M. Seymour-Smith (1952); Horacio Quiroga by Noé Jitrik (1967); Genio y figura de Horacio Quiroga by Emir Rodríguez Monegal (1967); El desterrado by Emir Rodríguez Monegal (1968); An Introduction to Spanish-American Literature by Jean Franco (1969);Aproximaciones a Horacio Quiroga by Ángel Flores (1976); El estilo de Horacio Quiroga en sus cuentos by Nicolás A.S. Bratosevich (1980); Trayectoria de Horacio Quiroga by Enrique Espinosa (1980); Horacio Quiroga by José Luis Martínez Morales (1982); El Quiroga nue yo conocí by Enrique Amorim (1983); Quiroga by Peter R. Beardsell (1986); World Authors 1900-1950, Vol. 3, ed. by Martin Seymour-Smith and Andrew C. Kimmens (1996); Testimonios Autobiograficos De Horacio Quiroga, ed. by Norma Perez Martin (1997); Contemporary Latin American Literature by Gladys M. Varona-Lacey (2001)

Horacio Quiroga

Three marvellous Uruguayan writers
by Isabel Fonseca

I recommend three marvellous Uruguayan writers. First, Horacio Quiroga (1878-1931). Despite a life - and body of work - engulfed by violent death (his father was shot; he accidently killed his own friend; his stepfather, one of his wives, he himself and then both his children all committed suicide), Quiroga is most widely read in Uruguay by children - especially his Cuentos de la Selva, or jungle tales. He is one of the greatest animal writers ever. His creatures are weird, savage and utterly inexpungeable from the mind. Quiroga's grown-up stories are often compared to those of Poe (see "The Decapitated Chicken" and "The Feather Pillow", published in The Decapitated Chicken and Other Stories, University of Wisconsin Press). They are also a bit like Roald Dahl's macabre tales for adults; the writing is ruthlessly crisp and concrete.
Felisberto Hernández, born in 1902, was a plumber's son and a mama's boy (he had four wives and many lovers besides, but always went back to his mother, sometimes in the middle of the night). He died in penury in 1964 - though he managed for many years by playing the piano in local cinemas: "musical illustration" for silent films. He is a writer's writer, not bothered by the need to create convincing plot, character, suspense or intrigue; an early story has among its characters an infinite horizontal line and a circumference that rolls along it. Among his ardent admirers he counts Jorge Luis Borges, Italo Calvino, Julio Cortázar and Gabriel García Márquez. Hernández published 10 short books (his first was only 21 paragraphs long). He spent years creating his own system of shorthand, with the result that some of his work - and this would have delighted him - has never been deciphered.
Juan Carlos Onetti (1909-94) is considered by many to be Uruguay's finest writer. A solid modernist, he rejected the folksy and sentimental culture that romanticised nature and the gaucho, and his eloquent brand of urban despair is so well turned that it remains vibrant and readable - see The Pit (Quartet), The Shipyard and A Brief Life (both Serpent's Tail). He was an editor of Marcha, the great literary magazine dissolved by Uruguay's military regime in the 1970s. Despite his huge reputation, Onetti was imprisoned in a mental institution, and as soon as he was able he decamped for Spain. Like Borges the chicken inspector, or like the Cuban writer Reinaldo Arenas exiled in New York, this most distinguished citizen and former director of the national library worked in a lowly capacity in his adopted country - as a doorman and a waiter. Though he lived for a decade after the end of military rule, Onetti never returned to Montevideo.

