Monday, June 23, 2014

"The Short Story Just Got Shorter: Hemingway, Narrative, and the Six-Word Urban Legend"

A few years ago, I started running across a story about Ernest Hemingway writing a six-word-long short story.  Despite having read most, if not all, of Hemingway's stories, I didn't know this one.  That made me curious.  I wrote a blog post about what I found and then did further research for a paper that I gave at the 2010 International Conference on Narrative.  That eventually resulted in an article that has recently been published in The Journal of Popular Culture (Volume 47, Number 2, Pages 327-340), in which I argue that the story credited to Hemingway was actually written by John de Groot. During the three years or so that my article worked its way through the academic publishing maze, the Quote Investigator discovered that the actual six-word-long short story seems very similar to a newspaper advertisement from the early 20th Century.  It's quite possible that de Groot heard the legend associated with the advertisement and adapted it for his play about Hemingway, which eventually resulted in the contemporary urban legend.  But, to sum it all up, the six-word story isn't a story and it's not by Hemingway.

1 comment:

  1. the six word urban legend embedded in wred fright's blog: "Buy Purina Pro Plan Cat Food"

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