Hemingway begged to differ with Miss Redmon

“[On being introduced to Ernest Hemingway at his home in Cuba in 1955] I was eager to steer the conversation around to Miss Redmon’s class in American literature at the University of North Carolina. I had always been a bit skeptical of her ability to see into the minds of authors and extract hidden meanings that routinely went over my head.

“I recalled vividly one lecture in which she had explained the exquisite symbolism she discerned in this brief preface to ‘The Snows of Kilimanjaro’: ‘Kilimanjaro is a snow covered mountain 19,710 feet high, and it is said to be the highest mountain in Africa. Its western summit is called the Masai “Ngàje Ngài,” the House of God. Close to the western summit there is the dried and frozen carcass of a leopard. No one has explained what the leopard was seeking at that altitude.’

“Could we not see, she wondered, the beautiful metaphor therein expressed: the leopard, sensing impending death, climbing the mountains as if reaching out to God? Hemingway was alluding to the bond that exists between God and nature. I quoted Miss Redmon as best I could remember and asked Hemingway if this was what he had had in mind.

” ‘Bulls——!’ he said. ‘She doesn’t know what she’s talking about! I just thought it was a hell of a good story, that’s all. If you ever see her again, Lieutenant, you tell her what I said.’ ”

— From “My Day with Hemingway ” by Wallace Paul Conklin in American Heritage,  December 1995

Just curious: Is Miss Redmon remembered on campus?

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