Selected works:
  • Los arrecifes de coral, 1902
  • El crimen del otro, 1904
  • Historia de un amor turbio, 1908
Cuentos de amor, de locura y de muerte, 1917 (Una estación de amor, Los ojos sombríos, El solitario, La muerte de Isolda, El infierno artificial, La gallina degollada, Los buques suicidantes, El almohadón de pluma, El perro rabioso, A la deriva, La insolación, El alambre de púa, Los Mensú, Yaguaí, Los pescadores de vigas, La miel silvestre, Nuestro primer cigarro, La meningitis y su sombra) - The Decapitated Chicken, The Feather Pillow, Drifting, Sunstroke, in The Decapitated Chicken and Other Stories (translated by Margaret Sayers Peden, 1976)
Cuentos de la selva para niños, 1918 (La tortuga gigante, Las medias de los flamencos, El loro pelado, La guerra de los yacarés, La gama ciega, Historia de dos cachorros de coatí y dos cachorros de hombre, El paso del Yabebirí, La abeja haragana) - South American Jungle Tales (translated by Arthur Livingston; illustrated by  A. L. Ripley,  1922)
  • El salvaje, 1920
  • Las sacrificadas, 1920
Anaconda, 1921 - Anaconda, in The Decapitated Chicken and Other Stories (translated by Margaret Sayers Peden, 1976)
  • El desierto, 1924
  • "La gallina degollada" y otros cuentos, 1925 
Los desterrados, 1926 (El Ambiente: Anaconda, El regreso de Anaconda; Los tipos: Los desterrados, Van-Houten, Tacuara-Mansión, El hombre muerto, El techo de incienso, La cámara obscura, Los destiladores de naraja) - The Dead Man, The Incense Tree Roof, in The Decapitated Chicken and Other Stories (translated by Margaret Sayers Peden, 1976)
  • Pasado amor, 1929
  • Suelo natal, 1931
  • El más allá, 1935
  • Cuentos, 1937-1945 (13 vols.)
  • Horacio Quiroga: Sus mejores cuentos, 1943 (with introduction and notes by John A. Crow)
  • Cuentos escogidos, 1950 (preface by Guillermo de Torre)
  • Diario de viaje a París, 1950 (edited by Emir Rodríguez Monegal)
  • Cuentos, 1964 (edited by Ezequiel Martínez Estrada)
  • Obras inéditas y desconocidas, 1967-73 (8 vols., edited by Angel Rama)
  • Cuentos escogidos, 1968 (edited by Jean Franco)
  • Cuentos, 1968 (edited by Raimundo Lazo)
  • Cartas inéditas, 1970
  • El mundo ideal de Horacio Quiroga, 1971 (ed. Antonio Hernán Rodríguez et al.)
  • The Decapitated Chicken and Other Stories, 1976 (translated by Margaret Sayers Peden; illustrated by Ed Lindlof)
  • Cuentos completas, 1978 (2 vols.)
  • Novelas completas, 1979
  • Más allá, 1980 (preface by Eduardo Romano)
  • Más cuentos, 1980 (introduction by Arturo Souto Alabarce)
  • El salvaje y otros cuentos, 1982 (preface by María Kodama)
  • The Exiles and Other Stories, 1987 (translated by David Danielson and Elsa K. Gambarini)
  • Peligro en la selva, 1987 (illustrated by Delia Contarbio)
  • A la deriva y otros cuentos, 1989 (edited by Olga Zamboni)
  • Los desterrados y otros textos: antología, 1907-1937, 1990 (edited by Jorge Lafforgue)
  • Cuentos, 1991 (edited by Leonor Fleming)
  • Cuentos, 1994 (edited by Pablo Rocca)
  • Testimonios Autobiograficos De Horacio Quiroga. Cartas Y Diari, 1997 (edited by Norma Perez Martin)
  • Cuentos completos, 1997 (vols., edited by Carlos Dámaso Martínez)
  • Los heroísmos: biografías ejemplares: trabajos publicados en Caras y caretas en 1927, 1998 (edited by Annie Boule)
  • Cartas a Isidoro Escalera: 1922 a 1937, 1999 (edited by Annie Boule)
  • Obras, 2007-  (edited by Jorge Lafforgue et al.)
  • Quiroga íntimo: Correspondencia. Diario de un viaje a Paris, 2010 (edited by Erika Martínez)

miércoles, 9 de agosto de 2017

Sam Shepard / The man who conquered Broadway, Hollywood and Jessica Lange

Sam Shepard
Poster by T.A.


Sam Shepard

(1943 - 2017)

Sam Shepard ranks as one of America's most celebrated dramatists. He has written nearly 50 plays and has seen his work produced across the nation, in venues ranging from Greenwich Village coffee shops to regional professional and community theatres, from college campuses to commercial Broadway houses. His plays are regularly anthologized, and theatre professors teach Sam Shepard as a canonical American author. Outside of his stage work, he has achieved fame as an actor, writer, and director in the film industry. With a career that now spans nearly 40 years, Sam Shepard has gained the critical regard, media attention, and iconic status enjoyed by only a rare few in American theatre. Throughout his career Shepard has amassed numerous grants, prizes, fellowships, and awards, including the Cannes Palme d'Or and the Pulitzer Prize. He has received abundant popular praise and critical adulation. While the assessment of Shepard's standing may evidence occasional hyperbole, there can be little doubt that he has spoken in a compelling way to American theatre audiences, and that his plays have found deep resonance in the nation's cultural imagination.

Samuel Shepard Rogers IV was born on November 5, 1943 in Fort Sheridan, Illinois. In the early years, Sam, the eldest of three children, led a rather nomadic life living on several military bases. His father was an army officer and former Air Force bomber during World War II while his mother was a teacher. His childhood experience of living in a dysfunctional family with an alcoholic father would often provide the recurrent dark themes in his writing as well as a preoccupation with the myth of the vanishing West. His writing commonly incorporated inventive language, symbolism, and non-linear storytelling while being populated with drifters, fading rock stars and others living on the edge.

The family finally settled in Duarte, CA where Sam graduated from high school in 1961. In his high school years he began acting and writing poetry. He also worked as a stable hand at a horse ranch in Chino from 1958-1960. Thinking he might become a veterinarian, Sam studied agriculture at Mount Antonio Junior College for a year; but when a traveling theater group, the Bishop's Company Repertory Players came through town, Sam joined up and left home. After touring with them during 1962-1963, he moved to New York City and worked as a bus boy at the Village Gate in Greenwich Village.

Sam began focusing his efforts on writing a series of of avant-garde one-act plays and eventually found his way to the off-off-Broadway scene to Theatre Genesis, a ragtag group that met in an upstairs room at St. Mark's Church-in-the-Bowery. There he had his first two plays produced on a double bill - "Cowboys" (1964) and "The Rock Garden" (1964). After the University of Minnesota offered him a grant in 1966, he won OBIE Awards for "Chicago," "Icarus' Mother" and "Red Cross" - an unprecedented feat to win three in the same year. In 1967, Sam wrote his first full-length play, "La Turista," an allegory on the Vietnam War about two American tourists in Mexico, and was honored again with his fourth OBIE.

After receiving an OBIE for "Melodrama Play" (1968) and "Cowboys #2" (1968), Sam received grants from the Rockefeller Foundation and the Guggenheim Foundation. He put his music skills taught to him by his father to use by playing drums and guitar in the rock band, the Holy Modal Rounders, in which he played for the next few years while continuing to write plays. In 1969 he married O-lan Jones Dark and together they had a son, Jesse Mojo Shepard. At this time, Sam made tentative steps toward screenwriting, having his first teleplay, "Fourteen Hundred Thousand" (NET, 1969), broadcast on television. He got a taste of Hollywood when he was one of several screenwriters on Michelangelo Antonioni's "Zabriskie Point" (1970). In 1971, after a high-profile relationship with singer-poet Patti Smith - despite being married to actress O-Lan Jones Dark - Sam and his family moved to London, where he spent three years writing more plays, including "The Tooth of the Crime" (1972). The play crossed the Atlantic for a U.S. production in 1973, winning the young playwright yet another OBIE.

In 1974, Sam returned to the United States, where he was set up as the playwright in residence at the Magic Theater in San Francisco, a post he held for the next ten years. Meanwhile, he joined Bob Dylan's "Rolling Thunder Revue," the singer-songwriter's traveling band of musicians who covered the northern hemisphere in the mid-1970s. He was originally hired to write a movie about the tour, but instead produced a book later on called "The Rolling Thunder Logbook". He then entered the cinema world with the lead role in Terrence Malick's "Days of Heaven" (1978), which served to raise his profile. It was a lucky stroke. The screenplay was written by Rudolph Wurlitzer, who was also on Dylan's tour. Despite his branching out into other avenues, playwriting remained Sam's stock and trade.

Returning to the theater, Sam wrote some of his finest work, including several plays that later proved to be his most famous and revered. He produced the first two of a series of plays about families tearing themselves apart, which debuted off-Broadway. "Curse of the Starving Class" debuted off-Broadway in 1978 followed by "Buried Child" the same year. Though both plays added to his OBIE collection, "Buried Child" earned the playwright the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1979. He also began his collaboration with actor-writer-director Joseph Chaikin of the Open Theater, with both contributing to "Tongues" (1978) and "Savage/Love" (1979).

For the next installment of his family tragedy series that he started with "Curse of the Starving Glass," Sam wrote "True West" (1980), using a more traditional narrative to depict a rivalry between two estranged brothers. First performed at the Magic Theater in San Francisco, "True West" was revived on numerous occasions and starred several high-profile actors over the years, including Gary Sinese, John Malkovich, Philip Seymour Hoffman and John C. Reilly. Meanwhile, thanks to his performance in "Days of Heaven," Sam began landing other roles in features with greater regularity. Tall, lanky and brooding, his weathered good looks served him well on screen. In 1980 he co-starred with Ellen Burstyn in "Resurrection" followed by a very small role in "Raggedy Man" a year later and then a more substantial role in the biopic "Frances" (1982). That would prove to be an important film on a personal note because it introduced him to his future companion, Jessica Lange. Two years later, he ended his marriage with O-lan Jones.

Despite being involved in theater for almost two decades at this point, Sam had shied away from directing anything he wrote. That changed with "Fool for Love" (1983), which depicted a pair of quarreling lovers at a Mojave Desert motel and earned him his 11th overall OBIE award, but his first for Best Direction. He next landed perhaps his most widely recognized film role, playing Chuck Yeager in the epic drama about the birth of America's space program, "The Right Stuff" (1983). This would earn him an Academy Award nominiation. His restrained and minimalist performance - which mirrored the real life Yeager - was hailed by critics and audiences, including the man he portrayed on film. After starring opposite Jessica in the rural drama, "Country" (1984), Sam took his prose collection - "Motel Chronicles" - and incorporated it a screenplay for Wim Wenders' "Paris, Texas" (1984), which won the prestigious Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival. He next adapted his own play, "Fool for Love" (1985), for director Robert Altman, in which he also took the leading role of Eddie.

