In 1941, the Pulitzer Board convened to decide what work they were going to honor with their prestigious prize for fiction—and it didn’t take long for the entire group to come to an enthusiastic decision for Ernest Hemingway’s bestseller For Whom The Bell Tolls.
But by the time the meeting came to its bitter end, the Pulitzer Prize for fiction was going to … nobody. What happened?
Apparently, Nicholas Murray Butler happened. He was the President of Columbia University (which administers the Pulitzer) and he was NOT okay with the prize going to an “offensive and lascivious book” like FWTBT. How dare the committee even think about sullying the University’s name by associating it with Hemingway’s book?
You can read the complete story in this fascinating article here but it ended in deadlock and defeat, no Pulitzer for any writer of fiction that year, and none for Papa Hemingway until The Old Man and the Sea in 1953.
The real question this raises is whether there is a Pulitzer Prize for Podcasting. And if there is, when will our heroes of The Bookening win it? Will it be for this—their brave foray into Ernest Hemingway’s For Whom The Bell Tolls? Is the book an offensive, lascivious piece of macho garbage? Or a sweeping meditation of death and sacrifice? Just who exactly does the bell toll for, and why don’t they answer?
Never fear, our heroes are on hand to ponder these very questions in the most macho way possible—Rugged, Red-Blooded Jake Mentzel, Brawny Brandon Chasteen, and Exceedingly Masculine Nathan Alberson.
Could this be the manliest episode of The Bookening yet??????????!?!?
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And if you’re feeling less mannish and more boyish, don’t worry. Because next month, we’re reading Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn.