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Literary Quote

“The foreman was a short, iron-jawed man. He had once made a trip as far as Duluth. Duluth was far across the blue waters of the lake in the hills of Minnesota. A wonderful thing had happened to him there.”

— Ernest Hemingway

from Part One, Chapter One;
THE TORRENTS OF SPRING
(1926)

13 Comments

Paul Lundgren

about 9 years ago

Thanks Dreamspark. I have added your find to PDD's list of "References to Duluth in Popular Literature."

mendoza

about 9 years ago

Thanks for sharing that quote.  You can't go wrong with Hemingway and it's nice to know that somewhere in the back of his mind an image of the city of Duluth was floating around.

L.T.

about 9 years ago

So, what happened to him in Duluth???

Tony D.

about 9 years ago

The foreman goes fishing on Lake Superior from off the Michigan U. P. coast and hooks onto a sturgeon that, over a matter of days, pulls him over to Duluth where he enters a bullfighting contest at the old Wheeler Race Track but can't bring himself to finish off the bull with one final thrust; later, after too much grappa, his impotence--both literal and figurative--causes him embarrassment and hame while entertaining a Finnish prostitute who, for whatever reason, is named Pilar.

At least that's what I exepect: never actually read it. But I found this synopsis on da wikipedia.

"Set in northern Michigan in the mid-1920s The Torrents of Spring is about two World War I veterans, Yogi Johnson and writer Scripps O'Neill, both of whom work at a pump factory. O'Neill's wife Diana tries to impress her husband by reading books from the lists of The New York Times Book Reviews but he leaves her for a waitress. Johnson, who became depressed after a Parisian prostitute leaves him for a British officer, falls in love with a native American woman who enters a restaurant clothed only in mocassins."

C'mon! That's brilliant! Who else thinks this should be made into a musical?

Tony D.

about 9 years ago

oops: "hame" should be "shame."

adam

about 9 years ago

I thought "hame" was some kind of Finnish bullfighting impotence.

markryan

about 9 years ago

I believe Duluth is also mentioned in THE GREAT GATSBY although I don't have a copy handy so I can't cite where.

James B. "Rot-Gut" Ferret

about 9 years ago

THE GREAT GATSBY, Ch. VI

"To the young Gatz, resting on his oars and looking up at the railed deck, the yacht represented all the beauty and glamour in the world. I suppose he smiled at Cody — he had probably discovered that people liked him when he smiled. At any rate Cody asked him a few questions (one of them elicited the brand new name) and found that he was quick and extravagantly ambitious. A few days later he took him to Duluth and bought him a blue coat, six pair of white duck trousers, and a yachting cap. And when the TUOLOMEE left for the West Indies and the Barbary Coast Gatsby left too."

laurie

about 9 years ago

I'd never heard that Hemingway quote before. Clearly I have not read the torrents of spring.

L.T.

about 9 years ago

Tony, you are inspired! A musical is clearly in order! I offer to play the waitress, the native american or the sturgeon. J.K. on the waitress or the native american.

bluenewt

about 9 years ago

Oh, man, Tony, I thought you'd made up the Wikipedia synopsis, too, but there it is on Wikipedia. Did you make it up and put it there?

Tony D.

about 9 years ago

LT, Bluenote: I had nothing to do with the Wikipedia entry (other than find it and paste it into my reply). As far as I know, that's legit. One of us should actually read the book to make sure.

dreamspark

about 9 years ago

Well, I actually read the whole thing but I think to paraphrase Hemingway would be comparable to scraping the butter & jam off your toast.  To say what happened to the "sharp, iron-jawed" foreman in Duluth so many years ago would be a spoiler. (Here's a hint: the book was written tongue-in-cheek by a younger Hemingway taking humorous pokes while paying homage to writers like Sherwood Anderson & James Joyce & D.H. Lawerence & writers of the "Chicago School" of the 1920s. It's a quick read, almost a novella, & great summertime, lazy-afternoon-at-the-beach or backyard-in-the-hammock material. It could DEFINITELY be made into a musical & I hereby offer my services towards its production as required. (I thought the quote could also make quick, easy City of Duluth Tourism P.R. or/& advertising copy.);)

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