Sam made another triumphant return to the stage as writer and director with "A Lie of the Mind" (1986), a gritty three-act play about two families suffering the consequences of severe spousal abuse. It was first staged off-Broadway at the Promenade Theater. Once again, the playwright earned several awards and accolades, including a Drama Desk Award and a New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best New Play. As his career progressed, Sam began exploring other avenues of creative expression with more frequency, which left less time to focus on the theater. While early in his career he had at least one play - if not several - released just about every year, he began writing fewer plays by the late 1980s. After producing the lesser-known "A Short Life of Trouble" (1987), he co-starred in Beth Henley's quirky drama "Crimes of the Heart" (1986) with Diane Keaton and again with the Oscar-winning actress in the romantic comedy "Baby Boom" (1987). Sam then made his feature directorial debut with "Far North" (1988) starring his long-time companion.

In 1989 he took on a small, but very noticeable role in the successful comedy-drama, "Steel Magnolias" about six Southern belles with backbones as tough as nails. After writing the blackmail drama "Simpatico" (1993) for the stage, he made a return behind the camera for the metaphysical Western-cum-Greek tragedy, "Silent Tongue" (1994). After his induction into the Theater Hall of Fame in 1994, he reunited with Chaikin for "When the World Was Green" (1996), a play commissioned for the Olympic Arts Festival in Atlanta and reprised for the Signature Theater Company's 1996-97 season that showcased several of his plays. In 1996 his restaging of "Buried Child" on Broadway with direction by Gary Sinese earned a Tony Award nomination. Meanwhile, he published "Cruising Paradise: Tales" (1997), a collection of 40 short stories that explored the themes of solitude and loss.

As the new millennium approached, Sam found himself in demand more as an actor, which gave him greater exposure to audiences, but unfortunately also limited his stage output for a spell. Through the 90s, he appeared in about fourteen films, some television productions, including three westerns - "The Good Old Boys" and "Streets of Laredo" in 1995 and then "Purgatory" in 1999. A&E's biopic, "Dash and Lilly" was well received the same year. He began the decade with Volker Schlöndorff's "Voyager" (aka Homo Faber), in which he gave an impressive performance opposite Julie Delpy. That was followed by three mediocre films, "Bright Angel" and "Defenseless" in 1991 and then "Thunderheart" with Val Kilmer in 1992. During the next two years he co-starred in two substantial mainsteam films - "Pelican Brief" (1993) in the role of Julia Roberts' lover and "Safe Passage (1994) as Susan Sarandon's husband. In 1997 he was back on screen in the romantic drama, "The Only Thrill", co-starring for the third time with Diane Keaton.

Following a role in "Snow Falling on Cedars" (1999) and a screen adaptation of "Simpatico" (1999), Sam played the Ghost of Hamlet's father in the contemporary adaptation of "Hamlet" (2000), which he followed with a supporting role in "All the Pretty Horses" (2000). Returning to playwriting, Sam then wrote "The Late Henry Moss" (2001), which debuted at the Magic Theater. Continuing to act more than write, he was seen in numerous onscreen projects, including the exciting war film, "Black Hawk Down" (2001), "Swordfish" (2001) and "The Pledge" (2001) starring Jack Nicholson.

As time wore on and the world became more darkly complex, Sam's writing started becoming more political as a reflection of the times. With "The God of Hell" (2004), the playwright sought to tackle what he deemed "Republican fascism". On the big screen he had a small role in "The Notebook" (2004). Remarkably, he returned to performing on stage for the second time in his career ("Cowboy Mouth" being the first in 1971) and co-starred with Dallas Roberts in the Caryl Churchill cloning drama, "A Number", which opened Off-Broadway in November 2004.

It was time to team up once more with Wim Wenders as scriptwriter and lead actor for "Don't Come Knocking" (2005) in which Jessica plays his old girlfriend. He was then cast as the commander of a top secret Navy squadron in "Stealth" (2005), followed by a supporting role in the Mexican Western, "Bandidas" (2006) opposite Penelope Cruz and Selma Hajek. After narrating the endearing "Charlotte's Web" (2006), Sam earned a SAG nomination for his performance in "Ruffian" (ABC, 2007). The same year he played Frank James in the brooding and beautiful film, "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford".

Then it was back to the theater scene with two plays written for Irish actor Stephen Rea - "Kicking a Dead Horse" (2007) and "Ages of the Moon" (2009). Both premiered at the Abbey Theatre in Dublin and were then transported across the Atlantic to off-off Broadway. Three smaller films followed with a perfect role in Jim Sheridan's "Brothers" (2009) in which he gives a fine portrayal of a taciturn military father.

2010 began with the publication of Sam's collection of short stories, "Day out of Days". For onscreen productions, he had the lead role in Mateo Gil's film, "Blackthorn", in which he played Butch Cassidy.

The following year brought the end of his long-time relationship with actress Jessica Lange with whom he had two children. He began spending more time in New Mexico with an internship at the Sante Fe Institute. On the big screen, his biggest role in 2011 was playing a CIA agent in "Safe House" with Denzel Washington.

In March 2012, Sam shared the stage with Patti Smith at the Abbey Theatre in Dublin. When summer rolled around, he headed to New York City where his new play, "Heartless" premiered at the Signature Theatre. In the fall a documentary called, "Shepard & Dark", directed by Treva Wurmfeld, entered the film festival circuit.

Three major films premiered in 2013 - the Huckleberry Finnish "Mud" with Matthew McConaughey, the gritty Jeff Nichols' thriller, "Out of the Furnace" and the Tracy Letts dysfunctional stage-to- screen drama, "August: Osage County". In June the Wittliff Collections at Texas State opened a new literary exhibition to showcase the Shepard archives. Called "The Writer’s Road: Selections from the Sam Shepard Papers", the exhibition was slated to run through February 2014. A book was also published by Texas State in conjunction with the exhibit called "Two Prospectors: The Letters of Sam Shepard and Johnny Dark". Sam spent most of November in Ireland preparing for his new play, "A Particle of Dread", which premiered at the Londonderry: City of Culture festival.

Discovery Channel's "Klondike" mini-series debuted in January 2014 followed by Sam's appearance at the Sundance Film Festival to promote the Jim Mickle indie film, "Cold in July". The following year he took on another television role as the patriarch of the Chandler family in the Netflix series "Bloodline". In 2016 he appeared in another Jeff Nichols film, "Midnight Special" and also pleased Meg Ryan by starring in her directorial debut "Ithaca".

In February of 2017 he published his last book, "The One Inside", a collection of vignettes, surrealism, short story and thinly veiled memoir.

On July 27, 2017 Sam Shepard passed away at age 73 on his farm in Midway, Kentucky. He died of complications of ALS, more commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

Sam Shepard's plays are performed on and off Broadway and in all the major regional American theatres. They are also widely performed and studied in Europe, particularly in Britain, Germany and France, finding both a popular and scholarly audience. A leader of the avant-garde in contemporary American theatre since his earliest work. Sam's plays are not easy to categorize. They combine wild humor, grotesque satire, myth and a sparse, haunting language to present a subversive view of American life. His settings are often a kind of nowhere, notionally grounded in the dusty heart of the vast American Plains; his characters are typically loners, drifters caught between a mythical past and the mechanized present; his work often concerns deeply troubled families.

Before he was thirty, Shepard had over thirty plays produced in New York. In his works Shepard has repeatedly examined the moral anomie and spiritual starvation that characterize the world of his drama.

Sam began his career as a playwright in New York in 1964 with the Theatre Genesis production of two one-act plays, COWBOYS and THE ROCK GARDEN at St. Mark's Church-in-the Bowery. Their lack of conventional structure and the manic language of their long monologues offend critics from uptown papers. Some find the plays derivative of Samuel Beckett and other European dramatists. But Michael Smith of THE VILLAGE VOICE hails them as "distinctly American" and "genuinely original," and declares their author full of promise.

By 1980, he was the most produced playwright in America after Tennessee Williams.

Over the past forty years, Sam has written over 45 plays, eleven of which have won Obie Awards. In 1979 he was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Drama for BURIED CHILD. In 1986 he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and in 1992 he received the Gold Medal for Drama from the Academy. He was inducted into the Theatre Hall of Fame in 1994."No one knows better than Sam Shepard that the true American West is gone forever, but there may be no writer alive more gifted at reinventing it out of pure literary air." ...Frank Rich, The New York Times

"Mr. Shepard is the most deeply serious humorist of the American theatre, and a poet with no use whatsoever for the 'poetic.' He brings fresh news of love, here and now, in all its potency and deviousness and foolishness, and of many other matters as well." ...Edith Oliver, The New Yorker

"If plays were put in time capsules, future generations would get a sharp-toothed profile of life in the U.S. in the past decade and a half from the works of Sam Shepard." ...Time Magazine

"Sam Shepard is one of the most gifted writers ever to work on the American stage." ...Marsha Norman, Pulitzer-Award-winning author

"One of our best and most challenging playwrights... His plays are a form of exorcism: magical, sometimes surreal rituals that grapple with the demonic forces in the American landscape." ...Newsweek

"His plays are stunning in their originality, defiant and inscrutable." ..Esquire

"Sam Shepard is phenomenal.... The best practicing American playwright." ...The New Republic

Sam Shepard
Poster by T.A.

Sam Shepard obituary

Playwright, actor and director who exposed the gap between myth and reality in American life

Sam Shepard, who has died aged 73 from complications of ALS, a form of motor neurone disease, excelled as an actor, screenwriter, playwright and director. In each of those disciplines he challenged and reimagined mythic American archetypes. He wrote nearly 50 plays; the most coruscating of them, such as the Pulitzer prize-winning Buried Child (1978), True West (1980) and Fool for Love (1983), established him as one of the visionaries of US theatre and created a fresh vernacular for exploring the disparity in American life between myth and reality, past and present, fathers and sons.
He took flawed macho heroes who might have staggered out of an Anthony Mannwestern, and broken, overheated families redolent of a Tennessee Williams clan, and forced them into claustrophobic hothouse scenarios; the result was like Beckett performed in cowboy duds. He found in the process a large audience receptive to this blend of stormy psychodrama, pitiless analysis and bruised romanticism. By the age of 40, he had become the second most widely performed US playwright after Williams.
He was fascinated by the violence that arose in American life from feelings of inadequacy. “This sense of failure runs very deep – maybe it has to do with the frontier being systematically taken away, with the guilt of having gotten this country by wiping out a native race of people, with the whole Protestant work ethic,” he said in 1984. “I can’t put my finger on it, but it’s the source of a lot of intrigue for me.”
To articulate the charged, often oedipal confrontations that littered his work, and its friction between progress and tradition, he forged a genuinely original writing voice. His runaway soliloquies made urgent, rhythmic poetry out of the banal. “I drive on the freeway every day,” says Austin, the screenwriter grappling with notions of authenticity in True West. “I swallow the smog. I watch the news in colour. I shop in the Safeway … There’s no such thing as the west any more! It’s a dead issue!” But he could be just as eloquent with silence, as he proved in his screenplay (co-written by LM Kit Carson) for Paris, Texas (1984). Wim Wenders’s plangent masterpiece reshaped the western as a modern road movie in which the wandering loner, played by Harry Dean Stanton, is mute for almost the first hour of the film.
As an actor, Shepard was a softer presence, cast early on for his wan, arresting handsomeness and his connotations of nobility. Later, as he grew craggier, his presence was typically used to denote grizzled tradition. He was fey as the dying farmer caught unwittingly in a love triangle in Terrence Malick’s Days of Heaven(1978). His finest acting work was as the pilot Chuck Yeager in Philip Kaufman’s mighty adaptation of Tom Wolfe’s The Right Stuff (1983). Shepard evoked achingly the determination of Yeager, who had been the first person to fly at supersonic speed, to set a new altitude record even if it meant jeopardising his life. Burned and battered at the end of the movie, he falls to earth with a bang but gathers up his dignity along with his tattered parachute. The performance, which brought him an Oscar nomination for best supporting actor, marked the point where his acting began to blur with his writing to create “the intrepid artist-cowboy of popular imagination”, as John J Winters put it in his book Sam Shepard: A Life (2017).
This impression persisted in films such as the Cormac McCarthy adaptation All the Pretty Horses (2000), The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007) and the Mississippi melodrama Mud (2012). Recently Shepard starred in the Netflix series Bloodline (2015), as the patriarch in a tempestuous family scarred by murder and double-crossing. The impression that he was having a whale of a time was enhanced by the suspicion that the programme makers had raided Shepard’s own thematic larder in cooking up the show’s heady gumbo. No wonder he looked at home.
He was born in Fort Sheridan, Illinois, and raised largely in southern California, the son of Samuel Shepard Rogers, a teacher, farmer and former US army pilot, and Jane (nee Schook), also a teacher. The family moved around, living in Utah and Florida before settling for a while in Duarte, California, where his father owned an avocado farm. Sam was educated at Duarte high school, Los Angeles, and at Mt San Antonio College, where he studied agriculture.

Though he claimed to have been a rabble-rouser, classmates later recalled a “nice, polite, quiet” boy. He did, however, clash repeatedly with his alcoholic father, and left home after intervening in a parental argument. He had various odd jobs and briefly joined a travelling theatre troupe. Ending up in New York, he worked as a waiter and started knocking out one-act plays for the off-off-Broadway circuit.
These immediately earned him notoriety. A double-bill of Cowboys and The Rock Garden caused an uproar by its profane language; a scene from the latter was excerpted in Kenneth Tynan’s 1969 revue Oh! Calcutta! Shepard’s work was said to have caused a significant cancellation of subscriptions at some of the venues that staged it. But along with controversy came acclaim: between 1966 and 1968 he won six Obie awards for plays including Icarus’s Mother and La Turista.
His own emerging creative life brought him into the orbit of other artists of that time. He became friendly with the Rolling Stones. Along with Allen Ginsberg, he was one of the writers of Robert Frank’s film Me and My Brother (1969). Less happily, he also co-wrote Michelangelo Antonioni’s Zabriskie Point (1970). “Antonioni wanted to make a political statement about contemporary youth, write in a lot of Marxist jargon and Black Panther speeches,” he said. “I couldn’t do it. I just wasn’t interested.” Shepard’s name ended up being one of five credited for the script.
He also drummed for the Holy Modal Rounders and married the actor O-Lan Jones, with whom he had a child. At the same time, he fell into a seven-month relationship with the musician Patti Smith, and co-wrote with her the 1971 semi-autobiographical play Cowboy Mouth, in which they both starred. Another of his plays, Back Bog Beast Bait, was included on the same bill and featured Jones as a character based on Smith.
When Shepard and Jones moved briefly to London to escape that imbroglio, he met the director Peter Brook, who introduced Shepard to the teachings of the spiritual philosopher GI Gurdjieff and encouraged him to think more closely about character in his writing. Upon returning to the US, he went on tour with Bob Dylan’s Rolling Thunder revue, where he began a brief relationship with Joni Mitchell; her song Coyote was said to have been written about him (“He pins me in a corner and he won’t take no/ He drags me out on the dance floor/ And we’re dancing close and slow”). Out of his friendship with Dylan came a screenwriting credit on the singer’s film Renaldo and Clara (1978) and a co-writing one on his song Brownsville Girl.
Unsettled by life on the road, and with Brook’s advice in his ears, Shepard took up the post of playwright-in-residence at the Magic theatre in San Francisco and produced the plays that were to mark his most celebrated period and define him forever in audiences’ minds. Curse of the Starving Class, which had its premiere at the Royal Court in London in 1977, concerns a debt-ridden, alcoholic former pilot trying to offload his Californian farm.
In Buried Child, a dysfunctional family is haunted by the memory of a dead son and dominated by Dodge, the gone-to-seed patriarch marinated in booze. Shepard’s own father pitched up at one performance and began berating the actors on stage. “He took it personally and he was drunk,” the playwright said. “He was kicked out and then was readmitted once he confessed to being my father. And then he started yelling at the actors again.”
True West, about two warring brothers, dramatised what Shepard saw as an essential divide in human nature. “I think we’re split in a much more devastating way than psychology can ever reveal … It’s something we’ve got to live with.” (In a notable 2000 Broadway staging admired by Shepard, the connection between the characters was amplified by having the actors Philip Seymour Hoffman and John C Reilly swap roles on alternate nights.)
Fool for Love (1983) was a feverish, motel-bound drama about incestuous half-siblings; Shepard also adapted it and starred in Robert Altman’s 1985 film version. Completing the playwright’s most distinguished period, A Lie of the Mind (1985) examined an abusive marriage. It, too, was haunted by yet another drunk, domineering father.
During this time, Shepard’s career as an actor was picking up. Though he made only a mild impression in Frances (1982), a biopic of the actor Frances Farmer, it was important for another reason: he fell in love with its star, Jessica Lange, with whom he was in a relationship for 26 years. They appeared together in the rural dramas Country (1984) and Crimes of the Heart (1986), while Shepard directed her in Far North (1988), one of only two movies he directed. The other, Silent Tongue (1993), was a mystical western starring River PhoenixRichard Harris and Alan Bates.
He starred with Diane Keaton in the comedy Baby Boom (1987) and alongside Julia Roberts in the weepie Steel Magnolias (1989) and the thriller The Pelican Brief (1993). He was a good choice to play the Ghost to Ethan Hawke’s Prince in a modern-day Hamlet (2000) by Michael Almereyda, who also directed a revealing documentary about Shepard, This So-Called Disaster (2003), which followed the preparations for a staging of his play The Late Henry Moss. Other films included Black Hawk Down (2001), The Notebook (2004), Killing Them Softly (2012), an adaptation of Tracy Letts’s play August: Osage County (2013) and the thriller Cold in July (2014).
Shepard continued writing, acting and directing throughout the rest of his life, branching out also into short fiction – in collections such as Cruising Paradise (1996) and Day Out of Days: Stories (2010) – and a novel, The One Inside, published this year. Asked in 2016 if he felt he had achieved something substantial, he replied: “Yes and no. If you include the short stories and all the other books and you mash them up with some plays and stuff, then, yes, I’ve come at least close to what I’m shooting for. In one individual piece, I’d say no. There are certainly some plays I like better than others, but none that measure up.” For all the messy domestic histrionics that litter his work, he seemed ultimately to be grappling with solitude. Writing, he said in 2010, “is almost a response to that aloneness which can’t be answered in any other way.”
He is survived by his son, Jesse, from his marriage to Jones, and two children, Hannah and Walker, from his relationship with Lange.



  • 1973: Hawk Moon, PAJ Books
  • 1983: Motel Chronicles, City Lights
  • 1984: Seven PlaysDial Press, 368 pages
  • 1984: Fool for Love and Other Plays, Bantam, 320 pages
  • 1996: The Unseen Hand: and Other Plays, Vintage, 400 pages
  • 1996: Cruising Paradise, Vintage, 255 pages
  • 2003: Great Dream of Heaven, Vintage, 160 pages
  • 2004: Rolling Thunder Logbook, Da Capo, 176 pages, reissue
  • 2004: Day out of Days: Stories, Knopf, 304 pages
  • 2013: Two Prospectors: The Letters of Sam Shepard and Johnny Dark, Texas, 400 pages

2017: The One Inside, Knopf, 172 page


As actor



Brand X (1970)Unknown

Renaldo and Clara (1978)RodeoAlso co-writer

Days of Heaven (1978)The Farmer

Resurrection (1980)Cal Carpenter

Raggedy Man (1981)Bailey

Frances (1982)Harry York

The Right Stuff (1983)Chuck Yeager

Country (1984)Gilbert "Gil" Ivy

Fool for Love (1985)EddieAlso writer

Crimes of the Heart (1986)Doc Porter

Baby Boom (1987)Dr. Jeff Cooper

Steel Magnolias (1989)Spud Jones

Bright Angel (1990)Jack

Voyager (1991)Walter FaberAlso narrator

Defenseless (1991)Detective Beutel

Thunderheart (1992)Frank Coutelle

The Pelican Brief (1993)Thomas Callahan

Safe Passage (1994)Patrick Singer

The Only Thrill (1997)Reece McHenry

Curtain Call (1998)Will Dodge

Purgatory (1999)Sheriff Forrest/Wild Bill Hickok

Snow Falling on Cedars (1999)Arthur Chambers

Hamlet (2000)Ghost

All the Pretty Horses (2000)J.C. Franklin

The Pledge (2001)Eric Pollack

Swordfish (2001)James Reisman

Black Hawk Down (2001)William F. Garrison

Leo (2002)Vic

Blind Horizon (2003)Sheriff Jack Kolb

The Notebook (2004)Frank Calhoun

Don't Come Knocking (2005)Howard SpenceAlso co-writer

Stealth (2005)George Cummings

Bandidas (2006)Bill Buck

Walker Payne (2006)Syrus

The Return (2006)Ed Mills

Charlotte's Web (2006)Narrator (voice)

The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007)Frank James

The Accidental Husband (2008)Wilder Lloyd

Felon (2008)Gordon Camrose

Brothers (2009)Hank Cahill

Fair Game (2010)Sam Plame

Inhale (2010)James Harrison

Blackthorn (2011)Butch Cassidy

Darling Companion (2012)Sheriff Morris

Safe House (2012)Harlan Whitford

Killing Them Softly (2012)Dillon

Mud (2012)Tom Blankenship

Savannah (2013)Mr. Stubbs

August: Osage County (2013)Beverly Weston

Out of the Furnace (2013)Gerald "Red" Baze

Cold in July (2014)Ben Russell

Ithaca (2015)Willie Grogan

Midnight Special (2016)Calvin Meyer

In Dubious Battle (2016)Mr. Anderson

Never Here (2017)Paul Stark


1995The Good Old BoysSnort YarnellTelevision film
1996Lily DalePete DavenportTelevision film
1999Streets of LaredoPea Eye Parker3 episodes
1999PurgatorySheriff Forrest / Wild Bill HickokTelevision film
1999Dash and LillyDashiell HammettTelevision film
2000One KillMajor Nelson GrayTelevision film
2000Great PerformancesNarrator (voice)Episode: "Kurosawa"
2001After the HarvestCaleb GareTelevision film
2001Shot in the HeartFrank Gilmore, Sr.Television film
2007RuffianFrank WhiteleyTelevision film
2010Tough Trade(Role unknown)Pilot
2014KlondikeFather Judge3 episodes
2015–2017BloodlineRobert Rayburn7 episodes

As writer



Me and My Brother (1969)Co-writer

Zabriskie Point (1970)Co-writer

Oh! Calcutta! (1972)Sketch contributions

Renaldo and Clara (1978)Co-writer

Savage/Love (1981)Short film

Tongues (1982)Short film

Paris, Texas (1984)Co-writer

Fool for Love (1985)

Far North (1988)Also director

Silent Tongue (1994)Also director

Curse of the Starving Class (1994)

Simpatico (1999)

Don't Come Knocking (2005)Co-writer

Fool for Love (2007)Short film


ITV Saturday Night Theatre (1974)Episode: "Geography of a Horse Dreamer"

American Playhouse (1984)Episode: "True West"

Den sultende klasses forbannelse (1986)Norwegian adaptation of Curse of the Starving Class

Auténtico oeste (1991)Spanish adaptation of True West

Loucos Por Amor (1991)Portuguese adaptation of Fool for Love

O Verdadeiro Oeste (1995)Portuguese adaptation of True West

Pazzo d'amore (1996)Italian adaptation of Fool for Love

True West (2002)Adaptation of True West

See You in My Dreams (2004)Adapted from Cruising Paradise and Motel Chronicles